All about heatmaps

Want to know about heatmaps? Here’s everything you need to know about heatmaps and how it can help to increase conversions on your website. Here are the topics explained:

All about Heatmaps

What is heatmap?

Simply put, heatmap is a visual display of data. While a chart or a table gives you the numbers, it’s much easier to consume it when it is visually presented through colors. Isn't it? Also, heatmaps are ideal when the data is spread across a region, country or limited to any kind of a boundary. That’s why heatmaps are often used in weather reports, election results and so on.

Similarly, Heatmaps are perfect for tracking visitor behavior on your website as well. Heatmaps show you how visitors interact with your website. From every click, scroll, tap and even the mouse movements, you can track and view everything in real-time. This helps to understand the visitor behavior and to find out what attracts your visitor and what doesn’t.

Snapshot of Heat Maps

Snapshot of Heat Maps

Why you need heatmaps?

Web analytics tools like Google analytics, show the number of visits, bounce rate and conversions on a webpage. However, these numbers don’t tell you the full story. Your website has a lot of content, sliders, dropdowns and other such clickable elements apart from links which your regular analytics tools don’t track. Heatmaps tracks even these elements to give you the complete picture on how your visitors interact with your website.

Here’s why you need a heatmap for your website if you don’t already have one.

See what your visitors see

Know how your visitors react and respond to each element in your webpage. Track more than just conversions and bounce rates. Truly understand your visitor behaviour.

Find out what’s working and what’s not.

Heatmaps show what attracts visitor's attention and what doesn't. You’ll find out if your visitors notice or miss the call-to-action, links, and even the navigation bar.

Get insights to maximize conversions.

You can get actionable insights into how you can optimize your web pages for more conversions. Heatmaps also helps you build the hypothesis to run your A/B testing experiments as well.

Types of Heatmaps

Heatmaps also comes in different types. Each type of heatmaps gives you different kind of insight into your visitor behavior. Broadly speaking, click maps, scroll maps and hover maps are commonly used and also popular types of heatmaps.

Click maps

Clickmaps are the most common and useful one. They show all the clicks that your visitors made on the website. Not just the place but also the number of times a particular link, dropdown or sliders where clicked. This helps you in finding out what grabs your visitors attention. Also, you can discover places where your visitors clicked which isn’t a link or did not click a link that you wanted them to. These inputs help you optimize your web pages accordingly.

Snapshot of Click Maps

Snapshot of Click Maps

Scroll maps

Scrollmaps, as the name goes, shows you how far your visitors scroll down on your website. Most of the scroll maps show you the percentage of the visitors who scroll down till the end of the page. With scroll maps, you’ll know how engaging is your content, should you place your ‘call-to-action’ before or after the homepage fold and so on.

Snapshot of Scroll Maps

Snapshot of Scroll Maps

Hover Maps

Heatmaps can also show you the mouse movements of visitors on your website. However, you cannot directly correlate a visitors’ mouse movements to what they are actually looking at. So, this type of heatmap is not completely reliable. Moreover, you can also track visitors’ navigation trends using Google analytics as well.

Snapshot of Hover Maps

Snapshot of Hover Maps

How to set up heatmaps?

Setting up a heatmap experiment for your website would take less than 2 minutes. Sign up for Freshmarketer, insert the code into your website and start your heatmap experiments. It’s really that simple. However, make sure you have collected enough traffic intro your heatmap experiments before deriving insights.

Heatmaps can also be triggered based on a certain event or a condition as well. If you want your site’s heatmap experiment to get activated when a particular event happens or when a condition is met, Freshmarketer provides you an option called Custom Trigger.

How to set up a Heatmap

How to use heatmaps?

Besides looking visually appealing, heatmaps can actually help you optimize your web content and improve your visitors’ website interaction and experience. You’ll see what your visitors see, where they click, where they don’t, what they skip and how far they scroll. These insights help you structure your content, position the call-to-action, links and other clickable elements in such a way that it gets the maximum attention of your visitors and in turn leading to more conversions.

