From heatwaves and heatmaps to hot leads!

By Joe C

For many August is a month for lying low. In some cases, business seems to flow at a slower pace and in fact, many businesses opt to have the famous August break. Surely the heat on these islands does not help and many of us would prefer the beach to the desk….

But sometimes the slowing down is a blessing in disguise because it gives business people some space to analyse their own operations. If you’re keen on this exercise start with your web presence.

How many hot leads are coming in through it?

If the numbers are high and you’re happy with them, then you’ve already achieved a certain level of success. But if the figures are lower than your expectations and you know that the website is not delivering the intended return on investment, then it might be time to delve into heatmaps!

So what are heatmaps?

Heatmaps are a tool that helps you visualise how visitors use your website. Heatmaps are presented as a matrix of colours superimposed on the website in question. In a scenario where red denotes the hottest part of the site and the bluish tint represents the colder zone, the different blotches of colour indicate the level of activity occurring at specific locations on the website’s interface.

Heatmaps give us a glimpse into how visitors at the other end use the website, such as where they hover with the mouse, finger or trackpad, what they click, when they stop and we also get to see their scrolling activities. This is highly interesting data when you’re examining your website to see what can be improved to drive more leads, bookings or sales.

The very fact that heatmaps are visual make them a lot easier to interpret and it is less time consuming to arriving at pertinent issues about what ‘is working’ and what ‘is not’!

Before going any further it is important to note that heatmaps are only of value if you have captured data from at least a couple of thousands of website visitors. Actually, the more data one gathers, the more accurate is the ultimate heatmap. It is always advisable to ensure this criterion because otherwise, one risks viewing a skewed view that can lead to being misled and ultimately jeopardising business decisions.

What do we get from heatmaps?

Heatmaps help digital marketers answer a lot of questions. Today any serious marketing consultant will not only ask to look at a website’s analytics but will also rope in heatmaps, that will help to answer questions such as the following:

  • Which part of the page is the hot /cold? (Which section is the most popular?)
  • Where should we place the most important message or the unique selling proposition?
  • From which section of the page are the site visitors leaving?
  • Do the visitors scroll to the bottom part of the site or do they only see the content above the fold?
  • Which headlines are capturing their attention?
  • Are there any images /pictures where the site visitors are stopping?

The answer to such questions can point to how one can move towards optimising and fine-tuning a website on a page by page basis. For example, in the case of an online store where people are only  browsing and never hitting the ‘Add to Cart’, a heatmap can bring to light some  underlying navigational or content issues. In this way, the heatmap guides to the optimisation that needs to be done in order to have a higher conversion rate of window shoppers into (returning) clients.

One can also examine customer journeys in-depth and try to identify obstacles or hurdles that may be contributing to a high bounce rate or to people leaving the site without truly looking at content.   Heatmap tools also provide replays of user sessions and one can watch a video of what the user did in terms of browsing, involving moving on the page, stopping, scrolling and clicking. It is usually the case that upon seeing such replays, the navigational hurdles of a site are immediately clear. Replays also help a business understand how people truly use the site and sometimes one discovers that people are actually using the site not in the way it was ‘intended’! All these insights should ultimately result in a list of points that have to be optimised on the actual site. At other times, it highlights quick gains that can be easily implemented.

When should heatmaps be used?

Heatmaps provide very useful information but as with all other things, they generate information that needs to be analysed. For the larger organisation running a major e-commerce store, heatmaps are a regular must. For the smaller firm, it is wise to consider conducting such exercise with their web developer at least on a yearly basis. This is more critical when the website is somewhat old and jaded.

Heatmaps are essential when a firm has just launched a new website and it needs to vet if clients are encountering issues with the new site design and before clients get frustrated and take their business elsewhere! Similarly, it is important when some service that the company was providing online gets a major change.

At Keen, we are not just a web/graphic design company, we advocate that if any of the key performance indicators are not making sense, then it’s time to look at the heatmap before it gets any hotter! Get in touch with our digital marketing experts today and we’ll straighten out your online sales channel to get your business thriving with hot leads!