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7 Tips to Help you Decipher Heatmaps for Better Conversions

You can read more great content on the Invesp blog.

The wealth of data and insights we get using MarTech tools on the online visitors is pretty incredible. However, that data is only valuable if you are able to successfully decipher it.

Take heatmaps for instance.

To many marketers, heatmaps are attractive and colorful data documents that display graphically visitor movement throughout the page. In our experience over the past 11 years, many companies install heatmaps as well as all the latest MarTech softwares to get the latest visitor data off their website. But it can go two ways. Either they experience major analysis paralysis (too much data they don’t know where to begin), or there is no analysis and insights or takeaways given. Just the data and some high level general information.

With any MarTech software you install, you should be able to get significant ROI and insights into customer behaviors. Otherwise you’re better off removing that software because all it is doing is slowing down your site.

A note about MarTech softwares: There are tools that combine many technologies into one suite, which means, your data is in one place rather than with tens of different of companies. Additionally, with the suite of tools, your site won’t be bogged down with so many scripts from so many software companies. Finally, your data will be consistent. Take Figpii for example . It’s a tool that combines heatmaps, video recording, polling, testing, and more, all in one place.

Now to get back to the topic at hand: how to make the best out of heatmap data. At Invesp, we spill over heatmaps, because like with all site data, we incorporate findings and irregularities into our problem analysis and understanding of visitors and their site behaviors. So what are the tips and tricks to make the most out of heatmaps?

1. Heat Maps Help Gauge Effectiveness of Your Page Content

Eye-tracking and click maps will help you to determine which content on your page attracts the biggest attention or suffers from the lack of attention from your visitor.

Your CTA is only as good as the number of people who actually click on it. Heat mapping, and specifically a click map, will show you where visitors are clicking on your site, and in turn, you can assess the strength of your CTAs.

If you have an ad block that is important for you website monetization, you can use heatmaps to check if visitors actually notice it and click on it.

According to studies, we tend to browse text in an F-shaped pattern, which means we favor the left side of a page. It is here that you want to put your most relevant content or your calls-to-action.

Dennis Publishing is a great example. They used eye-tracking heat maps to determine that visitors mostly focus on the left-hand side of a page. The company decided to move their Google ad on their site, Carbuyer.co.uk, to the left pane from its initial position under the review text, and as a result, their conversion rate increased by just under 45%.

But what we caution our team members and any client once again: what works for one company and their visitors, doesn’t necessarily work for your own.

That’s why you need to determine the shopping and click patterns you see by your visitors. Based on what you see, you have the task of coming up with different hypotheses and testing against them.

2. Validate Page’s Color Scheme

The guys at techwyse tested a landing page with heat maps and found that color contrast is an essential element when it comes to guiding the visitor.

The team found that an informational and non-clickable element about pricing on a landing page gathers more attention when their color contrasts with the rest of the space. In other words, it draws attention away from the remainder of the page.

And this is critical. When you pour over heatmaps look at the clickable and non-clickable elements visitors respond to. Sometimes, you may find that they think a non-clickable item is actually clickable. In that case, maybe it’s worth considering making it more clearly not clickable or adding some sort of real CTA to direct them to where you anticipate they’d want to go.

If you are looking for ways to improve conversions, a slight makeover of your landing page can change the scanning patterns of visitors to ensure they get the most out of your message.

Image: http://thelandingpagecourse.com/

Note how the benefits of wine investments stand out on the above landing page? The image is blurred into the background whereas the text is solid and bold to garner attention.

3. Validate Effectiveness of Your Visuals

You might already know that images of the people attract more attention. Is enough just to have a image of a smiling person on your page?

Ask yourself, does that image work and are visitor’s noticing it? Based on popular data, many studies confirmed that based on where the image is looking visitor’s respond accordingly. Is that something you can pick up on your heatmaps.

Again it’s critical to keep in mind that what works for one site and one company, doesn’t necessarily work for all. That’s why your heatmap data is valuable. Validate the effectiveness of the visuals you have — do they direct users where you want them to go? Do visitors even notice them? Does the eye direction impact how visitors navigate?

Look at the below site. Notice how the woman’s eyes are slanting towards the text on the right that advertises some great specials? Makes you want to start buying, doesn’t it?

Image: www.thestreet.com

It’s also important to consider the person in the picture conveys emotion. This has been shown to have a massive impact on conversion rates. Social proof, in the form of images, often validates and persuades more effectively than text.

