Traffic measurement applications such as Google Analytics can tell you how much time users spend on a website, what pages they have visited, and where they have left. But exactly what they do on each page, where they scroll to, what they click on, what they read, we had no idea until recently. The advent of heat-mapping software has made it possible to monitor visitor behavior down to the smallest detail. These are the heat-mapping programs I will describe in my article.
What is a Heatmap?
Heatmaps allow you to see how your visitors use your website. Heatmaps form an overlay on your website, with “cold” and “warm” colors indicating where and how much user activity is taking place. Today, heatmaps are the basis of visual analytics, showing where your website visitors are scrolling, clicking, and looking. This information gives you a solid basis for knowing how user-friendly your website is and how effective its design is. This will allow you to improve the user experience (UX) of your website and drive more conversions from your visitors.
Benefits of Using a Heatmap
Heatmaps can help you understand how people interact and behave on your website, giving you answers to critical questions that influence business decisions, such as “why aren’t my users converting?” “how can I get my users to convert more?”
Using a heatmap, you can determine if your users might be converting:
- have skimmed over important content because they don’t see it
- Are they finding and using the essential CTAs
- Are they distracted by an element that is not helping, or even hindering, the conversion
- do all elements work in the same way on different devices?
Heatmaps can help to make informed decisions based on concrete data, mainly because of the visual representation; to perform A/B tests, to audit website flaws and weaknesses, and to update or redesign the website if necessary. Heatmaps also provide insights into the mindset of your users. How they use your website, helping you to increase your conversions.
Where to Use a Heatmap on Your Website?
The use of heatmaps allows for detailed analysis of your website, but it makes sense to use them primarily on the subpages that are most important for traffic, usability, and business goals.
1. Home page and landing pages
The home and landing pages are the main entry points to your website. These are where most users first encounter them, so a first impression is very important. A heatmap on these pages helps determine how much information users view, how they behave on the page, and which elements they click on.
2. The most important pages
The best-performing sub-pages (most viewed product pages or most commented blog posts) are doing something right. A heatmap can help you understand which elements are performing well and you can use the experience to improve the rest of your subpages.
3. Underperforming pages
The worst-performing pages are just as important as the best-performing ones, but for the opposite reason: they’re probably doing something wrong, and putting up a heatmap can help you understand what’s causing visitors to ignore these subpages.
4. New subpages
You don’t have much data on your newest pages: if you’ve recently added a page to your website, a heatmap is a good way to get some initial information about the page’s performance.
3 Methods of Heat Map Analysis
3 methods of heatmap analysis can help you to assess the performance of your website from different perspectives.
A scroll map shows the percentage of users who scrolled to a specific point on your website.
Click maps show you the percentage of users who clicked on links on your website, and also the color codes on which links were clicked most of all clicks.
Move maps allow you to track the mouse movements of users browsing from a desktop computer. The “hot” spots on a moving map indicate where users pause mouse movement. Several studies have shown a correlation between people’s attention and mouse movement, meaning that the moving map indicates where users may have looked on your website
Now that I’ve explained what heatmaps are, and how and why you should use these web analytics tools, let’s move on to conversion rates.
Conversion Rate Calculation, Meaning
The conversion rate shows the percentage of sessions started on a page that ultimately resulted in a conversion.
To avoid confusion, we also define conversions. In online marketing, a conversion is defined as an event when a user achieves a goal on a website or mobile app that is important to the company, such as subscribing to a newsletter, submitting a form, or making a purchase on the website.
When calculating conversion rates, we usually use visits to the site, or in Google Analytics terminology, sessions, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t calculate conversion rates for users who arrive on the site.
Conversion Rate Analysis
I’d also like to give some tips and advice on how to analyze conversion rates so that you can come to conclusions that will help your online activities.
On the one hand, for example, it is worthwhile to monitor the conversion rate over time, i.e. to see whether we can increase our conversion rate in the long term, especially if we have overall conversion rate-increasing activities that we expect to gradually increase the conversion rate.
However, it is important to add that if you run a marketing campaign that is not a remarketing campaign, for example, targeting “cold” audiences who are not yet familiar with your products, you should expect that such a campaign will reduce the conversion rate of your website or even of some landing pages in the short term, as such “cold” visitors are much less likely to “convert” to your site.
In addition to tracking conversion rates over time, Google Analytics has several dimensions that allow you to compare segments in terms of conversion rates. For example, we can look at conversion rates:
- by demographic information (gender, age)
- by location (countries, regions, cities)
- by traffic sources
- by campaigns
- by landing page
Finally, the conversion rate of each micro and macro conversion in a given sales funnel should also be monitored and analyzed together.
Other Conversion Rate Optimization Techniques
Heatmaps and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) are closely linked, as heatmaps provide valuable insights that can be used to optimize conversion rates. By analyzing heatmaps, advertisers can identify areas of a website where users engage with content and where they drop off, allowing them to identify opportunities to improve the user experience and drive conversions.
For example, heatmaps can reveal areas of a page that receive high traffic but low engagement, indicating that users are not finding the information they need to convert. Advertisers can use this information to optimize their website content and design to improve user experience and increase conversions.
Heatmaps can also reveal how users interact with forms and call-to-action buttons, providing insights into areas where conversion rates can be improved. For example, heatmaps may show that users are not clicking on a call-to-action button because it is too small or not prominently displayed. Advertisers can use this information to optimize the size, color, and placement of call-to-action buttons to improve conversions.
