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Turn Up The Heat With Heat Mapping

How would you like to be able to read your website visitor’s mind? No, I’m not suggesting you enlist the services of a psychic, or even a crystal ball.  I’m suggesting something far more scientific.  Heatmaps.

Heatmaps, what the heck are they?  They are aggregated reports that visually display what parts of a webpage are looked at, clicked on, focused on and interacted with.  The information can lead to further insights which can greatly increase your conversion rate.

Heatmapping services generally offer several different reports and maps that graph out your visitors interactions.

Mouse movement-  see where your visitors are moving their mouse while viewing your page.

Clicks– see everywhere your visitors click anywhere on your page including links, images, text, or that pretty blue background you are testing.

Scroll Reach– this shows the combined page scrolling which is based on the furthest position reached by the viewer .. Your page fold.  This will give you an idea on how many bail before reaching the fold.

Attention– this shows which specific areas the visitor viewed the most.

Why should you use the heat?

Now that you are armed with a general idea of what heat mapping is,  here are a few reasons why its imperative to implement them on your site.

Is the viewer distracted?

Your viewer is there for a reason (most likely).  Having a site riddled with distractions or excessive opportunities to leave makes it hard for the viewer to obtain what brought them to your site in the first place. Whether that be content, a service, or a product purchase.

By tracking the viewers mouse movements as well as their clicks, you will be able to better assess where your problem distraction areas are and optimize them for better conversions.

The other side of the coin of course would be the specific elements of your page that produce positive user engagement.  “Hey that kid on the blue bike really grabbed some user attention, let’s test more like that.”


Many popular services are now enabling users to simply select a portion of text, a photo, or both and with one click share it with their entire universe of Twitter followers.  While this isn’t strictly a heat mapping item, its a very close cousin and worth paying attention to in your efforts to learn exactly what matters to your user.

Heat up your content

This one comes from uber sharp marketing pro husband and he reports that its one of his neatest tricks.  Where ever you have long form content (articles, ebooks, white papers, etc) peruse the heat map results from said content and use these golden nuggets of engagement to craft super “tight” teasers, descriptions, or even a short video. Think 90 second trailer that sells the 90 minute movie.

Stay on top

We are an impatient bunch.  People will scroll down a page, but mosts attention spans are limited. The Nielsen Norman Group did a study regarding scrolling and attention of the average web user.  In this study they found that web users spend 80% of their time looking at information above the fold, allocating only 20% of their attention below the fold.

The most important material of your page should be above the fold.  Does that mean you should relocate that buy button from the bottom of your long form sales letter?  Maybe, however the short answer would be to possibly test a buy button at the top as well as one at the bottom.  In the same study, the amount of time a web user spent on the last element of the page increased significantly.

Pro tip

Run your heat map for at least a week.  That’s assuming your site gets ample amount of traffic for a valid test.  If your site gets less than 10,000 visits a month, allow your heat map to run at least 3-4 weeks.  Analyze. Then take action to optimize your site based on the viewer data.

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