Published: 13 February 2017

When identifying improvements to your website, it is important to have sufficient data to support your decision-making process. Google Analytics can provide a wealth of insight but it has its constraints – for example, you can see a user goes from A to B but how do you know what exactly they clicked on to get to B?

This is where heat mapping can help. There are a number of heat mapping tools out there but my current favourite is Crazy Egg. Implementation is simple – ask your web developers to add a short script to your website and you are ready to go. It can also integrate nicely with other conversation rate optimisation platforms such as Optimizely.

So, what can heat map tracking do? 

For this demonstration, our client Journey Latin America has been good enough to give us permission to use them as an example. We ran Crazy Egg on a number of key pages on their site for 60 days. Here are some of the ways we were able to use the data.

1. See exactly where users are clicking  

Crazy Egg shows the greatest number of clicks in red/bright yellow colours, with blue/green showing lower amounts. This allows you to identify what links and functionality are working well and what needs improving. 

Heatmap JLA Homepage with Crazy Egg 

With JLA's homepage (above) we can observe many visitors are using the main search functionality within the header. This is good as we want to be pushing traffic to the holiday pages as quickly as possible, to focus users on finding their perfect trip and making them motivated to enquire.

You can also use heat maps to quickly see what areas are being mistakenly treated as links. What was interesting in the above example was that users were trying to click on “What are you looking for?” which wasn't a link. We were able to use this observation and change the design of this text so that it was clearer for the user: 

JLA Homepage Search

2. Segment clicks 

Crazy Egg lets you view clicks broken down into different types of users.

For example, on one of JLA's holiday pages we noticed on the heat map that users were ignoring the two big call-to-actions in the header and instead choosing to view the Dates & Prices (and Itinerary) sub-page:   

JLA Holiday Page Heat Map

One suggested theory was that these clicks were from returning users, who were already familiar with the website and wanted to re-check dates. Rather than just making this assumption, we were able to dive deeper into the data and segment clicks accordingly:   

Segmenting Clicks in Crazy Egg

This showed that it was in fact a mix of new and returning visitors, which dismissed the theory. Because we could establish users wanted to primarily know dates and pricing information, we changed the main call-to-action button from “BOOK HOLIDAY” to read “DATES & PRICES”. 

If we had seen different behaviour between new and returning, we could have then considered using personalisation to present different options to each type of audience.

3. See how far users are scrolling  

Back in 2015 I wrote a slightly frustrated blog article aimed at businesses and marketers who kept trying to shove everything into the top part of their website because they were afraid no one would scroll down.  

Now thanks to heat mapping tools we can prove it either way. Whilst doing so, it's important to realise it is not necessarily the case that we want users to be scrolling down on every page. With JLA’s homepage, the main aim is to get website visitors using the search at the top – which means a lack of scrolling isn’t a bad thing.  

On the other hand, for the destinations pages (e.g. Chile) it was important to understand where users dropped off or clicked away. Crazy Egg showed us that 50% of visitors didn’t go beyond the "Our Holidays" component (represented by the green/blue colouring below). This would have been because they were clicking on the holidays and/or because the content did not interest them. 

Scrolling on Crazy Egg

To help reduce drop-offs, we introduced a further call-to-action underneath the holidays component inviting visitors to get in touch with JLA if they needed assistance planning their holiday.  

Crazy Egg’s Limitations  

No tool is perfect. As you can only track individual pages and not the whole website, it can be difficult to collate observations for a specific template or collection of pages with the same layout. For example, if you had 500 holidays and wanted to learn about user behaviour on these, you would need to pick the most popular holiday pages and draw your conclusions separately from them.  

Be aware that additional tracking will need to be put in place if you use iFrames on your site. Crazy Egg also can be blocked by other JavaScript which means there may be no tracking recorded on dynamic page elements. With JLA this meant we couldn’t clearly see when users were clicking on holidays.  

Lastly, we recommend tracking is implemented for at least 30 days to obtain sufficient data - you won't get an instant results.  

How do I get started?  

You can sign up for your 30-day free Crazy Egg trial at their website. Or even better, get in touch with your Account Manager at Sagittarius and we'll help you set it up!

View more information on our original website project with Journey Latin America here.

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