Day 26: Start Generating Heatmaps

You’ve spent the last few weeks focusing on analytics, copywriting, and design. In a few days, you’re going to have an initial set of data from your first A/B tests.

Even though you’re running Google Analytics and testing landing page concepts, you will still face major blind spots in your conversion optimization study.

That’s where heatmaps come in.

What Is a Heatmap?

Heatmaps are an important part of your website’s usability strategy. By using software like Crazy Egg, you’ll be able to understand where people are clicking, where they’re scrolling, and where you need to make changes to improve conversions.

You’ll be able to summarize user behavior with easy-to-visualize patterns. Here is an example from one of the CrazyEgg demos:

Interesting Heatmap Studies

Heatmapping isn’t new. This technique pre-dates the days of CrazyEgg. Here is what researchers have found (pulled from a recent post on the CrazyEgg Blog):

  • Business Insider ran some cool experiments as part of this post. As one example, they tested a webpage with a women in a bikini, comparing results from groups of men and women. The verdict? Men spent more time looking at the woman, while the women red more of the ad.

  • Almost four years ago, ProBlogger’s Darren Rowe summarized some insights he came across in reading about an eye-tracking case study. What stood out to him — smaller type encourages focused viewing behavior, close proximity to popular editorial content helps ads get seen, and shorter paragraphs tend to perform better than longer ones.

  • Mashable put together this breakdown of key focal points on your Facebook profile. It’s no surprise that your profile photo is what people see first. Keep in mind that this article was written in 2011 before the release of cover photos.

  • Usability expert Dr. Pete conducted this study on Google search results pages for SEO Moz back in 2011. The key finding? Pay close attention to your thumbnails because they could end up giving your brand an invaluable visual boost.

Today’s Homework

Sign up for a CrazyEgg trial to get heatmaps up and running on your website. Read through some of the case studies we mentioned earlier to get a sense for how you can analyze results.

Remember that heatmaps need to generate actionable insights about your business. As you start collecting data, you may notice some dark spots on your landing page. Use this information to create more visually compelling calls to action and attention-grabbing visual disclaimer.

Full disclosure: CrazyEgg is my company.


emily anderson / brilliant brand

Emily Anderson