Heatmaps Buyer’s Checklist: 7 Features Enterprise Teams Need in 2020

Liam Burns
Written by Liam Burns
August 25, 2020

Website heatmaps are analytical works of art – but buyer beware, not all heatmapping solutions are created equal!

While most heatmaps visualize aggregated user data from any given webpage in a colorful map, not all generate the same nuanced insights or even offer capabilities needed at the enterprise scale.

Using legacy heatmaps or less robust versions of this investigative tool could become problematic as you try to pinpoint poor user experiences (UX) for optimization with lower grade data. In fact, only 3% of customer experience (CX) professionals can act on all their customer data and 21% say they can act on very little of it.

So, what exactly makes a heatmap solution effective for enterprise digital teams? Check out the following 7 must-have heatmap features to make those most of your investment.

1. Access to a wide range of traditional and advanced heatmap types

The more insights the merrier, right? So just one or two heatmap types simply doesn’t cut it for enterprise web optimization. To truly understand every aspect of the user experience, you’ll need access to a diverse set of heatmaps.

With so many ways user behave on a website – like clicking, hovering, scrolling, and more – it’s critical your heatmap solution can collect and display every single type of interaction. That’s where different heatmap types matter most.

When looking for a heatmap solution, make sure the vendor offers a variety of heatmap types including scroll maps, attention maps, dot/click maps, attribution maps, and behavior maps. With this arsenal, every aspect of the user experience can be visualized, ensuring you don’t miss a thing.

2. Overlay data from multiple pages that use identical or similar layouts

A lot of your site’s webpages probably use the same or at least similar layouts – for example product detail pages or landing pages. If that is the case, page overlay data can make your life much easier.

Access to overlay data allows you to place heatmaps of these similar webpages over one another, and cross-compare how they’re performing. Whether you discover a frustration hotspot related to a broken link on one page or high engagement with an added call-to-action button on another, inconsistencies will shine through.

With the ability to spot any glaring points of UX friction, you can keep page layouts consistent across your site.

3. On-page behavioral data to illustrate user frustration, engagement, and confusion

Body language says so much about a person’s state of mind, and it’s not much different online. That’s why behavior detection has become an essential part of heatmap technology.

Rated effective by 96% of practitioners, behavior detection recognizes and measures digital body language cues like frustration driven multi-clicks and bird’s nests along with highly engaged mouse reading and more. Embedded within modern heatmaps, like Decibel’s own solution, these behaviors will populate in heatmaps highlighting exactly where users run into frustration and confusion on your site.

With user behaviors in plain sight, you can truly understand where frustrations grow and why bottlenecks, abandonment, and negative feedback arise.

4. Compatible with external analytics data to contextualize heatmap insights

From web analytics, to voice of customer data, to sales databases – these kinds of platforms often tell you ‘what’ is happening but not ‘why’ it’s happening. Heatmap integrations uncover that unknown.

Pairing heatmaps with your favorite analytics sources enables you to fully understand the user experience. Using popular data like conversion rates, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and even customer survey data to discover new issues, these insights will contextualize investigations for heatmap-driven analysis to begin.

No more blind guessing games tied to underperforming metrics: heatmaps integrated with external analytics create a near perfect level of context for in-depth website or app optimizations.

5. Automatic tracking of static and dynamic on-page elements without manual tagging

Keeping track of every testing change is tedious work – or so you may have thought. Nowadays, the best heatmap solutions automatically track and tag changes to key on-page elements.

Given the high-engagement nature of webpage elements, these are often a focal point of testing new layouts and interfaces in order to improve the user experience. Luckily for you, heatmaps will track the relocation of a button, addition of a dynamic pinwheel menu, or a tweak to a product image carousel without any extra work on your end.

No matter what you want to adjust, heatmaps will keep track of everything with automatic tracking and tagging. In fact, AI powered tech like this could even drive up team productivity by 40%.

6. Page toggling to easily gauge performance differences of alternate designs

Sick of a having 5 different pages on-screen to compare a wide range of layouts? We don’t blame you, and that’s why heatmap toggling is an A/B tester’s dream come true.

Whether or not you can accurately pinpoint differences between various webpage designs, layouts, and content can make or break digital optimization efforts. With page toggling capabilities, you can easily compare variations of the same webpage to decipher which versions work, versus those that fall short.

Given that only 55% of teams perform UX testing, nailing this process with toggling can help propel your site’s digital experiences ahead of the pack.

7. Integrated session replay to correlate insights with specific user sessions

Ironically, one of the best ways to glean actionable insights from heatmaps comes through session replay. Knowing this, it’s critical to have a session replay integration.

With heatmaps surfacing visual user data like frustration hotspots or low engagement page elements, a session replay integration allows you to instantly clickthrough to watch back those user sessions, revealing the true causes behind that data. With this end-to-end analysis, it’s no wonder these tools are both rated effective by 95% of practitioners.

It’s become ever clearer: this tandem creates a highly insightful partnership capable of finding nearly any UX problem, almost like the ‘Sherlock Holmes and Watson’ of digital optimization.

Become a Heatmap Expert to Maximize Your Investment

Even with all these highly advanced features modern heatmaps offer, the best way to unlock this tool’s full potential comes from you as the end-user. You’ll want to know your way around heatmaps – from the basics to the finer details – in order to maximize the value behind this investigative tool.

To transform heatmap insights into web optimizations that finally improve poor user experiences and drive more engagements and conversions, take advantage of The Definitive Guide to Website Heatmaps in 2020: Latest Enterprise Features.

In this end-to-end guide, you’ll learn about:

  • The basics of using heatmaps in 2020
  • Heatmaps’ biggest strengths and weaknesses
  • Best practices for maximizing heatmap insights
  • What’s in store for the future of heatmaps
Topics: Heatmaps, Product, User experience
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