User Behavior Analytics

User Behavior Analytics

User behavior Analytics (UBA) refers to a process for tracking how users interact with a platform or app and identifying usage patterns. The main reason companies track UBA is to gain actionable insights that solve problems and make the product better.

What is User Behavior Analytics

User behavior analytics homes in what users actually do on your platform. The process relies on software to collect information from historical user data logs and actual user behaviors in real time. That data is then analyzed to identify different patterns—like user traffic, predicting customer buying patterns, user activity baselines, and, more recently, potential and actual data breaches.

Back in 2017, Inc. magazine said “Behavior analytics is your company’s secret weapon.” Since then, UBA has gained a crucial role on technology security teams and are used to spot hackers and other potential (or successful) malicious breaches. 

Early User Behavior Analytics

Before UBA technology, companies would have to rely on what’s known as vanity metrics, like demographic data (e.g. age, gender, location). And more precise analytics could be gleaned from platforms that specialized in collecting and organizing different types of sets of data. But until UBA software came along, businesses would have to rely on separate platforms for important analytics and user insights. For example, MailChimp counts email open rates. But to understand their website traffic, they would need a platform like Google Analytics. Some companies could conceivably require three, four, five or more platforms for all of their data and insights. Which made it difficult for companies to visualize the entirety of a customer’s journey in one place. 

Today’s UBA systems are organized on a centralized platform. They also provide actionable insights on many different behaviors and types of data:

  • Which channels produce the highest ROI
  • Behaviors that lead to churn
  • When to include a call to action (CTA)
  • Identifying cohorts that are most likely to convert
  • Discovering elements that encourage social sharing
  • Commonalities between different customer segments

When we talk about user behavior data today, we’re referring to data that’s generated from an enormous amount of raw events, such as when users click or swipe, navigate a website or app, where users get stuck or drop off, how long it takes for customers to convert, and much more.

UBA technology then gathers the data and produces reports displaying common behaviors and intent, user flow, event tracking, and messaging campaign analytics.

Who uses User Behavior Analytics

Any platform would benefit from UBA. For brands, gaining insights into customers’ behaviors helps convert low-level users into power users, helps product teams reduce churn, and e-commerce sites use it to predict user buying trends. Inc. magazine reporter, Drew Hendricks, warnsIt is only possible to gather these insights if you look beyond traditional metrics like pageviews.” But remember, that was back in 2017. In 2020 and beyond, developers are revealing what these tools are really capable of. Like searching for unusual behaviors that could be indicative of a data breach. 

User Behavior Analytics and Security

Companies are developing new UBA technologies that can look at activities that originated inside of a company as well as those potentially coming from bad actors or even malware. Splunk User Behavior Analytics (Splunk UBA) is one such company. According to a recent tech brief, “Behavior of entities, especially users, devices, system accounts, and privileged accounts, can be mined to reveal anomalies, even when they occur in low frequency and over extended periods of time.” So UBA systems track threats wherever they occur, including throughout cloud and mobile environments. The tools are also designed to detect anomalies in machine learning algorithms. Splunk and other security firms rely on behavior analytics platforms to perform advanced analytics and then unify data from security-operations feedback. 

User Behavior Analytics Advantages

Clearly, the biggest advantage to using UBA tools are identifying actionable insights. When companies can use their UBA to segment data, for example, they can strive to target customers better because user reports will show what customers are actually interested in doing. The actionable insights for security firms occurs the moment their UBA detects an aberration. A company’s ability to respond immediately and mitigate the threat relies entirely on their UBA system.

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