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ClickTale, for me, is one of the best tools to use when you want to improve your website performance. However, it is difficult to find any guides on how to extract insight from the videos and heat-maps you are seeing.

There is a wealth of knowledge surrounding the implementation of the tool on any type of website, and tracking in all sorts of clever ways. However, it has taken me years to get to grips with using the tool to find truly valuable insight.

I want to share some of my findings with you...

Mouse movement heat-map

This is a very useful feature and my personal favourite. A sample of up to 1,000 visitors using a webpage is taken. All of the visitor mouse movement on that page is recorded and displayed as a heat-map. You are able to see which areas the mouse pointer was often directed, and which were not. 

In order to get the best view, I always change the settings to cold peaks. You can do this by sliding the settings 80% of the way to coldest and 80% of the way to show peaks. The areas that have a very small amount of movement are removed.  

This view focuses in on the key areas, leaving you with a sense of what is important, semi important and not important.

Navigation

The peaks you see on the navigation should be in line with what your visitors are searching for. If there are high peaks on navigation options you wouldn’t expect, then either your visiting traffic has a different desire to what you expected, or your navigation is confusing.  

Either way, you should consider altering your page. Focus on helping visitors navigate to the areas they are interested in. If your navigation has no peaks, then perhaps it is not in the right position or obvious enough.

Conversion points 

If there is no peak around your conversion point then you should consider making it stronger. This could be a case of making it more obvious (bolder colours, better positioning, bigger size…), or giving visitors more reason to use it (strong wording, offers, time limits…).

Content

You would expect to see a small amount of heat covering your content if visitors are finding it useful.  

If there is no heat, then perhaps the content could be better promoted, delivered differently or replaced with something more effective.  

However, you should consider whether the content is reinforcing your core messaging or services/products first, as it may be visually reassuring your visitors regardless of heat levels.

Points of high heat 

Any areas showing high heat levels should be considered carefully.  If it is a critical component in the conversion process, then consider testing different variations of this component.

Small changes could have high impact (this is when you hear stories of a small change doubling profits). However, if the peak is around a component that does not help in the conversion process, then you need to decide its purpose and whether it can be moved, dulled or removed to stop it drawing attention away from key components.

Points of low or no heat

There should always be areas of low heat and no heat, since you don’t want to create a page that is so visually distracting that it isconfusing.  There needs to be a clear path to conversion, so avoid filling areas of no heat with attention grabbing components.  

If there are critical areas of the site that are getting no heat, then it is worth exploring ways to draw attention to them.

Mouse Click heat-map

The patterns you see on the mouse click heat-maps are different to the mouse movement. There can be clusters of clicks in areas that were barely showing any heat, and conversely no clicks where there was heat.

The click patterns show the second half of the story and should be used to add context to the movement patterns.

High clicks, High heat

Areas like this are the focal point of your page, whether this is what you intended or not. Areas like this should be tested to find the best performing design.  

If this is not the area you want visitors to focus on, then you will need to work on reducing its appeal relative to the area you would like to be the main focus.

High clicks, Low heat

These areas tend to be navigation options or buttons that are clear to visitors. They do not need to pause for consideration, and will very quickly click leaving little trace of heat.

Again, if this is a key action you want visitors to take then you are in good shape.  If not, I would investigate how well you are pre-qualifying traffic, or reduce the component.

Low Clicks, High heat

Visitors are very interested in this area, but do not see any value in clicking. If there is no clear call to action in view, then you should consider testing one. If there is a clear action to click already, then you are not doing a good job of persuading your visitor.  

For example, if you see this on your navigation, then visitors are looking for an option they expected, but you have not listed. Your job is then clear – identify what your visitors are looking for.

Low Clicks, Low heat

Visitors are more than likely ignoring this area completely. Consider highlighting anything important, or moving it elsewhere.

Scroll Heat-map

Long pages are only effective if visitors are scrolling down and viewing them. This heatmap will identify how many visitors are actually scrolling down and how far. If the percentage is low, then consider ideas for encouraging visitors to scroll down.

Finally...

Don’t try to make everything attractive, just focus on getting visitors to interact with a few critical elements. You will need to be creative and run tests in order to achieve this, because unfortunately your visitors all have their own objectives.

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Published 27 July, 2011 by Chris Rowett

Chris Rowett is Head of PPC and WebConverter at Epiphany Solutions and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

3 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

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Depesh Mandalia, Head of Digital Marketing at Lost My Name

Hi Chris

Firstly, I agree ClickTale is a fantastic tool, I very much recommend it. However I would say that there are useful guides on ClickTale from their very own blog. Furthermore, assuming you're an SME or Enterprise customer they offer decent support.

I first started working with them when Tal and Arik when they were just getting started and their direct support was first class... they're obviously less involved now but still have good support.

The other thing you didn't mention was their funnel analysis which is great for things like checkout and forms. Here's a blog entry from them on this, specifically around segmenting, which definitely floats my boat: http://blog.clicktale.com/2011/02/01/how-to-profit-from-segmentation/

In addition I'm keeping a close eye on the Kampyle integration to use customer feedback along with ClickTale's insights to better understand customer pain points. So rather than get feedback which states good/bad/ok you can now dive into the detail and replay the user session for example: http://blog.clicktale.com/2011/07/07/kampyle-and-clicktale-partner-to-deliver-next-generation-customer-feedback-analytics/

I would say that you've barely touched the surface of ClickTale in this post and it can do so much more (note: I have no affiliation to ClickTale, just a fan!)

almost 5 years ago

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Dwayne Browne

Hi Chris,
I really like this tool and I think it deserves some praise especially as a first base of optimization for SMBs. I would recommend that users of this tool tread lightly when it comes to mouse movement heat maps though. I've been involved in several UR sessions using eye tracking technology and the one thing I've noticed is that a lot of the time mouse and eye movement almost never match. If you take this into consideration it makes the heat map seem a bit useless. Many test participants shake or drift their mouse pretty much at random while reading and digesting content. Therefore a concentration of mouse activity shouldn't be used to make optimization decisions. The Clickmap on the other hand is a much more useful feature of ClickTale especially when users misunderstand some types of web interactions and conventions (e.g. which ones are click-able and which ones aren't).

almost 5 years ago

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Dried Fruits

I really like this tool and I think it deserves some praise especially as a first base of optimization for SMBs. I would recommend that users of this tool tread lightly when it comes to mouse movement heat maps though. I've been involved in several UR sessions using eye tracking technology and the one thing I've noticed is that a lot of the time mouse and eye movement almost never match. If you take this into consideration it makes the heat map seem a bit useless

almost 5 years ago

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