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Why Heatmaps Need to be Part of Your Analytics Strategy

Heatmaps are a visual representation of how your customers interact with your website. They make a great tool to identify the journeys your visitors are taking on your website, and identify points of strength and weaknesses. Oftentimes, heatmaps are studied in isolation. In this article, we delve into why that might not be the best option, and why incorporating heatmaps into your website analytics strategy offers greater effectiveness and return on investment.

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Why Heatmaps Matter

Heatmaps are an integral part of understanding the customer journey and experience. While the other options mentioned offer great insight, heatmaps provide a comprehensive outlook of elements, large and small, that could otherwise be missed.

A piece of content that users expect to be clickable may not be, a button that users should be clicking on to advance in their journey is being missed or overlooked, a large amount of time is being spent by most users on specific content paragraphs - these are insights that only heatmaps can provide.

To better understand this, let’s look at the two types of heatmaps that Countly offers.

Types of Heatmaps
Click Maps
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Click maps provide a visual representation of visitor engagement with a webpage through the number of clicks on its various aspects. This is especially useful when you’re attempting to understand where customers desire more information (thereby identifying the next step in the intuitive customer journey) or where they are openly ignoring CTAs (thereby enabling optimization of customer journeys).

Scroll Maps
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Scroll maps provide a visual representation of visitor engagement with a webpage through how much of the webpage they scrolled down to. This is especially useful when you’re attempting to identify where to place the most important content so that all visitors see it (ensuring impactful messaging) or where your visitors’ interest is being lost (thereby optimizing your website and marketing for optimal engagement).

Measuring Customer Experience with Heatmaps

In general, heatmaps help you measure the following:

User Behavior Analysis: A clear understanding of how users are actually navigating your website and all of its elements and information. This is crucial information when calculating the effectiveness of your website’s content and setting up a customer journey that leads to greater conversions.

Churn Measurement: Website churn is a measurement of how long your visitors stay on your website, how quickly they leave, and from which point/page they leave. This is crucial information when calculating how impactful your website and its information is, identifying the ideal customer profile, and improving the relevance of your website for your target visitors.

Continuous Website and Customer Journey Update Requirements: Heatmaps help you measure how users navigate your website and ensure that your website remains an accurate representation of your business, product, and service, as well as ensuring that it’s meeting the ever-changing demands of your visitors in an increasingly competitive world.

A/B Test Results: A great way to ensure that your website is in line with your customers’ expectations is to involve your customers in its decisions. This is where A/B Tests come in. In addition to the results of the test itself, heatmaps give you a detailed look into how users engaged with each version, providing a complete understanding of behaviors (desired versus actual) and preferences.

Some of the specific actions you can undertake with click and scroll heatmaps include:

  1. Tracing non-clickable items
  2. Checking CTA effectiveness
  3. Eliminating unnecessary elements and white spaces
  4. Fixing broken links
  5. Analyzing content reach and impact
  6. Analyzing website and webpage load times
Pitfalls of Using Heatmaps in Isolation

So far, we’ve seen the large impact that heatmaps can have in assessing and optimizing customer experiences and journeys. The question that arises then is: Is using heatmaps enough to achieve these business advantages?

Conversely, it might be tempting to say that heatmaps are no longer as crucial as they once were; that, with options like funnels and flows, surveys, and chatbots, heatmaps are no longer really necessary to understand the customer journey. This raises a different question: Do we even need heatmaps anymore?

The fact is that heatmaps remain as crucial now as they were before, as you may have concluded from the information above. At the same time, it is also a fact that website analytics have come a long way, and now offer a lot in addition to heatmaps.

The answer to both of the questions above then is that heatmaps are integral to understanding the customer journey, but are truly most effective when used in conjunction with other analytics features.

In Countly, for example, heatmaps can be cross-analyzed with User Profiles, Funnels, Flows, and other features to get a comprehensive understanding of your visitors, their expectations, and their preferences, thereby enabling a truly personalized customer experience.

If you’d like to see how you can apply Countly and its various website and mobile app analytics features to build better products, speak to one of our analytics experts today!

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