Heatmap, Hot or Not? Free Alternatives for Crazy Egg

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This is the second part of the article about the heatmaps and alternatives for Crazy Egg.

Update: 13th of May 2010

A lot of new heatmap systems made their way to the public since this article was published. Time for an update!

Mouseflow

Just to let everyone know: I’m not getting payed for writing this review, 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 livestreaming, 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.

For only 10€ a month you get 1000 recorded sessions – which is a bargain – but if you’re still not sure you can always start with a free subscription. You’re just one line of Javascript away from trying out this great application.

IMPORTANT NOTE:If you’re interested in testing Mouseflow, we’re giving away special Mouseflow campaign codes. This code gives you 500 free recordings. Have a look at my article about Mouseflow to receive your code.

Clickdensity

What I immediately liked about Clickdensity is the ease of implementation – just five lines of code – and the ease of use. With only four buttons you can choose between the normal heat map, the click map, the hover map and the page stats. The page stats however shows minimal information because Clickdensity does not collect much data other than the X and Y coordinates of the clicks to generate the heatmap. You can filter the clicks by browser, click time, date and screen size.

A very nice feature is the ability to attach the X and Y click coordinates to a certain element of your page. This can be necessary when you update your website on regular bases with new content, meaning a change in lay-out. A minor setback however is that it takes quiet some time to generate the heatmap overlays. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a straightforward and easy to use heatmap application without extensive analytical information, you should definitely try Clickdensity.

WordPress plugin #2: WordPress Click Tracking Plugin

I’ve been reading a lot of positive reviews about the Click Tracking Plugin, but unfortunately I can’t get it to work properly. I’m blaming my inadequate technical knowledge of GZIP for that, but it looks like I’m not the only one having problems with this plugin. If someone can get this one to work, please let me know!

Picnet Mouse Eye Tracking

This Australian company, named Picnet, has two heatmap systems: the eye tracking heatmap and the click heatmap. The name “eye tracking heatmap” can be a bit misleading because there is no eye tracking going on. Picnet justifies the name with the result of certain studies, which claims: “There is a strong correlation (84%) between the regions of website pages scanned by your eyes and the regions visited by the mouse cursor. Additionally, 88% of regions that are not scanned by the eyes are also not visited by the mouse cursor”.
So instead of tracking the eyes, Picnet tracks the mouse movements.

There are two ways to display the click heatmap – a general map of the sectors your visitors are scanning with their eyes, and a more detailed view that shows the pattern of mouse clicks on each area of the page. It also tracks mouse movements and shows you the website architecture and user movements throughout the website.

If you subscribe for a free account, you need to mention Picnet’s website with a small line of text which is provided by them. To get rid of this text you will need to upgrade to a premium account, which costs A$2,000 per annum per domain or A$500 per month per domain.
The free account however delivers very useful information but has some downsides.
For example, it doesn’t keep your data longer than 2 weeks, it doesn’t record any keyboard interaction (which is useful for investigating your forms) and it does’t show user interactions with the page (so no AJAX or drop down menu’s for example).

Update: 4th of November 2010

It has been a long time since I made an addition to this post and because I found a new heatmap system I thought it was about time for yet another update.

Real-time heatmap, made by Patrick Wied

The latest example I found does look very nice, which you can see for yourself on the website of Patrick Wied. With only javascript and the HTMLCanvas element it generates a beautifully designed real-time heatmap.
Although it looks great, it does come with a minor issue. It’s possible to save the precious data but for now you can only extract it from the biggest alert message I have ever seen, maybe useful for technicians but not for me.

Don’t forget that this concept is still in an early stage but I think this has some real potential in becoming more than just an experiment because of Wied’s approach and the simplicity of his solution. Looking forward in seeing more of it.

In this post I tried to make a small summery of really cheap or free heatmaps. Whatever your choice will be, you have to be carefull with heatmaps. Most of them make a connection with the help of Javascript (from the client-side) to the webserver for every click made by a certain visitor. This can interfere with the performance by slowing down the system. A possible solution is to activate the recording of clicks when a low number of people are visiting your website. You’ll have to test it over a longer period of time because of the sheer number of people, but at least they will enjoy your website at full speed.

This is the second part of the article about the heatmaps and alternatives for Crazy Egg. If you would like to read the first part, use the pagination link underneath.

Pages: 1 2

About the author

I'm the creator and editor of paulolyslager.com, a blog about on Web Design, User Experience and Usability. Currently I'm working as UX Manager for a leading supplier of nutrients and supplements to the European market based in Berlin, Germany. Follow me @paulolyslager or google+.
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80 responses to “Heatmap, Hot or Not? Free Alternatives for Crazy Egg”

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  • http://www.giordanopiazza.com/ gyo

    Very accurate job!
    Another solution to avoid performance issues, could be to have a separate server just for heatmap.

