Website Heatmaps

What is Website Heatmap?

Website heatmap is a data visualization tool that helps businesses understand how particular pages on their website are performing.

In simpler terms, website heatmap is a graphical representation of data in the form of a diagram or a map, with different colors denoting different data sets and values

Website heatmaps use a warm-to-cold color scheme to show a web page’s performance, with the warmest color indicating highest visitor engagement and the coolest indicating lowest visitor engagement.

an example of a heatmaps colour chart
Heatmap Color Scheme

It uses colors to indicate the intensity of visitor engagement on different sections of a page.

If you want to figure out which section of a webpage has the highest visitor engagement, where visitors are clicking the most, if or not visitors are clicking on the CTA, whether they reach the bottom of the fold, and many such visitor behavior insights, website heatmap is the way to go.

Website heatmaps gather all the data on how visitors behave on your webpage and help you make informed optimization decisions. They eliminate the confusion caused by numbers and represent data in an easy-to-understand manner.

Types of Website Heatmap

There are 5 main types of website heatmap: Heatmap, Clickmap, Scrollmap, Mouse Tracking Heatmap, and Eye Tracking Heatmap.

Heatmap

Heatmaps help you gather visitor behavior insights so you can use that data to customize your website to suit visitors’ expectations. It visually represents how various pages on your website are performing in terms of delivering good user experience and answering your visitors’ queries.

Clickmap

Clickmaps indicate which parts of your webpage are clicked on the least and most. Apart from visually representing which elements of your web page are most popular, clickmaps also help identify navigational gaps on your webpage.

Using clickmaps, you can track clicks on:

  • Images: Track clicks on the images on your webpage to see which ones visitors are clicking on most, and then add relevant links to them as well as place them according to your visitors’ expectations. Imagine a scenario where when browsing through your eCommerce store, visitors increasingly clicked on the non-hyperlinked product images expecting to be redirected to a page with product descriptions, but instead, the image took them nowhere because it was not linked to any other page. This may lead to confusion and create friction. With the help of clickmaps, you can identify such patterns and make data-backed changes.
  • Links: Use clickmaps to identify where visitors expect certain links to be and place those links according to your visitors’ expectations. Let’s say for instance, after setting up clickmaps on one of your pages and running it for a set period of time you find that after browsing through different pages, to go back to the homepage, your visitors mostly clicked on a section or element which does not have any links to the homepage. This indicates that your page’s structure does not match your visitors’ expectations, and it is time to change it.
  • CTA: Use clickmaps to see if visitors are clicking on the main CTA or are getting distracted by other elements. Identify all such distractions and place your CTA on the most popular part of your webpage.
  • Navigation: Check your website’s navigability using clickmaps and improve user experience (UX). For instance, on clicking the ‘continue’ button on the cart page, your visitors may expect to go back to the exact product page they were on before adding a product to the cart. But contrary to your visitors’ expectations, the ‘continue’ button takes them to the next step in the checkout process. This means that your website’s navigation does not match your visitors’ expectations and needs to be modified to match them.

Scrollmap

Scrollmap is a visual representation of your visitors’ scrolling behavior. It indicates how far users scroll down a page as well as which sections they spend the most time in. It tells you the number of visitors who scrolled through to the bottom of a page, visitors who scrolled through 50% of a page but not 100%, or where most visitors abandoned a page, etc.

Tip: Based on scrollmap report, place the most critical elements of the web page on sections where visitors spend the most time.

Scrollmaps do not just indicate data with various colors but also reflect percentages that are given to make you aware of the number of users who moved further down on your webpage and those who didn’t. They help identify important content that is being ignored.

Use scrollmaps to:

  • Calculate the ideal length of a webpage beyond which visitors don’t scroll down, identify whether or not visitors reach the content below the fold, and spot false floor or false bottom.
  • Identify where visitors are spending the most time and where they are losing interest.
  • Identify the most suitable area where key information or elements, like CTAs, should be placed.

Mouse Tracking Heatmap

Mouse Tracking Heatmap (also commonly known as Hover Maps, Attention Maps, Move Maps) indicates areas over which visitors hover their cursor the most.

You can use mouse tracking heatmaps to:

  • Identify which sections visitors hang around the most in and then place important content, primary CTA, necessary advertisements, and so on in those sections.
  • Gather insights on where a visitor is looking while browsing through your web page by analyzing where their mouse pauses and where they hover past at a faster speed.

One interesting fact is that visitors often tend to hover over areas which they either find engaging and interesting or they are taking longer to understand because the messaging may be confusing or difficult to understand. This is why mouse tracking heatmaps can help identify areas on which visitors are spending the most and least time.

However, it is important to remember that the above may not always be true, especially for online news sites. This is because of something called ‘parkers’. Parkers are visitors who leave their cursor in one spot irrespective of what they are reading, which section they are in, or if they are reading at all. Overlooking the possibility of parkers affecting your mouse tracking heatmap data often increases the chances of data pollution. One way out of this is segmenting on the basis of time spent.

For instance, let’s assume that the article on your news site with the highest traffic has a read time of 6 minutes. Giving visitors an extra buffer of 4 minutes you can segment visitors to include only those users who spend less than 10 minutes on the page. This way, you not only include data of only those visitors and users who actually read the article in your analysis but also eliminate the risk of data pollution due to the presence of parkers.

Eye Tracking Heatmaps

Mouse tracking heatmap is often confused with eye tracking heatmap. Based on fixation length and the frequency of how many times an image is looked at by a visitor, eye tracking heatmaps represent the most attractive elements of a page for visitors in the form of “hot” and “cold” spots by tracking the movement of a visitor’s eyeballs.

Humans have a tendency to favor sight over any other sense and this is exactly what can come in handy for many businesses. For example, an eCommerce store can benefit a lot if they can figure out what visitors are looking at most when they come on their website. Knowing what sections catch the eye of a visitor most and identifying elements that can benefit from being placed in sections where eye interaction is most can help businesses make data-backed changes to their website that match visitor expectations. Eye tracking heatmaps are especially useful to ascertain how engaging certain images on a website are.

You can use eye tracking heatmaps to:

  • Identify where visitors are looking at most on your pages for information.
  • Identify if visitors’ gaze is being distracted by any element (visual or textual) on the page.
  • Track visitors’ gaze pattern to place all important content and images in the most attention-grabbing sections of the page.