Design, Understand and Convert Better By Using Heat Maps

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Published on Jan. 29, 2014
Design, Understand and Convert Better By Using Heat Maps

Why aren’t people converting?!

It can be incredibly frustrating for any startup to see this happening.  You work hard (really hard) to get people to come to your site. SEO, SEM, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, you finally get them all humming and driving people to the site, but…then…nothing.  No movement down the funnel, no signups, no conversions, no revenue.

What’s wrong with these people?! Don’t they get it?!

As long as the message that you used to get people to the site is consistent with what your site actually is, (you can’t promise free kittens, then take people to a site that sells windows) people probably do get it – they just don’t get your site.

Why don’t they get it? One of the best ways to tell is by setting up a Heat Map.  


Why set up a heat map?

You’re reading the words of one of the biggest fans of Google Analytics there is.  I live in Google Analytics and continue to discover new ways to find valuable and relevant information to help inform me on where there are bright spots in marketing strategies.  Sadly, however, this is not enough to get the whole story.  The data from Google Analytics is very good at telling you the “what” of the story: this is where people came from, these are the pages they viewed, this is how long they stayed, this is where you lost them.  The data from heat maps, on the other hand, will help tell you the “why”.

Have a call-to-action at the bottom of a blog post that’s not getting clicked on?  A heat map can show you that people aren’t even scrolling down to see it.

Wonder why no one is clicking on the link you placed below an image?  A heat map can show that people were trying to click on the image itself.

Google Analytics will show how people move through your site, a heat map will show how people move through your page.

How do you set up a heat map?

Setting up a heat map is similar to other analytics tools.  It just requires a snippet of code that you place on your pages.  There are many heat map tools out there, so I listed a couple of options below:

Crazy Egg – One of the most popular heat map tools on the market.  Full feature set, good design and usability.  They offer a one month free trial, then their plans start at $9/mo after that.

Mouseflow – Uses a freemium model which varies based on the amount of recorded sessions.  It’s more expensive and doesn’t have a free-trial (though it does offer a money-back guarantee).  It has a lot of additional features to help you understand your audience like time on site, bounce rate, etc.

Click Density – Claims to be the original heat map tool and is known for its ease of implementation.  It’s an extremely straightforward and easy tool to get up and running.  It doesn’t have some of the features that Mouseflow does, but it also has a 30-day free trial for you to try it out.

ClickTale – This one definitely provides the best value if you don’t drive a ton of traffic to your site.  Their free version is pretty comprehensive – giving you a lot of great data such as click-thrus and maps that monitor scrolling as well.  The free plan goes up to 5,000 recordings, and is a good place to get started.

As with all analytics platforms, there’s always value in simply setting it up, but you have to make sure that you really understand what the data is telling you.  Many people will draw conclusions from pages that only had 10 views and move forward with insufficient information.  Make sure that you follow analytics best practices to get the most out of Google Analytics, heat maps, and other analytics platforms that you may be using.

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