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The Top 8 Heatmap Software Options Compared

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Knowing how visitors are engaging with your website can provide your brand with invaluable insights.

Are users finding what they’re looking for right away?

Where and what are they clicking? Do they make it below the fold?

Answering these questions requires one simple solution: heatmap software.

What Is Heatmap Software?

Heatmap software can give your brand a transparent look at what elements on your website users are interacting with most, where they’re clicking, how far they’re scrolling down on the page, and even their mouse movements.

A heatmap tool can even record a user’s session on your site to see their entire journey with your web page.

Heatmaps can also help guide your SEO and web design strategy.

But with an abundance of options to choose from, how do you know which heatmap tool is best for your business?

Comparing The Top Heatmap Software Options

In this post, we will explore the top heatmap software options, comparing each and uncovering the unique features each has to offer.

1. Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg gives brands an in-depth look at user behavior.

For example, its confetti heat map feature enables you to drill down to individual clicks visitors make, and segment them using different metrics.

This granular level of user activity allows you to better help customers navigate their journey across your company’s web page.

Unique Features

The Crazy Egg A/B Testing Page Editor functionality helps businesses test new designs before implementing them.

These design elements may include images, copy, or CTAs (call-to-action).

While this may seem like it requires a vast amount of technical knowledge, with this tool, these changes can be made without needing a developer.

Pricing

Crazy Egg offers a 30-day free trial, which can be canceled at any time.

It also offers a $29/month* Basic plan which includes 30,000 tracked pageviews, a $49/month* Standard Plan which includes 75,000/month tracked pageviews/mo, and a $99/month* Plus plan which includes 150,000 tracked pageviews/month.

2. Mouseflow

Removing the friction in user sessions starts with observing real customer journeys.

Session replays are a key feature Mouseflow focuses on to identify red-flag metrics by watching actual site users’ behavior.

It also features a conversion funnel optimization tool, so you can tackle obstacles that may be preventing sales.

Unique Features

Mouseflow enables brands to also create custom surveys to obtain critical customer feedback.

These surveys are customizable, so you can find the information you need to make navigating your brand’s website simple.

Current Mouseflow users say, “Feedback is very simple to use and implement for any user.”

Pricing

Mouseflow offers five different pricing plans, depending on the number of recordings, months of storage, and websites.

Plans start at $0 and go up to $299 per month when paid annually.

3. VWO

Data is invaluable (and necessary) to drive meaningful growth and improve pre-existing processes.

VWO not only offers heat mapping software, but also experience optimization through session recordings, testing, funnels, and form analytics.

You’ll understand how your visitors are interacting with you every throughout step of the sales funnel – from the moment they enter your site, through to where (or if) they drop off.

Unique Features

VWO gives end users the autonomy to implement most tests without the support of a designer.

This allows product and marketing teams to focus on other priorities while being able to scale the number of growth experiments.

Some of these tests include an A/B test, split URL test, and Multivariate test.

Pricing

VWO has three different pricing tiers, which include Growth, Pro, and Enterprise.

The Pro plan is recommended for small to mid-sized organizations and enterprise is recommended for large teams.

Enterprise includes onboarding and training, as well as a dedicated Account Manager.

4. Hotjar

Hotjar allows your team to prioritize what you want to (and should) work on without guesswork.

With the transparency to see where your visitors are looking and interacting, you’ll learn what your users love about your site, and what elements they ignore.

Hotjar’s software also enables you to spot opportunity areas or bugs hiding in plain sight, as your users see them.

This provides greater clarity on what your consumers want to see on your site, which can help you improve conversion rates and user engagement.

Unique Features

One unique Hotjar feature is its visitor recordings, which show exactly how customers are interacting with your site.

You can see how individual users click, scroll, and move their mouse on the page.

You can also replay recordings of their visits to further analyze behavior patterns.

Pricing

Hotjar’s pricing model varies based on the number of daily sessions you’d like to capture.

Its free version allows for 35 daily sessions, Plus is $31/month for 100 daily sessions, and Business is $79/month for 500 daily sessions.

There is also a Scale version for unlimited daily sessions.

5. Lucky Orange

Lucky Orange equips brands with analytics tools to see their top visited web pages, landing pages, and where users are coming in from.

Additionally, rather than just seeing heatmap snapshots of previous user activity, you can see activity in real-time, and even start a live chat with them.

