Friday 10th Aug 2012
Content updated 29 July 2016
Session replay is a term that has been around for a few years in digital marketing and one we use often to describe one of the major features of our SessionCam solution.
First defined by Wikipedia in 2009, session replay was described as “the ability to replay a visitor’s journey on a web site which can include mouse movements, clicks and form entry”.
These days the definition is more descriptive, and the solution even more in depth-
“Session replay is the ability to replay a visitor’s journey on a web site or within a web application. Replay can include the user’s view (browser or screen output), user input (keyboard and mouse inputs), and logs of network events or console logs. Its main value is to help improve customer experience and to identify obstacles in conversion processes on websites. However it can also be used to study web site usability and customer behavior as well as handling customer service questions as the full customer journey with all interactions can be replayed.”
The complexity of the range of solutions session replay offers, coupled with the success rate it brings, cannot be underestimated.
“Must” not “can”
For a start, session replay absolutely must include mouse movements, clicks and form entry to be of any use. It also needs to show page scrolling and form entry must show individual character by
character field-level data entry.
Layout, design and content
Session replay needs to clearly display layout, design and content of the page being replayed. At a time when sites are personalised so uniquely to the individual visitor, the replay must be the actual layout, design and content seen by the visitor at the exact time of their visit.
Session replay needs to show a visitor’s journey at the speed at which the visit took place. If you are using session replay to understand customer behaviour, it is vital to see exactly how long it takes
them to interact with each component of your web site to truly identify struggle points.
Cross-domain and https
Today, many companies build web sites that involve visitor journeys crossing different domains and moving between normal http and encrypted https web pages. With this in mind, session replay
should include the visitor’s entire visit or session on a web site regardless of any change in domain or page encryption.
Lastly, many of today’s web sites make extensive use of Ajax to deliver more dynamic elements to the visitor’s interaction without continually re-loading web pages. Often these dynamic elements
represent a fundamental part of the visitor’s experience using that web site. As a consequence, session replay must be able to accurately replay dynamic, Ajax content.
Customer Struggle score
One feature that is exclusive to SessionCam and not available elsewhere is the customer struggle score. The new patent-pending, machine-learning algorithm automatically identifies and measures
the areas of websites which cause frustration by calculating a Customer Struggle (CS) score. It lists issues in order of importance.
By identifying these potential issues, the user experience and conversion rate of websites is quickly and vastly improved. The benefits of the CS score include the identification of key website issues
automatically, significant time and effort is saved by identifying conversion issues, and the solution has full cross-platform capability, with no customization required
Other terms for Session Replay
In our travels, we’ve encountered a number of other terms that are used as well as session replay.
Some of the other terms we’ve heard include:
Record and replay
Digital experience replay
Website video replay
User experience replay
Mouse recording tools
So, considering all of this, we would define session replay as: “The ability to replay a visitor’s complete journey on a web site which includes all mouse movements, mouse clicks, character-by- character data entry in form fields and page scrolling. The replay of the visitor’s experience is shown against the web page content, layout and design seen at the time of use with all dynamic interaction created as a part of the visitor’s interaction. The replay of a session shows the real-life speed at which the visitor interacted with the web site”
Updated 29th July 2016