DX Leaders: Liraz Margalit

Liraz Margalit works in “web psychology,” an emerging discipline which aims to shed more light on the mindset and intent of consumers by combining the practice of psychology with scientific research and emerging technologies.

As director of behavioral analytics at Clicktale, Margalit leads the customer experience platform provider’s consumer behavior research. 

“On the one hand, I get to collaborate with different universities and stay up to date with the latest research in the field of psychology,” she said. “On the other hand, I also work with the most advanced technologies such as machine learning and cognitive computing.”

Making Sense of Customer Data

Margalit always knew she wanted to become a psychologist and was already reading Freud and Lacan at age 14. “I remember I used to picture myself in my clinic, giving therapy sessions and applying the psychoanalysis therapy that is hardly in use today,” she recalled.

After two years of practicing child psychology, Margalit realized her real passion lay in understanding cognition and decision-making processes. Having gained a doctorate in social psychology from the University of Haifa, she was keen to move beyond the theory. “I wanted to be able to start with a research question and reveal how the findings of this research resulted in practical implications that influence the way we do things,” she said.

What many companies fail to understand is simply having access to a lot of data about online consumers is unlikely to generate helpful insights. “You need the right tools to make sense of that data,” she said.

Margalit will be speaking at CMSWire’s DX Summit taking place Nov. 13 to 15 at the Radisson Blu Aqua hotel in Chicago. She will give a session titled “Digital Body Language — Understand Customer Intent on Your Website” on Nov. 14. 

We asked Margalit for her definition of digital body language, her thoughts on conversion and her advice for how companies should approach redesigning their digital customer experiences.

Think Differently about Customer Conversion

CMSWire: The concept of ‘digital body language’ to describe consumers’ online behavior has been around for over a decade. What does it mean to you now?

Margalit: Digital body language is a combination of all the digital gestures and micro-signals made by customers, from which we can identify patterns and anomalies to determine their behavior, mindset and intent. Being able to interpret digital body language is a must-have standard for the next wave of digital commerce.

By using experience analytics that combine data and cognitive intelligence, businesses can gather rich insight into their customers’ digital body language and behavior. This allows brands to understand customer intent and make the most of every digital interaction, be it on a desktop, or on a mobile device, to positively impact the customer experience and drive tangible business outcomes.

CMSWire: How should companies think about digital body language and what it means for better understanding their customers?

Margalit: The industry has long been trying to base predictions on past behaviors to understand customer experience. Most of the time, these assumptions lack context.

Instead of making assumptions based on past behavior, brands need to remember that there’s a comprehensive and rich data set detailing what your customers are doing on your website and what their intent and mindset is, that is ready to be discovered and acted on.

CMSWire: Which organizations, in your opinion, are doing a particularly good job in providing optimal digital experiences to their customers? Why is that?

Margalit: Many ecommerce companies are doing a fantastic job. Companies such as The North Face, Allianz, Vodafone, Walmart and Adidas have designed and delivered brilliant digital experiences for their customers, and continue to do so.

These companies have embraced digital body language, and are using it to their advantage. Because they can see, interpret and, therefore, act on digital body language, they are providing excellent digital experiences to their customers every single time.

CMSWire: When thinking about customer engagement, why is it important for companies to look beyond conversion rates to consider the conversion lifecycle?

Margalit: We need to start thinking about conversion differently. We need to move away from the idea that conversion is a single action — to purchase online or not. Conversion is a journey influenced by experience. In fact, the higher the percentage of positive interactions a customer has throughout their journey, the higher the chance that the customer will construct a positive memory they will carry with them even after the experience ends.

Increasingly, customers are using their mobile phones to research a product or service before they move onto the purchase stage. Mobile conversions are still low, as very few purchases are completed on a handheld device. However, a good mobile experience will increase the likelihood that the customer will buy from your brand and not the competitor’s, even if the purchase happens via a different channel.

CMSWire: How should companies go about redesigning digital experiences to make those experiences more appealing to their customers?

Margalit: The first step for companies looking to improve their digital experiences is to capture millisecond-level data of customers’ online and mobile experiences — every mouse move, hover, scroll, tap and pinch. This step is key, as data science and analytics are only as good as the data you input into the models.

The next step is to integrate cognitive intelligence and data science, and analyze visitors’ behavior to quantify user experience at multiple touch points.

Once you have the findings and insights derived from the analysis, visualization tools such as heat maps, path representation and dashboards can expose structured behavioral patterns. You can use these patterns to determine your customers’ digital body language and mindset and whether it has changed during their experience of your website.

With this information, you can start to evaluate various on-screen actions that have been shown to express different states of mind. This will allow you to make informed decisions on what areas you need to focus on. Often, it is not a case of ripping and replacing, but making precise adjustments to specific pages or even sections of a page that are causing frustration and/or forcing a mindset change.

CMSWire: What’s the best movie you’ve seen recently or your favorite film of all time? What appeals to you so much about this particular film?

Margalit: I’m having a hard time deciding between "Inside Out," which portrays how emotions shape a person’s life, and "A Beautiful Mind," that characterizes the story of the late brilliant mathematician John Nash who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

I deeply enjoyed both movies for similar reasons. For me, each movie takes on the inner workings of the mind and demonstrates how we have so little control over our behavior.

Every action we execute, every thought that crosses our minds is orchestrated by our brain circuitry. Most decisions we make are done on an unconscious, automated level that runs under the hood of conscious awareness.

Editor's note: Learn more about DX Summit here.