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Three Misconceptions About Heatmaps
Web Analytics

Three Misconceptions About Heatmaps

At CI Design, we take a firm stance against making website development decisions based on gut feelings, whims, or impulses. That’s why we love heatmaps.

Heatmaps tell it like it is. They are a visual report that reveals a wealth of information, including:

  • Where people are clicking on your website
  • How far people are scrolling
  • How many people are clicking on each link.

Heatmaps help us make informed, data-backed decisions for improving websites. But, there are some misconceptions out there about them. Read on to learn why heatmaps are a worthwhile investment for your next website redesign.


Misconception 1: Heatmaps look rad but they’re not actually useful.

One part of that statement is true: heatmaps do indeed look rad. The second part, however, is false.

They can tell us a lot about what people want your website to do. For example, if we see that people are clicking on a button or image that doesn’t link anywhere, we know that placing a relevant link there would help your website visitors. That simple fix could lead to more time-on-site, which is a key performance metric.

Heatmaps can also show us how far down people are scrolling on a website. If we see a sudden change in color we know people stopped scrolling at a specific point. That indicates that they think they’ve reached the bottom of the page when in fact, there’s more information below that they’re missing out on. Here’s what it looks like:


Misconception 2: We already know how people are using our website so we don’t need those fancy-shmancy heatmaps.

Our team has had our fair share of surprising finds when running heatmap reports. As much as we have our strong suspicions about how people are navigating websites, we sometimes come across oddball situations that make us go, “Gee whiz, who woulda thought?”

Check this out: One of our clients had the same link in multiple places on a single page. Although this doesn’t make for a great user experience, it showed us which link was the most popular. And what we found was that the link at the bottom of the page had by far the most clicks.

That had us stumped. Why would the link at the very bottom of the page drum up the most clicks? After scratching our heads for a minute, we had our “aha” moment. This link was accompanied by a photo. Despite the fact that it was at the bottom of the page, the picture next to the link overpowered the undesirable position at the bottom.

We learned how crucial images would be for building this client’s website, and baked this recommendation into the larger strategy.

Misconception 3: Heatmaps will run my budget dry and probably take a long time to set up.

Heatmap reporting can easily fit within our digital marketing monthly retainers. There are no extra charges for running heatmaps. In most cases, we can get them set up and running in about an hour.

After we choose the right pages to analyze, we simply add a snippet of code to your website and the data starts collecting. After 25,000 views or 60 days (whichever comes first), we have our data set to work from. Then we start digging in to the data, making recommendations, and implementing impactful, research-driven changes to your website.

Our team has seen some pretty amazing outcomes from using heatmap analysis. (And, honestly, our digital marketing team geeks out about it a little bit, too.)


Wondering what’s hot (or not) on your website? Contact us for a site audit. We can help make it more user-friendly than ever. Just send a message to

Chloe Derse

Chloe Derse

Associate SEM Specialist

Chloe has helped bring a variety of digital projects to life including websites, email marketing campaigns, and Google Ad campaigns. She takes a break from the digital world by hiking, and hopes to someday hike the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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