Some say: “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Well, others say: “a video is worth 1.8 million”. When it comes to understanding your app’s users, the same principles apply here. You can look at an analytics dashboard, pie charts and graphs everywhere, and it would indeed be worth a thousand words. But then, you can watch a video of a user session recording instead, and it will be worth way more than that. There’s no better way to understand your users than to step into their shoes. This is what user session recordings is all about.
We’ve handpicked what we believe are the top 5 types of user session recordings you MUST watch to better understand your app users. These session recordings will give you that “Aha” moment and will sure make an impact on your app.
So, without further ado, let’s get right into it:
First sessions are defined as sessions of users that opened your app for the first time. Why are they important? Well, think about first impression in real life and how important it is. Now think about the ultra-saturated mobile-app market and how picky users are these days, and you get the idea. First impression is critical for user retention.
In this specific recording, we can see a first-time user trying to login with Facebook and getting an error message three times within 14 seconds. Quantitative analytics solution will probably show app makers that their login screen quit-rate is extremely high, but they will be left with guesswork to determine why users are quitting the login screen so much. With qualitative analytics, and user session recording in specific, it is much easier to identify the issue (broken Facebook login in this case) and act upon to increase your key app metrics.
A crashed session is a user-session that ended without the user’s intent, as a result of the app crashing or experiencing a significant performance drop which caused the app to kill the session. These sessions are extremely important since in many cases, they could be the only evidence mobile developers have for what exactly happened moments before the crash. Crashes increase churn by as much as 534%. This is a 6X increase from normal churn rates. With user session recordings, developers can easily and accurately reproduce an app crash. This will not only save time and resources but will also allow your app team to focus on the things that matter.
In this particular recording, we can see a user logging in to the app and adding 3 different items to the cart by tapping the “+” button. After the 3rd item was added, the user scrolls down, tapping the “+” button again to add the 4th item, and that’s when the app crashed. Losing an engaged user for technical issues is definitely bad. Losing an engaged user who shows purchase intent is even worse. Performance issues like this could easily lead to trust-issues and users churn.
App not responding (ANR) sessions:
ANR (App Not Responding) is a state in which the UI thread of an app is blocked for too long. This triggers an “Application Not Responding” (ANR) error. In Android applications, for example, an ANR dialog will appear if the app is running in the foreground, giving the user an opportunity to force quit the app.
In the following session recording, we can see the same “Facebook login” issue demonstrated in the first video, however, this time the app freezes for a solid 3 seconds within each tap on the “Facebook Login” button. Not only that users are unable to login with Facebook, but they also have to wait for the app to work again after it freezes. Pretty annoying, eh? User session recordings enables developers to see where exactly their app is freezing and what happened seconds before that. Similarly to crashed sessions, this will save a great amount of time and resources by eliminating guesswork from the equation.
Loyal users session recordings:
Loyal users are users that have opened your app more than 5 times and are clearly interested in what you have to offer (otherwise, they would not be spending that much time on your app). Watching session recordings of loyal users can help you learn more about their preferences, their favorite in-app journey and what screens are they spending most of their time on. This can help you identify, for example, if a specific feature is welcomed by your loyal users or not, or if a specific UI/UX change is intuitive enough.
The following session recording shows us how a loyal user, that has opened the app more than 5 times already, is still struggling to find its way around the clunky user-interface. We can clearly see how the user is trying to either expand a specific item to view more details, or unsuccessfully zoom-in on the item’s photo to enlarge it. Once that doesn’t work, the user is looking for other ways to view the item, to no avail. UI/UX designers can use these recordings to efficiently and easily optimize the user experience of their app and make sure they enable their loyal users to do more.
Returning users session recordings:
Only users who opened your app more than once (2nd session and above) are considered “returning users”. Watching sessions of returning users can help product managers, UX designers and mobile marketers to get a clearer, more individual picture of their app-retention. These session recordings can help app professionals understand that returning users are not just a number (retention rate), but there are individual users behind this metric. This will also allow mobile professionals to see how these users interact with their app and optimize their content, UI/UX or product features accordingly.
In this session recording we can see a returning user that already feels comfortable with the app’s UI. The user knows how to navigate through the app and is adding items to the cart. But then, the biggest issue in this video comes between 0:15 and 0:24, when the user wants to pay for the item and clicks on the “Pay Now” button. Then.. Well.. it takes the app more than 9 seconds to proceed to the checkout page. In the mobile-app realm, 9 seconds is a very long time and this is something app owners would definitely want to improve on. Luckily for this app owner, the user was patient enough to wait and complete the purchase, however, most users will not be as forgiving. Identifying and fixing performance issues like this can dramatically increase checkout conversion rates and increase sales in general.
With the mobile-app market getting extremely crowded, and with the competition of quality becoming more intense, app owners have to find new ways to make their app stand out. One of the ways is to add a qualitative analytics layer on top of their quantitative (numeric) one and utilize qualitative features. Some of these features include user session recordings and touch heatmaps, which will allow app makers to finally see exactly how users interact with their app and eliminate the guesswork from their workflow.