In conclusion, heatmaps provide a rich source of information that can be used to optimize conversion rates. By analyzing heatmaps, advertisers can identify areas of their website where user experience can be improved, leading to increased engagement and conversions. By combining heatmap data with other data sources, such as web analytics and CRM systems, advertisers can gain a more comprehensive understanding of their audience and optimize their website for maximum conversion success.
After analyzing conversion rates, we often get insights that are then worth testing in CRO tests to see if a particular personalization or A/B test will increase conversion rates. Such conversion rate optimization techniques include:
For example, testing the text of a button on a CTA. Two buttons with different text are run simultaneously. While 50% of the visitors see one button with one text, 50% see the other, so after enough clicks, we get a statistically significant result as to which button the majority is more likely to click.
Same as A/B testing, but testing more than one thing at a time.
An example of this could be an online store recommendation system, where the online store recommends products to us that we have browsed in a previous session.
Removing conversion-inhibiting friction in the sales funnel:
Simplifying checkout steps, removing drop-down texts, buttons, and information, adding elements that increase conversion, etc.
Running heatmaps, and launching screenshots. This can provide insights to run new tests or remove unnecessary elements or steps that increase attrition.
Increasing Conversion Rates – 6 Tips
After the specific techniques, I would like to share 6 more tips that are not related to a specific technique, but rather a few tips and advice to increase the conversion rate of your website or webshop in the long run.
If we are not currently running remarketing ads, it is almost certain that we can achieve a significant improvement in the conversion rate of our website if we launch some kind of remarketing ads on at least one platform.
With remarketing ads, we can target those who have already encountered our brand, and our products or visited our website. And someone who has already met us is much more likely to be interested in our services and products than someone who doesn’t even know what our company does.
So, if we drive more of these high purchase intent users to the site, our conversion rate will ultimately increase.
In the first instance, we would either try Facebook remarketing or Google remarketing, but of course remarketing ads can also be run on other advertising platforms.
More deflection points, CTA towards sales pages
If you have a blog that receives a significant amount of organic traffic, don’t be shy, and feel free to place CTA buttons on your blog posts that direct you to your website’s service pages or product pages.
In particular, of course, link to pages that may be relevant to the visitor, as this is how they are expected to click the button. Even if the user doesn’t convert in that session, at least we’re introducing them to our product or service so that if they do decide to make a purchase, they know that we’re an option for them.
Linking to the right product and service pages is also useful only because internal links can also help drive link traffic to the service/product page, which can result in those pages ranking higher in Google’s search results.
This way, more of the users with higher purchase intent will also come to your website organically.
Optimizing your website for mobile
The majority of internet users today are no longer surfing the web on a desktop computer but on a mobile or tablet device. Of course, this may vary by industry, but you can check the specific percentage with Google Analytics anyway.
And if you do get more traffic from mobile, it’s worth looking at whether your website is mobile-optimized.
Google has a specific tool for this, the name is Google Search Console Mobile Usability Report, but don’t just test with that, but preferably do user journeys that start from viewing a product page and lead to conversion. Even for large enterprise sites with many developers working on the website, there are times when something doesn’t display properly on mobile, which can lead to a drop in mobile conversion rates.
Increasing website load speed
Exactly how much the slow loading of a website reduces the conversion rate is of course presumably dependent on the market and the industry, but there is no doubt that if we can improve the loading speed of our website, we will reduce user dropout and presumably increase the conversion rate of the website.
Newsletter subscription, email marketing
A significant proportion of users, when they visit a website for the first time, will not buy something straight away because they don’t know us well enough to order our product or service with full confidence, or because they are still in the browsing phase and want to explore more alternatives.
That’s why it’s important that even if we can’t get the user to convert the first time, we at least get their email address and subscribe them to our newsletter.
On the one hand, email marketing is the best way to build further trust towards the user, and on the other hand, to further promote relevant products and services to them. In addition, of course, if you have an active blog with really good articles, you can also inform your newsletter subscribers about them.
Build trust through other channels
Often, conversion doesn’t just come from telling the product or service page how great the offer you’re promoting is. Often, conversions don’t happen because the user doesn’t trust our website, brand, or company.
One way to increase trust, in addition to the email marketing mentioned in the previous point, is to communicate with people on social media.
So as well as subscribing users to our newsletter, we also ask them to follow us on the social media they use. On the one hand, we can get traffic from these social media, and on the other hand, we can share lighter, more personal content here, which increases consumer trust in us.
It’s not so crazy, is it? The good thing about the money, time, and effort spent on conversion tracking and optimization is that it will pay off, you’ll be preparing for and then managing higher profits later.
As is widely known, the human eye and brain work according to certain patterns; the way we read is reflected in our ergonomic behavior. Our eyes look for the substantive content in the top left corner first, then scan right and down. This behavior would perhaps clearly describe the ergonomic characteristics of the web if all web pages consisted of a smooth monochrome interface. However, the content, menu items, buttons, and conversion channels, all of which are placed on a website, influence visitor behavior. Visitor targeting is particularly important to achieve the best possible conversion rate; if you want to know where visitors are browsing on your website, you need to use a heatmap.
I am Adrienn Pusztai, the Content Marketing Manager of Capturly.com, a full-scale website analytics tool. Our mission is to make it easier for our customers to make those business decisions that will result in amazing business development. Contact us today to find out more.
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