What Is Digital Body Language and Why It’s The Future Of Conversion Optimization

Imagine you were a sales rep in a store, interacting with clients face to face all day long.
If you’ve been doing this for a while, you’ve probably developed a 6th sense when it comes to understanding your prospects.

You can tell by facial gestures, body posture, and hand motions exactly what they’re thinking at the moment. You would also know if they’re happy or not, if they think your product is too pricey, or if they need more reassurance before buying from you. They would be confused, angry, or frustrated. It’s the moment that you know they’re going to walk out or make a purchase.

This 6th sense you’ve developed is called having a better understanding of someone’s body language. By watching them behave and react, you can fully understand what they’re not telling you, but are actually experiencing or thinking at the moment.

Now, imagine you have an online product or service you’re trying to sell. Can you tell me what your prospects are thinking? Probably not. Because you’ve lost your most important asset as a salesman.

You’ve lost the ability to read their body language and adjust your messaging, tone of voice and approach to how to sell to them. The most you have is the hope that the landing page or product page you’ve created is customized enough for their needs. If it’s not – they’re not going to convert. They will not buy from you.

Research shows that 60 to 90 percent of our communication with others is nonverbal. This means that being able to read others’ body language is extremely important. But are you really blind to their body language? Not exactly. By using the right tools and paying attention to the right things you can still read their digital body language

What is Digital Body Language

The definition of Digital Body Language or DBL is actually quite similar to the definition you already know for “what is body language”.  If you follow Webster’s dictionary, then you would probably define body language as “movements or positions of the body that express a person’s thoughts or feelings”.

Wikipedia defines body language as:

“Body language is a kind of non verbal communication, where thoughts, intentions, or feelings are expressed by physical behaviors, such as facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, touch and the use of space.”

So what is Digital Body Language?

The exact same thing but you’re not tracking any physical behavior, but online interaction patterns. Your online body language.  For example, through tracking how a user behaves or interacts on a page, we can assume how they feel. You can extract that data from clicks, time on a page, page scrolls, and more. By tracking those online behaviors you can get as close as it gets to their physical body language.

The best thing, is that while you can “fake it till you make it” with your physical body language, in the digital world, you’re not aware enough to control it. Understanding your user’s DBL can allow you to adapt your conversion strategies and help avoid the conversion rate expert’s deepest fear- page exits without doing our desired action.

The Difference is in how you approach analytics

The magic of understanding what your user feels is not really magic, even though after the right optimization it might feel like it. It’s all about how you read into your data. Most analytics tools are awesome, we all know the wonders of what it does for marketers.

The problem with most analytics tools is that they show you where and what a user does, but unless you’re recording the session on video, they fail to disclose why users do what they do. To uncover why a user didn’t convert you can either assume and go into a long process of A/B testing. But if you actually track the patterns in their behaviors, you can uncover the why.

For example, a person scrolling up and down the page multiple times most possibly is demonstrating the equivalent behavior of a somebody who needs the clerks help in order to find an item in the store. If you would see this person in at a store he would be looking all over the shelves, over and over again – not picking any product because he can’t find the one he’s looking for. For you, it means leaving the website without converting.

The key is to leverage the data in real time

To really leverage the benefits of understanding your visitor’s DBL you have to change one fundamental thing in how you approach analytics. Conversion Rate Optimization suffers from one big problem – you analyze the data only after a few thousands of sessions are over.

Sure, you learn a lot by running A/B tests for weeks and you slowly turn your website into a converting machine. But in the meantime, you lost thousands of visitors who ended up in the less successful version of you A/B pages.

The real key to benefit from understanding your visitor’s DBL is changing your approach towards the data, and analyze and react in real time.  The way we approach the real-time reaction challenge is by letting our users define a set of DBL behaviors and pre-set an optimized reaction for that behavior.

The most popular example is exit intent of course. Where a pop-up will appear if the user show signs of being about to exit a page (rushing with the cursor toward the edge of the screen). To really leverage on reading your visitors DBL, you have to start thinking – real time optimization vs. Post sessions analysis.

A quick hack: 3 Examples you probably experienced already

Before I conclude the post, I want to share 3 quick examples of very common digital body language signs that implies your user is going to leave your site. Everyone has good examples of how to read someone’s body language in the real world, but not many focus on explaining it for the digital world.

1. Slowing down with when filling out a form

Most of you might fear the moment when your user stops while filling out a form when really the most dreadful moment is when they slow down completing it. The reasons could vary from rethinking of the price, if they want to proceed, or they don’t understand something on it.

You can remind them to continue we can encourage users with visual cues and remind them of the value they will get out of it. It could be in many forms like value propositions, a shaking CTA button or using white space around the form to make it stand out more.

2. Multiple up and down page scrolls

Google tag manager can tell you when your users is scrolling all the way down and then go up again. But does it tell you what this behavior actually means? Is it good or bad? Approaching this info with a DBL state of mind will tell you that your user is on the verge of exiting soon. This is because they are looking for something that they can’t seem to find. This means you need to help them find it or else they will leave.

To help them you make a pop up CTA, show a bar asking them what they are looking for or simply putting the most seeked out information right in front of them. You want to win their attention and help them focus faster.

reaction example

3. Visitor Stays on a section for too long

You probably assume that the longer that your user is on the page, the better. A conversion rate expert might also conclude that if a user is spending a lot of time on a page equals conversion in the future- but that might also be false.

When the visitor stays on your page for too long without engaging it means that they have lost their attention or doing something unrelated to your page while it is still open.

The answer to this problem is simple-you must re-engage them.  You can do this with a shaking CTA button or full-screen pop up paired with your value proposition to get them refocused on their initial goal.


Because reading DBL in real-time gives you the ability to monitor complex behaviors based on a specific one person behavior, it creates a real personalize experienced for your visitor.

While other CRO techniques usually focus analyzing an outcome of a decision-making process, optimizing through analyzing DBL, lets you jump in right in the middle of that process and help shape it into a more positive direction.

Creating a personalized experience based on what you are doing right now, and not only on your persona or audience segment has much higher chances of hitting the right notes with your visitor at the right time. Optimizing in real time according your visitor’s behavior is more than just choosing the right image, copy or button color. It’s about timing. The perfect timing.

And being at the right time, the right place, with the right message – is the real key to increasing conversion rates.

Put conversion rate optimization on autopilot.

Optimize your site in real-time for every visitor.

Learn How

Boost engagement and conversions on your website
Start a free 14 day trial with no obligations

Get results like these.
Start converting in real-time today!