Visualization helps you put huge sums of data gathered from web analytics tools into a visual format that’s easier to understand. It helps you gain insights, find trends and patterns, show large amounts of data at scale, and identify items for further analysis. After all, spreadsheets and lists just can’t convey the meaning of data the way a chart can.
One way to use data visualization with web analytics is through heat maps that reveal insights about user behavior.
Types of Visualizations
Before we go into heat maps, it’s important to know that there are other types of visualizations, and that which one you choose typically depends on the type of data, your audience, and its purpose.
Types range from common examples like pie, bar, and Gantt charts to more advanced variations such as Sankey diagrams, sunburst diagrams, and of course, heat maps.
What is a heat map?
A heat map is a two-dimensional visualization of data where values are shown with specific colors. Typically, intense colors (i.e. red) are used to display values that need attention.
In the following heat map example, which shows where users are clicking on a webpage, each value has its own colour. Higher values are displayed in green while medium and lower values are displayed in shades of yellow and red, respectively.
How can I use heat maps to improve my websites?
Heat maps are often chosen for displaying web analytics information because they reveal insights into user behavior, including:
- Which links are clicked most often
- How users scroll through a page
- Reading patterns
- Whether users are looking at and/or clicking ads
- If the interface is being used as expected
As examples, these heat maps show exactly where users spend the most time on a page and which links are most popular. You can use this visual data to improve your websites in ways that makes your content more effective and increases click-through rates.
A heat map analysis offers easy-to-follow insights into your website performance, allowing you to confirm the organization and content of your webpages and, if needed, adjust the position of popular links and content, improve ad placements, and fix interface issues.
Visualization allows you to use the extensive information gathered through your web analytics platform to make better decisions about your websites.