Digital analytics provider Heap today released its semi-annual Digital Experience Insights Report, identifying key ways teams can miss out on important information about their users’ behavior. The survey found that datasets can miss up to 50% of user behavior because they’re built on manual-capture technology, 30% of data can become irrelevant because tools can’t keep up when site architecture changes. It also found that companies spend weeks of engineering time just keeping up.

The findings corroborate earlier reports, which found that up to 84% of funnels deliver misleading or incorrect information, and that 50% of funnel steps require more than five steps from users, cutting conversion in half. Together, these reports show how and why digital experience teams are often making business-critical decisions based on bad information.

“Because Heap automatically captures everything, you can go in and really explore how people are using your product,” says Nick Smith, Senior Product Manager at Redfin, a Heap customer. Unlike manual tracking-based solutions that can leave teams wondering if they’re missing something important, he notes, “with Heap you get peace of mind and power at the same time.”

Based on an analysis of data from over 1,000 anonymized Heap customers from 2019 to 2022, the report found that:

Teams with automatically captured data define nearly 50% of their user events after year 1, giving them a huge advantage over teams who have to manually decide which behaviors to follow and analyze. Changes in user behavior and site architecture render 30% of behavioral data stale after only 6 months. When teams are not able to quickly update this information, they’re making decisions based on dated user behavior. 50% of teams actively follow and analyze more than 127 user actions; 25% teams actively follow and analyze more than 253 user actions, which stretches engineering resources when tracked manually.

“The findings of our insights report show the widespread need for technology that helps teams find the unknown unknowns when it comes to tracking digital experiences,” explained Heap CEO Ken Fine. “Our proprietary data shows very clearly how teams that rely on legacy tools that require manual tagging can easily miss huge amounts of crucial information when it comes to their users. For companies looking to deliver digital experiences that meet the changing needs of their customers, having a complete, up-to-date dataset confers an enormous competitive advantage.”

Heap's findings suggest that the future of digital insights will be increasingly automated, as digital teams move towards solutions that can automatically capture behavioral data and sift through it to locate the moments of friction. To learn more, read the entire Digital Experience Insights Report here.