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User Behavior

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Why are users interacting with you?

When we look at user behavior, we are concerned with the underlying motivations of the user. This will be set out by their needs and goals, and their motivation will come from one of two sources:

  • Intrinsic motivation
  • Extrinsic motivation


Runkeeper is an app that people use to track their own fitness. To set goals and record activity over time, these users’ motivation is intrinsic. And while there will be some gamification of features, the real achievements occur outside the app as an individual feels progress in their fitness being made. The app cannot replicate that reward.


With Groupon, people are using the app to obtain extrinsic rewards. Use of the app is based on what the app can deliver in the form of offers and discounts. Motivation comes from within the app, and outside of the individual.

Mental models

A mental model is an internal concept we hold that helps us make sense of how things work, such as websites. Our mental model of how something works sets our expectations of how we will interact with it.

Research should address and uncover user expectations about what they will be provided with in order to perform their tasks and achieve their goals. It is that important.


Analytics offer an interpretation and representation of user behavior. But we must remember that analytics reflect current and past behavior; as such, they can reflect trends. But they are not an effective method of predicting future behavior. They can illustrate where websites are performing effectively or where users are being let down, such as drop off points in an e-commerce conversion funnel.

Analytics can provide useful pointers or guidance as to where further research should be focused. And then in that sense, analytics can raise many more questions than they answer.

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Rick Monro

Rick Monro is UX Director at Fathom. He has extensive experience in user research, interaction design, user-centered design, and design strategy with private and public sector organisations throughout the UK and Ireland.

By the end of this topic, you should be able to:

  • Appraise practices for planning UX research
  • Critically evaluate the roles of innovation and users in User Experience (UX) research
  • Evaluate cognitive biases that can affect research data

    Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

    DMI Short Course: GDPR

    If you are interested in learning about the principles of UX and the tools or techniques that you can use to develop and refine your user's experience, DMI has produced a short course on the subject for all of our students. You can access this content here:

    DMI Short Course: UX Essentials

    The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

    You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

    You will not be assessed on this content in your final exam.


      UX Research
      Rick Monro
      Skills Expert

      With the help of Rick Monro, you will develop the knowledge and skills to build highly effective user experiences. You will learn how to think like a user in order to understand their priorities and needs, and you will recognize the role of various research and analytics techniques such as tree-testing, card-sorting, user-testing, user-surveys, Google Analytics and specialized tools such as Click-tale.