The Science of Conversion: Improve your Landing Pages with Heat Map Analysis

by Joseph Chklovski and Steven Tulman

ICM Consulting and Media Corp.

Feb. 28, 2014

Landing page tweaks can have a huge impact on conversion – but with hundreds of page elements to refine, which ones will improve our conversion rate? Thankfully, we don’t need to blindly alter our landing pages – we can look at hard evidence, and uncover the most effective, conversion-driving design imaginable. How? By analyzing our landing pages with heat maps.

What is a Heat Map?

Heat maps allow us to monitor visitor engagement with our web pages. They create color-coded images that reflect the most, and least, engaging parts of our page. These heat maps can be generated through two different techniques – eye-tracking analysis, and mouse-tracking analysis.


Eye-tracking heat maps are generated by tracking the eye movement of a sample group of website visitors as they browse your page. These studies are excellent at revealing exactly which page elements your visitors engage with – but because they require expensive equipment, professional monitoring and analysis, and a group of sample visitors, they can be prohibitively expensive.


Mouse-tracking analysis applies the same principles, but instead monitors mouse movement and clicks. Areas with the most clicks and mouse activity represent the most engaging parts of your webpage; and the relative simplicity of this analysis allows heat maps to be generated using affordable software. Best of all, these metrics come directly from your audience – no sample groups required.

Revealing the Best Practices of Landing Page Design

By analyzing heat maps, we can learn a huge amount about visitor behavior – and tailor our landing pages to capitalize on it. By uncovering the most engaging page elements and locations, we can tailor our landing pages to emphasize our CTA – encouraging greater click-throughs and greater conversion. The following best-practices are the result of extensive heat map testing:

1. Crucial content goes above the fold

80% of the time your visitor spends on your landing page is spent above the fold – the area of the page visible without scrolling. If you want to emphasize the importance of your CTA, put all of your crucial content above the fold.

2. Put sales copy on the left-side of your page

Visitors spend 69% of their viewing time looking at the left-hand side of your page – almost ¾ of total viewing time. In other words, placing sales copy and bullet point lists on the left of each page will maximize the chances of your visitor engaging with it.

3. Avoid adverts – and anything that looks like an advert

Page elements that look like adverts are likely to be completely ignored by your visitor. If your CTA is designed like a banner advert, improving your conversion rate could be as simple as removing your hard-selling copy and relocating your button.

4. Use color contrast to highlight your CTA

Page areas that stand-out from the background color garner the most engagement – so make sure your CTA uses an eye-catching color, unique to your landing page.

5. Ditch stock photos

Your visitors are incredibly intuitive, and heat maps reveal that they can spot a stock photo a mile away. Images deemed to be genuine saw an increase in engagement – but obvious stock photos tend to be completely ignored.

Where can I get my own Heatmaps?

These heat map tweaks are great for landing page conversion – but if you want to refine your analysis even more, you need your own heat maps.

Click Tale

Offering real-time visitor recordings, mouse movement heat maps, conversion funnel analysis and much more, Click Tale are market-leaders in heat map software. As well as offering an affordable and comprehensive paid service, they offer a completely free plan for you to benefit from.

Crazy Egg

Founded by Neil Patel of KISSMetrics fame, Crazy Egg offers some of the most in-depth heat mapping software available, and a suite of powerful analytic tools. Best of all, prices start from just $9 a month.


For WordPress users, SessionCam offers a free and comprehensive analysis of customer interaction with your site. By recording visitor web sessions in real-time, the plugin is able to generate heatmaps for mouse movement, clicks, page scrolling and browser interaction – and integration with Google Analytics allows for free, meaningful metrics.



Have you ever used heat maps to monitor your viewer engagement? What did your analysis reveal? Let us know in the comments!  

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