Heat Mapping : Finding those areas users love the most
We recently launched the redesigned website for Trend Magazine in Aberdeen and for our own curiosity decided to install a heat map tracker onto the site. This allows us to see exactly which areas the users are paying attention to and which they are paying the least.
Heat mapping is a technique that has been used for many years now in many different areas from molecular biology to websites. The latter of which we are most interested in, of course.
Visitors are tracked anonymously to gather data on the areas that they have used the most on the website. Traditionally with the top 20% of the website receiving the most attention and the bottom 20% receiving the least.
These areas of attention are then represented by colours on a heat map with areas of high interest (hot) being shown in deep red and areas of little/no interest (cold) in blue.
Now that we know what heat maps are. I guess the next thing to look at is why are they useful to use?
Why use heat maps?
The ability to look at your website from the perspective of a user and how THEY are using it is incredibly important and advantageous.
What you think works on your website, may very well be the biggest under-performing area. Realising this sooner rather than later will do wonders for your business, as it gives you the opportunity to change things earlier and most importantly before your advertising spending skyrockets whilst conversions remain low.
With your heat map in front of you, it will allow you to get a quick and easy to digest overview of your website and which things you need to change.
Heat maps can be produced based on user scrolling, click activity, or mouse movements.
Click activity heat maps will give you an idea of where the users are heading to most frequently i.e. the areas of the site that you know are driving the most traffic.
Scroll based heat maps show you how far down your page users are getting before they drop off or head to another section. This is a very broad view and only really gives you a general idea of whether things are being read beyond “the fold”.
Mouse movement heat maps will show you the areas that users hovered their mouse over the most. This one is the most interesting as it shows how users navigate their way around your page, even if they don’t click. If you can see a relation between areas that are receiving the most hover attention, but aren’t driving clicks then perhaps it’s time to change the content that it’s pointing to.
After analysing your heat map, it is probably time to start A/B testing. A/B testing will let you test different wording/colours/positioning of aspects of the page to find the one that best converts.
So there you have it. Now that you know what heat maps are and how to analyse them I guess you’re probably wanting some suggestions for how you too can run heat maps on your site?
Tools for heat mapping
Google Analytics : Google analytics actually has an in-built heat map function hidden deep in its depths. You can find it by going to Behaviour —-> In-Page Analytics
Crazy Egg : Created by the digital marketing god that is Neil Patel, this tool offers a bit more information than the basic one in Google Analytics. It comes at a cost, but does include a 30 day free trial if you’re keen to test it out.
Hotjar : I have been using hotjar in beta for a few months now and absolutely love it. I would definitely recommend checking it out as it has so many more features than the standard piece of heat mapping software. TOP CHOICE
If you want to get in touch about improving conversions on your website, then get in touch with the team at Studio NEC today.
About Bob Gentle
I'm the MD at NEC. I work with clients on strategy and digital marketing and lead research and development in this quickly evolving area.