In order for your website to survive in the modern world of online business, it’s vital that it maintains a healthy conversion rate. Conversions are measured by whatever metric you use to determine a successful purchase or subscription, such as a sale, registration, or download. When your website is functioning efficiently and is appealing to your visitors, you’ll see an increase in your conversions.
However, if you’re seeing a high bounce rate and below average conversions over a long period of time, it signals an opportunity for improvement. For those who may be experiencing this, the following is an expert guide on how analyzing heatmaps can improve your conversion rate and lower your bounce rate at the same time.
Layout and placement optimization
Analyzing your website by using heatmaps that are based on user behavior can be extremely useful when determining your site layout and content placement. When you have the ability to see this data, it becomes much easier to make informed decisions regarding changes that will actually enhance your User Experience (UX) and will, in turn, benefit your conversion rate.
Scroll heatmaps are especially good for helping to determine the appropriate layout for your pages. Generally, people have a short attention span. As a person scrolls down a page, their attention and interest start to decrease. Scroll heatmaps will show you how many of your viewers are scrolling down to view important elements of your page and will help you adjust the placement of your content. They will also show you where the fold line sits for your average user, which is where the page cuts off when loaded, meaning the average user has to scroll down to see below the fold line. It’s important to view scroll heatmaps for each device type so you can optimize your design for responsive layouts.
Attention and Movement heatmaps will also show you where hot-zones are on your pages, which point out which areas and elements users are engaging with the most. When crucial elements and information is in the right spot, it can help to keep your visitors on the page for longer, as well as guide them through your conversion funnel.
The correlation between mouse tracking and eye movement
Kerry Rodden, a Google employee, partnered with Xin Fu, a Google intern (now with The School of Information and Library Science) to conduct an experiment that studied the correlation between mouse movement and visual fixation. Their findings were that the mean of users whose eye fixation was within a close distance to the mouse pointer was a mean of 76%.1
By analyzing Movement and Attention heatmaps, you can visually see where users are interacting with the most and what is the most interesting to them. You can also make changes so that important elements on your site are getting noticed. Do you have a primary Call to Action (CTA) element that is being ignored, but content near it is showing as more popular? Then ask yourself why, perform A/B testing with different layouts, and then analyze the heatmaps again. This process can help you guide the focus of your users’ so they have the best User Experience (UX) possible to generate conversions.
Layout guidelines for thought...
While there are many layout options available when designing your website, it’s best to follow a format that is the most intuitive to your users. People generally follow an “F” shaped pattern when viewing a website.2 They read it like a book, starting from the upper left-hand corner to the right, then move down and then repeat that pattern. Content on the upper left, on the very top of the page and then across the header is where the most interaction takes place.
Knowing this, you’ll want to place your logo in the very top left-hand corner, making sure to link it to your homepage, as this is what users expect. Your navigation should be fixed to either the left side of the page or at the very top of your website. Make sure your navigation scrolls with the user, as well, so they can always use it. This will create a wonderful user experience.
Keep the main and most important content in the center of the page, as this is the area that users primarily focus on. Secondary and unimportant information should be positioned to the right of the screen, as it won’t be seen or interacted with as much.
While there are many layout options to choose from, here’s a good example of a responsive layout that utilizes an F-pattern design.
Engage users with the right type of content
Did you know that advertisements on web pages are ignored by most users? Viewers are interested in content and are completely habituated to advertisements, which means not only are most ads not being interacted with - they’re not even being seen. This is called banner blindness. Banner blindness occurs when your visitors consciously or involuntarily ignore areas of your website that feature advertisements or banners. Because people are so used to seeing ads everywhere, they are used to ignoring them, which can be proved by analyzing your heatmap activity.
It’s important that you avoid wasting time and money on advertisements that aren't bringing in sales. Instead, focus on high-quality content and a great user experience. Invest in optimizing your website in a way that engages visitors, keeps them on your website, and generates conversions. By analyzing your heatmaps, you can see what engages your users the most, and cater your content to compliment their behavior.
Develop a strong content strategy to help drive the results you’re after. Also, communicate with your target audience by utilizing methods, such as surveys, to directly ask them what they would and wouldn’t like to see on your website. By reaching out to people, you can strategize your site development in a way that your users will appreciate and find valuable.
Heatmaps inform you of distractions
Distractions are the key to why you may have shopping cart abandonment. When a customer decides to make a purchase and starts the process through your conversion funnel, it’s important to guide them through the transaction in the most efficient manner possible. This will reduce the risk of them bouncing, or abandoning their cart. You can lose a visitor from a number of distractions in the checkout process. These include, but aren’t limited to:
Navigation points, which may lead to another area of a website.
Social media tags, which take your user to their favorite social media site.
Images or animation, which may distract them long enough to think twice about their sale.
Heatmaps can help you to determine whether or not there are distractions in the checkout process. They will also highlight pages your customers are abandoning. By knowing this information, you can improve areas to help drive the customer through the sales funnel faster. This, in turn, will improve your conversions greatly and lower your bounce rate at the same time.
Heatmap analysis can give you data that will help you optimize your website in a number of ways. This, in turn, will benefit your conversion rate while lowering your bounce rate. Some key takeaways from this article include:
People lose interest fast, so place your most important content in the primary areas of engagement on your site.
Test banners or on-page advertisements regularly to know if they’re making or wasting money.
Search for distractions and remove them to boost conversions.
People look at a site in an F-shaped pattern, so make sure your site layout corresponds to this data.
High-quality content and a smooth user experience will pay for itself.
Use heatmaps to optimize your website for responsive design.
Perform A/B testing to get the best results over time.
Whether you’re a blogger or the owner of a large corporation, analyzing heatmaps will provide you with the information necessary to reach your business goals.
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Aaron Gray is a passionate digital marketing expert and the co-founder of Command Center. Command Center is the one place for people to manage and consolidate all their digital assets. The platform was designed for business owners and marketers to take action within the platform to improve sales, measure the ROI on all digital campaigns, and to deliver insights into complex data in simple to understand reports. Aaron’s goal is to help business and website owners take control of their online marketing and assets to be able to make smarter business decisions.