Knowing how users behave on your site is crucial to making them do the things you want them to do. Traditional analytics tells you how and when they arrive. Heatmap tools go one step further.
Designers go to massive efforts to make a webpage look and feel like an actual, physical thing. At heart, we want to give our users the impression that they’re interacting with a real life object.
As an example, that’s why we try and make it feel like you’ve pressed an actual button when you click on a link. Understanding these interactions also allows you to nudge your site traffic towards carrying out certain actions.
What are Heatmap Tools?
Heatmap tools help you to visualise how users interact with your site. They track scrolling, mouse activity, clicks and more. Then, they create visual guides to which areas on a given webpage users are most focused on.
They’re also helpful for spotting signs that a user might be about to carry out a particular action. The classic example of this is if a user’s mouse starts heading for the top right corner, they’re about to exit the site.
Insights like this can then be used to modify your site, or set the user back on your desired course. In this example, the normal thing to do would be use this knowledge to create a pop-up to entice them to stay.
With that in mind, here’s the top-level summary of today’s heatmap tools.
|Software||Starting From||Best Thing About It||Biggest Problem|
|Crazy Egg||$24 per month.||Separate traffic by source.||Basic plan only offers 3 months of storage.|
|Inspectlet||Free.||Mobile support.||High cost for more monthly tracked visits.|
|Lucky Orange||$10 per month.||Excellent value for money.||This would be flawless if it was availalbe as a WordPress plugin.|
|Mouseflow||$29 per month.||Impressive number of integrations.||Works out slightly pricier than some of the other options.|
|Ptengine||Free.||High number of monthly visits in free plan.||Opaque pricing for higher tiers.|
|SeeVolution||$97 per year.||Plugins for most CMS platforms.||Value for money.|
So, we can already see a good bit of variations. Let’s take a look at each tool in a little bit more detail.
Starting from $24 per month, Crazy Egg is the heatmap tool you’re most likely to have heard of already. As the benchmark player, it has all of the features you’d expect.
The basic package will get you 30,000 tracked views per month, as well as 100 individual session recordings. Helpfully, all Crazy Egg packages also include A/B testing for your site.
The main selling point is called Confetti. This lets you segment your heatmaps into different traffic sources, such as organic search or social media traffic.
Inspectlet offers a free version, but to get more than 1,000 tracked visits per month you’ll have to break out your wallet. For comparison, 25,000 visits per month will set you back $79.
However, there are some additional premium features available. In particular, I liked being able to track interactions with mobile sites, include swipes, pinches and orientation changes.
There’s also a dedicated conversion funnel tracking functions, which is useful for ecommerce sites, as it gives you and extra insight into where potential sales are being won and lost.
Starting from $10 per month for 25,000 tracked views, Lucky Orange represents excellent value for money. Even the cheapest option also gives you unlimited session recordings.
Which is not to say that this is a budget affair. Amazingly, Lucky Orange even lets you add a native chat-bot to your site. In fact, you’ll find several advanced features, including built in form analytics.
This allows you to analyse how users interact with your forms, including how long they’re willing to spend on them, or which information fields are causing them to abandon the process.
For $29 dollars per month, Mouseflow offers a perfectly reasonable 10,000 tracked visits and 2,500 recorded sessions.
The real selling point is the wealth of integrations on offer. Highlights include WordPress, Shopify, Google Analytics and Kissmetrics. Basically, this will sit nicely with basically any other tool you’re already using.
There’s also pretty much every other feature you can think of, including A/B testing, mobile support and form analytics. All in all, a very strong offering then.
With 10,000 monthly tracked views, Ptengine’s free version is imminently usable. They don’t publish the pricing structure for anything beyond that though, and for more advanced plans you have to contact their sales team.
In any case, you’ll be left wanting of very little. In particular, the dashboard style ‘Data Centre’ makes analysing your viewers’ behaviour an absolute breeze.
I also like that you can group similar pages together, which makes it easy to get a high level understanding of your site’s traffic without any extraneous or duplicated information.
For a $97 annual fee, SeeVolution offers 25,000 tracked visitors per month, as well as an impressive 100 recorded sessions. Installation is also incredibly easy, as there are plugins for most of the major CMS platforms.
What sets SeeVolution apart most of all is being able to track visitor’s behaviour in real time. This isn’t just a gimmick. In fact, it’s incredibly handy when you first launch a new feature or promotion on your site.
There’s also a specific image and link tracker tool, to see which visual assets on your site attract the most attention. As such, this is the perfect tools for developers seeking to optimise their sites.
Heatmap Tools: Final Thoughts
So there we have it. Of course, it’s difficult to pick a favourite in what is quite a desperate field. However, purely on the arithmetic of price and features, Lucky Orange seems pretty hard to look past to me. The part of me that wants an easy life is also attracted to Mouseflow for the scope of integrations on offer.
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