Analytics, surveys, heatmaps, recordings...
- Do you need them all?

As much as you may want to measure everything, it's not always possible. Budget limitations may come in the way and force you to prioritize. However, if you're new to analyzing websites or using services such as Extellio, you may not know what is most important to measure for your needs.

In this article, we'll explain the different website analysis tools, what insights they'll give you, and a use case example.


The three product categories

At Extellio, we offer UX-surveys, Analytics, and Heatmaps & Session recordings. When you combine all three, you will get an in-depth understanding of how your visitors use your website, but also what the user experience is like. Not only that, but you are also able to move segments between the categories, so that you can look at the analytics data or heatmap for a specific visitor category from the survey, or you can analyze your KPI scores based on channels (how the visitors found your website).

Although the products have the most to offer when they are combined, they are also useful on their own.


Surveys are a great way of getting to know your visitors. Learn who they are, why they are visiting, and what their experience on your website was like. We have lots of templates to help you create your survey. For our general surveys, we have templates based on the industry your website belongs to, such as Public Authority and Travel/Tourism. For our targeted and feedback surveys, we instead offer templates based on focus areas, such as Search function and Career pages.

When you look at your results, we also have grading scales for the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) as well as industry benchmarks to help you contextualize your results. You will not only know if you have good scores but also how you compare to your competitors or similar websites.

Furthermore, you can segment your data to be able to analyze what only one visitor category is looking for and how they rate the website. Or you can create a segment for the unsatisfied visitors and see who they are and what they are looking for. Not only that, but you can also compare different segments to each other.

Even so, one of the main benefits of using surveys are the open-ended questions, where the respondents write their own answers without being influenced by a list of options. These questions can give you the visitors' honest opinions about your website, as well as help you gain new knowledge about who they are and why they are visiting your website. We have had several customers who were surprised to find a visitor category they were not expecting or found that they had underestimated the size of a visitor category.

Surveys are the best way to understand the user experience and expectations. They offer both a general understanding of the website (general surveys) as well as a more specific understanding of a specific part of the website or a specific visitor category (targeted surveys). The surveys can be adapted to your needs, to the questions you need answered, and they can be used both short-term and long-term.


From surveys, you will know what the visitors want to do, and what pages they are trying to find, but from analytics, you will know all the pages they visited, where they entered, where they left, how long they stayed, how they found your website, and so much more.

Analytics is a great way to gain an understanding of how your visitors use your website. You can look at the user flow to understand how they move between pages, or if they take several actions on the same page before moving on. You can also set up goals and events, such as clicking on a certain button, and get a conversion rate. Based on that information, you may find that the button is in the wrong place and that by moving it, you increased the conversion rate.

Something else analytics can do is help you evaluate the success of a campaign. By creating a segment for a specific campaign, you can follow the visitors who came to your website from that campaign and see if they viewed more than the landing page and for how long they stayed.

Analytics can also provide the search words used on your website, which you can use to optimize your search function. Sometimes visitors may be using different search words than you expected them to, or that are different from how you categorized your products, or how you named your pages. If you know which search words are used, you can more easily guide the visitors to the right page. Visitors tend to use the menu and the search function fairly equally, and therefore it's important that both facilitate navigation.

As mentioned, analytics is a great tool for understanding how visitors use the website, what parts they are most interested in, how they navigate, where they lose interest, and so on. And if you don't want to track your visitors too much, don't worry. At Extellio, we offer cookieless analytics too.

Heatmaps and Session recordings

Lastly, we have heatmaps and session recordings. These are more visual forms of analytics. These too will help you to understand how the visitors use the website.

Heatmaps show you where the visitors click, how they move, and how far down they scroll. You select the page you want a heatmap for, and a screenshot will be taken from that page. Information is then gathered about the visitors’ actions on that page, which are presented as hotspots over the screenshot.

The heatmap will show you which buttons are used the most if the visitors click on a certain link, and if you have placed important information "above the fold". A common mistake to make when designing a website is to assume that the visitors will scroll down further than they actually do. Unless they are on the page they were looking for, they are most likely only going to view the part that is "above the fold". You can see how many percent view a certain part of the page. This can help you figure out where to place elements or identify where you need to encourage visitors to scroll down further.

Screen recordings on the other hand are just what they sound like, screen recording. You select where and when you want the recordings to start, and then you will get recordings of entire visits from thereon. The screen recordings allow you to follow along and see how the visitors move, where the cursor is, and where they click. This is another way of understanding how the visitors navigate. You can see if they use the link on the page or if they'd rather use the menu. Perhaps they didn't even notice the link.

Although heatmaps and screen recordings also show how the visitors use the website, they are not as general as analytics, as neither will record every visit. They work best for gaining knowledge about specific pages or specific visitors.

If you feel concerned about potentially recording personal information, don't worry. You can mask elements you don't want to be included. You can also exclude entire pages that you know may contain personal information.


Potential use case

Simply reading about a product isn’t always sufficient for understanding how you will end up using it, so let’s look at a potential use case and see which products that are best suited for that situation.

Case: You want to understand who your customers are.

You are planning some changes to your website to improve the user experience for your customers, but you are unsure about who they are, their professional roles, and what they need from you.

Products: UX-surveys and analytics

You either use a general survey with additional questions for customers, or a targeted survey on pages mainly or only visited by customers. You ask the customers about their professional role, how they use your products, what information they are looking for on your website, what they think about your customer portal, what they are missing, and so on.

You complement this information with analytics data, which tell you how the very same customers are using your website: Which pages they visit, where they enter, search words, if they use the button that you created specifically for them, and so on.

Result: The data you have gathered gives you a comprehensive understanding of who your customers are, what they need, and how they use your website. You use this information to simplify the navigation, and add features and information the customers require, to improve their experience and increase their loyalty to your company.


Which products do you need?

Well, that depends on what kind of information you want. Each product has something unique to offer. If you want to understand the visitors, their needs, and their experience - use UX-surveys. If you want to understand how the visitors use the website, the most viewed pages, how the visitors found your website, and so on - use analytics. If you want to understand how visitors use specific pages or be able to follow along during entire visits - use heatmaps and session recordings.

Although each product can be used on its own, they have more to offer when they are combined. For a comprehensive understanding of your website and your visitors, ideally, you should use all three products. By combining all three, you can create segments based on analytics when viewing your survey data, or create segments based on the survey when viewing your analytics data, including heatmaps and session recordings. For example, you can view session recordings for the survey respondents who said that they couldn’t find what they were looking for, and see where they struggled during the visit.

The products you need are the ones that can answer your questions. The questions you have may change with time, and so can the products you use.