Heatmaps – What are They and What Can I Learn from Them?

By Tinuiti Team

Sometimes it’s easier to process information by looking at graphics. Viewing graphics helps us realize the essence of something quicker than viewing text or numbers. But this isn’t to say text or numbers don’t matter – they do! Besides, a picture is worth a thousand words. Fortunately, you can take advantage of this famous saying by utilizing heat maps in your very own Conversion Rate Optimization testing.

Heat maps are known as visual representations of data. You can use them to track mouse or trackpad movements and quantify the activity of visitors to your website. Overall, it’s about transforming text and numbers into graphics that are visually appealing. To visualize what we’re saying, imagine you are watching a weather forecast shared by one of your favorite meteorologists.

It’s the middle of summer, and she is speaking about the varying intensity of heat across the country. In the process, she uses a heat map to graphically display what can be shown with numbers. Allows you to better understand what’s happening on a large scale, right? Put to use the same practice and you’ll be able to quickly draw user behavior insights within seconds of identifying hot spots on a heatmap. These takeaways are extremely valuable when it comes to formulating and strengthening your tests’ hypotheses. Here are the three popular types you can get started with!

Hover Maps

They show areas where visitors have hovered and moved their mouse on the screen. Using them makes it convenient to figure out where users concentrate their activity on a web page without clicking anything.

It’s ideal to visualize this data regarding how users interact with content. Are they truly engaging with it? If so, you know they’re interested in what you shared.

To excel at conversion rate optimization with these maps, compare hover engagement with click engagement. Do this for click-based elements of your web pages. If you find there is a high hover rate over any CTA, but a low click rate is evident, this may mean people are hesitant to click your CTA.

Click Maps

They are an aggregate of all mouse-click data in certain spots of each web page. This method is very useful for checking the success rate of CTA clicks. Using them for visualizing the success rate of form sign-ups is also especially good. We applied this practice to a past client.

And it was tied to the name area of a final submit form CTA. We found a high drop-off rate in clicks among users in this area. The username and password requirements for the CTA happened to be confusing.

Discovering new areas to add links on your web pages is also possible with these maps. A high click rate in an area with no links suggests users are expecting a certain action when they click there. Adding in one or more links can turn out to be a profitable conversion rate optimization tactic.

Scroll Maps

They show how far a user has scrolled down a web page. These maps show the drop-off – areas above the fold get 100 percent of traffic and tends to drop off significantly as the page goes on. Also, using them can help you determine where the average fold for the majority of your visitors is.

Keep in mind that we all work on different screen resolutions. Some users may not realize there is more below the page from the false bottom, leading them to not scroll down.

Understanding the most important elements on a web page, such as primary CTAs, is possible with these maps. They can indicate the best places to put them for conversion rate optimization. Make sure they’re placed where 100 percent of users above the fold interact.

Each version of heat maps is much more valuable when used with the other versions. To upgrade your conversion rate optimization techniques, See How to Convert: Top 10 CRO Tips.

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