Visitor session recordings and advanced features such as automated replies to live chat messages can help improve a searcher’s overall digital experience with your brand.

Unique Features

Lucky Orange’s chat feature is unique and helps guide the user’s navigation path to create a more seamless experience.

You can give people the option to start a chat when they need help, or take a more proactive approach and create rules to automatically invite people to chat.

You can also directly ask people to chat if you think they need additional support navigating your site.

Pricing

Lucky Orange offers a free 7-day trial with no credit card required.

Plans start at $35/month for 40,000 pageviews/month, $70/month for 100,000 pageviews/month, $150/month for 300,000 pageviews/month and enterprise plans for 1,000,000+ pageviews/month.

6. FullStory

FullStory differs from other heatmap solutions in that it is primarily for leveraging session recordings to identify bugs and potential roadblocks.

The company recommends reviewing session recordings to see the bigger picture and learn how and if action is driving your desired results.

All website visitor’s sessions are recorded, which gives your brand comprehensive visitor analytics.

Unique Features

FullStory can alert you to”frustration signals”, which highlight areas users are experiencing errors.

You can then view the session replay to see where things may have gone wrong for the user, and where to improve the experience in the future.

Pricing

FullStory offers two pricing models.

The first is its Enterprise plan, which FullStory classifies as “large, cross-functional teams who need total clarity into their digital portfolio.”

The second is its Business plan, “For growth-minded teams who need actionable data to discover trends, perfect experiences, and plan roadmaps.”

You can also opt for a 14-day free trial.

7. Smartlook

Smartlook provides session recordings to help you determine what’s wrong with your brand’s mobile app or website.

It also provides funnel analysis to reveal snags in the user experience and uncover what is preventing people from converting.

Funnel analysis can help you focus your optimization efforts by showing you your website’s highest exit pages.

The company also offers heat mapping.

Unique Features

Smartlook also offers functionality for mobile applications, to ensure the best mobile app experience possible.

Pricing

Pricing plans are free for 1,500 sessions per month and up to three heatmaps, $39/monthly for 5,000 sessions per month and up to 10 heatmaps, and 15,000 sessions per month and up to 30 heatmaps.

8. Attention Insight

Keeping your audience engaged is a challenge.

That is the challenge Attention Insight aims to solve.

By identifying these potential issues during the design phase, you can ensure your concepts are solid before you even publish them.

Predictive attention heatmaps can help with this – and that is where Attention Insight comes in.

Unique Features

Attention Insight offers unique types of heatmaps, including AI attention heatmaps that use warm-to-cold colors to show what areas of your web page attract the most and least attention.

This information can help you determine which elements of your web page are most engaging to visitors.

Pricing

Solo pricing starts at 19 euros a month and includes three months of storage, and 1 user seat.

Team pricing starts at 399 euros a month, 12 months of storage, and includes five user seats.

You can also try Attention Insight with a 7-day free trial.

Which Heatmap Software Is Best For Your Business?

Now that you have more knowledge about the top heatmap platforms, it’s time to determine which is best for your business.

Features

Each of the aforementioned heatmap platforms offers different advantages.

Some offer better visitor analytics, including real-time analytics and visitor segmentation abilities.

Others have numerous heatmap features to see precisely where your customers are engaging with your page.

Price

Aside from visitor analytics, heatmap features, and other software capabilities, cost also plays a key role for many businesses.

As with most software, the most expensive heatmap software isn’t always the best.

Technical Setup

It’s also essential to consider the ease of getting started.

For smaller teams with limited development resources, you may want to opt for heatmap platforms that are easier to set up – or, heatmap platforms that take care of the technical aspects for you.

Bottom Line

The heatmap software solution that is best for your business may look different than what’s best for other businesses.

Consider your budget, the heatmap features and reports your business needs most, and your development team’s bandwidth.

All these considerations will allow you to choose the best software solution for your business.

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Featured Image: BestForBest/Shutterstock 



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Do Higher Content Scores Mean Higher Google Rankings? Our Data Says It’s Unlikely.

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Do Higher Content Scores Mean Higher Google Rankings? Our Data Says It's Unlikely.

I studied the correlation between rankings and content scores from four popular content optimization tools: Clearscope, Surfer, MarketMuse, and Frase. The result? Weak correlations all around.

This suggests (correlation does not necessarily imply causation!) that obsessing over your content score is unlikely to lead to significantly higher Google rankings.

Does that mean content optimization scores are pointless?