Now let’s break this down and see how to use heatmaps for different purposes:
  • Heatmaps to monitor visitor behavior
  • Heatmaps for conversion rate optimization
  • Heatmaps for UX/UI decision making

Heatmaps to monitor visitor behavior

Monitoring visitor behavior is one of the primary purposes of using heatmaps. It has become imperative to constantly monitor visitor behavior to understand visitors preference as the website is a place where most of your sales take place. Your website is your retail shop. But unlike a retail shop, you can’t see what your visitor do. Hence you need a heatmap for monitoring visitor behavior on your websites.

So, what kind of questions about visitor behavior do heatmaps answer?
  • How your visitors are actually using the website?
  • How do they navigate around the website?
  • What catches their attention and where they click often? (There are many clickable elements on your website that are not links.)
  • Which part of the website do they ignore?
  • Do they click the ‘call-to-action’ above the fold or below the fold?
  • How engaging is your content?
  • Where should you place the headline/content/call-to-action that you don’t want your visitors to miss?

These inputs give you a deeper understanding of your visitor behavior so that you know if your visitors are navigating on the website the way you want them to.

Heatmaps for conversion rate optimization

What is conversion optimization? Optimizing your website for increasing the conversions. However, where do you start? Google analytics will show you the web pages with high bounce rate but that’s only half the information. How would you know which part of the webpage is not working or being ignored? Here, with heatmaps, you can easily identify the problem. Once you get to know how your visitors are interacting with your website, you might want to optimize it to improve engagement and conversions.

Therefore, heatmaps help you find which part needs to be changed in order to optimize your website for more conversions.

Moreover, heatmaps can help you with building hypothesis for running A/B testing experiments. Here’s how:

A/B testing experiments help you find which variation brings more conversions. Running as many as experiments until you find the winning variation that gets maximum conversion is one way to go. But if you analyse your heatmaps and get inputs on your visitor behavior and then do an A/B test, you can achieve desired results in much lesser attempts. In other words, heatmaps help you narrow down the problem and show you where you need to run an A/B test saving you more time and effort.

Moreover, you can view heatmaps for A/B testing variations as well. The A/B test reports show the number of conversions for a given percentage of traffic while a heatmap can also show the behavioral differences in the variations and what exactly lead to more conversions.

Conversion Optimization Process:
  • Insights from heatmaps help you build a hypothesis for A/B testing experiments.
  • Optimize your web pages by trying out different variations to check the results.
  • Results from A/B testing experiments help you personalize visitor experience.
  • Personalize the visitors' experience to increase conversions.

To increase your website conversions, you got to know what your visitors see and how they interact with your website and then optimize for better conversions. This entire process is conversion optimization.

Heatmaps for UX/UI decision making

Another great way to use heatmaps is for improving your user experience and design related decision making. It’s common to make a lot of assumptions when it comes how users would interact with each webpage. More often than not we tend to make decisions based on assumptions and hunches.

But if there is a way to understand how your customers scan your product screens and know their preferences, wouldn’t it help to improve your user experience. For decisions speculating whether or not a landing page should have a double call-to-action or if the testimonial should be shown above or below the fold, are the search options visible, for questions like these, heatmaps can give you great insights.

What features to look for?

There are plenty of heatmap software which are simple and easy to use. However, before you set up heatmaps for your website, there are certain must-have features your heatmap software should have.

Dynamic Heatmaps

With dynamic heatmaps you can track clicks, scrolls, and taps even for moving and interactive elements like sliders, falling cards, drop downs and so on. For example, if you have an e-commerce website, you might want to know which category of apparels that your visitors choose the most. More often such categories are ‘drop-downs’, in that case, only dynamic heatmaps can show you the number of clicks and taps for such drop-downs.

Real-time tracking

With sampled data approach, only a random portion of your traffic is used to run experiments and generate reports. Say actual visitors per day = 5,00,000, only a portion of it will be taken to generate reports. This might not be accurate. Make your heat map tool uses real-time data of your all your visitors.

Visitor segmentation

With visitor segmentation, you can segment the results with the help of filters based on different type of visitors. This helps to acquire deeper insights about a specific category of visitors so that you can personalize their experience for better conversion rate.

Heatmaps for A/B testing

Heatmaps help you understand how exactly your visitors interact with your website. It is useful if you can see the heat maps for every variation in the A/B test experiment as well. So look for a tool that comes with integrated heatmaps.

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