    What do you think?

    P.S.
    I didn’t know CrazyEgg has got commercial, damn!

  • http://www.paulolyslager.com Paul Olyslager

    If the cost-benefit ratio was ok, then this would be a great solution… but only for those websites which attract a lot of visitors. More visitors means more clicks to be recorded, so they would certainly benefit of a second server.

  • http://davidlawton.com dave

    great post, thanks kindly

  • http://www.paulolyslager.com Paul Olyslager

    You’re welcome Dave!

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  • Steve Mann

    I am new to the world of web analytics and i think the functions are unbeleivable. I have an online private business and it has always been so frustrating to me how i could not observe the activity of my customers. I came accross ClickTale analytics on a similar blog and i tried out the free option offered and my eyes have been opened. I now feel confident to adjust my website according to the behaviour i can see in the videos and all the heatmaps. Its so simple and so effective, I wish i had found it earlier.

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  • http://www.paulolyslager.com Paul Olyslager

    @Steve Mann: Thank you for the comment Steve. Since a few weeks now I’ve been testing ClickTale as well. I’ll let you know my findings as well.

  • http://articledirectory.com ArticleDirectory

    Hi, I found your page when i was searching Google for sites related to this article. I have tell you, your site is good. I like the design too, its nice. I don’t have the time at the moment to fully read your website but I have noted it and I also registered for your RSS feed. I will be back in a day or two. Thanks for a great website.

  • http://www.paulolyslager.com Paul Olyslager

    @ArticleDirectory: And thank you for the nice comment! Hopefully you like the rest of the website as well. :)

  • http://www.firstrate.co.nz/ Stuart

    Love the list thanks so much.

    Regarding clickheat – I installed it on the checkout pages of a store to see how people used the page.

    A while later the site owner complained that when he viewed the checkout pages he got the IE ‘this page contains secure and insecure content’ error, and he worried that this was reducing the conversion rate. I checked and checked and checked again, and I couldn’t find any non-https images.

    Eventually I finally realised what was happening – it was the clickheat script that was the insecure content on the https page!

  • http://www.paulolyslager.com Paul Olyslager

    @Stuart: Hi Stuart, nice to hear that you like this list and thanks for your interesting comment. I’ve been using Clickheat sporadically for a few months now (actually only used it to write this article and test it a bit) and I never crossed this IE error message before. The implemented code from Clickheat seems a bit aggressive and maybe a good thing to keep it out of the secure checkout pages. I can imagine that the CR dropped down a bit because of this message, but maybe you can switch to a less intrusive package.
    Although I find Clickheat’s system interesting (follow the mousemovements of the visitor), I prefer to use A/B testing in checkout pages to increase the CR.

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  • http://intuitionhq.com Jacob

    Hi there,

    Interesting article. We have also created our own heatmap service at http://intuitionhq.com, and at $9 a test we think it’s very reasonably priced. We’ve designed it to be simple, quick and easy to use, and we think it works pretty well in that respect.

    If you’d like to give it a go, please email me back on this address, or contact us on twitter @intuitionhq – we’d happily set you up with some free tests if you’d like to have a play.

    Cheers!

  • http://mouseflow.com Lasse

    You should try http://mouseflow.com that gives you heatmaps on mouse movements and clicks, but more importantly records whole visitor sessions (including mouse movements, clicks, scroll events and keystrokes) and lets you watch the whole thing in your browser.

    There are free plans as well as paid ones.

  • http://www.paulolyslager.com Paul Olyslager

    @Jacob: Hi Jacob, thanks for the offer. You can expect an email from me :) !

  • http://www.paulolyslager.com Paul Olyslager

    @Lasse: Hi Lasse, thanks for the great tip. I just subscribed myself to Mouseflow and I’m very curious for the result. I will update this article as soon as I have enough information.

  • http://www.unecartedumonde.fr Julien

    Love this article altough i havnt found any perfect solution as for now, wich would be Heatmap + a simple wordpress plugin + Free

    please keep this post updated !

  • http://www.paulolyslager.com Paul Olyslager

    @Julien: Don’t you worry Julien, i’m working on an update of this post! I hope to finish this soon!

  • http://www.unecartedumonde.fr Julien

    Glad to read that :)

  • http://www.paulolyslager.com Paul Olyslager

    This article has been updated on the 13th of May 2010. More information on its way!

  • http://www.picnet.com.au/met Jason

    Thanks for the mention Paul, I notice you’re using Mouse Eye Tracking on this blog too. Let us know your feedback, we’re always looking to improve the product.

