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How to interpret heatmap data and increase online conversion rate

clickmap-heatmapHave you ever spoken to your users about your website but found what they say they do and what they actually do are two different things? Getting honest, actionable feedback from your customers is a tough process, but there is a simple way to get to the heart of things.

Data-driven heatmaps are some of the most powerful Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) tools out there, largely because they allow you to bypass what your users say about your website and look specifically at what they do.

Heatmaps can reveal the cause of a high bounce rate, give you insights into why your product page has a low conversion rate or help you learn what’s causing users to abandon their shopping cart moments before they checkout.

In this post, you’ll discover how to interpret heatmap data and three ways that heatmaps can help you increase conversions, improve your website’s return on investment and get more from your online marketing campaigns.

1. Identify weak and ineffective calls to action

We never recommend changing a button without a solid reason.  However, sometimes call to action buttons can make a huge difference to your conversion rate. The right button can supercharge your product and checkout pages, encouraging users to press forward and complete the sales process.

The wrong button, on the other hand, can have the opposite effect. If your product and checkout page call to action is too weak or difficult to locate, users might fail to notice it and click on a navigational menu or other content instead.

Using a clickmap, you can see exactly which page elements are attracting the most clicks from users. On a product page, your call to action button should be one of the most clicked on (if not the most clicked on) objects on the page.

If more people are clicking on your menu or on non-clickable page elements than on your call to action, it’s a good indicator that your call to action is too weak or poorly located to grab their attention.


What to do if your heatmap shows you people aren’t clicking on your call to action?

Get your call to action right (in both design and placement) and you’ll rarely fail to see an increase in conversions. If your clickmap reveals people aren’t clicking your call to action as much as they should, try developing a new web page to test.  Ideas for your creative work include:

  • Could your call to action be placed in a more noticeable position? Users read in an F-shaped pattern, making button placement important.
  • Is your call to action button visually prominent enough? The best call to action buttons stand out from the rest of your website’s colour scheme.
  • Does your call to action make sense? Your call to action needs to relate to the user’s intent. “Learn More” isn’t suitable for a product page, but “Buy Now” is.

2. Find (and modify) distracting page elements

Is your website a conversion helper or a conversion killer? Page elements that you might not think of as distractions, including navigation bars and images, could be a major source of distraction or confusion for your users.

Take Pair, an app for couples now known as Couple. Pair’s growth hacker, Lim Cheng Soon, used a heatmap to discover that the majority of users to Pair’s homepage were clicking on its navigation bar instead of the app’s download buttons.

Removing distracting elements from the site and moving the navigation menu to the footer resulted in a 25% increase in conversions. Is your website being held back by distracting page elements like Pair’s was?

E-commerce websites are often full of distracting elements. In our Northern Parrots case study, we discovered that more users were clicking the navigation bar than the page content. Removing distractions, along with other improvements, resulted in a 34.7% increase in conversions.


What to do if your heatmap shows your webpage is full of distractions?

The hard data of a heatmap cuts through assumptions and tells you exactly where your visitors are clicking. If your clickmap reveals users are clicking on distracting or non-clickable page elements, design a new web page to tese.  Areas to consider when developing the creative work include:

  • How could you simplify your page design to make important elements (like copy and call to action buttons) more obvious?
  • Could moving or redesigning navigation bars and other page elements make your page less cluttered and confusing?
  • Does your page design emphasize the important, or are users drawn to page elements that decrease your conversion rate?

3. Learn how much of your content users read

Even if your web content is the most gripping piece of prose in the world, it’s wasted if no-one reads it. Scrollmaps tell you how far users are scrolling down your page, so you can see if they’re truly engaging with your content.

If your website has large amounts of copy or long product descriptions, measuring user engagement with a scrollmap is a great way to discover how much attention your copy is receiving.

Scrollmaps can also help you discover page elements that are “hidden” out of view due to their placement on your product page. Call to action buttons below the fold may not be getting seen at all because users simply aren’t scrolling far enough.

From user reviews to product information, some of the most important content on your website might only be seen by a fraction of your visitors. Scroll maps give you an objective analysis of what users see and what they often miss out on.


What to do if your scroll map identifies content opportunities?

With scrollmap analysis, you can discover which content is being viewed and which isn’t, giving you valuable clues to redesign your page for increased conversions. If your scrollmap shows users aren’t viewing all of your page content,think about the following areas when you brief your designer:

  • Is the content that users see the most important and effective? “Hiding” great content below the fold is no good – it needs to be visible to influence users.
  • Are important page elements (such as user reviews, ratings and guarantee information) hidden from view because they’re too far down the page?
  • Could repositioning important content above the fold increase your page’s conversion rate?

Learn more about using heatmaps for Conversion Rate Optimisation

{{cta(‘b0e270c0-3de5-4cab-b60a-237ddf2d93f9′,’justifyleft’)}} Is your landing page not performing up to expectations? Are users ‘bouncing’ from your website for an indeterminate reason? Heatmaps can give you new insight into the way your users behave –a rich source of information to help supercharge your A/B testing.

If you’d like to learn more about heatmaps and how to interpret heatmap data, download our free white paper: How To Use Heatmaps To Increase Your Conversion Rate. Inside, you’ll find detailed advice on how you can use heatmaps for CRO, including:

  • Eight different heatmaps used by CRO experts
  • Why mouse movement maps shouldn’t be analysed in isolation
  • How you can use heatmaps to learn more during a split test
  • How heatmaps can be used to validate new page designs

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