How to become better digital marketer with the help of heat maps

How to become better digital marketer with the help of heat maps

As a digital marketer, you will always have a use for additional insights. Whether it’s knowing what your visitors are looking for, why they convert, or when they bounce, all insights hold value. But how many feedback-based, qualitative insights can you gather? Each survey takes time to organize and promote, and people may simply not engage with it or provide honest feedback. That’s why data-based, quantitative analytics offer a reliable alternative – and heat maps offer to acquire them for you. So, let us examine what they are, how they do so, and how you can become a better digital marketer with the help of heat maps.

What are heat maps?

First and foremost, to explain how heat maps can boost marketing, let us define heat maps. As the name implies, a heat map is a visual representation of data in a form resembling thermal imaging. The similarity comes from “colder” colors typically used for lower values, while “hotter” colors represent higher values. Exact colors will vary from one solution to another, of course, but that’s the basic concept.

A heat map of a Wikipedia page.

These two-dimensional maps visualize website activity data, such as areas where visitors spend more time and how far they scroll. They do so through different technologies, such as eye-tracking, and may focus on mobile or desktop devices. Finally, different types of heat maps collect different data depending on their purpose.

Types of heat maps

There are 5 main types of heat maps. In brief, these are the following.

  • Scroll maps. Scroll maps, as the name suggests, gauge how far visitors scroll. These are among the most commonly used heat maps.
  • Click maps. Click maps illustrate areas where visitors click the most. The use of “click” is not accidental, as these address desktop sites.
  • Touch maps. Conversely, touch maps illustrate where mobile users touch the most. They otherwise function identically to click maps.
  • Move/hover maps. Move maps, or hover maps, track mouse movements across a page. 
  • Eye-tracking maps. Finally, as the name states, eye-tracking maps track where visitors look on a page. These are typically the most expensive heat maps due to the technologies they require to function.

Understandably, each of those hat map types offers different data, and thus different benefits. However, all of them can inform your marketing efforts in different ways, as we will cover just below.

Becoming a better digital marketer with the help of heat maps

Now, let’s explore the main subject; how they do so. In no particular order, consider the following 3 ways in which heat maps can enhance your marketing. We will mind text economy, but also expand where needed to explain in appropriate depth.

#1 Uncovering and addressing your website visitors’ user intent

Digital marketing increasingly focuses on satisfying the users’ intent. In fact, this is Google’s stated intent as well, which now drives Search Engine Optimization (SEO). However, that’s easier said than done. Today’s internet users follow erratic customer journey paths and reach your website with different intents and pain points. Thus, it’s increasingly challenging to know your audience confidently and deeply.

A heat map of an Apple website featuring a snow leopard.

Website visitors correspond to different sales funnel phases, and heat map analysis can help you decipher them all:

  • The explorer. This type is in the awareness phase, and only now reaches your website. Scroll heat maps can provide scroll activity, which may explain why this type of user bounces.
  • The thinker. This type has progressed to the consideration phase and looks for incentives. Here, click, touch, and move heat maps can uncover what they’re looking for.
  • The doubter. Similarly, this type moves between the consideration and decision phases. Combined with analytics tools, heat maps can track their activity and help address their concerns.
  • The buyer. Finally, this type has reached the conversion phase. For them, all heat maps can inform Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and give them the final nudge forward.

But these are only the basics of how to become a better digital marketer with the help of heat maps. With this primary benefit covered, we may move to subsequent applications.

#2 Optimizing your site and page layout for conversions

Having mentioned CRO, this is a crucial step toward ensuring higher conversion rates and thus more sales. Heat maps of all types can help inform CRO in multiple ways, including the following:

  • Website speed. Heat maps may reveal that too many visitors bounce without interacting with your pages. That may often be due to a slow website, which SEO may help address.
  • Content quality. Similarly, heat maps may uncover issues with content quality. Scroll maps may reveal how scannable and engaging your content is, while hover maps may suggest your visitors are not interested in your links.
  • Calls to Action (CTAs). Finally, heat maps can reveal how visible and appealing your CTAs are. For example, there may be adjacent, unclickable visual elements that visitors click on because they expect them to be interactive. Conversely, your CTAs may not see enough traffic because visitors don’t scroll down to them. Perhaps other elements attract their eyes and mouse instead. Maybe it’s your copy, font, and color choices that make CTAs unclear, so visitors don’t identify them as CTAs. 

All of these factors may warrant investigation, and analytics alone won’t explain why what they observe happens. Heat maps alone won’t do so either, but in combination, they could substantially inform your CRO.

A black smartphone displaying an “analytics” search query on Google’s search engine page.

#3 Informing your SEO through analytics, A/B testing, and expert advice

Finally, this combination offers an array of opportunities – so many so that they’d warrant their own article. Indeed, SEO is indeed a profound, complex subject. Thus, you may become a better digital marketer with the help of heat maps, but you may strive to get advice from experts to truly become a great marketer.

Still, we may cover 3 fundamental SEO aspects here, delving deeper into some earlier points as we do.

Content length, depth, formatting, and tone.

Initially, SEO by itself will typically suggest that length boosts search engine visibility. It will suggest that you use subheadings, bullet lists, and other formatting elements for visual appeal. Finally, it will suggest readability as a desirable quality. These are all excellent, mostly universally valid guidelines – but do heat maps confirm they work for you? Consider the following elements you may A/B test:

  • Length. Your audiences may not value longer content as much as search engines do. Consider their scrolling habits to become a better digital marketer with the help of heat maps.
  • Readability. Similarly, maintaining an approachable tone and simple language can indeed work for general audiences. But perhaps yours are knowledgeable and invested in your industry, so they may value jargon and technical terms more.
  • Formatting. Finally, formatting ensures readability, but overoptimizing may not resonate with your audiences. Heat maps may inform your choices in this regard as well.

Image and media placement.

Then, on the subject of formatting, SEO rightfully holds that you should use ample images and media content. However, heat maps may fuel A/B testing to inform just how you do so:

  • How many visual elements are ideal for your audiences?
  • Should you distribute them evenly across the page, and do they overshadow your links and CTAs?
  • Do different pages for different user intents all need the same quantity of such media to serve their purpose?


Finally, having mentioned backlinks before, backlinks are also an integral part of SEO. Internal links allow for page equity and promote solid content hierarchies. External links offer more value to your readers and help foster trust. However, backlinks may also hamper conversions or underperform, which heat maps can help identify:

  • Do your backlinks look clickable and get clicks?
  • Do internal links efficiently nudge your visitors down your sales funnel?
  • Do external links distract visitors more than they help, driving away potential conversions?

These and other factors related to backlinks may deserve your attention, and heat maps offer to assist in your analyses.


In summary, heat maps can help enhance your marketing efforts in multiple ways. From appropriately addressing your visitors’ intent to optimizing your page for conversions and informing your SEO, opportunities abound. Especially in such hard times, such options can prove to be an invaluable asset for any marketer. Hopefully, this rudimentary exploration of the subject helped you value heat maps’ applications on the way to continued success.

About Author

My name is Mukesh Jakhar and I am a Web Application Developer and Software Developer, currently living in Jaipur, India. I have a Master of Computer Application in Computer Science from JNU Jaipur University. I loves to write on technology and programming topics. Apart from this, I love to travel and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Sign up for weekly update

Milkshake is almost ready. If you're interested in testing it out, then sign up below to get exclusive access.