Clickstream data refers to any information obtained from an Internet user’s online activities, including the search terms they used, web pages they visited, and links they clicked. Clickstream data helps websites keep track of a buyer’s journey from the first time they searched for an item and the landing page they visited to actual purchase or cart abandonment.

E-commerce companies are just some of those that collect clickstream data. Advertising companies, Internet service providers (ISPs), social networking sites, and telecommunications companies also collect this data.

Read More about Clickstream Data

In the early 2000s, consumers could check in to restaurants, bars, shopping malls, and other spots via their phones through Foursquare. The data from these check-ins helped companies analyze foot traffic and formulate strategies to increase that traffic.

This is similar to what is clickstream data, but all consumers must do is give consent for the browser or website to track their every move online.

What Are Some Examples of Clickstream Data?

Collecting clickstream data involves logging every action a user performs on his or her screen. Below are some examples of data contained in those logs.

  • Devices individuals use
  • Time of the activity
  • Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
  • Browser type
  • Type of event, such as adding an item to his or her cart, checking the item out, browsing a site, logging in or out to an account, or removing a product from his or her cart
  • Product details, such as ID number, price, and category
  • Session duration

What Questions Does Clickstream Data Help Answer?

Clickstream data is useless until it’s processed and analyzed. In a nutshell, it helps companies understand user behaviors to formulate more effective business strategies. Clickstream data helps organizations address these specific questions:

  • What search terms did users type into their web browsers?
  • What search results did users choose?
  • What was the first landing page?
  • What page did the users visit next after the initial landing pages?
  • How long did the users spend on particular web pages?
  • What page features did users engage with?
  • Was the user a first-time or repeat web visitor?

What Metrics Does Clickstream Data Help Measure?

The questions above enable companies to measure specific metrics and a business’s overall performance. By collecting and analyzing clickstream data, companies can measure the following metrics:

What Metrics Does Clickstream Data Help Measure

Estimated Web Traffic

Estimated traffic refers to the number of website visitors within a given period. This metric helps them see if they are attracting enough visitors to generate leads or sales. As a result, companies can decide to ramp up their marketing efforts or improve their search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to become more visible on search result pages.

Traffic Sources

It’s also essential to determine the traffic sources, which can also be derived from clickstream data. Which platform referred the visitors to your website? By knowing that, companies can determine whether to focus on social media, email marketing, or other traffic sources.

Time on Page

Another metric that clickstream data can tell you is the visitors’ time on a page. Spending too little time on a particular page could mean the page needs additional features or the web copy needs improvement.

Bounce Rate

Clickstream data also aids in determining the bounce rate or the percentage of website visitors who left your website without visiting other pages other than the landing page. A low bounce rate means website visitors are interested enough to go to other web pages after encountering the landing page.

On the other hand, a high bounce rate means the landing page may lack elements that urge visitors to check out the rest of the website. 

How Are User Clicks Tracked?

With all these details about what is clickstream data, you may be wondering how companies can track clickstream data. While ISPs, telcos, and social media platforms are known to collect data, any website can also monitor user clicks and collect its own clickstream data.

Most website owners use Google Analytics to track user activities and behaviors within their websites. Other common software programs companies use are:

  • Click tracking tools, which can record every page element a user clicks
  • Viewing session recordings
  • Scroll tracking tools that monitors users’ page scrolling behaviors

Large companies with engineering teams may employ do-it-yourself (DIY) clickstream data collection by writing JavaScript code and setting up highly technical systems to capture, process, and store user click data.

The primary purpose of collecting clickstream data is for businesses to understand their customers better. That way, they can improve their campaigns, websites, and offerings based on how users behave.

Key Takeaways

  • Clickstream data pertains to user information obtained from an individual’s online activities.
  • Examples of clickstream data include a user’s machine type, browser type, session duration, and search strings.
  • Users must first provide consent before any company can collect clickstream data from them.
  • Clickstream data helps companies track where users came from before visiting their websites, how long they spent on specific pages, and if they interacted with page elements or features.
  • Clickstream data can improve marketing strategies by enabling companies to measure metrics, such as bounce rates, estimated traffic and sources, and time on page.
  • Platforms like Google Analytics enable companies to track user clicks easily, but some businesses prefer to build their own tools.