With the ultra-competitive market these days, businesses have to use every tool in their arsenal to ensure that they keep up with consumer demands and preferences. One of the primary factors you should track is how people behave on your website.
As a marketer, you know that merely knowing how many visitors a website has garnered for a specific period doesn’t really give a holistic view on the success of your campaigns. That figure will only be significant when you have additional information that supplements your findings.
Your website provides a wealth of information on your customers’ interests, so it’s imperative that you monitor how people are interacting with it. An effective way to do so is through heatmaps, which utilizes data visualization to make analysis more accurate and easier to consume.
Heatmaps: Making Sense of User Behavior
In digital marketing, a heatmap is a visual chart that gives you an idea of web visitors’ activity on your website. Basic traffic analytics show how many users visit a particular page over a period of time. To supplement this data, these heat maps allow you to easily visualize visitors’ flow in your website and understand where most of your conversions come from (or don’t).
It can show you which sections visitors navigate over or scroll past. Basically, the point of this tool is to provide information on which areas garner more attention from potential and current customers.
Heatmaps are named as such because of its color-coded nature. A red or “hot” color on a page indicates that the area gets more interaction. The hues then move toward the “colder” end of the spectrum, with the color blue showing portions that receive less activity. This type of graph is effective due to its intuitiveness since you’re already familiar with the warm-to-cool color system.
More precisely, it’s a chart where each box represents a point on the X-axis and the size of the box is inversely proportional to the viewing time for that point on the Y-axis. They’re used in many forms of analytics but most often are maximized to reveal user behavior in a website and track clicks and conversions.
Visibility of these data in the user interface increases the usability of a website by showing who visited the page, when, and what they were doing while they were there. It’s easy to determine which particular components of your website users view most frequently.
The Value of Data Visualization
Heat maps clearly reveal what users do while they are on your site so you can optimize content, architecture, and content design to target these behaviors and improve conversion rate, even for your e-commerce site. For instance, if most visitors to your sales page only view the left navigation in a vertical direction then you should make changes to the right navigation, such as adding navigational shortcuts or promotional banners, to make it more noticeable to the visitor. Designing an effective layout that targets the most common behavior will increase the conversion rate.
Visitors will be more likely to convert if they find what they are looking for faster and with more ease. This increases the likelihood that they will open the sales page and make a purchase, both of which increase the likelihood of completing transactions as well as improving your search engine rankings.
When Google released their data visualization tool called Googleheat, it was immediately successful because not only did it allow users to see the data visually, but it allowed them to analyze the data to understand how specific changes affected the website experience. This was valuable information that helped businesses figure out what changes to make and why. The same thing can be done for your business website, if you apply heat maps to understand your visitor’s data and behavior.
What Kinds of Heatmaps are There?
There are many different kinds of heatmaps, and they provide a great way for marketers to understand how the response to their website may change over time, as well as being useful in identifying how users perceive the website’s layout, user experience, and so forth. A heat map is essentially just another graphical representation, and although they can be somewhat intimidating at first, they aren’t difficult to understand once you learn how to interpret them.
There are even tools out there that will help you draw your own heatmap so that you can identify which aspects of your website need attention and which areas do not. These tools are very helpful and should certainly be used by any webmaster who wishes to understand more about what makes their website appealing to their potential customers.
Here are the major types of heatmaps:
This is actually the most widely used heatmap in SEO circles. It shows links to a page that have been clicked on, so when the mouse hovers over that link, the color of the heatmap will change.
The best use of links in heatmaps is using them as a way to show different insights about the incoming links that a webpage may have. You can use this with your scroll map tools to highlight the most clicked on links on your site or even your index page.
Link heatmaps can also be combined with other types of heatmaps such as the scroll and click map types. Link heat mapping is very helpful for SEO consultants who want to reveal the natural linking patterns of a page and can show the content relevancy of incoming links to help search engine algorithms determine the relevance of a page and what keywords are used in the anchor text of a link.
There’s the simple heat map that shows the number of clicks, in percentage, to a certain element on your site. You want to make use of this heatmap so that you can get a good idea of what portion of your audience clicks on particular links.
For example, the landing page of your site might have a lot of clicks per page. That page could contain a lot of ads, or it could redirect people to other pages of your website, where they’ll spend more time. By monitoring the clicks, you can find out which parts of your site are appealing to visitors and make changes to your website accordingly. This is especially useful for landing page optimization.
There’s also the “click by location” heatmap. With this type, you’ll have a great idea of where your audience is clicking on each of your links. Each individual click corresponds to a point on the heatmap, and you’ll know exactly where your visitors are clicking on your links.
Click maps are extremely popular for websites that display text or other images. You can also use this tool for tracking user movement within your site as well. It allows you to track where your visitors have initially clicked on your site. By analyzing where they have been clicking on your page, you can use this information to improve the content that your visitor will see and to implement methods of making your pages more engaging.
Scroll heatmaps utilize different colors to visually depict how deep down a web page your visitors have scrolled to. When you hover over a particular scroll area on the heatmap, you’ll see what percentage has actually scrolled to that specific location. This makes it very useful to determine whether or not there is significant content situated too far down on the page, as well as whether or not your visitors are being encouraged to scroll up or down.
For example, if you are using a navigation bar or menu to present products or services to your customers, it may be a good idea to place a heatmap somewhere above or below this content. This lets you tell immediately whether or not someone is clicking on the content to try and find what they were searching for.
Conversion Boost through Heatmaps
Whether you are looking for a way to optimize your current website, or you have an upcoming site that you want to get the most out of, it can be useful to learn about heat mapping. This technique can be used for many things from user testing to improving conversion rates on your website.
Here are five tips to help you get more out of this important tool:
Understand the Benefits of Colors
One of the most important things to realize when working with heat maps is that they provide an easy way to see the different colors that users may respond best to. Because of this, it is important that you include colors in the heat map, but make sure you do not drown them out too much. By coloring in areas, you can easily tell what type of user is being shown. For example, dark blues and black will generally not be as effective as lighter colors.
Use High-resolution Maps
Even though you may be using a low resolution image, you should still make every effort to improve it. Low resolution images tend to show inconsistencies across the site. On the other hand, a high resolution heat map will show a clear picture of individual pages and how they are linked. This can give great insight on how you can improve your conversion rates. Make sure you test each image at various resolutions and try to keep all types of content the same on each page so that you can focus on individual pages.
Try to Match Keywords To Content
When people are looking for something on your site, the last thing they want to do is scroll down to the bottom of a page to find what they’re looking for. By matching keywords to content, you can make it easier for them to find what they’re looking for, placing it where it’s easy to see upon landing on a page. One way to do this is by finding other related pages on your site and including these links in your heat map.
Heatmaps are valuable tools for getting insights on how to boost the conversion rate of your website. Its primary use is to help you understand user behavior by tracking their activity on your site. The data you collect with this tool enables you to improve specific parts of your domain for better conversions and, ultimately, increase profits for your business.