ClickTale: Revolutionary Web Analytics

ClickTale is an amazing application that provides a radically different type of data than your average web statistics package.

From Clicktale:

ClickTale is a revolutionary approach to website usability testing and optimization. Unlike traditional web analytics that produce pure statistics, ClickTale gives website owners the ability to watch movies of users’ browsing sessions.

I recently received a beta invitation and have been experimenting with it since. Like most tracking packages, all you have to do is add a few lines of HTML bringing in the ClickTale JavaScript and you’re done.

Video Examples

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Tracking from the old Textplates. Download .mov file.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Tracking from this site. Download .mov file.

This videos are fascinating to watch and have proved to be invaluable while redesigning Textplates and this blog.

For example, the second video shows a very obvious problem with this website that I hope to address in an upcoming redesign. I didn’t think much of the fact that the “Categories” banner didn’t appear on the category list pages, but the video clearly shows the user having to select a category, view it’s contents, then return to the article page to select another category. Certainly not the easiest way for a user to explore the website’s content, and I would have likely never discovered this problem through more traditional tracking.

While the information can be a little difficult to sift through, the ClickTale player interface (currently functional only in IE and FF, no WebKit) has a few features to help you make your way through the longer sessions.

I should note, there is currently no way to export videos, I captured the clips above with Snapz.

Other Data

ClickTale offers some other data. Much of it is similar to the kind of information I get from my primary statistics packages Mint and Google Analytics, but there is an interesting ‘heatmap’ feature that can be useful.

Unlike Crazy Egg which builds heatmaps based on where users click, ClickTale’s heatmaps are based on users’ “attention” – where their mouse pointer is. These can help you find out which portion of the page people appear to be spending the most time on.

In Conclusion

ClickTale is incredibly cool and surprisingly useful. It’s very unobtrusive (my own tests have shown that the script is very efficient, showing a negligble increase in processor activity on the client side) and gives website owners an amazing new tool to help build better websites. Ever wondered what’s happening in those 45 seconds between pages in your logs? ClickTale has a video of it.

  1. Wow…thats really weird knowing that Im being watched while surfing your site. I guess theres no more snooping around anymore.

    Its almost like trying to look into a car with mirror tents, you only see your reflection, in this case its like you’re looking out at us as we look back into your website.

    sean3

    May 25, 02:17 PM #

  2. Sean3: It isn’t you per se, it’s just your IP address. Now, it would be you if he were to make sure he knew which commenter had what IP. Also, if there are multiple users in your house who browse this site, it could then be any of you, not personally you.

    I suppose that was unnecessary to say though.

    Tom Martin

    May 26, 01:04 AM #

  3. Way to freak him out Tom :)

    I know it can seem a bit invasive, but I want to assure everyone that I’m making no effort to connect users with their recorded sessions or with their other activity on the website.

    It’s just a tool to help me find problems I might’ve not come against otherwise.

    Thame

    May 27, 07:42 AM #

  4. I already use Clicktale since months and I don’t wanna miss it anymore. It’s pretty helpful in understanding ( heatmaps etc, ), how users use your page.

    Webstandard-Team

    Jun 4, 11:37 PM #

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