No. You just need to know how best to use them and understand their flaws.

Most tools’ content scores are based on keywords. If top-ranking pages mention keywords your page doesn’t, your score will be low. If it does, your score will be high.

While this has its obvious flaws (having more keyword mentions doesn’t always mean better topic coverage), content scores can at least give some indication of how comprehensively you’re covering the topic. This is something Google is looking for.

Google says that comprehensively covering the topic is a sign of quality contentGoogle says that comprehensively covering the topic is a sign of quality content

If your page’s score is significantly lower than the scores of competing pages, you’re probably missing important subtopics that searchers care about. Filling these “content gaps” might help improve your rankings.

However, there’s nuance to this. If competing pages score in the 80-85 range while your page scores 79, it likely isn’t worth worrying about. But if it’s 95 vs. 20 then yeah, you should probably try to cover the topic better.

Key takeaway

Don’t obsess over content scores. Use them as a barometer for topic coverage. If your score is significantly lower than competitors, you’re probably missing important subtopics and might rank higher by filling those “content gaps.”

There are at least two downsides you should be aware of when it comes to content scores.

They’re easy to cheat

Content scores tend to be largely based on how many times you use the recommended set of keywords. In some tools, you can literally copy-paste the entire list, draft nothing else, and get an almost perfect score.

Scoring 98 on MarketMuse after shoehorning all the suggested keywords without any semblance of a draftScoring 98 on MarketMuse after shoehorning all the suggested keywords without any semblance of a draft

This is something we aim to solve with our upcoming content optimization tool: Content Master.

I can’t reveal too much about this yet, but it has a big USP compared to most existing content optimization tools: its content score is based on topic coverage—not just keywords.

For example, it tells us that our SEO strategy template should better cover subtopics like keyword research, on-page SEO, and measuring and tracking SEO success.

Preview of our upcoming Content Master toolPreview of our upcoming Content Master tool

But, unlike other content optimization tools, lazily copying and pasting related keywords into the document won’t necessarily increase our content score. It’s smart enough to understand that keyword coverage and topic coverage are different things.

Sidenote.

This tool is still in production so the final release may look a little different.

They encourage copycat content

Content scores tell you how well you’re covering the topic based on what’s already out there. If you cover all important keywords and subtopics from the top-ranking pages and create the ultimate copycat content, you’ll score full marks.

This is a problem because quality content should bring something new to the table, not just rehash existing information. Google literally says this in their helpful content guidelines.

Google says quality content goes beyond obvious information. It needs to bring something new to the tableGoogle says quality content goes beyond obvious information. It needs to bring something new to the table

In fact, Google even filed a patent some years back to identify ‘information gain’: a measurement of the new information provided by a given article, over and above the information present in other articles on the same topic.

You can’t rely on content optimization tools or scores to create something unique. Making something that stands out from the rest of the search results will require experience, experimentation, or effort—something only humans can have/do.

Enrich common knowledge with new information and experiences in your contentEnrich common knowledge with new information and experiences in your content

Big thanks to my colleagues Si Quan and Calvinn who did the heavy lifting for this study. Nerd notes below. 😉

  • For the study, we selected 20 random keywords and pulled the top 20 ranking pages.
  • We pulled the SERPs before the March 2024 update was rolled out.
  • Some of the tools had issues pulling the top 20 pages, which we suspect was due to SERP features.
  • Clearscope didn’t give numerical scores; they opted for grades. We used ChatGPT to convert those grades into numbers.
  • Despite their increasing prominence in the SERPs, most of the tools had trouble analyzing Reddit, Quora, and YouTube. They typically gave a zero or no score for these results. If they gave no scores, we excluded them from the analysis.
  • The reason why we calculated both Spearman and Kendall correlations (and took the average) is because according to Calvinn (our Data Scientist), Spearman correlations are more sensitive and therefore more prone to being swayed by small sample size and outliers. On the other hand, the Kendall rank correlation coefficient only takes order into account. So, it is more robust for small sample sizes and less sensitive to outliers.

Final thoughts

Improving your content score is unlikely to hurt Google rankings. After all, although the correlation between scores and rankings is weak, it’s still positive. Just don’t obsess and spend hours trying to get a perfect score; scoring in the same ballpark as top-ranking pages is enough.

You also need to be aware of their downsides, most notably that they can’t help you craft unique content. That requires human creativity and effort.

