heatmap

How to Read a Heatmap and What You Can Learn From It

In today’s highly competitive digital environment, it’s essential to stay ahead of your competitors and use all available tools and resources to learn more about your customers and how they interact with your website. And there’s no better way to analyze their behavior than using interactive heat map charts.

Heatmaps can help you understand how well your website navigation works. They can tell you how easily visitors find the information they want on your website and what content you can improve on your site. 

You can use FullSession, our web analytics tool, that provides comprehensive behavior analytics tools like heatmaps, session replays, and incoming feedback, to track user activity and get actionable data to improve your website and online campaigns.  The sign-up process is quick and easy and it will take a few minutes of your time. Register your account today and start a 14-day free trial to test all features.

In this article, we’ll go over what heatmaps are and how to use them on your website. We’ll also cover when you should use a heatmap and its benefits. You’ll learn what data it collects and how to interpret it. If you think you’re ready to put some heat on your website, keep reading!

What is a website heat map?

A heatmap is a user behavior tool you can use to understand customer experience on your website’s landing page through visual reports. You can use this tool to see how visitors view your web pages and what they click on the most. Imagine working on an e-commerce website and wanting to know which sections of the site visitors spend the most time on. It is where a heatmap can help. 

A heatmap is a graphical representation of visitors’ attention to different website sections, presented with colors, with red areas indicating the most attention and green areas indicating less attention. If you’re looking to improve your conversion rates, keep reading our tips on analyzing these charts and what information they can reveal about your site.

When should you use a heatmap?

Customer experience teams usually use heat maps when they notice the poor performance of certain elements and campaigns or want to test new features. However, you don’t necessarily have to use them exclusively for these types of activities. Some other use cases include:

  • diagnosing which elements and sections perform best
  • checking which features and sections have average performance and need improvement
  • deciding the best page length
  • learning behavior patterns
  • identifying the points where users exit the page
  • identifying broken elements and false bottoms

Where should you use a heat map?

Heat mapping your whole website seems ideal, but it’s not practical. Instead, we recommend analyzing pages that have the most impact on your conversion rates, such as your homepage, landing pages, or high-converting blog posts.

Home pages

Your homepage is your introduction to your brand. If you monitor where visitors are scrolling through and whether they’re hovering over key information and clicking on links, then you’ll know exactly where to place the most important elements. It will reduce your bounce rate and increase your conversion rate.

Landing pages

It’s also important to implement heat maps on landing pages and consider user behavior for the best conversion rate. Heat maps show you where your visitors are looking on your website to help you design the best landing page and acquire more leads ready to convert. The whole purpose of landing pages is direct conversions, so if you notice that conversions have been low recently, heatmap data can help you diagnose any issues.

High-traffic blog posts

The copy placement on your blog can heavily influence its conversion rate. You can use heatmap data to test where to place your CTAs on your blog post. For example, you can place the same CTA in the middle of the post and after the conclusion. Heatmaps will show you which CTAs users interacted with the most. Then, you can apply that knowledge to other blog posts to maximize conversions.

Importance of desktop & mobile heatmaps

It’s important to use heatmaps on different devices to identify potential issues. Your audience is segmented – one part uses mobile phones to interact with your website, while the other uses desktop devices like laptops or PCs. To deliver the best results for your visitors, make sure to analyze both desktop and mobile versions of your websites carefully. It will improve conversions and ensure a positive experience for your customers across all devices.

How does a heatmap work?

Heatmap works by gathering data from your visitors’ behavior while they are on your website. Once it collects the data, a heat map categorizes it in a color-coded system to show website owners which areas need improvement and which don’t. Areas of the webpage where viewers click more often receive a warmer and darker color, and those that attract lower attention are lighter and cooler.

How do I create a website heatmap?

Creating a website heatmap is very easy and only takes a couple of minutes, as long as you’re using industry-standard tools. FullSession is coming out with an interactive website heat mapping tool that will enable website owners to better understand how and why customers perform specific actions.

Real-Time Heatmaps

What sets our tool aside from competitors is that you can use our heatmap feature in real-time instead of waiting for hours to process. Even though heat maps are notorious for slowing down websites, FullSession’s interactive heat maps won’t impact performance. We also offer additional analysis tools that you can combine with heat maps to look for various data patterns and discover what users love and hate about your site.

Different types of heat maps

There are many different types of heat maps, each analyzing a specific type of behavior. Let’s explore the four most common heat map types:

Scroll maps

Scroll maps are one of the many types of heat maps that show your website visitors’ scrolling activity. Scroll maps let you see what your audience is doing on your site and help establish content gaps to better tailor a successful website.

