AUTHOR

LUKESH PILLAI

DATE

September 3, 2021

CATEGORIES
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Nowadays, businesses can leave no stone unturned to understand their audience’s mindset. Speaking of understanding your audience, did you know that it has been proven to get easier with the help of proper methods to understand a person’s psychology and behavioral patterns? This is where heat maps and eye-tracking elements come into the picture.

In this article, we will talk about

  1. What are heat maps? 
  2. How to use heat maps?
  3. What is eye-tracking?

What are heat maps?

A heat map is a digital eye-tracking tool that is used to track a user’s behavior on a website, ad, or app. They are maps with striking use of hot and cool colors. In a typical heat map, you will find prominent reds, yellows, and oranges- signifying more activity, as well as blues and greens-signifying lower levels of activity. Essentially, these maps are utilized to detect a user’s attention span, as well as their interaction with the elements of an ad or website like an image, text, button or video.

Did you know? : Heat maps were initially created to tackle financial markets by Cormac Kinney sometime around the 1990s.

To put it simply, they solve a very important question of businesses, whether the audience is drawn to a particular element or not? 

If the audience is not focusing on an element that a business wants them to focus on, then the business goals cannot be met. 

These days, heat maps come in a variety of forms, each helping you solve a different problem.

Here are some of them.

  • Scroll maps: A scroll map will tell you exactly how much a user has scrolled down your website page. Normally they show a pattern of red to blue from the top of the page to the bottom.
  • Desktop & mobile heatmap: The layouts of a website or an ad are quite different on a desktop and mobile phone. To differentiate between the user behavior on both these devices, Desktop & mobile heat maps come in handy.
  • Hover maps: These maps are designed on the technique signifying that eye movements and cursor movements are interrelated. It is believed that a user is looking at the exact place where he/she has placed the cursor on the screen. In this way, hover maps will show you the areas where users have hovered their cursors on a particular page for longer durations.
  • Click maps: These maps are useful to collect the click rate on elements or buttons of a particular page. It comes in handy to evaluate the calls to action on a website.

How to use heat maps?

Amongst the increasing number of  innovative layouts, Businesses usually struggle with two questions about their users:

  • Which elements are attracting the user’s attention?
  • Which elements are distracting the users?

Both these questions can be tackled with the help of heat maps and eye-tracking techniques.

For a successful conversion rate, your audience needs to see and interact with the most important content on your page. 

Interestingly, a study by Nielson Norman Group found that users normally look for more information above the page fold. 

Let us look at an example: Suppose you are a business posting excellent blogs and informational videos on your website, ultimately aiming for users to call you and place orders. After a while, you realize that even after churning out good quality content, you don’t see positive results in the number of calls made. To solve this problem, you can make use of scroll maps and click maps. This will help you understand how far do your users scroll and if you have placed all the important details like all your persuasive content and phone number within the most scrollable area. 

Heat maps are excellent to understand and test which element should be placed where on a page, how many buttons will get results, and what should be the length of your content.

Adding to that, if you find yourself juggling between new designs, these maps can help you land on an informed decision based on data and user behavior. Ironically, some attractive elements on your website can end up distracting the audience and harming your business goals.

Here’s how heat maps can be extremely useful for a business:

  • It is a fact that people tend to focus more on faces than the text. However, this can be reversed in some cases based on font type and picture. Heat maps can help you identify attractive and distracting elements of your page.
  • Users can be directed to certain elements with the help of visual cues like arrows and looking patterns of images based on the data analysis of a map.
  • Too many elements on a webpage can lead to confusion on the part of a user. We can easily identify this problem with the help of these maps.
  • Heat maps can be utilized to conduct A/B testing of your site for optimization.
  • It can conduct traffic comparisons, design comparisons, and behavior comparisons of a user on a desktop and mobile phone to solve conversation rate issues.

What is eye-tracking?

To understand heat maps better, we also need to understand the concept of eye-tracking. The theory of eye-tracking is used to calculate the eye movements and patterns of the audience on a page. It is also widely used in packaging designs to help garner maximum customer attention.

Eye-tracking software can be beneficial for site optimization, layout, and marketing campaigns. This software has allowed the researchers to come to various insightful conclusions about eye movements and patterns.

For example, Most people who speak languages that are written from left to right, tend to focus more on the left side of the screen. This is the reason why many brands place important information and actions on the left side of the screen for such types of audience zones.

Owing to decreasing attention span, it is also noticed that most people like to scan instead of reading every word on a page.

This only goes on to prove, how knowledge of eye-tracking patterns and heat maps are beneficial to brands and businesses looking for conversion optimization.