Heatmap, Hot or Not? Free Alternatives for Crazy Egg
Heatmaps are graphical overlays of your website which points out what content is hot and what not. This is mainly done by tracking the mouseclicks of the visitor. A more expensive model uses eyetracking to achieve this overlay. Although the results look the same, the two options are somewhat different.
The click-heatmap makes it possible to analyse the clicking behaviour of the visitor while the eyetracking-heatmap shows you where people actual look on your webpage.
So what can you do with a heatmap? It gives you the opportunity to look through the eyes of your visitors as they navigate on your website. For example: The heatmap shows that your advertisement is easily overlooked. Possible reasons: wrong colour, close to big images which capture more attention, … Just give the ads a more prominent place and see if the visitors pick up on this.
If you have dynamic content, it is a bit more difficult to take the full advantage of heatmaps (people click on different places if content changes). Instead of posting an article every day, you can consider doing so every week (or longer if you want to test longer).
I came up with this post because I was looking for an alternative for the site-overlay provided by google analytics. It’s not that this tool is useless, on the contrary, but the grass might be greener on the other side.
The first one I came across was Crazy Egg. A while ago this was a free service, but that’s not longer the case. They have various payment-options and if you have a look at the demo, you’ll notice that 9$ a month is not that much. If you prefer to have a free alternative for Crazy egg, you can just keep on reading…
I also wrote an extensive review about Crazy Egg if you’re interested in this tool. It includes a link, giving you the opportunity to subscribe for a 60 day free trial.
Just to let everyone know: I’m not getting payed for writing this review (although I’m member of their affiliate program), but I’m very thrilled about Mouseflow. Not only does it offer a detailed mouse click heatmap, but also a mouse movement and scroll heatmap. But that is not where it stops.
Mouseflow is in fact a powerful web analytics package that gives you plenty of statistics and features to play around with. It records the pageviews, total visit length, interaction time (which I find very useful), bounce rates, loading time, response time and the scroll reach (in percentages and pixels).
On top of that, Mouseflow offers live streaming, a very nice feature with which you can follow your users live (only for paying subscriptions)! It also records whole visitor sessions, which you can playback in your browser or simply download to your hard drive to watch it whenever you want. These recordings include the mouse movements, clicks, scroll events and key strokes.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Mouseflow has just released a new version of their tool. Check out the new Mouseflow.
Ptengine is a complete analytics tool that includes a full heat -and scroll map as well. One of the many great features is that you can differentiate between the interactive and non-interactive elements of your interface when viewing the maps. That is something I haven't seen before. You can also compare multiple pages with eachother. All of this comes with a multi device monitoring.
A great tool that offers so much more than heat maps. If you sign up through our blog, you will receive an extended 2 month trial. This instead to the normal 14 days.
Want to know more about Ptengine first, then read our review.
I have been using Hotjar since the early Beta version and I am actually very happy with it. The tool is really easy to set up and produces useful heatmaps per device (desktop, tablet and mobile phone) and per type (click, move and scroll). This means a nice variety of options to analyse and gain insights from.
But it doesn’t stop there for Hotjar because they offer so much more than heatmaps. Other features include live recordings, funnel analysis, polls, surveys and even live user tests via screen sharing. Every feature is enabled for the basic (free) account but restricted in use. Really worth your time to check it out.
Next up in line is SpyVisit. As with the other tools in this list, SpyVisit offers not just heat maps based upon clicks, eye tracking (mouse tracking) and scroll depth but they also record the user’s session.
Some of their features are nicely done, others lack that little extra that would beat the others in this list. The heat maps are generated really quickly and are pretty accurate as well. The user sessions are recorded for the entire session, so not just for that particular page. A great feature in my mind. Unfortunately though, you can not filter for sessions that includes a certain page.
All in all, SpyVisit is a very decent tool but maybe not that easy in use compared to others. SpyVisit is available as a free tool to our readers only. Just follow the special link, signup and let them take care of the rest.
WordPress plugin #1
If you are using wordpress, maybe you can have a look at this wordpress plugin as well. After installing and activating the plugin, it starts to register mouseclicks.
It is possible to generate heatmaps for every page and with a handy datepicker you can easily go back in time. You can set the time limit and memory in the provided php. Although this plugin is a good way to get started with heatmaps it doesn’t offer the possibility to generate weekly/monthly summaries, which makes testing a bit difficult.
Continue reading on the second page where you’ll find more alternatives for Crazy Egg.
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