What is a Heat Map, How Useful Are They?

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If you are familiar with online marketing or run a website, you may have come across the term Heat Map when talking about optimising customer actions or while designing your site. A well-designed website makes it easy for the customer to look at products and buy them with minimal action.

But how do you figure out the placement of different sections to direct your customer’s attention? This is where a Heat Map can be useful.

Heat Maps track the user’s activity on a webpage. They track how the attention shifts from one section to another where it lingers, etc. It also identifies the hotspots and presents all this data in a visually appealing way.

There are several forms of Heat Maps: Hover maps, Click Maps, Attention Maps and Scroll maps.

Irrespective of which one you use, a sample size of at least 2000 page views is necessary to make the map useful.

A Hover Map shows where the customer placed their mouse when looking at the page. This is typically based on eye tracking studies and cannot be considered to be very accurate.

A Click Map tracks the click data in a visual format. A blue zone indicates a lower number of clicks while a red zone signifies a high click rate. This is very useful in optimising click-throughs.

For example, let’s say a picture is getting a lot of clicks, but it is not converting into sales. When a user clicks on the picture, he just sees a bigger image. If you link this picture to the sales page, each click will take the user through the sales funnel, improving sales opportunities.

It will also show you which of the navigation buttons get used most often and other neat little things that can help you optimise the customer experience.

A Scroll Map tells you how far the user got through the webpage. This is especially useful for long-form sales letters which work well when a user scrolls through all the sales material.

It will also help you prioritise your message.

An Attention Map tells you which area of your page gets the most attention. Armed with this information, you can either put your most valuable content in that section or place your call to action button in this place to optimise conversion. Attention maps are considered to be the most useful Heat Map as it tells you where your customers’ attention rests.

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