User behavior analytics maps or heatmaps are online tools for marketers, usability, and SEO specialists to view and measure website user activity and track website performance. With a free or paid heatmap, you’ll get a chance to learn more about how people behave on the pages of website or online store. This will help you optimize the website design to make it more effective and improve customer behavior based on the analytics results.
Usability Testing: Website Tips and Examples
How Do Heatmaps Work?
Heatmap software collects the data on the patterns visitors use to interact with a web resource. Such tools instantly process the obtained information and reflect it in a color-coded form. For example, when a visitor views a particular element on the page, heatmap software records this. The more clicks the item gets, the “hotter” it becomes. Heatmap tools use cold colors (green or blue) for website areas with minimum activity and warm colors (orange and red) for trendy elements.
There are 4 types of heatmap software used for website analytics:
- Click map tool The tool shows all elements and areas on website pages where users click and the number of interactions on every element during the selected period. Use this software on website to analyze the preferences of visitors, detect the unclickable elements which get user interactions, and identify buttons that are left unnoticed (nobody selects them).
- Scroll map tool The tool shows the correlation between the size of a website page and the number of users that viewed it (in percentage). To put it more simply, you can view the scroll depth of the page or how far visitors scroll it. This information is helpful to see whether the visitors find content engaging and what makes them jump off. Thanks to such a tool, you can make design more friendly and increase conversions.
- Click sequence mapping software This tool reflects the path visitors choose when they browse a page. You can see in which order the user selected a specific element. This information is beneficial for optimizing the conversion path and making a website more convenient. If you complement the tool with a mouse hover map, you will get everything you need to know about user behavior. It’s a much more convenient analytics approach than video recordings.
- Mouse hover map This analytics software shows the place website visitors hovered with their cursor. For example, when a user positions their mouse in a specific spot, this spot will show heavy traffic. The only problem is that the information provided by this tool isn’t always accurate. The software cannot guarantee that the visitor was reading the text or checking the picture in the highlighted area. Maybe, the person just stopped the cursor there to make a sandwich.
Despite its popularity, this tool isn’t suitable for usability audits. The thing is that a site with high traffic can have thousands of sessions per day. Each of them lasts from a few seconds to several hours (especially if someone has forgotten to close the tab). Hence, it’s impossible to analyze a whole mass of data using the videos generated by the recording tool.
Why Do You Need a Heatmap Tool?
Heatmapping tools, scroll maps, and other similar software provides detailed information on web resources. This analytics is a reasonable basis for making positive changes on website and increasing income. For instance, heatmap tools can show:
- Low conversion rate and its reasons A heatmap tool helps you to perform user behavior analysis and change website content or design accordingly.
- Design flaws and unnoticed errors It’s hard to define whether a website is convenient for customers without heatmapping software. Only experiments and heatmap stats will give you a comprehensive reply.
- Content quality Using a scroll map tool, you can see how deep visitors view content and whether they find offers interesting and relevant.
- The right place to locate interlinking and current offers Heatmapping software allows you to understand how visitors navigate website and what areas attract them most. Thanks to such tools, you can pick the best location for offers.
- Things that confuse users Heatmapping software reflects the areas where users are puzzled and don’t know what to do. For example, a heatmap can show that a list is too long or there are too many calls-to-action.
- The effectiveness of pop-ups Many companies don’t use pop-ups only because they consider them useless (even though they have never tried pop-ups). With heatmap software, you can find out whether pop-ups are really helpful.
- Calls-to-action and their location Using a solid call-to-action in a prominent or favorable place can make users react. Heatmapping software is the best tool to define the optimum area.
8 Popular Heatmap Tools
This article includes information about 8 popular heatmap tools. We got a chance to use some of these heatmaps (those that offer free test registration).
Plerdy is a convenient and multifunctional CRO and SEO tool for collecting website traffic and user behavior. One software product offers eight tools. Now marketers can use it to improve website conversion rates. The first tool is a heatmap. The second one is an intelligent form builder (You can use such software to create dynamic popups without programming expertise). The third service is SEO alerts informing users about any relevant website changes.
Plerdy starts collecting data once you install the script of the tool. To view the results, open the tool’s sidebar on-site (Ctrl+Alt+H). All the information is shown online right on the pages of a website.
Another convenient point is that you don’t need to return to the main dashboard to switch between website pages – the statistics of the necessary page open automatically.
The tool segments all the interactions by device and traffic channel. If you need to track a separate element, you can add separate tags.
A handy point about this tool: The script of Plerdy heatmap takes into account clicks on all interactive elements (popup windows, menus, etc.).
Thanks to its native data collection algorithm, Plerdy heatmap software ensures 99% accuracy. Another advantage you can get using Plerdy heatmap is that all stats are displayed on a live website in real-time. Thus, you can view the information collected on different pages and see how users interact with website right now.
