All website pages have a purpose, whether that purpose is to drive further clicks, qualify visitors, provide a solution, or even a mix of all of those things.
Heatmaps and recorded user sessions allow you to see if your page is serving that purpose or going against it.
What Is a Heatmap?
Generally speaking, heatmaps are graphical representations of data that highlight value with color. On a website heatmap, the most popular areas are showcased in red (hot) and the least popular are in blue (cold).
The colors range on a scale from red to blue.
Heatmaps are an excellent method of collecting user behavior data and converting it into a deep analysis of how visitors engage with your website pages. It can analyze:
- Scroll through rate
- What gets clicked on
- What gets ignored
- What gets read
That information will help you identify user trends and key into what should be optimized to up engagement.
Setting up website heatmapping software is a great start to refining your website design process and understanding your users.
When Should You Use a Heatmap? 3 Must-Use Situations
If you feel like heatmaps are just another fancy feature that industry thought leaders are trying to sell you on, you aren't alone. They can seem like an excess or a niche.
The truth is that heatmaps can actually be invaluable when testing and optimizing user experiences and conversion opportunities. There are many times you should be using them.
Redesigning Your Website
Updating, or even upgrading, your website isn't just a task on your to do list. Careful thought, attention, and creativity should be put into the revamp if you want it to be worth the time and resources.
Heatmaps can help with studying your current design to identify what your visitors are engaging with and what they're ignoring. You'll be tapped into what makes your visitors tick so that you can build a site meant specifically for your unique audience.
Analyzing Webpage Conversions
Trying to figure out why certain pages aren't converting the way you thought they would? Use a heatmap. You'll be able to identify exactly what's attracting attention and deduce why.
The same goes for buttons and pages that are showing a higher rate of conversion than anticipated.
By keying into the design, copy, and other elements that are working for you, you'll know exactly how to optimize your under-performing webpages.
Testing New Updates
As your business grows and you develop new ideas, naturally you'll want to test them. A/B testing allows you to measure and analyze visitor response to a project or design, but you can take it a step further with heatmapping.
Leverage the data graph by examining exactly what captures your visitors' attention. At the end of the testing period, you may be able to pull designs or elements that received high levels of engagement from the page that didn't perform as well into the successful one.
What You Will Learn From a Heatmap
The data you receive from a heatmap can help you learn a lot about the usability of your webpages' interface and and the average user experience.
Specifically, heatmaps can help a business see:
- Which images attract attention and how visitors engage with them
- Which blog/article titles draw in visitors
- Which CTAs and forms are being seen and engaged with (are they too far down the page?)
- What distracts your visitors from what you consider your valuable, core content
- Where you can update or change your navigation
- How much content is being read on average before visitors exit
Types of Heatmaps
For marketers and businesses, there are three main types of heatmapping tools.
Mouse Movement Maps and Click Maps
You can use heatmaps of mouse movements, scrolls, and clicks on a given site page to see what the most clicked links and buttons on a page are. Conversely, you can also identify the least clicked elements as well.
Recorded User Sessions
You can use video screen recordings of actual users interacting with your website to learn behavioral patterns.
These are heatmaps that display what percentage of users scroll through a given page on your website. Key in on optimizing content and items above the fold (what's immediately visible when your website page loads).
How to Analyze a Heatmap
Heatmaps are relatively easy to read if you know what you're looking for. There's two key ways to analyze one:
Using the color-coded visualizations, you can read your webpage for engagement levels and attention "hot spots." Where the map reads red, that's where visitors are showing the highest points of interactivity. Blue reflects low numbers.
You can spot design issues or opportunities to move buttons, forms, and the like with a visual read.
Reviewing raw data tables will give you more specific insights into your page's performance. You can examine HTML elements and pixel locations of clicks to really understand what's drawing people in.
You can even filter your clicks and views in order of popularity with certain software. This takes the guessing out of your redesign and testing efforts.
How to Create a Heatmap
Creating, or a better word would be implementing, a heatmap has become relatively easy thanks to the rise in heatmapping tools and software.
Here at Bluleadz, we use Hotjar. The software breaks the process down into five easy steps:
- Click the "new heatmap" button
- Name it (typically after the webpage)
- Customize for page view count
- Select a specific page
- Make it live
A lot of other software options have a similar process that's just as simple.
5 Heatmapping Software Options to Try
Googling "heatmapping software" will probably bring up a ton of options for you, but quantity rarely ever beats quality. How do you know which product is going to yield the best results for you?
We've researched and found the top heatmapping software available in the market today.
Hotjar provides an easy-to-implement, easy-to-read product that works to help you understand your users. Keen on visual feedback and fast results, their heatmaps cover everything from visitor recordings to conversion funnel analysis.
An all encompassing software equipped to help you study every aspect of your website's engagement metrics, Hotjar sets the bar for heatmapping.
Price: Hotjar has a free plan with limited reports and up to 2,000 page views/day. For larger businesses looking for 20,000 page views/day, the starting plan is $89/mo.
Tableau has instant, real-time reporting in place for users looking for actionable insights. With smart dashboards and a drag and drop interface, navigating the product is easy.
Their cloud storage means omni-channel data access from anywhere. You can perform ad hoc analyses whenever it's convenient for you. You can also share your reports with anyone to boost business impact.
Price: Tableau has a free full-version trial available for users, and the first tier costs $70 per user per month.
With built in A/B testing and consolidated heatmaps, Freshmarketer puts in the extra effort to plot out visitor interactions. Recorded in real time, you can analyze heatmaps based by device, which the software automatically detects.
Offering scrollmaps and click maps, Freshmarketer strives to "go beyond traditional heatmaps."
Price: Freshmarketer includes their heatmapping software with their email marketing, automation, and segmentation products. Plans start at $61/mo.
Looker offers similar services to the other software options listed, but they also supply a unique security management feature to protect your data. Also partnered with Google Cloud, you'll have access to reporting from anywhere in the world.
Primarily a data analysis solution, you'll have access to other data intelligence and visualization features as well.
Price: Looker offers a free trial and then you can receive a quote based off of your business needs.
Zoho PageSense leverages a CRO platform equipped with an intelligent user interface to bring you deep data analyses. Designed to streamline your conversion capabilities, you can create goals and build your funnel analysis on your dashboard.
You'll have access to form analytics, session recording, and A/B testing to get into the details of what your visitors are engaging with and why.
Price: Zoho PageSense starts at $29/mo. for three projects if you choose a monthly billing.
Marketers and developers have such a wide, varied tool deck to pick from when it comes to upping their business to attract and convert visitors.
It can be tricky picking and choosing which are going to help your business meet its goals. But, now knowing exactly how heatmaps function for your website, you'll likely consider leveraging them.
Heatmaps are typically run continuously in the background for a consistent analysis, but this isn't a rule. In fact, it's possible for it to slow down your webpage load time. If it's more convenient for your needs to turn it off and on as needed, do so.
But ultimately, you need to get started using this software now.