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Click maps: using them to optimize your website

People can't use a website without clicking a mouse somewhere or tapping on a mobile device. Those clicks and taps help them navigate pages and find the products, services, or information they’re looking for.

But do YOU, as a website designer, marketer, or business owner, know exactly where your visitors click and tap? And do you know how to use that information to build a better website and experience?

That's where click maps come in.

PX insights
Behavior analytics

Last updated

18 Aug 2022

In this quick article, you'll learn how to track where users click, the benefits and limitations of click maps, how you can use them to optimize UX, and how to set up click maps on your website or product page in just a couple of minutes.

See where your website visitors are clicking

Start using click maps on your website today.

What is a click map?

A click map (or clickmap) is a type of website heat map that displays where users click the mouse cursor on a desktop device or tap the screen on mobile. Click maps help website owners track on-page user engagement, such as clicks on buttons, links, images, etc. across a website, which in turn helps them optimize their pages and CTAs for better conversion.

#A CLICK MAP EXAMPLE ON HOTJAR'S HOMEPAGE
A CLICK MAP EXAMPLE ON HOTJAR'S HOMEPAGE

Click maps are used by user experience designers and marketers to track user activity, identify opportunities to improve conversions, fix bugs, and iterate better website design. Click popularity is displayed using a color scale from red to blue (where the most popular points are ‘hot’ and represented in red), alongside quantitative data on the number of clicks and user click percentage on each webpage element.

Click map vs. heat maps

#This Hotjar click heatmap shows user confusion in action
This Hotjar click heatmap shows user confusion in action

Heatmaps (or heat maps) is an umbrella term that describes different types of visual website analytics. Click maps are a specific type of heatmap (together with scroll maps and move maps) where the red or ‘hot’ dots show page elements that have been clicked on most frequently, while blue or ‘cold’ dots show the ones that have been clicked on the least. Any area that contains no color has never been clicked on.

Why use website click maps?

With click heat maps, you can:

  • See where website visitors click and tap

  • Identify underperforming CTAs that are getting ignored

  • Find bugs and product pain points for improvement

  • Showcase engagement data visually

Click maps are a key click tracking tool that help you spot elements where users engage (or don’t) with your pages to quantify user behavior patterns. 

You'll see where visitors clicked on CTAs (calls-to-action) and unexpected elements, which in turn gives you a solid starting point to make product changes for UX improvement and CRO (conversion rate optimization). Look at this quick example:

#Hotjar click map examples across different devices
Hotjar click map examples across different devices

This click map was placed on an old version of our homepage that included a video above the average fold. In reality, as both the mobile and the desktop click maps show, nobody really did watch the video: the overall engagement is 0.04%—meaning that out of 7000 people, around three (!) clicked the play button. Had the video included unique, valuable information about the product that was not replicated anywhere else on the page, we’d have been in trouble—and this click map alone would have alerted us to a problem that needed fixing.

In addition, click maps can be used as a visual aid to help communicate website and product problems and optimizations to stakeholders and clients, which is particularly helpful if you're pitching to a non-technical audience.

#A Hotjar user shares a heatmap with a team member to build a business case to increase buy-in
A Hotjar user shares a heatmap with a team member to build a business case to increase buy-in

How to use click maps on your website

You can use click maps on any type of website—e-commerce site, product listing, blog, landing pages, and more.

Here's how to set up Hotjar click heat maps using our heat map analytics tool and start collecting click data on your website today. Each Hotjar heatmap will automatically generate all three heat map types (click, move, and scroll), so there’s no need to do anything special to set up a click map.

Log into the main Hotjar dashboard (sign up first for a forever-free account if you’re new to it), and navigate to the Heatmaps section to begin.

Here are six simple steps to create a click heatmap:

Step 1: add Hotjar’s tracking code to your website

You can install Hotjar’s tracking code in several ways, including via Google Tag Manager and WordPress plugin.

Step 2: enable 'session capture'

Continuous heatmaps are generated from sessions. When 'session capture' is enabled, heatmaps are available automatically and they start collecting user behavior data. So, you first need to verify that 'session capture' is enabled.

You can verify this by visiting Heatmaps in your Hotjar Account and checking the traffic coverage widget in the top-right corner of the page.

If you hover over this widget, you will see more information about your daily 'session capture' settings, which will apply to both Hotjar Recordings and Continuous Heatmaps.

If session capture is not enabled, you will see an orange 'Session Capture Disabled' button at the top of the page, which takes you to the session capture configuration page.

Step 3: get started with continuous heatmaps

Click on Heatmaps in the left-hand navigation menu:

Using the search bar at the top of your Continuous Heatmaps page, you can view a heatmap for any page you've tracked by entering the URL here.

To learn more you can check out our article on URL filtering for continuous heatmaps.

You can also select a page from the ‘popular pages’ list. This list shows the pages across your site that have collected the highest amount of session data over the past 30 days.

Step 5: click view heatmap

Your heatmap should appear within 90 seconds or less.

To quickly view this page URL again in continuous heatmaps, use the ‘pin page’ feature by clicking on the small pin icon to the right of the URL:

Step 6: select ‘Click’ map

 Here’s how the click heat map results will look from inside the Hotjar dashboard:

#A Hotjar click map example
A Hotjar click map example

You can toggle any heat map to show desktop, tablet, or mobile sessions. To view the click map data, select the ‘Click’ tab in the heat map type options. You can also view and download the raw data.

Note: to ensure that Hotjar accurately reports where your website visitors have clicked, we collect clicks relative to elements on the product page. For instance, if a user clicks on a button, we will record the position of their cursor relative to that particular button, not the entire page—in other words, Hotjar Heatmaps provide you with an aggregated visualization of user behavior.

Find out ‘why people click’ by combining heat maps with other PX tools

#Hotjar’s tool stack
Hotjar’s tool stack

Click maps are great at showing you what users click and tap on, but that's only part of the story—you still need to understand why users click (or, perhaps more urgently: why they fail to).

To do that, you can combine quantitative click map insights with qualitative insight from user feedback surveys and session recordings. Using Hotjar, you can quickly set up recordings and surveys (our name for on-site feedback surveys) alongside heat maps on your website or product page to get all the product experience (PX) insights you need to make optimizations and improve UX.

Further reading: check out how to combine heatmaps and other tools for extra insight, and learn how SaaS company CCV Shop used click maps in combination with session recordings to increase conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

Create a free click map and increase conversions today

Click maps are a quick and easy way to see what people are really doing on your site. They are a key product experience insights tool in the UX and optimization tech stack of marketers, UX designers, and conversion rate optimizers—and they are especially useful if you have an online business, looking to deeply understand the behavior of your customers: what drives them, what interests them, what they interact with, or what they fail to notice on your site.

See where your website visitors are clicking

Start using click maps on your website today.

4 common click map FAQs