Any questions or comments? Ping me on X or LinkedIn.



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Unlocking Brand Growth: Strategies for B2B and E-commerce Marketers

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Unlocking Brand Growth: Strategies for B2B and E-commerce Marketers

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, scaling a brand effectively requires more than just an innovative product or service. For B2B and e-commerce marketers, understanding the intricacies of growth strategies across different stages of business development is crucial.  

A recent analysis of 71 brands offers valuable insights into the optimal strategies for startups, scaleups, mature brands, and majority offline businesses. Here’s what we learned. 

Startup Stage: Building the Foundation 

Key Strategy: Startups focus on impressions-driven channels like Paid Social to establish their audience base. This approach is essential for gaining visibility and creating a strong initial footprint in the market. 

Case Study: Pooch & Mutt exemplified this strategy by leveraging Paid Social to achieve significant year-on-year revenue gains while also improving acquisition costs. This foundational step is crucial for setting the stage for future growth and stability. 

Scaleup Stage: Accelerating Conversion 

Key Strategy: For scaleups, having already established an audience, the focus shifts to conversion activities. Increasing spend in impressions-led media helps continue generating demand while maintaining a balance with acquisition costs. 

Case Study: The Essence Vault successfully applied this approach, scaling their Meta presence while minimizing cost increases. This stage emphasizes the importance of efficient spending to maximize conversion rates and sustain growth momentum. 

Mature Stage: Expanding Horizons 

Key Strategy: Mature brands invest in higher funnel activities to avoid market saturation and explore international expansion opportunities. This strategic pivot ensures sustained growth and market diversification. 

Case Study: Represent scaled their efforts on TikTok, enhancing growth and improving Meta efficiency. By expanding their presence in the US, they exemplified how mature brands can navigate saturation and seek new markets for continued success. 

Majority Offline Brands: Embracing Digital Channels 

Key Strategy: Majority offline brands primarily invest in click-based channels like Performance Max. However, the analysis reveals significant opportunities in Paid Social, suggesting a balanced approach for optimal results. 

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How To Use The Google Ads Search Terms Report

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How To Use The Google Ads Search Terms Report

One of the most essential aspects of a profitable Google Ads strategy is reaching the right people, with the right message, while they’re searching.

To do this correctly, you need to know exactly how your ads are doing and what words potential customers are using to search.

This is where the Google Ads search terms report comes in handy.

This report is a goldmine and an invaluable asset to every Google Ads account.

With insights into exact phrases being used to trigger your ads, the search terms report can help:

  • Significantly refine your keyword strategy.
  • Enhance your targeting.
  • Boost your return on investment (ROI).

Let’s get into why the Google Ads search terms report is not only helpful but essential for maximizing Google Ads profitability.

What Is The Google Ads Search Terms Report?

The search terms report is a performance tool that shows how your ad performed when triggered by actual searches on the Google Search Network.

The report shows specific terms and phrases that triggered your ad to show, which helps determine if you’re bidding on the right keywords or using the right match types.

If you find search terms that aren’t relevant for your business, you can easily add them to your negative keyword list repository.

This helps you spend your budget more effectively by ensuring your ads are only triggered for relevant, useful searches by potential customers.

Keep in mind that there is a difference between a search term and a keyword:

  • Search term: Shows the exact word or phrase a customer enters on the Google Search Network to trigger an ad.
  • Keyword: The word or phrase that Google Ads advertisers target and bid on to show their ads to customers.

How To Create A Search Terms Report

Creating a search terms report in your Google Ads account is simple, and better yet – it can be automated!

To view your search terms report, you’ll need to:

  • Log into your Google Ads account.
  • Navigate to “Campaigns” >> “Insights & reports” >> “Search terms”

Below is an example of where to navigate in your Google Ads account to find the search terms report.

Screenshot taken by author, April 2024

After running this report, there are multiple actions you can take as a marketer:

  • Add top-performing searches to corresponding ad groups as keywords.
  • Select the desired match type (e.g. broad, phrase, exact) if adding new keywords.
  • Add irrelevant search terms to a negative keyword list.

3 Ways To Use Search Terms Report Data

As mentioned above, there are numerous ways you can use the search terms report data to optimize campaign performance.

Let’s take a look at three examples of how to use this report to get the best bang for your buck.

1. Refine Existing Keyword Lists

The first area the search terms report can help with is refining existing keyword lists.

