So far, in our previous blogs, we’ve only talked in general terms about the different kinds of heatmaps. You can see where people click on a page, or how far they scroll.
But after a while, you’ll start to ask yourself more detailed questions. You’ll want to start drilling down according to different criteria, such as:
Does the user experience differ on a mobile, compared to a desktop?
Are your Android users seeing the same thing as your iPhone users?
Do your page elements render correctly on Chrome devices?
Which of your A/B page variants is producing the activity or UX you want?
Do users behave differently on a page if they viewed a certain other page on your site first?
Does user engagement differ according to the time of day?
Does on-page behavior change during your sale period?
Do people behave differently whether they come to your page from a social media link, an emailed newsletter, a banner advert, a PPC link, or a direct mail piece?
Do certain referring URLs deliver more committed user behavior, or vague browsing?
When people spend longer on the page, what are they doing?
You can see that the above questions anticipate an extra layer of complexity. We’re no longer simply asking what people are doing on the page, but what they are doing when other factors are at play. We are starting to set parameters, such as ‘only within these dates’, or ‘only on this device’, or ‘only if the user spends more than 120 seconds on the page’. This means we are starting to filter the information heatmaps give us.
Setting up filters and segments
When you ask your heatmapping tool to provide results that only fit within certain parameters, you’re setting filters. You might begin with simpler filters, for example:
“Show me a click heatmap for all Android users who visit my ‘contact us’ page”.
As you become more accustomed to both filtering and interpreting the resultant heatmaps, your filtering can become more sophisticated. So you might conceivably ask:
“Show me a click heatmap for Android users on a Samsung Galaxy S6 who came to a certain campaign landing page after clicking through from a particular social media post between 15 and 31 September”.
The items in bold show the filters you’re applying. When you start combining filters in this way, you’re grouping them into ‘segments’, and can save the segment for future use – providing that’s a feature supported by your heatmapping tool.
What sort of filters might you want to apply?
A good website heatmap tool will let you segment your data by different user groups, including those that drop off at particular points or those who convert (or don’t convert) to a sale.
It can also be really useful to filter according to what users did after they visited your page – so make sure you choose a heatmap tool that lets you see a heatmap for only those users who subsequently bought, or who dropped out of the site on this page, or whose visit included viewing more than 20 pages.
Equally, you’ll want to know what happened before users came to your page; a good tool will let you compare heatmaps for people who arrived from a marketing landing page versus the standard homepage.
What are the most popular filters?
The five most popular filters are:
- Device type
- Operating system
- Page visited (e.g. a campaign landing page, or checkout page) or specific combination of pages
- Referring URL (how did the user get here?)
- Time spent on the page.
Can every heatmapping tool handle filtering?
Your ability to set filters and segments will depend on the capabilities of your heatmapping tool. Of course, one gets what one pays for; if you choose a free or basic heatmapping tool, your ability to filter may be restricted, or you may need to upgrade to perform anything more than the most basic filtering. More professional tools will deliver much smarter and more extensive filtering and segmenting capabilities.