Driving traffic to your site is an obvious place to focus your efforts in attracting potential customers and users, but how do you keep their attention? What can you do to better understand their browsing habits while they are on your site? A great tool for gaining valuable insight into your visitor's browsing patterns and content engagement is website heat mapping. This simple but powerful tool can not only help you better understand your viewer but also better manage your content to make it as appealing and useful to the viewer as possible.
The process works by tracking the clicks and scroll through of visitors. The software gathers that data, and depending on the heat-mapping application used, generates a multitude of analytic maps which display the click through in colored (heat) maps. This provides you with a clear and concise representation of how your viewers interact and consume the content on your site.
What is the significance of this information? Well, based on the gathered data, you can make changes to your lay out and content arrangement to improve viewer interaction; and in the case of e-commerce, the purchase rate. The analytics data generated by heat-mapping is also a great way to gain insight into your viewer base and their browsing habits, do they like to read through the articles you have posted or do they focus on the images you use? The answers to questions such as these can be better understood with the aid of heat maps.
Now that you understand the process and significance of heat mapping, how can it help you grow and develop your client list and site stickiness? One important aspect with which heat mapping can help is better understanding global user base. As mentioned in a study on cultural trends and web design, it is important to understand your audience when going global, whether your audience is a high context or low context culture.
This is an important distinction to make as these two types respond differently to different types of information and being able to capture their attention is an important aspect of making sure your site is successful on a global scale. Comparing the heat maps from users from different regions can help you gain valuable insight into their browsing habits and allow you to tailor your site to better fit their particular cultural styles. The study concluded that users from high context culture – such as Japan, China and Korea – react better to contextual cues such as images, while users in low context areas – such as Germany, Norway and the U.S. – respond better to direct messages. Keeping these ideas in mind can help you better arrange your content for viewership and ensure that everyone finds something relevant and engaging on your site.
Because of the prevalent use of heat-mapping in online analytics there has been a lot of research conducted and here are some of the conclusions from heat map data.
The most important content to your visitors should be displayed at the top of the page, according to a study by NNG group.
Another point to note is that people buy what they see so it is important to utilize your analytics data and craft a path for your users to reach the destination you desire. For those bloggers and publishers, it is important to remember that blog summaries work better than full length articles when it comes to front page structure.
A common misconception is that automatic image carousels and banner ads add visual appeal to your site, but according to this study they are generally ignored when a viewer comes to the site with an intended purpose. They end up taking up a lot of valuable page real-estate.
Keeping these key points in mind when designing your own site will help you create a more effective and attractive experience for your customers and viewers, and with the help of site heat-mapping you will be able to further optimize your site to better fit your target audience. If you are interested in learning more about heat-mapping technology and applications, take a look at these alternatives which might help you improve your online presence: Crazyegg, Clickdensity and Clicktale. Just remember that heat-mapping is a great addition to your analytics arsenal.