5 Session Recordings That Tell All About Your New Users

Imagine a world where you’re introduced to someone and immediately you’re able to get to know them. Without any crafty CIA maneuvers or slick parkour moves, you can find out what they like and what they dislike, where they struggle and what they find easy, what makes them happy and what makes them frustrated.

On the street, in a cafe, at a party–this might be possible, over time. But getting to know your app users requires a different kind of nurturing. You’re not sitting next to them, you’re not seeing their facial expressions or body language.

Numerical data is powerful, but qualitative visuals are gold. Watching session recordings of your users’ actions within your app is equivalent to opening a treasure map of your users’ journey. This is particularly significant when assessing new users. Recognizing a new user’s path and the reasoning behind said path opens a world of understanding that numbers just can’t provide.

We’ve assembled 5 insightful new user scenarios, complete with videos of each. So grab a comfy chair and get ready to understand where and why your new users are navigating.


Crashes are a part of life–you fall off a bicycle, you bump into someone on the sidewalk, you get rear-ended. But crashes don’t need to be part of your app’s life. And they don’t need to panic your app users either.

The Crashes video demonstrates that just before the app crashes, the user was trying to view his/her Settings. As a new user, it makes sense why certain settings or personal details might need to be modified, but if a new user experiences a crash during this introductory action, it’s likely to cause users to call it a day and uninstall your app.

Long sessions

Your new user is NOT quitting the session after just a few seconds. Great! Maybe. This could actually mean a variety of things. On the positive side this might show that the user is satisfied with the app and able to complete everything that he/she sets out to do. High satisfaction means high retention: your app is already great, and in time you’ll be able to maximize the greatness to deliver exactly what users want.

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On the flip side, it’s possible that a user is struggling so much (for example, returning to the same screen over and over, or not able to complete a purchase after numerous attempts), that it’s causing to spend minutes and minutes trying to succeed. If this is the case, chances are they’ll give up and never return. The Long Session video provides wisdom into why a user is spending so much time in your app–are they happy or are they frustrated?

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Hello? Helloooo? Your new user is tapping and tapping, and tapping and tapping and tapping, on the same button for 7 seconds. Finally the app starts moving, and then it happens again. When an app doesn’t respond immediately to a user’s gesture, it’s an irritation at best. But if it’s happening time and time again, it’s enough to leave the app forever, especially if this is occurring during the first few times that a user is opening your app. The ANR video is where you can see why catching these glitches the first time they happen is what allows you to be proactive in your app’s improvement. Rather than waiting for one ANR to turn into 500, you can spot the problem and fix it before it affects more than just one user.

Login issues

It’s a twofold reason that people don’t want to give out their personal details: 1) fear of identities being stolen, and 2) it’s annoying to enter all your details. The least amount of information we have to give, the better, but there are good practices for apps to ask for personal details. But that means that logging into a new app should be simple and painless, from both the initial onboarding and login every time thereafter. The Login Issues video displays if new users are not able to effortlessly login to your app (via other social media and just simple sign-in), or there are bugs, crashes, and glitches during the sign-in process, you can kiss new user retention goodbye.

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Quick abandons

Like a bat of out hell, your new user has abandoned your app after a very short, incomplete session. This is concerning because it means that your users possibly encountered some login struggles, maybe couldn’t seamlessly operate the app, or wasn’t able to get to the screen/action that they wanted to reach. This Quick Abandon video will show where users became quickly frustrated and why they’re ultimately churning.

What you see is what you get

There you have it, the five videos that reveal a multitude of insights about your new users. Typically mobile professionals only have access to graphs and numbers on new user retention rates, app launches, screen quit rates, churn rates, etc. But, these session recordings are invaluable for gaining clarity of your users and what they want during the first few jaunts in your app. By understanding your new users and their kickoff experiences in your app, optimizing your app exactly to their needs is not only imaginable, it’s achievable.

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