What is a heatmap in conversion rate optimization (CRO)?
A heatmap is a data visualization technique that uses color gradients to show where users click, scroll, or otherwise engage with a digital interface.
Heatmaps visually aggregate user behavior to help identify areas of a webpage that are important (or unimportant) to users. They’re typically rendered as blobs of color that overlay a screenshot of a specific digital interface screen, such as an app screen or webpage. The color gradient scales from a “hot” color (often red) down the spectrum to a “cold” color (often blue).
How Heatmaps Are Generated
User data, such as mouse movement, scroll depth, and mouse clicks or touchpoints, are used to generate heatmaps. Areas with a high amount of data points are considered “hot” and are colored as such. For example, a primary call-to-action button likely gets a lot of clicks, so it would have a “hot” color blob over it to indicate a lot of clicks or taps.
A heatmap can be generated with data collected from a single page or from multiple pages. Those that contain data from multiple pages are typically used to focus on user interface elements that are consistent across all of the targeted pages, like a navigation bar.
Many tools generate heatmaps—typically as part of a SaaS platform and also include other user behavior research systems like session replay capabilities. Some examples include Microsoft Clarity, Hotjar, Mouseflow, FullStory, Crazy Egg, and LuckyOrange.
Types of Heatmaps & Why They're Useful
How We Use Heatmaps at Omnitail
Heatmaps are a good way to quickly identify areas of frequent user activity on your website, but can fall short on detailed analysis. We use them as an entry point for evaluating how user activity aligns with business goals, identifying areas for optimization, and diving deeper into variation performance analysis for split tests.
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