FYI Corner: Using Crazy Egg Heatmapping

Written by Melanie Phung, New Media Director, PBS Interactive

At PBSi, we've been using Crazy Egg heatmaps and reports to complement Google Analytics data to tell us how people are interacting with our content.

A traditional web analytics program (such as Google Analytics) can tell us what pages visitors are going to and even navigation paths, but a picture is worth a thousand words. Heatmapping tools like Crazy Egg can provide a picture (literally) that tells site owners where on the page people are clicking (even if the elements people are clicking on aren't actually hyperlinks!)

That, in turn, can give you insights into:
  • Whether your calls to action are clear enough
  • What content your users are most interested in
  • Whether your design effectively guides users to the content you want them to see
  • Which ad placements are most likely to attract clicks
  • Where people are clicking unsuccessfully (i.e., clicks on non-hyperlinked portions of the page)
  • What design elements you should keep in a redesign, and which ones you should get rid of

Recently, PBS Parents used Crazy Egg to evaluate what parts of their new homepage design their audience found most compelling. The team wanted to determine how users would respond to the new homepage, including whether they were using the scroll buttons on the carousel and if they understood the tabs on the Parenting Tools.

The most interesting finding was that users clicked on both images and text, but that the users needed additional prompting to click on the larger content features at the top of the homepage. Since the heatmapping showed that users understood and liked the PBS KIDS carousel further down on the homepage, the Parents team moved the carousel to the top of the main navigation so that it could be accessed from every PBS Parents page. Since moving the carousel, the site’s bounce rate and average time on site have improved by 8 to 10 percent.

So, how can Crazy Egg help stations improve their websites? There are lots of applications, including multi-variate tests to see what design choices and what content cause people to click. But before you start, it's worth noting that Crazy Egg isn't a web analytics program; it's designed primarily to help you do testing on specific pages. Therefore, you should use it to supplement your existing analytics, not replace it.

Ready to try it? Crazy Egg is a month-to-month service (with a free trial), and provides a lot of really useful, actionable information. Definitely consider running some tests, especially if you're gearing up to make changes to your site in the near future, so you're armed with all the relevant data you need to make decisions.

Are you using Crazy Egg or another heatmapping product? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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