Chances are you have heard the term “heatmap” if you have been online long enough. Seems like they are everywhere these days. And it isn’t just websites that use heatmapping. Doctors, marketers, engineers, sociologists, and researchers of all types use heatmaps to convert complex data into something they can use for actionable results.
See, a heatmap tool works best if you have large volumes of data that you need to break down so it can be understood more easily. There are all types of analytics out there. So much so that analytics itself has become very complex, even for a professional.
It seems like every analytic tool has hundreds of reports that break down several different ways. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing. It gives marketers and small business owners a way to figure out an online marketing plan.
That being said, most of the data is so complex that many of us don’t understand it. This is where a heatmap online tool can come into play.
Let’s take a look at heatmapping, what it is, and talk some about the tools you can use to get a heatmap for your website.
What is a Heatmap?
Simply put, a heatmap is a type of data analysis tool that uses color (what looks like heat) the way a bar graph would use height and width. Basically, it uses the heat color as a visualization tool.
If you are looking at website heatmaps, then you are looking to see what part of the page gets the most attention. Heatmapping will show you visually what parts of the page are more engaging.
You can use this data to make decisions for your website on structure and how you want the page to be viewed by your audience.
With that being said, let’s go a little deeper into the explanation.
Heatmapping will show you data on where users have not only spent the most time on a page, but where they have clicked on the most. You can even see scrolling heatmapping taking place. This is basically data showing you how far down someone scrolled on a particular page.
Using a warm to cool color scale, the heatmap provides you with all the data you need in order to successfully build out a web page the way you see fit. This is based on analytics while using heatmapping.
How Do Heatmaps Work?
Now that you have a better understanding of what a heatmap is, let’s take a look at how it works. Heatmapping actually works by taking the data that has been collected from the web page and displaying that data over the page itself.
Heatmaps are actually used in day-to-day life on all sorts of things. A common heatmap you may see daily is the one that is displayed when you are watching the weather report on your local news station.
This is the exact same thing that is happening when heatmapping is used on a web page.
Heatmaps work by showing you the value of content a web page provides based on how users interact with it. As stated above, this data is valuable not from a site traffic standpoint, but from a standpoint of allowing you to see how you can better build a web page based on interactions.
When you perform heatmapping on a website page, you will be presented with very complex data that can be broken down and used in a much easier way.
When parts of the site show up in a darker red color, it means more people have interacted with that section. Blue, or sometimes white, indicates an area that people are not really engaged in within the content.
Types of HeatMaps
There are actually a few different types of heatmaps that are used for a web page. Here are three of the most popular ones and how they work.
Click Heatmaps: This type of heatmapping will give you data on where your site users click the most on the relevant web page. The darker the color, the more heavily the area was clicked.
Scroll Heatmaps: This type of heatmap is basic and easy to understand. It shows you how far down users scroll on your web page. The color scale goes from dark to light as the page scroll gets less and less likely. So if the color continues fairly dark down the page, you will be able to see that users are scrolling further.
Confetti Heatmaps: Lastly, the Confetti heatmap will show you all the data on clicks made by different segments of site visitors. It basically tells you what referral source clicks are coming from. You can then see what referral source works best and tailor your page more to it. The heatmapping data is presented using different color confetti dots. For example, different countries may be different color dots.
When Should Heatmapping be Used?
The short answer? Always. However, let’s go a little further with the answer and look into it some. If you are looking for analytics that are complex, but you can easily understand and break down, then heatmapping should be done on your website all the time.
The information is simply too valuable to pass up.
That being said, if you are looking at very specific instances where you should employ heatmapping, here are some to consider.
Redesigning a website can be very time consuming and expensive. It is very necessary to do periodically because time, design, and standards change. When you are doing a redesign of your business website, the last thing you want is to have it come out too close as the original.
For this reason alone, it is a good idea for you or your web developer to use a heatmapping tool to understand how current behavior on your site looks. That information can then be taken and used to build new page layouts that are more appealing and more interactive for your audience.
A good example of this is when a web developer uses heatmapping to find out how web page behavior is impacted by things like color, contrast, placement, and elements.