Dynamic scroll heatmaps also let you know which parts of the site your visitors are interested in. It can help you place the most important sections of your website in a visible place and ensure that customers actively glance at this important information on key pages.

Using a scroll map, you can learn about your website’s heat zone from top to bottom. The hottest colors on the scroll map indicate which sections are most viewed. The scroll map consists of three main components: peaks, troughs, and layout grid.

Peaks signify where people stop reading after scrolling past it. Troughs represent where people stop reading due to poor user experience (for example, too many ads or navigational issues). A layout grid divides the page into columns to measure the scrolling activity of each column.

Click maps

Click heatmaps can reveal your visitors’ clicking patterns through visual data. With a click sensor, heatmaps can detect where and how many times visitors clicked on the website. Click heatmaps reveal valuable information to website owners through data visualization. Visualizing data can help you make important decisions about changes you need to make or keep on your website.

Click tracking allows you to analyze visitor behavior during a website visit to optimize the user experience. This simple tool helps you increase conversion rates, decrease bounce rates, and improve landing pages and design layout.

This type of analysis ensures that visitors engage with your blog, website, app, or landing page in a desirable way. One of the best ways is to check for clicks and scrolls before bouncing. If you see a few clicks and scrolls, your visitor might have found an issue with the colors, layout, headline, images, or some other element of your content.

Eye-tracking heat maps

With an eye-tracking heatmap, designers can identify page elements that visitors find the most and least engaging. It can also help them identify redundant or confusing elements by focusing on where users spend their attention. You can use the data from the eye-tracking heatmaps to optimize content and find the most effective layout for a design.

Eye-tracking heatmaps play a significant role in achieving the goal of minimizing the cognitive load on the user. With this tool, businesses can detect areas of their website that might require a deeper review or redesign with results displayed in a heatmap color code.

This technology can help you learn more about male and female visitors’ different behaviors and other audience segments. After delivering personalized content to each segment, your campaigns will be much more successful and personalized.

Mouse tracking heat maps

Mouse heatmap is a form of data visualization that captures where your visitors are clicking, scrolling, and hovering the most. Understanding and analyzing mouse heatmaps can help you identify specific areas of high visitor frustration or struggle and identify opportunities for web module optimization.

Mouse heatmap navigation allows designers and marketers to know the preferred reading region of your website visitors. The map highlights the section where users don’t click or spend the most time perusing search results. Your teams can analyze data gathered from mouse-tracking to determine which web pages are successful and choose which web pages to optimize.

Best practices for using a heatmap

Here’s a quick checklist of tips, tricks, and advice on how to use heatmaps to improve your business:

  1. Don’t use heatmaps for all pages on your website simultaneously
  2. Segment your website into smaller categories when using heatmap for testing
  3. Filter heatmap data by page type, performance, device type, and channel
  4. Combine heatmaps with other tools like session recordings, customer feedback, VoC data, and web analytics
  5. Use heatmaps to discover which content performs best and why and which doesn’t
  6. Use heatmaps to reduce the bounce rate by pinpointing the areas on your website where users usually exit the page
  7. Use tagging and data overlays to keep track of how recent changes on your website are performing
  8. Experiment and look for new ways to use heatmap data

The benefits of heat maps 

Heat maps measure attention, and you can use them to design content that your audience connects with. You can use heat map software to evaluate site layout, A/B test your website, find the best place for a call-to-action, and more. Here are some additional benefits you’ll get from using heat maps:

They help you determine key performance indicators

One of the best tools for understanding how your user behaves on your website is heat mapping, as it highlights significant issues with your site at a single glance. Click heatmaps help you see the users’ clicking patterns.

Scroll heatmaps show what web page sections have the highest visibility.  Attention heatmaps show which parts of your site users find the most engaging. Movement heatmaps track how visitors’ mouse moves so that you can see what they’re interested in the most. Geo heatmaps reveal user locations without compromising their identity. It helps you identify which metrics are the most important for your website’s success:

  • Geo heatmaps will show you which locations to focus your marketing efforts on
  • Attention heatmaps will show you where on your website to place the most important messages and CTAs
  • Movement heatmaps will show you which areas are overlooked

Heatmaps have the potential to identify problem areas and strengths where more attention may be necessary. For example, they can indicate areas not being looked at as much as those with more traffic and conversions.

They use visualization to help you interpret data

A heatmap can be worth a thousand words. When observing visitors through heatmaps, you’ll see how people interact with different sections of your site. Graphical heat maps show you exactly what a visitor is looking at on your website.

