Google Analytics Heatmap: How to Setup & Use

Negar Farazmand
Negar Farazmand
Negar is the content manager at WatchThemLive who loves supporting and guiding her team to build a motivational and innovative environment. You can reach out to her on LinkedIn or send her an email.
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How does Google Analytics heatmap works? Since Google Analytics is one of the most popular website tracking tools, many web admins would probably prefer Google Analytics heat mapping. This feature allows you to visualize website’s dataand makes it easier to understand.

This article will discuss Google Analytics heat mapping, how to use it, and what information it provides. Next, we’ll explain how to optimize your website using a more effective alternative.

Keep reading to find out all you need to know about Google Analytics heat mapping in 2022.

Quick Getaway:  You want an easy-to-use tool for heat-mapping? Sign up to WatchThemLive to be provided with all features of Google Analytics and much more.

What Is Heat Map Analytics?

Before getting into Google Analytics heat mapping, let’s see what a heat map is. Heat maps are a visualization of numerical data using colors. A heat map can help website owners make sense of their quantitative data straight away.

On a heat map, you can see colors on a scale from red to blue. Red represents the most popular areas of the web page, and blue the least. Heat maps can effectively show you what visitors are doing on your website. They are a great way to facilitate data analysis to identify problems, deal with them, and optimize your website based on users’ behavior.

Related Article: Read more articles about heat maps.

Types of Heat Maps

There are four types of heat maps. Each one can give information about a different aspect of your website. So let’s take a look at them:

1- Scroll Maps: Scroll maps can tell you the percentage of users who have scrolled down to any point on the web page. The top of the page will be red, and the color will gradually turn into blue towards the bottom of the page, indicating fewer people scroll down till the end.

scroll heat map

Image credits: topspot.com

2- Click Maps: Click maps show the percentage of people who have clicked or tapped (for mobile and tablet devices) on any area of the web page. These heat maps tell which elements have been clicked the most. Some click maps will even include clicks on unclickable areas.

Heatmaps

3- Mouse Move Maps: Mouse move maps show the mouse move heat maps. This heat map can tell you where users are probably looking when they are browsing a web page.

move map

Image credits: anwendbar.ch

4- Device Maps: Device maps allow you to compare your website data on different devices. This is a great way to properly design your website for different devices.

device map

Image credits: mockingfish.com

Benefits of Website Heat Maps

Now let’s see some of the benefits of using a service such as Google Analytics heat mapping:

1- Visualizing User Behavior

Heat maps visualize visitors’ on-screen activities on your website. This way, you can better understand your target audience and your website’s numerical data. 

2- Seeing What Elements Get Clicks

You can see what elements users click on and which ones they ignore with click heat maps. Analyzing click maps help you see which content is more engaging and what you should improve to attract more attention.

3- Understanding A/B Testing Results

You can set up heat maps on your test variations to determine why one is outperforming the other. You can measure the effectiveness of the changes you’ve made and find out what you should focus on.

Does Google Analytics Have a Heat Map?

Yes, Google offers a Chrome extension for Google Analytics heatmapping. This extension, Page Analytics (by Google), can be used for the web pages you have added to Google Analytics.

page analytics (by google) chrome extension

Google introduced this feature so that people could access a visual representation of their Google Analytics data. This feature visually shows you how users interact with your website and which areas are more engaging.

Google Analytics Heatmap

Image credits: minwt.com

This information teaches you to improve your website based on users’ behavior and, as a result, optimize your conversion rate.

However, the Page Analytics extension for Google Chrome was deprecated in 2017 and hasn’t been updated since then. Moreover, if you read the user reviews written after the deprecation, you will understand that it stopped working for many users.

How Do I Use Google Analytics Heat Map?

Follow these steps if you want to try your luck with Page Analytics:

  1. First of all, if you don’t have a Google Analytics account, you need to create one. After you sign up, GA will give you a code that you should insert on each of your website’s pages you want to track.
  2. Now you have to download the Page Analytics Chrome extension.
  3. After installing the extension to your browser, log in to your GA account. You will see the Page Analytics icon in the Chrome toolbar. Click on this icon, and if you see a green tick, it means that Page analytics is connected to GA.

page analytics icon in chrome toolbar

If you successfully follow these steps, Google Analytics will provide the information needed to create heat maps for tracking web pages.

When you go to your website, you will see scorecards showing some metrics at the top of the page. These metrics include:

  • Pageviews
  • Unique page views
  • Average time on page
  • Bounce rate
  • Exit rate

You can also see the number of active users in real-time and an in-page click analysis, which shows where visitors click on that page.

