Are Heat Maps Accurate?

New Eye Tracking Tool to Boost Conversion Rates

heat-mapsHeat maps, click maps and eye-tracking simulators have been an essential part of conversion rate optimisation for awhile, but how accurate are they?

Recently I came across a new service, called EyeQuant, which claims to be far more accurate than many of the other heat mapping  services.

Proper eye tracking technology is expensive and out of reach of most businesses, so to fill the gap a range of web based heat mapping servies have sprung up.

Most are based on an algorithm that supposedly mimics human eye behaviour, but according to EyeQuant, this is actually unsuitable for use on ads or websites as it performs no better than chance.

EyeQuant claims that its new service is far more accurate and gets 90% accuracy at less than 1% of the cost and time for a professional eye tracking experiment.

While I’ve been interested in heat maps for a long time I’ve always felt that many of their results and the conclusions drawn were questionable.

So I was interested to see how EyeQuant would perform and so I ran a few tests on my own site.

 

How Hot is My Blog?

blog perception map

The results for the blog home page are as follows.

Perception

The first result you get is called the Perception Map.

This shows you what your visitors will see in the first few seconds they visit your site.

 

 

blog attention map

Attention

The second is the Attention Map

This shows which areas get the most attention.

 

 

 

 

 

blog page hot spots

Hot Spots

The third is called the Hot Spots Map

This combines the results of the previous two maps , and uses circles to highlight the most eye catching areas of your page.

The Hot Spot and Perception Maps show that my blog page design is actually pretty good and doing what it was designed to do.

That is most of the attention is on the first blog post heading and intro.

So I’m pretty happy with that as it’s exactly what I want.

The attention map is a little more interesting as it shows that my Make Them Click logo is getting a lot of attention. This is at odds with the other two maps which don’t show any attention on the logo.

Not sure why that is, I’m hoping someone from Eyequant will tell me.

The maps also show some attention to the small images in side menu, which again is heartening as these images were added to draw some attention to the “Recent Posts” as I felt they may not have been being ignored by visitors.

So while that’s all very nice, so far all Eyequant has done is confirmed mine and my designers’ professional instincts and abilities to put together a attractive and readable page.

 

home page perception maphome page attention maphome page hot spotsHome Page Action

Next I tried it on my homepage and here the results were a little more interesting. 

Overall the results were pleasing in that the focus is on the Smarter Online Marketing headline and the bullet points.

Howver, yet again the Make Them Click logo is getting a fair bit of attention, as is the bowl of cherries pic.

That could be both good and bad as they are seeing the company name, and I know people remember the cherries because it’s the first thing they tell me they remember.

However, these elements may be competing against the main idea and the bulleted benefits on the right hand side.

Also the main call to action button is shown below the fold.

I think this is more to do with Eyequant’s default size settings than it not actually being seen on my webpage.

In any event, I’ve known the homepage has had these issue for awhile, so again all Eyequant is doing is confirming my marketing instincts.

 

Should You Use it?

If you are working with good and experienced marketers and designers who know how to put together a web page or an ad that sells and converts, then Eyequant is just a nice bit of confirmation and reassurance to give you piece of mind.

On the other hand, if you or your outside advisors are not experienced in creating high converting pages, then Eyequant will be extremely useful for you.

However, where I think EyeQuant will be more useful is when it is combined with click tracking reports such as already exist in Google Analytics In-Page Analytics report.

Use of the two reports together would allow you to correlate what people looked and focussed on with what they clicked on and, as I said, that would be very useful.

 

How Much?

The cost for Eyequant is neither cheap nor expensive. around $200 will get you 5 tests or $450 will allow you to run 50 tests a month while unlimited tests will set you back $850 a month.

While those prices won’t suit everyone, they are reasonable.

 

Find Out More

If you'd like to know more about eye tracking and how it can help you boost your conversion rates, then give me a call.

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