Using website heat mapping, you can analyze where people are clicking and understand why some actions increase bounce rate.

And, it’s much easier to interpret data visually instead of looking at numbers and tables. A simple, colorful layout will give you all the necessary information with a single glance – red means that customers look and interact with something more frequently, while yellow shows average interaction. At the same time, green represents the areas that they don’t interact with enough.

They enable you to learn from users’ experience

Heat maps help you understand user behavior – what your audience does and how they react to your design. While surveys are another way to find out more about their experience, they are usually time-consuming, so customers often skip them. Heatmaps don’t require any additional effort from your customer, yet they can show you precisely what they’re interested in.

Site visitors can reveal a lot about what they respond to on your website. Use A/B testing with heatmaps to change the design before going live on any platform with a larger audience.

They are great when combined with other analytics tools

But what other tools should you use with website heat mapping? Heatmaps are a great analytics tool that could help you uncover the best designs for your website and better understand how people use your product, but it’s even better when paired with other software.

Sessions replay provides you with a reel of what your users are doing on-site, which you can replay to see the big picture. Filters allow you to zero in on specific user types like high-paying customers. FullSession session replay tool does just that – it records users’ activities and allows you to filter and segment them. 

They can point to some issues you overlooked in the past

With website heat mapping, you can identify where people are clicking and what they are viewing, so you may make necessary changes on your webpage.

UX design takes time and money to review. Moreover, it’s much easier to retain a customer by fixing any issues they might be dealing with on your website than acquiring new customers.

Heatmaps provide an opportunity to uncover website content and design issues by mapping the user experience. For example, you might notice that a group of customers exits the website when they reach a certain point. It can help you diagnose whether it’s a broken button, misplaced CTA, or something else that’s causing the issue.

They help you understand your customers’ behavior better

Tools like heat mapping can help you measure where and when viewers experience frustration so that developers can optimize page designs better. These tools automatically track data points within a website, which gives you an idea of what interests new viewers and what deters them.

Listening to specific feedback can help you tailor a better experience for users. Web heat mapping, for instance, shows how audiences react to a message. Take note of where you placed the message. Open your heat map, and you’ll get a clearer picture. Users aren’t showing enough interest if the message is painted with a cool color. If it’s warm and solid, they are interested in the message.

They help increase conversions and profit

Web heat maps help companies sell more products. They also allow website managers to make better decisions based on the information provided. It can lead to increased customer satisfaction, which helps your conversions. You don’t have to guess how visitors interact with your content with website heatmaps. Using accurate data and metrics, you can optimize conversion rates accordingly.

Create insightful heatmaps with FullSession

Heatmaps are a great way to get inside the mind of your customers. The way they interact with different elements and pages will give you a unique insight into what you need to improve and what’s already working.

FullSession customer experience suite allows you to keep track of important business metrics and gives you actionable advice on how to improve them. You can watch users’ actions and replay sessions to diagnose why they didn’t buy your product or service. And the interactive heat map feature shows you which elements get the most attention.

Sign up for free to discover how FullSession can help you provide your customers with an unforgettable experience.

FAQ

Where do I find a free website heatmap?

You can try to find free website heatmaps through Google. However, it’s important to know that free heatmaps are usually slow, come with a limited number of sessions, and don’t offer additional behavior analysis tools. Instead, we recommend signing up for more comprehensive services like FullSession, where you’ll enjoy heatmaps but also session recording and customer feedback features. Sign up for free to learn more about your website visitors with FullSession.

Will heatmaps slow down my website?

That depends on the service provider of choice. Free website heatmaps are notorious for being glitchy and slowing down websites dramatically. However, dedicated services like FullSession offer interactive heatmaps that don’t affect website performance while providing you with comprehensive CX analysis.

Why do we use heat maps?

A website heat map can quickly show you the elements that interest your customers most, which allows you to evaluate potential improvements. You can examine elements that are successful or unsuccessful and make necessary changes. Heat maps are an essential tool for optimizing websites.

Who uses heat maps?

Heat maps are so great because they are versatile. While most marketers and business owners associate heat maps with UX, the truth is that even scientists use them. Drone detection systems use heat maps to display RF coverage. In biological sciences, scientists use them to reflect gene expressions. Lastly, business owners use them to discover customers’ habits and improve their online presence.

What does a heat map show?

A heat map shows a visual representation of your customers’ activities when browsing your website. You will see a block with a diverging color palette with cool and warm colors when you open a heatmap. The warmer section colors tell you which parts of the page users like and interact with the most, while cooler colors showcase page sections and elements that customers ignore or don’t interact with enough.

 

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