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Mobile Session Recording: The Complete Guide 2022

Mobile Session Recording: The Complete Guide 2022

Why session replay is such a valuable feature, and what you should look out for when starting out.

July 20, 2022 by Annemarie Bufe

Mobile app session recording

There’s no comparison between using apps and building them. Knowing how to build an app doesn’t mean you know what users are expecting. 

When you create an app, you are the expert, you know all the features inside out. It’s difficult to figure out why and when your users are dropping off or how they’re organically interacting with your app. You’re blind to your own users' expectations and behaviors.

Mobile app session recording allows you a window into the users’ view, their frustrations and limitations. This allows product managers, designers, and developers to make better decisions on features and prioritization based on real user expectations. 

Below we’ll be diving into what valuable data you can get from utilizing session replays, the pros and cons, and what you should be looking for when first viewing sessions. 

Contents

    What is mobile session recording?

    Mobile app session replay tools like UXCam offer the possibility to even view and analyze critical sessions in real-time.

    The term mobile session recording means recording user behavior in the form of video sessions. It’s a form of in-app analytics that helps you to observe and analyze the use of your app.

    mobile session recording

    An example of UXCam’s session recording view. 

    Session replay allows you to view exactly how users behave within your app. Part of this includes the gestures they use:

    • Single and double taps

    • Swipe up and down

    • Swipe right and left 

    • Long press

    • Zoom in and out

    • Trails

    gesture filter in session replay

    Example of session replay the gesture filter.

    You can also filter sessions to see events like rage taps, adding payment methods, or filter by screens so you can see activities and behaviors on specific areas like product pages, the cart, or order confirmation pages.  

    This way, you can identify user expectations, behavior patterns, and frustrations to improve those areas of your app that might be lowering conversion, engagement or  retention rates. Session replay then allows reviews of A/B testing as you can filter for your changes and see which your users react best to.

    You're likely already leveraging session recordings on your website with tools like Hotjar, so if you understand the benefits, you may want to read about whyUXCam is the alternative for mobile apps. Otherwise, scroll down to find out more.

    Why is mobile session recording important?

    Mobile session recording has become an indispensable tool in mobile and web app analysis. Of course, the use of features like heatmaps are extremely valuable, but nothing can give a more realistic insight into user behavior and where you should be improving your app than observing users’ actions in real time.

    mobile app session replay recording feature

    Example of session replay filters

    App session replay can analyze several aspects of your app, for example:

    • View crashes: Session recording captures what happened in the final moments before crashing. You can easily filter for crashed sessions and share these recordings with your development team for them to tackle quickly.

    • Identify frustration patterns: See patterns in the way users behave, pinpoint frustrations and get your solutions in the pipeline fast.

    • Reducing churn: Session recordings will display in which part of your app journey you users are dropping off showing you exactly where and giving you a better understanding of why - did users miss an important button or link? Could the navigation of your app be better designed? Is your payment process putting users off buying? If you’re trying to fight churn specifically, you might be interested in How to measure, analyze, and reduce churn.

    • You can use session recording as a method ofuser research to find out if users are behaving as expected. 

    Explore your users' behaviors and start a free trial of UXCam now

    What should you look for in mobile session recordings?

    The first time watching session recordings can be a little overwhelming, however, you’ll quickly recognize problematic patterns, flows, and elements that require improvement. To make it a little easier, you can also segment your users to view specific demographics, and filter sessions by time, length, or screen.

    Below is a non-exhaustive list of questions you can ask yourself while watching the first few sessions: 

    • How are users navigating through the app? Do they find the intended area quickly? Are they navigating the way you expected?

    • Are there any frustration patterns? Does the user rage tap? Are there any static elements that appear clickable

    • How long does it take to complete an action? Why does it take longer than expected? Are there any elements or routines you can improve?

    • Where and why do users leave your app? Have they converted? If not, why?

    • Are there any crashes recorded? Where do they appear and why? How can you improve them?

    • Does the app look and work differently on different devices?

    Pros and cons of mobile session recording

    Session recording is a powerful analytics method, but since it has cons, it’s best used in combination with other methods like heatmaps and funnels, mentioned above.

    Pros:

    • See how each individual user behaves.

    • See where users churn. 

    • Helps guide better usability and user experience. 

    • Supports teams like product, development, and design make smarter decisions when prioritizing feature releases. 

    • Playing sessions in real-time gives a personal impression of loading times in the app. 

    • Allows viewing new pages or features from a real user perspective.

    • Filter by demographics, gestures, events, screens or crashes.  

    Cons

    • There is no explanation from the user as to why they are doing certain activities in the app. It is up to you to interpret the user’s interactions.

    • Real-time viewing of sessions can cost a lot of time without the guarantee of valuable insights. You have to leverage filters to find the sessions that you’re looking for.

    Top Tools for session recording

    There are a lot of options for session recording vendors out there. We picked some established market leaders:

    UXCam

    UXCam is the market leader in mobile app optimization, consistently winning G2 awards for Most Implementable and Best Usability, with world class customer support and dedicated customer success managers there to help you meet your goals. 

    Session recording for mobile apps is not the only feature of UXCam. There are also funnels, heatmaps and app flows which focus on giving different insights into your app in more visually relevant ways. For example app flows can uncover which screens have the most drop offs. 

    There is also the customizable dashboard which gives an overview of the KPIs currently being tracked depending on the app and needs of the teams. Customizable dashboards are sharable, meaning if you notice an issue with the design of a screen, for example, you can share that dashboard with the design team for them to analyze. 

    You can easily integrate UXCam with quantitative analytics and crash analytics tools to get a full picture of the users’ behavior.

    UXCam’s SDK is legal, safe and easy to implement. If you’d like some more technical details, you might be interested in Why UXCam has one of the best performing SDKs in the mobile app market.

    If you would like to know more, don't hesitate tobook a free demo with one of our experts.

    LiveSession

    LiveSession allows you to replay user sessions on your application or website. It helps you to identify pages and elements with bugs and the most popular pages, elements, and features in your app. With this knowledge, you are able to improve your most popular features and adjust problematic ones.

    SessionCam

    SessionCam is a software that helps you to analyze your website. The offered Session Recording will help you identify issues and improve the user experience. Features like heatmaps, recording of crashes, and user monitoring help you to get a complete overview of your users.

    FAQ

    What is a session recording?

    Session recordings are visual representations of real user sessions, based on clicks (web) or gestures (mobile apps). Session recordings are used to understand user behavior, replicate bugs and to find opportunities to improve conversions.

    How do you analyze session recordings?

    Session recordings are most useful after segmenting them. For example, you can segment by recordings of users that visited the check-out screen, but didn’t complete an order and then analyze why that might be to find potential solutions.

    Is using UXCam’s session recording technology safe?

    Yes. UXCam’s session recording technology automatically captures all micro-interactions that users take inside your app without displaying any personal information from users. Find out more about UXCam’s SDK.

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    AUTHOR

    Annemarie Bufe

    Passionate hobby dancer. Working at UXCam. Feel free to comment!

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