Google Analytics is a fantastic tool to track and monitor how your target audience is interacting with your website. However, if you are precisely interested in knowing where your audience gets hooked onto when they visit your page, then you cannot go beyond Heat Maps.
Table of Content
1- Heat Maps – A Step Ahead in Data Visualisation
Heat Maps are everywhere! You will see them on the weather reports, in scientific researches, on architectural reports – anywhere that needs bulk data to be made clear, logical and actionable. It is a great way to see through data which helps to comprehend critical information and make informed decisions. Unlike typical data visualisation tools such as tables and charts, heat maps are intuitive and easy to understand.
Sounds great! So, what is a heat map?
The one-of-a-kind tool uses various colour spectrums to represent data and assign values to them. If you want to know which areas of your webpage receive maximum attention or clicks, then a heat map is a great way to visually represent the same in a manner that is self-explanatory and helps take critical business decisions. Warm-to-cool colour variations are used to present data based on its importance.
In the example below, the heat map highlights the most attention-grabbing area in bright orange colour, and likewise, other areas (in a lighter colour tone) where the viewers have shown interest.
Having heat maps for every page of your website is a smart move to understand where the most important content should be. It is a sort of data storytelling that instantly conveys the information. They help you understand HOW and WHY users behave on your website. Thus, they stand a step ahead of stereotype data visualisation, providing a simple and easy-to-assimilate way of understanding complex data sets.
2- Applications of Heat Maps in Web Analytics
So, where should you use heat maps?
All the time!
Heat maps are so intuitive, functional and user-friendly that you can use them anytime, anywhere for critical web analytics and decision making.
a)- Creating Content
When it comes to content marketing, it is mostly about words. But is your audience reading it? Which portion of the content the readers are mostly interested in and from where they are bouncing back?
Heat maps such as scroll maps are a great way to know till how far the users scroll on your page, i.e. how far they are reading your content. A click map can be used to check which Call to Actions is getting more attention and click-through. On the other hand, a confetti report can be used to see what segment of the people read to the end of the page and are clicking on the CTA.
Below is an example of how scroll map is used in data analytics:
The insights are valuable in putting the most important message in high-attention areas, tweaking the CTA and creating a more engaging content.
b)- Website Design
Redesigning a website is perhaps the last thing you want because it is time-consuming, expensive and has the risk that it does not performs better than the original.
Use different heat mapping tools to monitor user behaviour on your site. Analysing the data will help identify the weak spots that does not convert or that are tough to navigate, etc. Likewise, you can make changes to the site to drive more traffic and conversions.
c)- A/B Testing Website Components
Before launching your website, it is important to perform A/B tests to identify how your audience behave on different versions of the home page, landing page, or blogs. In this regard, heat maps provide instant and valuable data based on user behaviour. For instance, you would like to A/B test two different blog post content, one of 1000 words and another a beast of 5000 words. Using a heat map will provide insights into whether the longer page appeals better to the readers or the shorter one.
Likewise, you can test all components of a website using heat maps.
3-Heat Map Case Studies
How Pronto Marketing Used Heat Maps to Increase Leads by 24%
Pronto Marketing is a technology company that offers all-in-one web services to small and medium businesses. This includes everything from websites to SEO, social media, email marketing and more. Their objective is to convert website visitors into quality leads. For this, they decided to use heat maps to analyse user engagement on their website. They wanted to know how the visitors were interacting with website elements such as drop-down menu, etc.
Below is how heat maps appeared on their website:
Pronto Marketing’s heat map analysis revealed the following:
• A significant number of website visitors showed interest in drop-down menu in the header
• Interesting educational elements also garnered consistent visitor clicks
• Unexpectedly, a huge number of visitors were found scrolling down to industry-specific packages, with a high click-through rate
• The footer elements had also acquired high scroll-down and click-through rate, especially Contact Us.
While the website user behaviour justified their investment on educational elements, Pronto identified that positioning the “Contact Us” element at the footer might have been wrong. This is because visitors have to be significantly interested to scroll down to the end of the website to know how to contact the company. They presumed that many other visitors were also interested in contacting them from the home page but could not locate the link due to its wrong positioning.
