What Is Heatmap and How to Use It on Your Website?

Riya Shah Riya Shah
Aug 2, 2022 7 min read
What Is Heatmap and How to Use It on Your Website?

Whether you're creating a new landing page, redesigning your website, or realigning your content to get better conversion rates, you need an optimization roadmap. Without having access to it, you'd just make random changes and see what's working.

While analytics hint at how your users interact, numbers don't tell you everything about your website visitors.

If you want to know the WHY and WHAT behind those interactions, you need to analyze website heatmaps for your site.

In this article, we'll explain what heatmaps are and how to use them for your website.

What Is a Heatmap?
Purpose of a Website Heatmap
Types of Heatmap
Ways to Use Heatmaps on Website Effectively

What Is a Heatmap?

A heatmap is a data visualization of how visitors engage and interact with different elements displayed on your website. It gives you a two-dimensional color-coded visual of how users interact and offers insights into user behavior.

Heatmaps are an excellent method of converting user behavior data into a deep analysis of how the visitors engage with your website pages. It analyzes:

  • Scroll-through rate
  • Elements that gets clicked on
  • Elements that gets ignored
  • Elements that gets read

This information will help you identify how the layout and UX design impact a user's actions and how to improve or optimize them.

Purpose of a Website Heatmap

Say, as a DTC website owner, your website attracts a thousand visitors per day, with about 50 customers buying your products. For the marketing strategist, in order to understand why the remaining 950 visitors didn’t convert, they need to analyze the reasons that led the customer to bounce off the website.

These reasons can be difficulty in navigating through the website, vague product descriptions, not being able to sign up quickly, etc. But, in order to pinpoint a reason, you need access to an efficient analytics tool like website heatmaps.

The main purpose of heatmaps is the quantitative representation of website users' clicks, scrolling patterns, mouse movements, the spot of physical eye glaze and its duration, and more.

A heatmap also helps identify the demographics of your visitors. This way, you can segment your visitor base and make the relevant changes accordingly.

When optimized properly, heatmaps assist in redefining the overall page design to convince visitors to take the desired action.

Types of Heatmap

Generated through click-tracking software, heatmaps are formed by converting the user's mouse clicks and cursor movements into a color-coded, 2D overlay visual.

Here are five widely used types of heatmaps, each of them designed to track different types of data.

Scroll maps

A scroll map depicts the point at which your visitors leave the website as they skim and scroll through the content.

Scroll heatmap
Scroll heatmap

It shows the percentage of Scroll Depth, allowing you to figure out the sections where the visitors spend their maximum time.

Additionally, it's absolutely normal when a few users make it to the end of the page since their retention span is low. To acknowledge this, take a peek into these insights, alter your content, and place the CTA button strategically in the first half of your page.

Mouse tracking heatmaps

Mouse tracking heatmaps show the pattern of how users read and navigate a page. It highlights the areas where the visitors hover over the most.

Mouse tracking heatmap
Mouse tracking heatmap

Through the mouse-tracking heatmap, you can determine which part of your website gains the maximum attention and which part gets neglected often through the visual depiction.

However, keep in mind that a visitor can also hover over a particular section for a long time because they find it very engaging or too challenging to understand in a shorter span. This makes the correlation between the visitor's mouse movement and what they're actually looking at a bit cluttered.

Click maps

Click Heatmap
Click Heatmap

Click maps displays where your user clicks the most out of the entire website. It offers you the in-depth analysis of on-page user engagement, effectiveness of images, links, and click-on buttons on your website.

Visual depiction of the clicking data on CTA buttons isn't the only possible use of click maps. They also help you scout the information on if there is an image/text you visitors expected to click on but couldn't because it isn't clickable.

Eye tracking heatmaps

Eye tracking heatmap
Eye tracking heatmap

As the name suggests, eye tracking heatmaps measure your visitors' eye movement and their positioning. It analyzes the duration of his/her eye movement stagnation and signals the company about the attractiveness of that particular section.

Typically studied in labs using special tracking devices, eye tracking heatmaps can be conducted via webcams through the infrared ray reflection model.

However, eye-tracking heatmaps are more complex(and expensive) to set up because of the software and technology involved. And it is also difficult to generate eye-tracking heatmaps for a more extensive set due to its high expense.

AI-generated attention heatmaps

AI-generated attention heatmaps visually represent user attention data created by a software algorithm.

These heatmaps show which areas of the visual materials people are more likely to see. Due to its predictive analysis based on the visitor's attention span, it represents the data with 95% accuracy.

Finally, since you don't need to gather the data yourself, this is a cheaper option for marketers to analyze a potential client's website and gather insights from it.

Ways to Use Heatmaps on Website Effectively

Identify distracting elements

Heatmaps will potentially identify the elements of your websites with the highest and lowest interactions. With this observation, you can remove those distracting elements so visitors can enter the funnel seamlessly and increase the conversion rate.

Heatmaps will also tell you how your content needs to be placed in comparison to the graphics so that the visitors understand your offerings and the visuals grab their attention instead of over-showing the content.

For instance, if you blend both content and images on your website in the same proportion, people might get distracted and focus more on the image. This leads to an increase in bounce rate as the visitors didn't heed the content.

Identify frustration clicks

Rage clicks/frustration clicks occur when a user repeatedly clicks on an element, but it isn't responding as per his expectations. This induces frustration amongst the users.

No immediate response makes the user switch to a different site as the present site serves no purpose after that. So, it is essential to identify these problem clicks and avoid user frustration.

A heat map identifies these rage clicks and shows you a common click pattern of your audience. By looking at this insight, you can spot the rage-click areas, fix the bugs, and modify the design to make it look more presentable.

Improving readability and content length

According to Nielson, visitors spend more than 80 per cent of their time without rolling the screen and only 20 per cent focus on the content below that. This means you must illustrate all the critical and eye-catching information above the fold to maximize its effectiveness.

Scroll maps are a savior for this. They give us an interesting insight into whether the content is being seen or ignored, and it also shows up to which point the visitor scrolls before leaving.

If there is too much fluff in your content or if it doesn't indicate a proper action your visitor needs to take, they will jump off and visit another site. Make sure your content is simple and precise, getting the reader hooked until the end.

Streamlining page design by replacing dead elements

Who doesn't want their website to look all fancy and attractive? But, this comes at a cost.

Due to high resolution, most web elements lower the website performance in terms of loading page sheets. It is better to keep a handful of those elements the audience is bothered about and scrap the remaining.

Heat Maps identifies those 'dead elements' that receive no attention, and you can consider replacing them with a more effective option and optimizing your web page design.

Comprehend the user intent

Heatmaps provide you with a great chance to grasp how your visitors behave. With that, you can determine which part of the page your visitors focus on the most and what makes them stick to that.

To amplify the user intent, you need to adjust your website according to the menu, filter options your visitors interact with, and place them first to maximize the user intent.

This will amplify the engagement and reduce the bounce rates, ensuring that the visitors enter the last stage of the funnel and buy your offerings.

Conclusion

Now that you know what a website heatmap is and how to use it effectively, utilize them to make informed, data-based decisions for updating, or designing your website.

Before doing that, understand the data each heat map represents and choose a suitable heatmap. Make sure you don’t get overwhelmed with the varied information a heatmap represents. Just stick to your KPIs and analyze your website performance accordingly.

FAQs

How do I use heatmap for my website?

You can use heatmap on your website to understand how your users are engaging with your website.

What type of data is best visualized with a heatmap?

If you want to display locations or targets a heatmap is a great way to visualize it.

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