Pros of Plerdy heatmap software:
- Available segmentation of users by traffic channel
- Individual tags for tracking
- Opportunity to view the scroll depth of a page
- The tool presents the statistics in tabular form
Software localization: Russian, Ukrainian, and English
Pricing: 4 packages: $23/month – 10,000 pageviews/day, $47 – 25,000 pageviews/day, and $79 – 50,000 pageviews/day
The Plerdy tool provides a free version but with certain limitations: 2,000 pageviews/day, three pages maximum, 3-month storage, and Heatmaps can only view the results on the desktop version.
Sessioncam is a neat and functional heatmap analytics tool created by a British team.
Judging by descriptions and reviews, Sessioncam has an additional feature called attention map feature. It marks page areas which get the most of users’ attention. The developers claim that it allows you to detect the most favorable places to put calls-to-action or other important information.
Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to evaluate all the advantages and disadvantages of this tool. It doesn’t offer a free test version and asks for personal details. Also, you cannot register here without a phone number. The hidden price means that the cost is defined individually after you communicate with a manager.
HotJar heatmap is a platform for website analytics that gives a better understanding of user behavior and helps to improve user experience. Hotjar heatmapping software cannot substitute Google Analytics.
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When you buy access to HotJar, you can work with several tools simultaneously: a click heatmap, a scroll map, screen recordings, a sales funnel analytics tool, etc.
Like other heatmapping tools, the heatmap highlights clickable elements using a color scale. When you hover over a color, you see a percentage that shows the views of the chosen area compared to the available number of pageviews.
Besides, with HotJar heatmap, you can complement site with a widget. Ask users to leave feedback or address the visitors who stay on a specific page for too long.
Pricing: The prices are indicated in euros. Personal usage costs €39 for 10,000 pageviews/day. The heatmapping tool has a separate calculator for businesses (from €99 for 500 pageviews/day to €389 for 4,000+ pageviews/day). The price for agencies that use this tool for customers’ audits is discussed on an individual basis. Free version- available.
Inspectlet website heatmap is primarily a tool for screen recording you can use to check user behavior. Click and scroll maps are secondary here. However, we included Inspectlet in our overview since it’s one of the few tools that record dynamic pages.
The tool has filters to sort user behavior by device type, convenient. You will appreciate this feature.
The heatmap is created and continuously updated once you install the script.
Pricing: There are 5 packages: for $39 you can collect 100,000 pageviews, for $79 –250,000, for $149 – 500,000, for $299 – 1,250,000, and for $499 – 2,250,000. Free version – available.
LuckyOrange website heatmap takes a special place among the best multifunctional tools. In addition to a heatmap, screen recording, a scroll map, analytics of forms, and a location filter (traffic segmentation by country), this service offers a chat (so you could talk to customers), and a survey form.
LuckyOrange heatmap tool does more than making a snapshot of a webpage, like many other services. It creates an interactive layer for viewing data. This is one of the few tools that consider the interactive (dynamic) content of an interface. With LuckyOrange, it’s easy to collect clicks on menus, folders, and other drop-downs.
Pricing of LuckyOrange heatmap: There are 4 main packages with different limits of pageviews: $10 – 25,000, $20 – 60,000, $50 – 200,000, $100 – 500,000 pageviews
Ptengine heatmap is a project with Japanese roots. Testing it for the first time, we even came across some messages in Japanese.
There are numerous filters for map analysis, which simplify the work with this service. The navigation of the dashboard resembles some components of Google Analytics.
A considerable part of information partially or fully duplicates data from analytics offered by Google.
Pricing: Provided after sending a quote. Free version- available.
The heatmap tool offered on Smartlook’s website is a Czech project that is gradually gaining popularity in Eastern Europe (Slovakia, Poland, Hungary).
The primary feature of this tool is screen recording. You can use it to check user behavior on a site. It has a sharable heatmap, but a scroll map is missing.
Pricing: There is a starter €31 package if you plan to have around 5,000 visits to a web page. In this case, the data is only stored for a month and you pay for the whole year in advance. If you pay monthly, this plan costs €79/month. Free version – available.
This is an Israeli project that doesn’t show actual clicks but predicts the most clickable areas for each web page. Its developers state that an algorithm calculates clickability in 2 ways: based on the link to a page and the uploaded screenshot of a site.
It doesn’t only define the most clickable areas but provides different reports: eye-tracking (how users’ focus moves from one element to another), the distribution of attention among separate elements of the site, the evaluation of a color scheme, etc.
Frankly speaking, this is a rather strange approach, as it isn’t clear what criteria are used to assess a CTR. The measurement error is unknown.
Pricing: There are 3 main packages: Basic $99 (1 month), Professional $67 (3 months), Business $199 per month.
The research helped us to find out that:
- Complex multi-tools are suitable for large-scale projects (online stores, information portals, etc.), whereas professional heatmaps are great for small and medium companies.
- Choosing a heatmap, one should take into account both its advantages and disadvantages. Although the flaws will be eliminated shortly (at least the developers claim so), you will need to work with what you have. So before you opt for one of the heatmaps, test it. Try working with suitable options and check their features. This will help you to compare several tools and make the right choice.