Growing up, I often enjoyed playing flight simulators on my family’s computer. My personal favorite was one that put the player in the cockpit of a powerful fighter jet called the F/A-18 Hornet. The Hornet was sleek and fast, and I loved to kick on the afterburners until my airplane disintegrated under the stress. But, my favorite part of the game was the simulated Head-Up Display (HUD). The HUD allowed you to find information about altitude, pitch, other airplanes, points of interest, and more — right on the windshield of the digital airplane. It was so much easier to process all of this information and have a productive flight with the HUD enabled.
Data Access and Interpretation on an Adult Level
That same, almost-effortless data interpretation — gained from not having to look away from what I’m doing to access it — that I enjoyed as a child applies to customer intelligence on the web as well. In April, Adobe Analytics gained a brand-new approach to in-context analytics that allows marketers, designers, content owners, and others to view user-click and interaction data directly on the pages of their websites: introducing Activity Map. Activity Map is a browser plug-in/add-on/extension with support for all major desktop browsers. It runs right over the top of your website and makes your data come alive in vibrant color with visual overlays that draw the eye to areas of interest for your customers. For anyone interested in how users are interacting with content, links, A/B tests, and more, Activity Map provides you with insight right on the page and makes it much easier to come to an informed decision about how to optimize. It’s like having a grownup version of the HUD for your Adobe Analytics data.
Using a very simple example, let’s say that I use Activity Map on the Adobe.com homepage. (NOTE: the screenshot above is using fake data.) By putting this data right on the page, I can see exactly where people are clicking — as well as where they are not clicking. I might discover that links to the Community Forum are really popular, while links to another area of the site are not. Having this information enables me to give better placements to the links that people are actually clicking, moving them to the main body of the page. Better yet, I may decide to run a test to see whether that placement yields better results than the incumbent experience. An insight that pops off the page in Activity Map becomes an A/B test, which becomes a better experience for my customer.
Four More Reasons to Love Activity Map
Here are just a few of the reasons we’re so excited about the new Activity Map tool:
Different Customer Segments Respond to Different Content and Links.
Activity Map allows you to apply any segments from Adobe Analytics to your data in context. Maybe your loyal customers gravitate toward one type of content, while prospects prefer something completely different. Segmentation in Activity Map makes this distinction clear and helps you to provide the right experience to the right segment at the right time.
Better Metrics in Activity Map Produce Better Insights.
Of course, Activity Map still offers clicks as a metric, but you can do so much more by using any Adobe Analytics metric to understand the downstream impact of a particular user interaction on conversion. You could have links on your homepage that are clicked a lot but don’t actually produce any leads, revenue, subscriptions, or reader loyalty.
Live Mode Presents Users With Real-Time User Interactions.
Many of you told us that you wanted to be able to see user interactions in real time, so we added a “Live Mode” to Activity Map, which streams data collected from your site straight into Activity Map. If you’re a content publisher, you can not only see, but also immediately understand the most popular articles, videos, and photos over the past 15, 30, 60, or 120 minutes — with granularity as high as minute-by-minute — and then adjust headline stacks accordingly.
Integrated Pathing Helps Users Visualize Broader Customer Journeys.
We’ve integrated pathing data directly into Activity Map so that you can see not only what engaged people when they were on a given page, but also how they arrived at that page, and where they went immediately afterward. This adds to the on-page insights by painting a picture of the broader customer journey.