Do you ever pour over your Google Analytics page and think you are not getting the whole story? You can clearly see what pages are popular and where your traffic is coming from, but are you able to tell how individual pages are perceived by the visitor? Numbers alone won’t be able to give you these answers, but heat maps can.


Optimizing conversion rates is key for any online business. Popular high-level techniques to increase conversions include analyzing user intent, improving marketing funnels and improving SERP positioning.


Those techniques work for improving a site behind the scenes, but it doesn’t help improve the user’s experience when they are on individual webpages. When looking at increasing webpage conversions, you need to first understand how the average user interacts with the page. Does the layout make navigation easy, or are visitors easily frustrated and leave quickly? Heat maps can provide that data.


In today’s post, we explore two types of heat maps available and how they can help improve website conversion rates.


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What Are Heat Maps?


According to Optimizely heat maps are graphical representations of data used to show user behaviour on specific webpages. They can provide valuable information on what webpage areas resonate with users and which do not.


The data obtained from a heat map analysis is displayed using a color-coded system. The typical data displayed by heat maps includes what site visitors look at on a webpage, what they click on, and what they scroll through ().



Types of Heat Maps

While it is possible to use heat maps for many applications, there are two common types used to help improve webpage conversions and user experience.


Scroll Maps

Scroll maps have two purposes: 1) to show how far visitors are scrolling down a webpage, and 2) to show what areas of a webpage they are engaging with.


They also help determine where content should be placed on a webpage. One study found that a webpage’s “fold” plays a significant role in what visitors see and what they don’t. Case in point, they found that visitors typically spent 80.3% of their time above the fold, while they only spent 19.7% below the fold.


This insight is very telling as it means that call to action buttons and other important information should be placed above the fold if they are to be noticed.


Heat maps can also provide a lot of data on what visitors find interesting and what they don’t. If a visitor scrolls all the way through a page, the content provided is engaging and provides useful information. However, if visitors are only scrolling an eight of the way down the page, this is a good indication that some content and/or layout changes are required.


Heat maps can provide a lot of data on what visitors find interesting and what they don’t. Click To Tweet


Click Maps

Click maps are like scroll maps, but instead of showing the scrolling behaviour of visitors, it shows where visitors most often click on a webpage and where they do not. These are both valuable pieces of information for enhancing your webpage.


Sometimes there is a disconnect between what a webpage designer thinks important and what users think is important. Click maps can help bridge this gap.


For example, a designer might think the company’s history is very important so a menu button for this topic is placed at the beginning of a menu bar. But if a click map shows that no one is clicking on it, then this tells the designer that this menu item should be moved further down the menu list and a more popular menu button can take it’s place.


Alternately, knowing where visitors click is also telling. Knowing what links are clicked often helps reaffirm their use, but what about locations that are clicked but aren’t designed to be clicked?


For example, say you are selling a portable air conditioner. On your webpage, you use icon/text combinations to promote the phrases “quiet operation” and “energy efficient”. Theses icon/text combos are used to highlight the product’s features but that’s it. But what if the heat map shows that many people are clicking on these icons? This information is telling you that visitors are interested in these features and want to know more about these specific topics.



Final Thoughts

Heat maps are useful tools to help increase a site’s conversion rate. They provide an in-depth look at user receptivity on a webpage level that cannot easily be seen with Google Analytics alone. The more information you have about how users interact with your site, the more informed you will be about the content and layout used. By removing barriers and making a site user-friendly, conversions will increase.




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