    We’ve also created a plugin that makes it easy to setup Mouse Eye Tracking on wordpress websites, see:

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/picnet-mouse-eye-tracking-service-plugin/

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  • http://www.HireYourVirtualAssistant.com/blog Owen McGab Enaohwo

    @Paul Olyslager: @Paul, overall which of all these tools both the paid and free do you personally recommend and prefer?

    By the way great review

  • http://www.paulolyslager.com Paul Olyslager

    @Owen McGab Enaohwo: Hi Owen and thank you for the reply. When I was doing the research for this article I had to know what Crazy Egg was all about in order to form a better opinion. I have to say that Crazy Egg is a very good heatmap system, but nothing more, noting less. For a paying alternative I would recommend Mouseflow because it gives you much more than a heatmap system. The live streaming is a very nice feature but it also provides you with plenty of statistics and a scroll heatmap. Don’t forget to retweet this article to get 500 free recordings :) .

    As for a free alternative, I would go with clickdensity. It is similar to Crazy Egg but doesn’t have the nice interface.

    I hope this will satisfy your question. If not, just ask!

  • http://www.HireYourVirtualAssistant.com/blog Owen McGab Enaohwo

    @Paul Olyslager: After reading your blog post and asking my previous question, I installed the free Picnet and in a couple of months I will be moving on to Mouseflow (which is subscription based). I even compare Mouseflow to Clicktales and I think Mouseflow provide more bang for less money.

  • gerorge

    Fantastic article. I have just install mouseflow. I was between mouseflow and clicktale but the price was the main reason i choose mouseflow. My main concern is security. I have install also the proxy.php file in order to track shopping cart etc. How secure is this? Any ideas?

  • Lasse Schou

    @gerorge: Hi, if your website is running SSL, all data transmitted to Mouseflow is also encrypted. You can even adjust the php proxy script so that it sends data to https://… instead of http://.

    If you’re not using SSL then all data is transmitted unencrypted across the network, including the compressed mouseflow data.

    If you want more information about Mouseflow security, feel free to post specific questions.

    Lasse

  • http://www.paulolyslager.com Paul Olyslager

    @Lasse Schou: Thanks Lasse for the useful info, I couldn’t do a better job. I’m sure @gerorge could use it.

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  • http://www.infosimmo.com Pret immobilier

    Thanks for this article, i will try clickdensity and mouseflow… i’ve already running on clickheat…

  • http://parscat.com Norik Davtian

    I love the mouseflow idea, it is combination of clickheat (http://www.labsmedia.com/clickheat/index.html) and clixpy (http://clixpy.com/)

    nicely put together, thanks Paul for sharing

  • http://www.jedzebel.com Ed

    Does anyone know about the effects of using more than one of these services at the same time ?

    I’m checking out Clicktale, SeeVolution, and have a free one page from Crazy Egg.

    Is it a bad idea to have so many running ? Plus Google, Yahoo, etc. analytics ?

    Thanks,

    Ed

  • http://www.paulolyslager.com Paul Olyslager

    @Ed: Hi Ed, at the time I was writing this post I had ClickTale, Crazy Egg, Mouseflow and Google Analytics running. It didn’t give me any script problems, just make sure that everything works smoothly before you install something else. Loading time could be affected.
    I hope this answers your question?

  • http://www.jedzebel.com Ed

    @Paul Olyslager: Thanks so much Paul!

  • Sammie Fields

    Thanks for the article, twas very helpful.

    Clickheat has been reported to place hidden links on your website, and can cause your site to drop from google rankings. Do a Google search on this, I’ve already found a few articles warning people of this.

    I’ve tried mouseflow. Despite giving you an aesthetically pleasing heatmap, the states are extremely misleading and unreliable. I don’t advise it at all.

    Clickdensity is crap.

    Clicktale is amazing! Tis hands-down the best, but bloody expensive.

    I’ve tried picnet before with poor results, but have just decided to give it a second go.

    Another one to add to the list is Seevolution, which is new and free at the moment. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get it to work properly on my site yet, but I’ll see how things go. (The support team is very helpful btw, but they don’t work weekends :( )

  • http://www.paulolyslager.com Paul Olyslager

    @Sammie Fields: Hi Sammie, thank you for your roundup. Please let uw know when you have some results of Seevolution (if you can get it to work that is)!

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  • http://www.kalvster.com/ Kalvster

    Here’s a guide to implementing ClickHeat to wordpress: http://www.kalvster.com/web/clickheat-wordpress-crazyegg.html

  • http://mouseflow.com Lasse Schou

    @Sammie Fields: Hi Sammie, could you please elaborate on the misleading and unreliable heatmaps? I’m thinking that you might have a centered website, but haven’t set the alignment and width in the Mouseflow control panel. This may lead to displaced heatmaps. Unfortunately Mouseflow cannot automatically detect the alignment and width of the website.

