Heap Journey Maps

Heap’s Journey Maps Show How Consumers Navigate Digital Experiences

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Heap is rolling out a new data science tool designed to help teams understand how users navigate digital experiences. The “Journey Maps” tool is the latest addition to Heap’s suite of data science tools, designed to surface high-impact insights about user behavior on consumers’ websites and digital products.

The debut of Journey Maps comes as digital builders are dealing with an increasingly complex ecosystem, with more sophisticated digital experiences that are harder to track. According to Heap’s own research, 50% of product and growth teams miss key events during the customer journey, leading to misguided conclusions and potentially ineffective roadmap decisions.

With the launch of Journey Maps, teams will be able to achieve a clearer understanding of how users are actually navigating their digital experiences so they can build experiences based on credible data, rather than just instinct.

Heap Vice President of Product Rachel Obstler says the debut of Journey Maps marks a significant leap forward from existing tools, which often leave large parts of the customer journey in disarray. Journey Maps is an addition to Illuminate, Heap’s suite of data science tools.

Journey Maps adds to Illuminate’s existing capabilities with step suggestions, which automatically recommend funnel steps that aren’t currently being tracked, and group suggestions, which automatically identify and suggest user groups that have outsized correlation with conversion and retention. Journey Maps also supports effort analysis to quantify the amount of friction users face in any given flow. 

How Heap’s Journey Maps Work

The company says the user experience approach in Journey Maps is unique, as other analytics tools currently on the market have failed to capture user behavior as it actually happens.

“Funnels and path analysis are two of the most commonly used tools used to track user journeys. While funnels are good at measuring linear user behavior from step one to two to three, most user journeys are much more unpredictable,” says Obstler. “When user journeys have side-trips, redos, and forks, traditional funnels just don’t do the trick. In fact, our research shows that 63% of funnels contain an alternative path to conversion — that isn’t tracked.”

Journey Maps begins with a simple funnel view and builds up to a more complete picture of user behavior by incorporating key alternative journeys that users are taking. Obstler says this points to the hidden user interactions that are missing from traditional funnels and allows users to easily compare the impact on conversion for different user journeys. 

“Rather than delivering an overwhelming view of all the user paths, Journey Maps weeds out the less common journeys so you can focus on the improvements that will actually move the needle,” she says.

To develop Journey Maps, Heap’s data science team partnered with customers and conducted real world analyses on product optimization. Through that process, the team was able to find patterns of common problems that could be built into the Journey Maps product.

Going forward, Obstler sees Journey Maps being used to help digital product teams accurately understand how different user journeys are impacting conversion and to quickly pinpoint the greatest opportunities for improvement. Digital product teams will also be able to compare the outcome of multiple user routes and get concrete evidence on which user paths convert best. 

“When looking to improve your digital experience, it can be difficult to know where to start mining through the data to find the insights you need. How do you know which insights are most important or which data points you should focus on? So many companies and tools are looking at applying data science to automatically surface the most critical insights — those areas of greatest opportunity in your dataset,” Obstler says. “Journey Maps does just that, leveraging our platform’s powerful data science layer to reveal the unexpected journeys users take through your digital experience.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.