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Web analytics: improve your reporting with heat maps

Posted by KingEclient on 4 March, 2016

For some time it has been common to find heat maps included in web analytics reports. These maps complement the basic information offered in a simple metrics report and provide a quick and highly visual demonstration of the behaviour of users who have visited and browsed the web in question.

 

What are these maps like?

It depends on the tool and the plan contracted. There are highly specific and even personalized maps available, but the most basic maps are as follows:

  • Click maps. This type of map shows which areas of the website have received the most clicks and which have received the least. This is a highly visual way of understanding user click behaviour. Example of Inspectlet:

 

  • Advanced click map. This is another kind of map which breaks down each click into a number of different parameters. These include page reference, keyword, country, devices used, operating system, browser, time and day of the week, screen resolution and even time spent on each link once clicked. It is fairly technical and more difficult to interpret. Example of Crazyegg:

 

  • Scroll map. This map indicates which areas of the page are scrolled on. The warmer a colour (red, yellow, orange), the higher the number of users who have seen that area. The colder the colour (green, blue), the lower the number of visitors. The upper part of a website is obviously hotter than the lower parts. The warmer the lower part of the page, the more attractive it is and the more the users like the content. Example of Mouseflow:

 

  • Movement map: In general, the majority of people move the mouse cursor in the same direction as their eyes. Therefore the movement of the mouse is a way of analyzing what a user would be looking at. This type of map is thus very similar to an eye-tracking map, with the added advantage that users don’t know they are being analysed and so their interaction is more natural. Example of Luckyorgange:

 

Are there many tools?

There are a number of companies on the market who offer heat maps. The majority have a version which is free for a limited period and there are different payment plans starting at a reasonable rate. The more expensive tools will have more functionalities as well the capacity to analyse more users. Below we list five tools which are free to try out:

  1. Mouseflow
  2. Crazyegg
  3. Clicktale
  4. Lucky Orange
  5. Inspectlet

 

So….which is the best?

There is no one best tool. Ultimately, it depends on one’s own analysis objectives, the budget available, and how easy it is to understand the data provided. We would recommend trying them all and choosing the one which is easiest for you to use and which gives you the most information.

What is clear is that heat maps offer great added value to a metrics report. The information provided makes it possible to analyse web user behaviour much more effectively and to take decisions which will increase user conversion.

Image of Mouseflow

Written by Héctor Ibáñez

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