The Pros and Cons of Using Website Heatmaps
Are you looking to gain a better understanding of how users interact with your website?
While there are many tools you can use to understand user interaction, one of the most popular tools is a website heatmap. Website heatmaps use a color-coded system to provide you with a graphical representation of data.
Essentially, a heatmap is a data visualization tool that allows your business to understand how individual pages on your website are performing. What are the benefits of website heatmaps? What are the drawbacks?
Check out this guide to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of using website heatmaps.
The Pros of Website Heatmaps
Here are some of the most significant benefits of using website heatmaps:
- Measure Website Performance
One of the most significant benefits of website heatmaps is that they allow you to measure website performance. Heatmaps come with varied color hues that help you depict different performance levels. They also instantly highlight significant issues on your website.
Website heatmaps also:
- Track clicking patterns
- Determine optimal page lengths
- Tell you where a visitor is hovering while browsing your website
These metrics can help you determine how engaging your website is and how well it keeps visitors interested in your brand.
- Simplify Numerical Data With a Visual Approach
If you feel like you struggle to interpret numbers, and you hate staring at spreadsheets, you’re not alone. A recent study uncovered that 65 percent of humans are visual learners.
If you have trouble interpreting columns and rows of numbers, heatmaps provide an undeniable benefit for today’s visual learner. This is because heatmaps provide you with pictures, rather than just sets of numbers.
While a spreadsheet can tell you when a page has a drastically high bounce rate or a surprisingly low click rate, it doesn’t tell you why. However, if you view the same data in a properly configured website heatmap, you might quickly learn that your problematic click rate is due to a buried link.
Equally as necessary, the visual element of website heatmaps allows them to serve as invaluable communication tools. Because they interpret data and conceptualize patterns, heatmaps make it easier for data analysts and graphic designers to understand the weak points on your website.
It also makes it easier for your employees to report their findings to clients.
- Heatmaps Help You Learn From Your Users
Another major benefit of heatmaps is that they help you learn from your users in ways that surveys and interviews don’t. To create an effectively designed website, you need to learn from your users.
Website heatmaps allow you to understand what your audience does and, just as importantly, what they don’t do. While surveys and interviews have their place, they always come with some form of bias: What we say doesn’t always reflect what we do.
However, the navigational patterns that heatmaps reveal serve as direct, unfiltered feedback. If you combine your website heatmaps with A/B testing, you’ll have a predictive learning model that isn’t intrusive.
- Allows You to Filter Data Into Different Audiences
Website heatmaps also allow you to filter data based on different audiences. You can categorize your heatmaps to work out how your audience uses your website at different times of the day, what pages they use at different times, and when they view different types of content.
By tracking this information, you can see when the most conversions happen. This will allow you to deduce what it is about your website that makes users more productive at certain times.
- Optimize Your Website’s Conversion Rate
Thanks to all of the information that website heatmaps offer, you’ll be able to optimize your website’s conversion rate and improve your bottom line.
Every visitor tracked on your heatmap leads to more actionable insights for optimizing your website. For example, let’s say you run a heatmap over your homepage. Thanks to the data from the heatmap, you learn that visitors are most attracted to the title on the top of your homepage and the subsequent product reviews.
You also notice that your call to action on your home page isn’t getting a lot of attention. With this information, you can work to add more important information to the sections that already get attention. And, you can run A/B tests on your call to action to get more conversions.
You can check out decibel.com to learn more about the benefits of website heatmaps.
The Drawbacks of Heatmaps
While heatmaps provide a lot of benefits for businesses, it’s also important to understand that they come with some drawbacks. These include:
- Needing a Large Amount of Data
Like many other website analytic tools, heatmaps need a large amount of data before they can be accurately analyzed. If you try to analyze heatmaps based on just a small amount of data, you won’t get accurate results.
It’s similar to when you call an A/B test too early based on a few data points. You need to wait until you have enough information to ensure that any anomalies don’t affect the overall picture.
- They Can Be Misleading
Another downside to website heatmaps is that they can sometimes be misleading if they’re used incorrectly. While heatmaps can tell you what happened on a page, they can’t always tell you why it happened. This is why it’s important to use other analytical tools to get the complete picture.
Are You Ready to Use Website Heatmaps?
Now that you know the pros and cons of website heatmaps, it’s time to decide if they’re right for your business. Overall, website heatmaps can really help your business grow.
We encourage you to check back in with our blog to discover more ways to grow your business through analytical tools.