What Are Heatmaps and How To Categorize Them?

Heatmaps are probably the most comprehensive and widely used category of insight tools available to any company looking to improve and better understand their website's user experience. They're a must-have tool for departments like UX designers, digital analysts, and marketers.

How can you define heatmaps?

A heatmap is a graphic illustration of a webpage's user activity. Heatmaps use different colors to represent which parts of a website get the most or least attention from users. The visitor's attention is drawn to the red "hot" areas, while the blue, "cold" areas are ignored.

Whether you're using heatmaps for A/B testing, website design, or just want to figure out where the best spot for a CTA on a page is, they'll come in handy. They are the most effective approach to gauge user awareness and may assist you in developing website content that turns visitors into paying clients.

Heatmaps allow you to:

  • Keep track of how users behave.
  • Examine the interests of your website's visitors.
  • Recognize what's being neglected on your website.
  • How CTAs perform on your website.
  • Determine the source of the problem on your website.
  • Observe the phenomenon of page abandonment in action.
  • How conversion rate and design should be optimized.

Types of heatmaps

Heatmaps come in a variety of types, each providing unique information. To get the most accurate picture of user behavior, it's usually best to combine different types of heatmaps. There are four basic types of heatmaps:

  1. Scroll maps
  2. Click tracking heatmaps
  3. Eye-tracking heatmaps
  4. Mouse tracking heatmaps

Scroll maps

Scroll maps help you see exactly where visitors scrolled on the page by recording their scrolling behavior. This heatmap indicates whether your page's length is appropriate for a good user experience. A scroll map shows you where users are abandoning your page during the reading process.

Scroll maps inform you of the following:

  • the total number of visitors who scrolled to the bottom of a page
  • the number of people who scrolled down a page but didn't go all the way to the bottom.
  • the number of people who have left a page.

Use scroll maps to figure out how long a page should be before visitors stop scrolling, whether they'll get to the content below the fold, and whether there's a false floor or false bottom.

Advantages of scroll maps:

  • Use scroll maps to come up with strategies to persuade users to continue scrolling down the page.
  • Scroll maps are a great way to improve "above the fold" optimization. The part of your website that visitors can see without having to scroll down is known as above the fold, and it is usually the most popular.
  • When designing longer web pages, a scroll map can help you understand where to prioritize important elements.

Disadvantages of scroll maps:

  • Because scroll maps don't track clicks, it's impossible to assess an element's effectiveness.
  • Scroll maps aren't always good at displaying data accurately. Scrolling activity isn't always a sign of how they're interacting with the content.
  • Websites with dynamic elements may not benefit from a scroll map. Scroll map data can become more complicated as web design becomes more dynamic.

Click tracking heatmaps

A click tracking heatmap is the most common type of heatmap, and it records data based on where visitors click on your website. You can use click tracking heatmaps to see which elements on your site get the most or least clicks, which can reveal navigational issues.

Click maps can help you improve website ROI, by:

  • identifying and removing areas that are causing user friction and increasing bounce rates
  • placing and monitoring effective CTA buttons,
  • showing which areas of your site are the most popular,
  • and monitoring conversion rates for new and returning visitors.

Advantages of click tracking heatmaps:

  • Click maps help you identify and eliminate areas that cause users to become frustrated and distracted.
  • When you use a click map on your website, you can track the conversion rates of new and returning visitors.
  • Click maps show the most popular categories and areas, and where the gaps are.

Disadvantages of click tracking heatmaps:

  • Data analysis can be skewed by frustrated clicks, such as rage clicks.
  • Interactive elements, responsive design rules, browser/device incompatibilities, and content differences may cause other issues.
  • Incorrect readings can result from accidental (multiple) login use, which occurs when a user repeatedly clicks on the same element.

Eye-tracking heatmaps

Users' eye movements are recorded using eye-tracking heatmaps while viewing your post-click landing page. Eye-tracking studies are typically conducted in laboratories, with participants wearing special tracking devices that measure eye movement accurately. Webcams can now be used to conduct eye-tracking studies. This type of data can assist you in determining how well a web page's design is performing so that you can improve it. Eye-tracking heatmaps give information about a visitor's gaze pattern, allowing you to position the most relevant elements on a page in the most-looked-at places. They can be verified by comparing them to mouse-tracking data.

Advantages of eye-tracking heatmaps:

  • Heatmaps based on eye-tracking are extremely accurate. Eye-tracking heatmaps will show you exactly what your website's visitors are looking at.
  • Mouse tracking maps, which can validate user data results, go hand in hand with these types of heatmaps.
  • Because eye-tracking is based on natural human reactions, it's simple to see user flow.

Disadvantages of eye-tracking heatmaps:

  • The results of eye-tracking data are usually based on a small sample of unique visitors.
  • Eye-tracking heatmap software is costly, and the more users you want to track, the more expensive it becomes.
  • Some advanced users are aware that they are being watched and can conceal their cameras.


Mouse tracking heatmaps

Mouse tracking heatmaps, also known as hover maps, can assist you in determining where your site's users spend the most time. Mouse tracking heatmaps use thermal imaging to visually display user mouse movement data on your website, documenting where users scroll, click, navigate, and stop. They can help identify frustrated users by displaying areas on a web page where people are hovering, hesitating, or thrashing their cursor. According to research, there is a link between where users look and where their mouse cursor is, which is why mouse-tracking heat maps are useful.

Mouse-tracking also aids in the identification of hover patterns that reveal areas of visitor friction or frustration, the optimization of complex web pages with dynamic elements, and the estimation of the relevance of search results based on the number of clicks.


Heatmaps tell you what your site's visitors are up to. You can easily tell what your visitors are looking at, how far they scroll, and what are they clicking at.