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Not as fancy as it sounds: heatmapping for SMB Websites

in SEO & Website Tips. Last Updated on December 6th, 2015

Your website could easily benefit from customer analytics tools with heatmapping features

You may think of customer analytics tools as a kind of expensive solution to a problem you’re not sure you even have. Today we are going to tell you why tracking user activity on your site could be a game changer for you, and you can do it on a budget.

First of all, what is meant by the general term “customer analytics tools”?

Customer analytics tools give your small business various insights on customer activity, behaviour and possible motivations, which are necessary to fine-tune and deliver the best experience for them. How can you get these insights?

Let us count the ways…

There are undoubtedly a  large number of tools that can be useful for these type of analyses. We’re going to focus on one very useful feature that some tools have, which is heatmapping and session replay.

Mapping the Heat

In this context, a heatmap is a colourful, visual representation of how and where users are spending time on your site. These maps are usually colour coded so for instance, if you see a lot of the colour red in a certain section of your site, you know it’s ‘hot’ and that section is getting a lot of clicks.

Heatmaps for SMBs


What is a Session Replay?

Session replay means replaying a visitor’s journey through your website (like a video playback).

So why are we advocating you to take advantage of customer experience analytics tools? At marketgoo we have always believed in making tools that were once available only to companies with large budgets, more accessible to small and medium businesses. Every day, more and more become available.  One of these is Decibel Insight, a platform for session replay, heatmaps, and other types of web analytics. We liked that it takes every type of customer into account, including smaller businesses, and it got us thinking that it would be a great addition to solo marketers’ and SMBs marketing toolboxes.

We were able to talk to Phil Haslehurst of Decibel Insight, who had a lot to say about what this specific type of customer analytics can do for you.


Decibel Insight offers a free account which gives small businesses a great opportunity to dip their toe into the water with customer experience analytics. Why should they consider it?

If they want to improve their website user experience, a tool like ours helps them to uncover the insights required to do that. And you don’t have to be web-savvy to use it. We’ve developed data visualisations that are easy to interpret and understand without being a digital guru.

Two great and simple examples: first, watch a few visitor replays to see the way that real human beings navigate through your website – the friction and frustration that they experience will often be in areas you didn’t even consider. Second, look at a reach heatmap to see how far down the page your visitors scroll before they get bored and move on. If you have key calls to action below that point, they may as well not be on the page.

marketgoo says: this is a great point; we generally tell our users to focus on putting the most important elements in their site “above the fold”, that is, where users can see it without having to scroll down at all. If you generate this reach heatmap that Phil is referring to, you will likely see that most of your visitors are not reaching the bottom of the page.  

All that's good with heatmapping
All that’s good with heatmapping

Small Business owners looking to improve their websites will often get bombarded with a ton of terms and have trouble identifying what they should focus on.

Conversion Rate Optimisation is one of those terms that isn’t just a buzzword: it’s about getting people to your website, and then having them do what you intended; ensuring they will convert into customers, or at least take an action that increases their likelihood of becoming customers. How does a heatmapping tool like Decibel Insight aid in this process?

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is a simple idea, and it’s primarily just about reducing wastage.

A common example used to illustrate the CRO way of thinking is the “leaky tub”.

Imagine your website as a bathtub, and the water flowing into it is traffic. If your bathtub is leaking because it’s full of holes, there are two possible solutions. You could turn the tap up even higher – push more traffic into the website to try to get the results that you need. But that can be expensive and you’re not really solving the underlying problem.

So, as an alternative you could take action to plug the holes, meaning the flow of water is more efficiently used.

That’s CRO – making your website work more efficiently with the traffic it’s got, so that it generates better results pound-for-pound.

Helping SMBs with CRO
Helping SMBs with CRO

In practise that means a whole bunch of things – doing usability testing to see how visitors interact with your website and improving the faults they uncover, using a tool like Decibel Insight to spot poor customer experiences and better understand user behaviour, testing different variations of designs and page layouts and seeing which ones convert best, and more besides.

marketgoo Says: Great analogy. Many times, websites already have the elements they need to be successful, and optimisation isn’t this herculean task of starting again from scratch or changing  a million things. It is about making a number of smart changes, rearranging some things, eliminating some others, based on data. With Search Engine Optimisation, the ‘optimisation’ process can start to show results after a while (it’s not a ‘quick win’ type of thing), but there are many changes that have an almost instant effect on your business.


Can you share some success stories from clients that have used heatmapping to their advantage?

There are so many different insights our clients have generated with Decibel Insight. We’ve had skincare clients who had assumed their audience cared about one set of skin challenges – Decibel Insight completely debunked their preconceptions and they were able to rethink their content strategy as a result.

We’ve had other clients who’ve used our page performance reports to identify the parts of their website which are killing conversion through bad load-speed. That’s so important, and easy to fix if you know where to focus. Decibel Insight enabled them to do that.


Website visitors hate when websites don’t behave the way they expect them to, so here’s a final example from our own experience – we used heatmaps to spot that visitors to our site were clicking on certain images on our homepage, expecting them to take them further into the site. The only problem was, those images weren’t clickable. We quickly rectified that, to reduce visitor frustration.


marketgoo says: if you correctly interpret the results from your metrics and data, you will definitely see a positive change.  Just as with heatmapping, with marketgoo you will certainly get data and insights that may debunk your beliefs about what your customers want (the keywords they use to find your site on search engines), how they arrive at your site, how much your actual site is shared socially, how your site looks to visitors on mobile devices, etc.

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Session replay is just as interesting and can yield tremendous insight on where your visitors are getting stuck, and the order in which they perform certain actions. While you can’t make generalisations about all your visitors by watching session replays, you can certainly get to the bottom of certain usability* problems very quickly.

Want to see more success stories? Click here.  Also check out our chat with David Darmanin from Hotjar, another tool you will find interesting.  

*usability means how easy to use and intuitive your website is.


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