What is a heat map?

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Consumers interact with so many things online, each and every day; from websites and blog articles to their social media feeds and cloud-based co-working suites. Imagine if you could predict the way people will interact with your blog articles and online content before you even post them! Well, you can, and it involves using heat maps.

Essentially, a heat map is a visual 2D display of data. It uses colours to represent quantity or severity, much like on weather segments when a cold front is blowing in. Heat maps can also represent online data, some of which would certainly be of interest to marketing professionals. Let’s take a look at how heat-mapping fits in with a business’s marketing mix:

Heat maps and marketing

Multiple studies have been done on Internet users, specifically concerned with how people consume online content in the moment. Eye-tracking technology is involved, and researchers build a heat map based on the most looked-at locations on the page or article. If we as marketers and advertisers know what members of our target audience will look at first, and what they’re likely not going to look at, we can craft better content that is tailored with the consumer in mind.

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Why you should be heatmapping

  1. Improve website layout

    By A/B testing website content before publishing with eye-tracking, a brand can assess whether or not site layouts are working. Are people noticing the key elements? Are they clicking on the correct buttons to take them along the sales funnel?

  2. Identify poor content

    Heat maps show website owners where their shortcomings are online, which inevitably sparks the motivation to optimise the site. This can include changing button colours to make them stand out, move important information from the right-side to the centre, etc.


Tips to rock marketing heatmapping

  • Keep it clean and clear

    Heat maps have shown us that people barely read an entire piece of online content. Therefore, don’t waste your time putting important information past your first three paragraphs. Lead with the crux (unless you can convince the reader to find the crux further down), while keeping your writing clear and concise.

  • Focus on the first paragraph

    People read headings, and then they read the text below. If they aren’t hooked by sentence 3, you’re most likely to lose the reader and a potential customer. This means that prudent consideration should be given to your headings and your first paragraph.

  • Use a clear, logical structure

As said above, readers like headings. This is because of our need for structure to help us make sense of the world. Use your headings as summaries of what is to be found below them. Some readers will only skim the sub-headings, and if they aren’t clear the reader will likely bounce.

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