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What is Data-Driven Web Design?

These days, building a website is much more than filling empty space with words and images. We’re past the point of guessing about what our target (and real) audiences care about.

The good news: we can now make much smarter choices that can make real impacts on our bottom line. Digital marketing has brought about a whole host of new ways to learn about your consumers.

The bad news: collecting and analyzing that data can be confusing and frustrating when you’re first starting out.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

So, What Exactly Is Data-Driven Web Design?

We’ve talked about data-driven marketing before, so where does web design fit in?

While the former takes a holistic look at all of your combined efforts, data-driven web design hones in on your online experience. What colors, fonts, and branding elements are you including? Where are you placing things like calls to actions, buttons, images, and so on? How do your customers interact with your website? Are you customizing that experience based on the actual, individual user?

Believe it or not, all of these small elements can make a big impact. With more and more companies demanding (and benefiting from) a data-driven approach, you’ll need to keep these things in mind if you want to keep up with your competitors.

Why is Data-Driven Web Design So Important?

With all of the data available to marketers these days, there’s no need to “throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks.”

Armed with the right data, you can better analyze your marketing efforts, prioritize changes more efficiently, and make quicker pivots toward your business goals. The ultimate goal is to improve your on-site engagement, sales, and conversions (read: make more money). Who wouldn’t want that?

Types of data

How to Find the Right Data

One of the biggest challenges you’ll run into when you start this approach is identifying the quality and quantity of data you currently have and what you will need to make smarter decisions.

It’s smart to have a mix of both types. Qualitative data will give you a good idea of what your customer wants or desires when they land on your website. Quantitative data can quickly show you how your tests and design decisions are performing.

For the latter, knowing how to accurately and effectively turn that data into insights is the tricky part. You likely have LOADS of data you can mine. This data can come from your website analytics, your social media stats, or even your brick-and-mortar locations.

To get to the heart of this data and determine what you need to track, consider how they relate to your user’s needs. This analysis should be your number one priority. Then, you can categorize the data you’re collecting and focus on what’s important.

Below are a few great places to start, inspired by Donald Lim’s presentation from World IA Day 2018 on data-inspired design.

Analytics Data

Starting with Google Analytics is common. Within the tool, you can look at things like landing page performance, bounce rate, behavior flow, and more.

Google Analytics is also where you can learn a lot about your key audience demographics, including gender, age, and geographic location. You can even fill in some of the blanks (things like occupation, education level, tech-savviness, and outside interests) with your qualitative data. Ideally, you should filter this down even more to learn about your typical “converters,” too—it’s a telling sign if the people spending time on site aren’t also converting well.

Here at smartboost, we also use other analytics tools like Hotjar (for heat mapping), Optimizely (for A/B testing), and Instagram Ads Insights (for monitoring social efforts), which you can add to your data-driven web design.

CRM and Sales Data

You’ll learn even more about your customers when you dive into your CRM (customer relationship management) tool and any sales data that you have. You’ll be able to pinpoint your ideal customer with even more accuracy. You’ll also understand what their journey typically looks like, where opportunities for upselling might be, if your customers actually stick around (retention rates), and so much more.

These tightened-up profiles provide a qualitative edge to the conversion rates that you can pull from Google Analytics. Instead of just a number, you can connect the dots between conversions, changes to your website design, and the results.

Illustration of the importance of data-driven web design

How to Implement Data-Driven Web Design

Next, you need to use that data to propel your business. Here are some ideas on how to implement data-driven web design for your business:

  • Personalize the user experience, based on what you know about your users’ flow on your website and their past behavior
  • Provide opportunities for user customization, based on the actions your users take
  • Make smarter and more informed design decisions, based on the how tech-savvy your users are and what they might expect to see or experience
  • Improve your calls to action, based on what your users are doing on your site (and where you want them to go next)
  • Adapt your design process, based on your individual business goals and priorities
  • Streamline your user testing, based on past A/B testing results

All of this ends with the goal of happy users ready to convert. For example, imagine you’re exploring a travel site. A site that shows personalized content to the user—say, promotions for locations they’ve recently searched for or even visited in the past—provides a much better experience than one that forces them to search from scratch every time.

Data-driven web design isn’t a one-and-done approach. You’ll need to commit to regularly looking at the data and adjusting your strategy as needed. The whole idea behind data-driven web design is planning for regular iterations and being ready to pivot when needed.

How smartboost Can Help

Are you currently using a data-driven approach to your web design? If not, it’s time to take action. Here at smartboost, we thrive on turning data and creativity into growth for our clients. We’re here to help you dive into data science, develop the marketing strategy that will work for your individual needs and goals, and execute it to perfection.

Check out our case studies to see how we’ve helped our clients and contact us to learn about our services. We look forward to learning more about you!

Link to marketing case studies

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