By combing through the search terms report, you can find areas of opportunities, including:

  • What searches are leading to conversions.
  • What searches are irrelevant to the product or service.
  • What searches have high impressions but low clicks.
  • How searches are being mapped to existing keywords and ad groups.

For searches leading to conversions, it likely makes sense to add those as keywords to an existing ad group or create a new ad group.

If you’re finding some searches to be irrelevant to what you’re selling, it’s best to add them as negative keywords. That prevents your ad from showing up for that search moving forward.

If some searches have a high volume of impressions, but very few clicks, these will take further consideration. If it’s a keyword worth bidding on, it may indicate that the bid strategy isn’t competitive enough – meaning you’ll have to take action on your bid strategy.

If a search term is being triggered by multiple keywords and ad groups, this is a case of cross-pollution of keywords. This can lead to lower ROI because it’s essentially having multiple keywords bid on that search term, which can drive up the cost. If this happens, you have a few options:

  • Review and update existing keyword match types as necessary.
  • Add negative keywords where appropriate at the ad group or campaign level to avoid cross-pollution.

Ultimately, using the search terms report in this way allows you to determine what is performing well and eliminate poor performers.

2. Understand How Your Audience Is Actually Searching For Your Product

Something I often see is a mismatch of how a company talks about its product or service vs. how a customer is actually searching for it in the real world.

If you’re bidding on keywords you think describe your product or service but are not getting any traction, you could be misaligning expectations.

Oftentimes, searches that lead to conversions are from terms you wouldn’t have thought to bid on without looking at the search terms report.

One of this report’s most underutilized use cases is finding lesser-known ways customers are searching for and finding your product.

Finding these types of keywords may result in the creation of a new campaign, especially if the search terms don’t fit existing ad group structures.

Building out campaigns by different search themes allows for appropriate bidding strategies for each because not all keyword values are created equal!

Understanding how a customer is describing their need for a product or service not only helps your keyword strategy but can lead to better-aligned product positioning.

This leads us to a third way the search term report can help your campaigns.

3. Optimize Ad Copy and Landing Pages

As discussed in #2, customers’ language and phrases can provide valuable insights into their needs and preferences.

Marketers can use the search terms report to better tailor ad copy, making it more relevant and appealing to prospective customers.

And let’s not forget about the corresponding landing page!

Once a user clicks on an ad, they expect to see an alignment of what they searched for and what is presented on a website.

Make sure that landing page content is updated regularly to better match the searcher’s intent.

This can result in a better user experience and an improvement in conversion rates.

How Using The Search Terms Report Can Help ROI

All three examples above are ways that the search terms report can improve campaign ROI.

How so?

Let’s take a look at each example further.

How Refining Keywords Helps ROI

Part of refining existing keywords is negating any irrelevant search terms that trigger an ad.

Having a solid negative keyword strategy gets rid of “unwanted” spending on keywords that don’t make sense.

That previously “wasted” spend then gets redirected to campaigns that regularly drive higher ROI.

Additionally, adding top-performing search terms gives you better control from a bid strategy perspective.

Being able to pull the appropriate levers and setting proper bid strategies by search theme ultimately leads to better ROI.

How Understanding Audience Intent Helps ROI

By understanding the exact language and search terms that potential customers use, marketers can update ad copy and landing pages to better match those searches.

This can increase ad relevance and Ad Rank within Google Ads.

These items help with keyword Quality Score, which can help reduce CPCs as your Quality Score increases.

More relevant ads likely lead to higher click-through rates, which leads to a higher likelihood of converting those users!

How Updating Ad Copy And Landing Pages Helps ROI

This example goes hand-in-hand with the above recommendation.

As you start to better understand the audience’s search intent, updating ad copy and landing pages to reflect their search indicates better ad relevance.

Once a user clicks on that relevant ad, they find the content of the landing page matches better to what they’re looking for.

This enhanced relevance can significantly increase the likelihood of conversion, which ultimately boosts ROI.

Use This Report To Make Data-Driven Decisions

Google Ads is an integral part of any digital marketing strategy, often accounting for a large portion of your marketing budget.

By regularly reviewing the search terms report, you can refine your marketing budget to make your Google Ads campaigns more effective.

Using this report to make data-driven decisions that fine-tune multiple facets of campaign management leads to more effective ad spending, higher conversions, and ultimately higher ROI.

More resources: 


Featured Image: FGC/Shutterstock

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