In the world of digital marketing heat maps are a very powerful tool, but most people outside of our industry, à la our clients, don’t know what they even are. Most people see heat maps all the time but maybe don’t realize what it is they are looking at. Think about watching the weather channel, the weather forecast map is a heat map! You’ve probably never thought of it that way though because you are so accustomed to it. So how do they apply to digital marketing?
What Exactly Is A Heat Map?
In literal terms, a heat map is a data analysis tool that uses color, just like a pie chart or graph uses size and shape. In terms of digital marketing, marketers use it to analyze what parts of a website are getting the most attention. Areas with thick red colors are the areas that users are bringing their cursor to most often.
Heat maps are fantastic tools for analyzing the functionality and efficiency of a website. If a website is a good website with an efficient design then users will be bringing their cursors to the areas of the website that the owners want them to go to. This typically is an area with crucial information or one that drives conversions. The goal of a good website is to properly lead users to the areas of the website you want them to go. This means putting those places in the areas that users naturally tend to look on a screen. Using a heat map you can figure out where those places are, and if a website is performing bad it tells you what you need to change.
We’ve talked about this concept before in one of our web design spotlight articles where we talked about the F-Layout. There are areas of a website that users naturally tend to look right away in an F-shaped pattern, as they would reading a book or a newspaper. Aligning your website design to abide by these same principles is a good way to start. You can then use heat maps to tweak and customise certain things for better performance.
What All Can You Learn?
Crazyegg.com put together a super useful list of all the different things heat maps can help you learn about your website!
You can learn:
- Which headlines draw visitors in and make them click.
- Which images attract attention and what people do about it — you’ll be surprised how many try to click an unlinked image.
- What distracts visitors from your core content (Many first-time heat map users are shocked at how differently their users navigate the site compared with their expectations.)
- Whether visitors see your email opt-in box (Low opt-ins and click-throughs can be due to something as simple as opt-in boxes that don’t stand out. Heatmaps make that clear and obvious so you can fix it.)
- Whether your navigation is working (Do users know it’s there?)
- If people can locate search options easily.
- Whether visitors are reading your content and how much of it.
- Where to place the content that’s most important to your visitor’s goals.
- Where most users look on a page.
- The difference between what men and women, older and younger audiences, and people from different geographical locations want from content.
- Which images are being seen, how users are interacting with them, and how to use them more effectively.
Heat maps are also great for A/B testing different aspects of your website! It is always good to keep fine tuning things about your site. A/B testing is what you do to find those tiny little things that can make your website that little bit better, which can make all the difference when it comes to conversions.
Heat maps will allow you analyze these small changes side by side and show you which design works better for conversions. For example, maybe the contact us button is clicked more on the top right of a certain page than it is when it is located at the bottom of the page. You can find this out through the use of heatmaps.
Can I Use Heat Maps?
Anyone can use heat maps! Literally any website in the world can utilize the benefits of heat maps. If you want to test the rigors of your website and see if there are areas to improve, there is no better time to start than now! There is so much more to analyzing the power of your website than just heat maps though! If you’re looking for something new and fresh for your businesses digital face, get in contact with us!