Not running heatmaps and spending all that time and money to come out with a new design that doesn’t convert is not ideal. At that point, you have simply wasted a lot of time and money. Sure, your site looks updated and different, but is it going to convert better?
At one point or another, all websites should be doing A/B Testing for various elements. This type of testing delivers results that can tell you the difference in conversion bumps. And oftentimes, it can make or break something that a business is trying to do.
Using heatmaps during the A/B Testing process can give you instant and usable insights on what your visitors are doing differently based on the different versions of your landing pages, blog posts, and homepage.
A heatmap will also show you different types of conversion rates when testing CTA (call to action) buttons and forms. Furthermore, as stated above, heatmapping shows how far a user scrolls down a page.
This can be particularly important for landing pages. Build too long of a landing page and conversions will drop. You can use the results the heatmapping provides to decide how long a solid landing page should be.
Content Marketing. You hear this term thrown around quite a bit in the world of online media. It is very important to create excellent online content. Then, when you feel you have some solid content up and running, you need to mark it.
There are several ways to do this. One of the easiest ways to see and understand what type of content works best for your business is to use heatmapping. You can write and develop certain types of content (posts, graphics, pictures, videos) and then display it how you feel is best.
You can then take all the data that the heatmaps provide and use it to effectively market your content in a way where it will get the most conversions and interactions.
These are three of the most popular things you should use heatmapping for. That being said, you may also want to consider using it for UX and Usability Testing and Conversion Funnels.
Things to Learn From a Heatmap
As I stated above, there are several different types of heatmaps and a lot of different things you can learn from them. Here are some of the most important things you can learn:
- What headlines are the most clickable
- Images that attract the most attention
- What items distract site visitors
- Best conversions rates for different CTA buttons
- Do email newsletter opt-ins or buttons work better
- Is a particular type of navigation working
- Are visitors reading content or scrolling through
- Where to best place different types of content
- Where most users interact on a page
- Audience differentiation (men, women, old, young)
- What locations and referral areas are getting the most action
Basically, if you can learn to use heatmapping tools to perfection, then you will have all the data you need and more to make your website convert at the highest rates possible.
At this point you should have a pretty good understanding of heatmaps, what they are, how they work, and how you can benefit from them. So, if you are wondering what heatmapping tools to use, I have put together some for you to take a look at.
Feng-GUI actually works much differently than most other heatmapping tools.
See, most tools take weeks to collect visitor behavioral data and get that data back to you so that you can use it for better conversion rates. However, Feng-GUI uses an algorithmic model that has tens of thousands of live eyes tracking results.
The kicker? They deliver these results instantly. This saves you valuable time. They are fairly priced, so give them a look.
Crazy Egg is a heatmap tracking plugin that you can use to see where visitors to your WordPress website are clicking the most. The plugin is lightweight and very easy to install and activate. You will need to sign up for a Crazy Egg account, but this is free as well. A pro version of the plugin is also available.
Note: This plugin will work on WordPress websites only.
The EyeQuant heatmap tool is another excellent heatmapping tool that uses leading neuroscience research and combines it with AI to accurately predict how people will react to your site. It uses the data it collects from large-scale, real eye-tracking studies conducted with thousands of different subjects.
If you want to quickly and effectively analyze current web designs and understand flaws, the EyeQuant is a heatmapping tool you have to checkout.
RealEye is a simple heatmapping tool, yet it is very, very effective. The tool uses three simple steps to test your design concepts. The solution allows you to plug in your design, invite users to view it then and there, and get instant feedback on what users see and how they interact.
It is a fantastic tool to use so give it a look.
Lucky Orange is another WordPress specific heatmap plugin that functions as a complete conversion rate optimization and customer feedback tool. It provides you with the fast one-click install and allows you to grab heatmapping data on how visitors click, move, and scroll on your website.
Note: This plugin will work on WordPress websites only.
Using heatmaps to figure out how to grow your business and conversions is one of the smartest things you can do. Not only will heatmapping provide you with a ton of complex data that you can use, but it will allow you to break this data down into a much easier to understand format.
If you haven’t been using heatmapping, now is a good time to start. You should have a pretty good grasp of what it is. Check out the tools above and see if any of them work well for you.