How to Create a Google Heat Map?

To better understand the Google Analytics heat mapping, let’s take a look at what else is there on the Google Analytics bar:

  • Date Range: The date range menu allows you to select a specific period in which you want to see the data. You can also choose to compare two time-frames together.
  • Bubble Icon: The bubble icon will display the percentage of the users who have clicked on each element of the page. If you click on each of these bubbles, you can also see the number of clicks.
  • Color Icon: If you select the color icon, it will assign a color (blue, green, orange, or red) to each bubble based on the relative percentage of clicks. Red indicates the most clicked areas, and blue the least.
  • Click Threshold: You can choose a threshold for showing the bubbles on the click threshold menu. You will only be able to see the bubbles for the elements whose clicks are higher than the threshold.
  • Segments: This is a list of all the segments you have access to. You can select up to four segments to see their metrics on the Google Analytics bar.
  • Real-time or all data: In the real-time section, you can choose to see all the metrics or only the data in real-time.
  • Metrics: You can change the default metrics to the metrics you want to see on the page. 

As you may have noticed, Page Analytics only offers a simple click map. While this data can be beneficial, it’s not enough for those who plan to use heat maps to improve their website based on users’ behavior. In addition, there is more information that can be used to create heat maps. Add to this the fact that Page Analytics is deprecated, and you might want to consider using another service that offers a heatmapping feature. Therefore, we will introduce a great alternative to Google Analytics heat mapping.

How to Create a Custom Google Analytics Heatmap Report?

If you want to use GA heatmap and not other available heatmap software, you might need to design a report tailored to your individual needs.

  1. In the custom menu on the right side of your website, select personalization.
  2. Then, under New Report, type in a title for your report, such as Heat Map.
  3. In the dimensions area, enter the metrics you wish to track as well as the days, weeks, and hours.
  4. You can also add a specific optional section of data that you want to watch.
  5. After you’ve completed this, you’ll be able to see your report and select a date range from the upper right side.
  6. You can now specify the period that your heat map should cover. If you just have a limited number of data, choosing a date range with a high amount of data is recommended.

heat mapping

Remember that a heat map works best with a massive amount of data. For example, when using a heat map, a page with a higher percentage of views works better than a page with few views. On the other hand, small amounts of data produce unreliable results.

heatmapping

A Better Alternative to Google Analytics Heat Mapping

If you are looking for an alternative to Google Analytics heat mapping, here you go. WatchThemLive is a website analytics tool that includes all the Page Analytics features and more. We will discuss this tool’s features and how they can help you improve your website in the best way possible.

WatchThemLive Features

  • Heat Mapping: This tool provides you with a visual representation of your website’s analytics. This straightforward data visualization is the best way to identify the most engaging areas of your website. Here you can learn how to get started with WatchThemLive heat maps. Watch this video to see how WatchThemLive heatmaps actually work:
  • Session Replays: With this tool, you will have access to users’ session recordings. This allows you to see all the on-screen actions each user has performed on your website. These actions include scrolls, clicks, taps, mouse movements, etc. These session replay videos help you determine what’s working well on your website and what’s going wrong. With this useful feature, you can exactly see how users are interacting with your website and what is capturing their attention. This is the most effective manner to obtain accurate feedback from users.

WatchThemLive session replay

  • Website Analytics: This service offers a set of useful analytics like page views, user sessions, referrers, user segmentation (countries, devices, languages, etc.). This information allows you to obtain a comprehensive and deep understanding of your audience and website viewers.

WatchThemLive dashboard

  • Real-time Data: Having access to online users’ data can help you in many ways and provides you with lots of opportunities. For example, if a sudden problem occurs, you can detect and fix it more quickly.

Why Should You Use WatchThemLive?

Having a deep understanding of your audience is crucial to learning how to improve your website. This tool allows you to track each user’s journey through your website and see how they are experiencing it.

Having access to all this data helps you create a better user experience and make better marketing decisions. And you know that improving the user experience leads to a higher conversion rate.

The important thing is that all of this is done without invading your visitors’ privacy. Also, keep in mind that all your data will be safe. You will have full control of your information and you can be sure it will never be shared.

Conclusion

Google Analytics heat mapping is a useful tool that can help you improve your website. This feature offers you a visualization of the numerical data on Google Analytics. However, it comes short compared to other available heatmapping tools. It doesn’t receive any updates anymore and only provides click maps.

We introduced WatchThemLive as a great alternative to Google Analytics heat mapping. It offers heatmapping along with many other features that can help you improve your website more effectively.

Sign up and seize them now!