Website visitors also showed keen interest in industry-related packages. This reveals they want marketing plans custom-designed to meet their niche or industry needs.
Based on the heat map analysis, Pronto Marketing did necessary tweaks in their website design to ensure optimum positioning of key elements. Below is their revamped website:
The new web design has a highlighted “Contact Us” section right at the top, with additional focus on industry-specific results when working with Pronto Marketing. With the new positioning, click-through rate of their contact page increased by 17%, with 24% boost in quality leads.
How Bee-Seen Used Heat Maps to Discover What Was Killing Their Conversions
Bee-Seen is an education marketing agency, headed by Brian and specialising in helping the education companies grow via acquisition, content and conversion. Brian’s problem was that one his blogs had readers but something was stopping them to convert to leads. The blog had a downloadable worksheet (shown in the image below) for which Brian wanted conversions.
Unfortunately, Brian found that his website visitors were clicking, but not for the worksheet. A heat map analysis revealed that people were clicking more on the bolded “FREE WEBINAR” icon, right at the top of the blog.
Additionally, the downloadable worksheet was also not garnering clicks as expected because the “DOWNLOAD” text was misleading and not clickable. It is likely to turn off the website visitors.
From the analysis, Brian learned that text formatting plays a vital role in how visitors interact with a page. Underlined and bold texts grab the attention of the readers more. Keeping this in mind, Brian removed all not-so-important elements that were causing click confusion. Rather he highlighted the texts that need high attention, ensuring the users get a relevant offer when they click.
How Bros Leather Supply Co Uses Heat Maps to Test Page Performance
To improve your sales and boost overall business growth, it is important that your website performs the way it is expected to. However, heat maps often reveal that user behaviour on your site is not always what you expect. Take for example, Bros Leather Supply Co. They put to test their store page, home page and two top product pages with the expectation that product description, size and price elements would receive maximum “user interest.”
Surprisingly, heat maps on one of their top product pages “The Classic” revealed that visitors are more interested in scrolling through the images of the bag rather than the product description. They also showed a knack for what options they have in terms of size, personalisation, etc. See the image below:
From the analysis, the company learned the importance of having fantastic images on all product pages. Earlier they used to focus on having a great content, but now they spend more time on getting lovely images of the product from different angles, definitions, etc.
4-Steps to Use Heat Map for Your Website or Blog
There are several free and paid software programmes that provide heat map testing and analysis tools to monitor user engagement and page performance of your website or blog. Here’s how to get on with it:
Step 1: To begin with heat maps, do not test the entire site or blog right away. Rather focus on testing few pages or 1 – 2 elements that are most important to determine the bottomline of your business. This will make everything easy to manage and understand. Here are few pages that are good to test:
• Home page
• Landing pages
• One or two top product pages
• Resource pages
• Contact Us
• One or two blog important blog posts
• Testimonial page
Step 2: Next, determine what information you would like to have from heat map test performed on your pages.
For instance, on the home page, you might want your visitors to click on specific Call to Action, whereas on product pages, it might be “Add to the Cart” or “Enquire Now.” Determining your objective will help choose the right type of heat map you want to use.
Step 3: Pick a good heat map analysis tool such as CrazyEgg, SumoMe, Hotspots Analytics or Clicktale. Make sure it provides a lot of heat map varieties to let you choose one that best fits your objectives. Additionally, it should be simple to use. The reports generated should be easy to understand and provide real-time monitoring.
Step 4: Create an account with your chosen heat map analysis tool and follow the instructions carefully as provided.
Step 5: Once you have successfully installed heat map, assess the following factors –
• Which elements or areas of the page have garnered most clicks
• Which areas are least clicked or viewed
• Am I getting the most clicks or views as expected
• Which hot spots are unexpected
• What types of elements are getting maximum clicks – text, buttons, images, etc.
Analysing the heat map and getting answers to the above questions can help you with repurposing the hot spots to achieve the desired results.
Heat maps provide an in-depth look into:
• How users view and respond to your website
• What are the distracting elements that are preventing them to take the desired action
• Which areas or elements of the page is drawing maximum attention and clicks
• What to eliminate, reposition or repurpose on your website or blog
Knowing these will help you optimise your website, while improving user interaction and engagement.
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image credit to Ben White