Studies have found that a person that conveys emotion has a far greater impact on conversions compared to a calm person looking at the call to action on the page (we’ll discuss calls to action in a moment).

The below image shows how eye tracking works and how we are drawn to where the person is looking, which is towards the call to action. However, the model also conveys the emotion of enticement and seduction at the thought of “waking up the red” in her hair!

Image: www.conversionvoodoo.com

When you put new visuals on your website or test the effectiveness of the old ones, use eye-tracking heatmaps to check if they actually giving clues to your visitors and make them perform actions on the page you want them to perform.

4. Put a Stop to Abandoned Carts

Since heat maps help you discover the common paths visitors use, including how quickly they navigate between areas on your site, you can figure out if your site is easily navigable or if visitors are left scratching their heads in confusion.

One particular insight is whether or not your visitors can easily find the products they want. By examining the time between clicks, the click patterns, and at which point in the process they abandon their carts, you can work towards decreasing abandonment while driving repeat business.

Take The North Face for example. The sporting goods apparel site noticed that their shopping cart page had an abundance of traffic, but the Checkout button was completely ignored. They turned to heat mapping to figure out what was going on.

The site had a promotional banner directly above their Checkout button which garnered more attention. So, they moved the button a little higher, and this solved the problem. The company sat back and enjoyed the conversions rolling in.

5. Watch Where You Put Your Content vs. Ads

Speaking of placement, heat mapping has offered some fascinating insight into the placement of ads vs. content. We know the internet is saturated with adverts, with people seeing more than 5,000 adverts per day. With this kind of clutter, we’ve had to train ourselves to sift through content and ads, and that means tuning out any web elements that appear as ads or the parts of a page where ads are usually placed — to many a marketer’s despair. This includes the inevitable banner ads that lie at the top of a page and block content to the left and right of the page.

In the below example, the heat map shows banner blindness with the yellow boxes representing banners, and the yellow and red areas representing where visitors read. Notice how the ad areas have received almost no attention from readers

Image: michaeldaehn.com

While we tend to block banner ads, you shouldn’t rule them out of your marketing campaigns completely. A well-placed banner with relevant content can be effective; you just want to avoid placing important content in the space of banner ads — especially conversion information, such as your calls-to-action.

6. Reduce Bounces with Optimized Content

Scroll map studies have determined that the fold does still have an impact on whether your content is viewed.

Scroll maps can help you understand where visitors to your site seem to be abandoning pages and you can, therefore, determine if your calls-to-action, opt-in box, and other conversion-related materials are placed above or below the point most users leave your pages.

Use the following information to help you:

  • Users spend almost 70% of their time looking to the left of a page
  • Users spend a whopping 80% of their time viewing content above the fold. While most users are savvy enough to scroll, they allocate a mere 20% of their attention to the area below the fold

Image: http://dallasmclaughlin.com/

In the above example of the Five Oh Seven site, the red section indicates that 100% of visitors to this site are seeing the above-the-fold information. But, notice how the gradient fades down to blue which indicates that a smaller number of visitors are scrolling all the way to the bottom of the site?

The average fold line is a good indication of what information should place above it. This is where you need to put your highest ticket items, value propositions, and essential information.

7. How Do Visitors React to Your Content?

Not every conversion relies on clicking on your call to action. A visitor could read your content about a sale and then click over to your sales catalog or products page. They didn’t have to do much, but the content got them looking.

Heat maps can tell you where visitor’s cursors hovers over and then you can deduce what content on your site garners the most interest.

In the below image, mouse tracking is used to show where visitor’s cursors stop the most or longest. In this case, it’s on the “Contact Us” tab and around the company’s contact information.

Image: http://seoblogtips.info/

There You Have It!

With heatmaps your are not blind anymore. You can actually see how your visitors behave on the page and disclose patterns that will help you to increase conversions. You shouldn’t stick to only one type on heatmap, include all of them in your heatmap data analysis to make it more comprehensive.

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You can also read more great content on the Invesp blog. Or, if you’re the visual type, find great content and information on our slideshare account and YouTube channel. Connect with us on Google+ and twitter. You can also sign-up for our amazing, all-in-one growth-hacking CRO tool absolutely FREE: Visit FigPii for access to our new testing engine, heatmaps, exit intent pop-ups, unlimited resources, and other great features.