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Heatmaps: the free tool you didn't know you needed

Want to know what users do when they land on your website pages—and how to make them stick around longer? Heatmaps help you do both.

Heatmaps are visual representations of user data on your website pages depicted by color, where red indicates page areas of maximum engagement and blue reveals areas users ignore.

There are various types of heatmaps providing different views of user behavior on your site. The main ones are:

  • Click maps: show where your users click on desktop or tap on mobile. Use them to assess interaction levels, identify ignored product features, evaluate the performance of links, and monitor main calls-to-action (CTAs).

  • Move maps: reveal where users’ cursors move as they navigate a page. Use them to optimize your important pages’ key messages, CTA buttons, and links to drive user attention to the right places.

  • Scroll maps: indicate how far down a page users scroll on average before dropping off. Use them to optimize your page hierarchy and ensure important page elements are seen.

But there are other heatmap types that provide even more valuable insights:

  • Rage click mapsshow page elements users repeatedly click on—often a sign of frustration

  • Engagement Zones maps: combine the data from the three heatmaps above into one map to reveal page areas users interact with the most

Visualize user engagement on your site with Heatmaps tools like Engagement zones

By giving you this instant, aggregate view of user behavior, heatmaps help identify areas for improvement, optimize user experiences, and increase conversion rates.

How do heatmaps work? 

Though deceptively simple and nothing new (heatmaps have been around since the 19th century, when people used manual shading to depict data patterns in matrices and tables!) heatmaps today are more popular than ever, playing a vital role for product teams, marketers, and UX designers who want to analyze and improve website effectiveness and user engagement. 

Nowadays, heatmaps can still be created by hand, using Excel spreadsheets. But most people rely on digital experience insights tools like Hotjar to create advanced heatmaps that reveal all kinds of critical information.

Driving business success with heatmaps

If a picture is worth a thousand words, heatmaps tell the perfect visual story of what's happening on your site and with your users. With heatmaps analysis, you can shed light on crucial areas and tackle key questions, such as

  • Are users viewing important content?

  • Are users engaging with key page elements like links, buttons, and CTAs?

  • Do users encounter confusion and click on non-clickable elements?

  • Does extraneous content distract users?

  • Are device-related issues affecting the user experience?

To answer these questions, website owners worldwide have created more than 7.5 million heatmaps with the Hotjar Heatmaps tool alone. Heatmaps have enabled product teams, marketers, ecommerce managers, UX experts, and entrepreneurs to unearth invaluable insights into where visitors focus their attention, what engages them, and where they get stuck.

Visualize user behavior—for free!—with heatmaps

Now that we’ve shared these tips and tricks, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get started! Find the truth behind your users’ behavior to make optimizations that really matter to them, and clear their path to conversion in the process. Your users will thank you—and so will your boss.

Set up your free heatmap today

Sign up for a free Hotjar account and start using heatmaps along with session recordings, feedback, and surveys to improve your site or product.