We need to talk about rage clicks

Richard Churchill, Chief Product Officer at SessionCam, explains why this much vaunted metric is less helpful than you think…

Jun 27, 2017 · 4 min read
Photo by Ryan McGuire

Anger is definitely the path to the dark side — I’m not going to disagree with Yoda. However, the little green Jedi never said anything about ‘rage clicks’. It’s a metric you’ll hear thrown around a lot in the world of conversion rate optimization but it’s a hollow measure.

Focusing on rage clicks — where a user excessively clicks a part of the page without triggering a change — isn’t very smart. Not all rage clicks are born equal. Some expressions of customer struggle are more valuable than others.

It’s easy to see why the concept of ‘rage clicks’ is compelling though. You’re given a data point that suggests a user has been hitting their mouse like it insulted their mother and assume bad customer experience is to blame. But it’s a measurement without context.

How do you know this isn’t just some generally angry guy?

All the rage, none of the detail

Photo by Ryan McGuire

Rage clicks distract you from your main mission. They don’t provide you with useful insights, they simply show you that someone was irritated. You can waste a lot of time trying to interpret what triggered that ‘rage’ and still not be sure that your conclusions are correct.

Ask yourself how often you manage to increase conversions by looking at rage clicks? It’s important that you prioritize the website issues that are contributing most to visitor drop off and lost revenue. Monitoring rage clicks feels like you’re doing something but it’s a waste of time and resources.

As with any metric, there’s a wide distribution of ‘rages’. Discovering that a button on your website provoked a rush of feverish clicking in numerous sessions is a clear indication that something needs to change. One user taking out their day’s frustration in an orgy of directionless online anger isn’t.

Customer experience tools that lean on rage clicks to decide which sessions you should focus on lead you down the wrong path. Any strategy that emphasizes one behavior is flawed — you end up considering a small subsection of the problems you need to address.

The end of the road for rage clicks

Photo by Ryan McGuire

Imagine someone beeping a car horn. You can’t see them or the situation they’re in. Why are they frustrated? You might guess that they’re in a traffic jam but you can’t be sure based on that one behavioral signal.

The same can be said of a web browser. It’s a volatile place that can be setup in a wide variety of ways. For instance, a plugin may have changed how the page looks and operates, inducing lots of clicking.

Focusing on rage clicks is like just listening for the car horns.

You need a more nuanced approach. After automatically analyzing billions of user sessions, we have a deep understanding of where individual behavioral measurements fall short. That’s why SessionCam’s machine learning algorithm considers hundreds of behaviors and browser events to identify the most important user journeys.

That approach, which we call the Customer Struggle score, gives you an intelligent view of the context around user behavior. Sessions and individual pages are given a score from 0 to 5 — the higher the number, the more frustration detected — making it much easier for you to identify the biggest barriers to conversion.

Rage clicks show you tiny pieces of a much bigger puzzle. They can’t tell you whether you’re looking at a blue sky or a stormy sea. With the Customer Struggle score, you see the whole picture.

Yoda was right when it came to Jedi training in the swamps of Dagobah but you can try out the Customer Struggle score.

Sign up for a free SessionCam account now

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What clicks? A publication from SessionCam.

New ideas on UX, customer experience and behavioral analytics


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Understanding your online visitors doesn’t need to be a guessing game. http://www.sessioncam.com

What clicks? A publication from SessionCam.

New ideas on UX, customer experience and behavioral analytics

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