Skip to main content


How to Use Heatmaps to Fix a Low Conversion Rate

Is your website’s conversion rate frustratingly low?

Luckily, like most Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) problems, a frustratingly low conversion rate can be studied and, with the right changes, turned around. Very low conversion rates are often the result of missed opportunities. Once you understand why your conversion rate is so low, then you can almost certainly find opportunities to improve it.

In this post, we explore four common causes of a low conversion rate that you can identify using heatmaps. We’ll also share strategies that you can use to turn each problem into a potential CRO opportunity.

Cause #1 – Your conversion path is difficult to follow

How easy is it to buy a product from your website? The most successful e-commerce stores have simple conversion paths that guide users almost subconsciously from browsing to buying.


If your conversion rate is lower than it should be, it might be caused by a conversion path that’s difficult for your visitors to follow. Analysing heatmap data on these key pages could reveal whether this is the case.

Look out for these heatmap indicators of a difficult conversion path:

  • Clicks on non-clickable elements such as images and descriptions
  • Long periods spent “hovering” on pages before clicking, which suggests uncertainty about what the next step is
  • Visitors not scrolling down far enough to see the call to action
  • Distracting elements on the page competing for attention with the call to action buttons
  • Clicks on your navigational menu from within the checkout – visitors should be focussed on moving forward to purchase, not in circles

How to fix a confusing conversion path:

A/B test a version of the problematic page(s) with a simpler, clearer layout. Your design should intuitively guide users to the next step in the conversion process – if it doesn’t, it’s lowering your conversion rate.

Cause #2 – Your call to action button isn’t as obvious as other page elements

How obvious is your call to action button? Your call to action button – no matter what colour, shape or size – should stand out from the rest of your page and be as identifiable and obvious as possible for users.

There are a number of ways heatmaps can help you identify if your call to action button stands out or not.

  • Scrollmaps can show if your call to action button is below the point that the majority of people scroll down to
  • Clickmaps on your product page can help identify which elements attract the most clicks. Is there something else that’s catching their eye rather than the call to action button?
  • Predictive eyetracking maps can also help indicate whether visitors might be ‘blind’ to your call to action button

How to fix an ineffective call to action button:

Split test an alternative page, and/or button, design. Depending upon what your heatmap research identifies as the opportunity, this could be testing a contrasting button colour, making it larger, using different graphics, changing the microcopy around the button, removing clutter around it, or moving your button to a more noticeable position on your page.

Cause #3 – Your website design is distracting visitors from your conversion goal

Is your website design too distracting? Sometimes, even the simplest of websites can distract users from your goal and reduce your conversion rate.

A classic example of this is Visual Website Optimizer’s “Free Trial” navigation button outperforming its much larger “Try It For Free” button in terms of clicks.


Despite the bigger button being in a more prominent position (and, you’d think far more obvious), it received a third fewer clicks than the small button in the navigation. Of course, in this example, the distracting element took visitors on broadly the same conversion path, but that may not be the case on your site.

Spotting distracting design elements using heatmaps is easy. Looking at clickmap data on your key pages, search for hotspots which are getting clusters of clicks. From “Sign In” buttons to navigational links, you might be surprised to find an element ‘stealing’ clicks from the button you want them to click.

How to fix a distracting website design

A/B test different variations of your website. By demoting, or removing, distracting elements, you should be able to significantly increase your conversion rate.

Cause #4 – Your checkout form is too difficult for users to complete

Does your e-commerce website have cart abandonment issues? According to the Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is 68%. Whilst you can never expect 100% of users to complete their purchase, a cart abandonment rate of 70% or more is a serious indicator that there’s something wrong with your checkout form.

One of the most prevalent causes of cart abandonment is an overly complicated checkout form, or one which asks for unnecessary information that visitors don’t understand why you need to know.

Identifying a confusing checkout form is easy using mouse movement maps. There’s an 86% correlation between mouse movement and eye movement, so you can see with some certainly where your visitors are having problems completing your form.

How to fix a difficult checkout form:

Split test a new design where problematic elements are replaced or redesigned. Examples of changes to test include removing unnecessary fields, adding inline form validation or switching from one long form to a short, multi-page checkout and aligning the boxes in a more user friendly configuration.

Learn more about using heatmaps for Conversion Rate Optimisation

When used the right way, heatmaps can help you identify opportunities to increase your website’s conversion rate and generate more revenue. With the right heatmaps on the right pages, you can generate insight that transforms your conversion rate from annoying low to something you’re proud of.

There are many more uses for heatmaps when you know how to read them. If you’d like to learn more, and need expert help, read our ebook below for 8 questions you must ask to find, hire and get great results from CRO professionals.

Keep up-to-date

People from Facebook, FarFetch and RS Components receive our newsletter. You can too. Subscribe now.

Interested in turning experimentation and testing into an advantage for your entire business?