Let's talk heat maps
The image in this post is an example of a heat map I placed on the store front for a local ecommerce company about a month ago. This was one of the last heat maps I ran for this site after many modifications were made.
This heat map image is one of eleven that were generated by collecting data over what I believe was a 24hr time span. Each dot represents where a visitor actually clicked on the web page. All of the eleven images generated look exactly the same with regard to the number of clicks and location. However, each image color codes the clicks based on a certain criteria. In this image clicks are color coded by the user’s operating system. Please click on the image to zoom in you will see in the upper right corner exactly how the colors are coded. As you can see (Windows 7) is where most of the interaction came from with the (iPhone) next in line.
So what does it mean?
Heat maps are very powerful tools and relatively easy to employ. The art is understanding how to dissect the information. The approach should be mile high at first. Where are people clicking? What is getting their attention? Does the spot people click even redirect them to another page? The “hot” spot covered with clicks in the middle of the menu bar on this page is the Catalog link. This is an indicator that the landing page is compelling people to want to see more. Very good! Drilling deeper, why are we getting so much traffic from Windows 7? It makes sense and is a good sign if it reflects our marketing strategy and we have decided that visitors using that platform give higher conversion rates than others. If it doesn’t then we need to analyze why our marketing is primarily drawing traffic from desktops running an operating system from five years ago.
This is just scratching the surface but a good example of the tools effective marketers can use. Thorough analysis takes time and clever marketing adjustments or website tweaks take skill. Make sure the marketing company you are using isn’t just passing along the reports to let you sift through the information.