If you’ve ever watched Ghost Hunters, or any other paranormal investigation show, you’ve seen the “hunters” use a hand-held device called a thermal camera. These thermal cameras are scientific instruments used to visualize temperature changes in the environment. In the shows, the temperature changes are caused by the presence of ghosts… or so they say.

What is heat mapping… for websites?

Heat mapping applications work like the thermal camera, but for your website. Once the code is installed, you are able to view where visitors of your site are moving, hesitating, clicking (or attempting to click), and scrolling via infrared color overlays, click maps, and scroll maps.

Why are heat maps important?

Heat maps help to improve the data that is available through standard analytics (such as Google Analytics), by showing how a user interacts with a page and where they are focusing. The goal of heat mapping a web page is to give you an idea of where to place important content, call-to-action (CTA) buttons, images, etc. to help encourage conversions.

Heat mapping works in conjunction with Google Analytics through reporting, giving insight specifically to where on the page visitors are clicking and scrolling – and what they are missing. Heat maps allow website designers to make more effective changes to the site pages to help improve visitor engagement and chances for conversion.

What has Advanta found out about the benefits of heat maps?

Advanta has learned a few things to consider when designing our clients’ websites by utilizing information and analytics gathered from heat mapping data from our own website.

The top three findings are:

1. The content your visitors find most important should be in the top of the page.

People will scroll down your site, but their attention span is short. When we use terms such as “above the fold” with our clients, we mean the area of a web page that’s visible right after page-load, before the visitor scrolls down the page. Although there isn’t a set pixel size, Advanta’s designers have learned approximately where to place the most important information.

2. What you see is ultimately what you buy.

When consumers are in a rush or distracted, the visuals will, in the grand scheme of things, make the decision for them. Most times, consumers will think less of their personal preferences and have a tendency to choose what they notice the most. Knowing this, Advanta will work with you on the products you’d like to sell or bring more attention to when optimizing the design of your website, so your visitors can find what they’re looking for in a fast-paced world.

3. People spend more time to the left.

Sadly, this is not a Beyonce song. You shouldn’t put “everything you own in the box to the left”, because then the left side of your website will be so heavy with information that the right side is barren and there’s a design imbalance. This is why many websites have menu or navigation items on the left side of the screen. Advanta will listen to your website design needs and together determine what visitors will look at first on your website—whether it be a navigation menu, your value proposition, or something else.

Heat mapping doesn’t have to be a haunting, err… daunting experience. Contact Advanta today for more information on how heat mapping can improve your website design to help increase conversions.