So, you want to optimize your website. But where to begin? From the outside, everything seems functional. This makes it hard to know exactly what feature or function is giving your users issues. Visualizing user activity is key to determining the cause of high bounce rates, cart abandonment and other lead-generating issues on a website.
This is where heat mapping comes in.
What’s a Heat Map?
Simply put, a heat map is an online imaging tool that shows the levels of “activity” on a web page. These maps typically come in colorful shades that range from deep blue (low activity) to bright red (lots of clicks).
Heat maps can be divided into two main groups:
• Mouse tracking: Data comes from actual visitors on your site and tracks the movements and clicks of their mouse when interacting with your pages. While the individuals are actual visitors, the tracking accuracy is lower than that of eye tracking at about 80 to 90%.
• Eye tracking: Data comes from a sample group of users, which may not correlate well with your specific audience. However, the accuracy for the selected group of users is close to 100%.
For websites, these tools record the various actions that users conduct on each page, including where their mice hover, how far they scroll and where they click. This data is then compiled into the final heat map, which can be incredibly useful for improving your website’s performance.
Five Huge Benefits of Using Heat Mapping
Heat mapping tools definitely aren’t free, but they provide a ton of helpful insights for improving your website (many of which you wouldn’t have identified otherwise). Heat maps are most beneficial in helping you:
- Identify Problem Areas: Heat maps can highlight areas of your site that users are clicking but may not be functioning properly. Often times, many issues can go undetected unless reported by a visitor.
- Improve Usability: Heat maps can show where users’ spend most of their time looking on your website. This data can help dictate where useful information, forms and buttons should be placed.
- Visualize a Website’s “Fold”: Heat mapping tools will analyze the scroll rate of users to determine how far down a page they get before leaving. This will show you where each page’s important information should be placed in order to be seen before an exit.
- Determine Additional Content Opportunities: Heat maps can show where your visitors are clicking – including places that don’t offer links. Usually, this indicates that the user believes the headline or icon is a link button, and clicks for information. Using these insights, you can create additional pages to link to from these highly-clicked areas.
- Optimize Page Layout: Taking scroll rate, click density and mouse tracking into account, you can better determine where to place key elements like Calls-to-action, links and page ads.