4 Reasons to Get Fired Up About Heatmaps

By: Sarah Tamilio  | 12/04/2019

Every day, Google gets more than 5 billion search queries, which could mean a lot of traffic for your website — but not always conversions. So how do you know what folks are doing when they get there, what’s working on your website and where you might be losing them on your pages?

That’s the job of a heatmapping tool.

Color Me Curious: What’s Heatmapping?

Using a color spectrum to track website user behavior — where they click, how far they scroll, what they see and what they miss — heatmaps can provide invaluable intel about what is (and isn’t) resonating with those perusing your site. Warmer colors like red and yellow usually indicate lots of activity; cooler colors like blue and green indicate little activity; and the lack of any color signifies no activity — the equivalent of a digital ghost town.

Boosting Conversion Rates

While turning website visitors into customers is the ultimate goal, it’s often an elusive one. In fact, only about 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates — a typical conversion rate for a website is only about 2.35% on average. That’s where heatmaps come in handy, as they provide the kinds of data you need to increase that all-important metric.

By pinpointing where the highest concentration of activity occurs on your website, you can make informed decisions about your web design, from font sizes and color choices to whether to adjust or reposition CTAs and other key content.

How Do Heatmaps Work?

Using tracking scripts, heatmapping tools measure visitor activity on a particular web page. On desktop devices, they capture mouse movements across the screen as well as page clicks, highlighting varying intensities to depict the density of user activity at each point of the page. On mobile and tablet devices, heatmapping captures taps and how far down the page users scroll.

This activity is usually presented in a visual report annotated with data. Each heatmap report tells you how the majority of users behave each time they access the page. To glean even more accurate insights, the heatmapping platform Crazy Egg recommends running reports for 60 days or until 25,000 people have visited your site, whichever happens first.

Equipped with this intel, you can make updates and then run additional reports to see whether your changes influenced user behavior. A few small design tweaks may lead to big wins — like more clicks on your CTAs, resulting in more document downloads, more sales calls and ultimately more business.

Types of Heatmapping Tools

There are several types of heatmaps, each one designed to help you examine a slightly different aspect of your website’s performance. Let’s take a look at the tools that may help your business.

Scroll Maps

A scroll map, as its name suggests, shows how far visitors scroll down a web page. Warmer colors represent the most viewed sections of a page, whereas cooler colors reveal the least viewed sections. Scroll maps also determine the average fold — the section of the web page that appears on a device before the user starts to scroll — for your page visitors. Having this information makes it possible to pinpoint the ideal web page length, helping you position key design elements and prioritize content.

Click Maps

A click map graphically represents the sections of your website where visitors click. A color-coded map shows which page elements — images, buttons, sidebars and text — are clicked and tapped the most. You’ll also learn which pages of your site are being ignored.

Move Maps

Move maps track where desktop users move and pause their mouse as they navigate a web page. The hot spots on a move map indicate where users pause their mouse. Unlike a click map, a move map provides more information about where people might be looking as they peruse your page, along with what might be catching their attention.

Desktop vs. Mobile

Desktop and mobile heat maps help you compare your website’s performance on different devices. Where key content appears on a desktop page versus where the same content appears on a smartphone screen can impact engagement and ultimately conversion rates.

A good rule of thumb for drawing more accurate conclusions from any of the types of heatmaps is having a large enough sample size per page or screen. Optimization experts recommend between 2,000 and 3,000 pageviews per page or screen. You can set each of these tools to evaluate specific pages or all of them.

Hotjar, another heatmapping platform, not only breaks down the different types of heatmaps, but also explains how to create and analyze them. G2 and other review sites compare the top-rated heatmapping platforms.

Hot on Analytics

The benefits of heatmaps are many. Here’s why they’re such powerful diagnostic tools.

  • They provide an instant overview of key performance factors. Your visitors’ clicking patterns, average page visibility, mouse movements and more are all on display. Put simply, you can zero in on what’s working well on your website — and what isn’t.
  • They tell the story behind the numbers. While a spreadsheet may show that certain links have a low click rate, or that a particular page has a higher bounce rate than the rest of your site, the numbers won’t explain why. Viewing the same data in a heatmap, however, may reveal that distracting design elements are the culprits responsible for a poor click rate, or that a high bounce rate could be the result of a page with low visibility.
  • They enable you to build a better website. Heatmaps help you understand what your audience does and doesn’t do as they explore your site. Are visitors seeing important content, or are they zooming right past it? Are they finding and using all the links, buttons and opt-ins? Are they getting tripped up by non-clickable design elements or competing CTAs? Heatmaps give you the kinds of the data you need for A/B testing and the insights you need to decide whether it’s time for a page update or complete site redesign.
  • They can help drive more traffic to your website. Heatmaps allow you to learn what content your site visitors are reacting to. Armed with this insight, you can improve your site content and on-page SEO, which may help your website’s rankings in search results.

Visualize Your Success

Heatmaps are valuable tools that make it easy to evaluate your website objectively based on real user activity. Equipped with a better understanding of how users are interacting with your website, you can deliver the content they want how they want it.

To discover how Hileman Group can help you optimize your website and content, contact us.



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