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Heat Map Analysis: Where Are They Looking? by James Trumbly @econnectemail

Heat Map Analysis: Where Are They Looking? by James Trumbly @econnectemail

Heat Map Analysis: Where Are They Looking? by James Trumbly @econnectemail

Email Marketers can learn from Heat Map Analysis!

The success of your email marketing campaign depends on putting the right information in front of your subscribers using the right format in order to solicit engagement. And while mainstream testing plays an essential role in determining what form that information should take, there’s another option you should consider, one that could take your marketing effectiveness to a new level: heat map analysis.

What is Heat Map Analysis?

Heat map analysis uses eye-tracking software to determine what areas of the page viewers tend to look at most. Heat map studies enable you to more accurately determine where the most important elements of your email creative should be placed in order to attract user engagement. If your call to action is hanging out in a low-visibility corner, for instance, a heat map can not only point out the problem, but also show you where to place that call to action for better results.

What Can You Learn from Heat Map Analysis?

You can use heat maps to test the design of each individual email, demonstrating whether your links are placed effectively, whether graphics or copy attract the most viewers, and whether your critical information is garnering the attention it should. You’ll also begin to notice trends such as the following that will help you with future design options:

  • Invest in the right real estate

Most heat map studies indicate that the upper left quadrant of the page receives the most attention. Make the most of this essential real estate by placing critical messages and visual anchors here.

  • Don’t design based on assumptions

We’ve all been guilty of designing emails based on a best practice list somewhere rather than taking the time to test. Heat map analysis challenges some common recommendations such as:

– Keep copy to a minimum. Relevant, engaging copy can actually generate more clicks than graphic elements. Graphic elements can also be used to direct attention to copy rather than competing with written content.

– Don’t include navigation tools. Adding a navigation bar at the bottom of your email can pick up clicks from subscribers who didn’t find anything else in the email interesting enough to click on.

  • Word placement matters

The first word of any headline receives the most viewing time, so make sure it communicates. Don’t waste this valuable position on words that aren’t relevant to your overall message.

Takeaway: When it comes to the layout/design of your next email campaign consider the tips provided above.  Following these tips will help increase overall subscribers engagement and will insure that your email is dressed for success.

Have you ever built a campaign based on heat mapping analysis?  Is so, please share your experience with us by commenting below.

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  1. Hi James,

    I agree with you, that far too many designers base their designs of what they think is the right way of doing things. In my company we advocate strongly for testing everything to see if those assumptions really holds up. You can also use heat maps for this purpose. This said, eye tracking is pretty costly, and a great alternative to the eye tracking heat maps is click tracking heat maps, showing where the users actually click. Another great tool for testing your assumptions is A/B testing.

    I would suggest using an A/B testing approach for your email campaigns as a great way to get the most engagement from your subscribers. Then I would use a combination of A/B testing and click tracking heat maps for analysing the user engagement on the landing pages linked by the email campaign.

    Google have just recently moved their A/B testing tool “Google Website Optimizer” into their Analytics tool (Google Analytics) and it is now called “Content Experiments”. I think this is an easy choice for doing A/B testing on your website. As for A/B testing for your email campaigns, I’ve had good experiences with the A/B testing feature built into MailChimp. I suspect that other email campaign management systems have similar features.

    When it comes to creating click tracking heat maps, my company Ehavior has a product called EhaviorClick (http://ehavior.net) that does the job. We do integration with Google Analytics which makes it possible to create heat maps for those visits that lead to conversions on your site, to name one of the possibilities.

    I hope this can be of some inspiration..

    Best regards,
    Jan Flora

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