    Lasse / Mouseflow

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  • http://www.chania-vacation.com George

    Hello,

    I totally recommend mouseflow. This real time recording is an amazing feature and gives you real feedback from your visitors. It doesn’t support google maps and a couple of tiny things beacause it’s within other iframes etc. but that’s fair enough. I tried also Seevolution which seems promising but it’s not as helpful as mouseflow can be. It’s exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for the article.

    Cheers, George

  • http://www.paulolyslager.com Paul Olyslager

    @George: Hi George, thanks for the reply. It looks like I have to try Seevolution as well then ! Thanks for the tip.

  • Peter Jones

    Hi,

    Just wanted to say that this is an awesome post! Especially the new 2010 entries. Nice work my friend.

    cheers
    Peter

  • http://www.improveyourwebsiteforfree.com Paul G

    Great article, I’m going to link to it from my website, hope that’s ok.

  • http://www.clickmap.ch Pascal

    Good article – don’t forget about Clickmap (english version available at http://www.clickmap.ch/en).

    Clickmap offers real-time and inplace Usability Analytics with Heat-, Click- and Foldmaps. Over 20 segmentation filters let you analyze everything from Google search terms to Social Media Marketing. You can track dynamic websites aswell, and don’t worry about your web layout (centered, fluid etc.)… Clickmap takes care of that!

    Cheers
    Pascal

  • http://ehavior.net Jan Flora

    Hi Paul,

    Here’s another heatmap tool for you: EhaviorClick™

    Ehavior gives you the first 2000 clicks for free so that you can try it out and be convinced.

    One of our products prime features is the integration with your Google Analytics account. This allows you to segment your click data by every advanced Google Analytics segment.
    Some examples of use are:
    – Evaluate paid (SEM) clicks against non-paid (organic) clicks.
    – See where visitors that purchased from you clicked. See where those that did not purchase anything clicked.
    – Evaluate new vs. returning visitors.

    The only limitation is your imagination (and the data available in your Google Analytics account :-))…

  • http://www.seomagic.co.nz/ Cameron – SEO Magic

    Thanks for keeping this article updated. I use WordPress and find it seems to have a plugin for almost anything you can think of. These will definitely help me to improve my own website conversions and will be a good addition to my tool kit. Thanks

  • 40-02

    Try metrika.yandex.com. It is simple and powerful free web analytycs service from Russian Search Engine

    It has heat maps, records of coursir moves and other staff.

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  • http://www.asknguyen.com Viet Hai

    Thanks for your information. I’ve double-checked and totally remove ClickHeat from my site. So a dirty trick.

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  • http://www.servicetick.com Kevin

    Hi Paul,

    Take a look at http://www.sessioncam.com – it provides great heatmaps for mouse movement, clicks, page scrolling and attention.

    The heatmaps can be filtered so you can drill down to specific segments of interest.

    SessionCam also provides a session replay tool so you can watch the recorded activity of visitors as well.

    SessionCam offers a free as well as paid plan.

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  • http://www.paulolyslager.com Paul Olyslager

    Hi Kevin,

    thanks for letting me know. I think it’s about time for an update since so many new heatmap systems have found daylight. Stay tuned!

  • http://lucrebem.com.br Lucre Bem

    I’m just wondering what free means to you, as all the tools I’ve tested were Free Trial or paid, not Free Tools actually.

  • http://www.paulolyslager.com Paul Olyslager

    Hi Lucre,

    thank you for your comment. This article has been written a while ago, so some heatmap applications might have changed their payment options. I will give you a quick overview:

    – Feng-Gui is not longer a free service, as stated in the article. Minimum of $2,5 per image.
    – The first heatmap WordPress-plugin hasn’t been updated in over 2 years, so I wouldn’t use it anymore.
    – Clickheat and Corunet are OpenSource software and free of charge.
    – ClickDensity offers a free trail of 30 days.
    – Mouseflow has changed their payment options, with €10/month and 30 day money back guarantee.
    – Picnet only has a free demo, which was mentioned in the original article.
    – Patrick Wied’s heatmap system is an OpenSource JavaScript library and free of charge.

    I hope this list answered your question a bit. At the moment I’m working on a new list, which will include both free and paying services.

  • http://experiment.ly James B

    Check out experiment.ly – it’s Free!

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  • http://michaelgkeating.com Internet Marketing Mentor

    Thanks so much for the information. I have been browsing around looking for different options aside from CrazyEgg.

    Happy Blogging :)

  • WebMeUp

    Ha-ha, I was just about to say that MouseFlow was missing from the list, when I saw there was actually a second page to this post.

    Great job, Paul, a really priceless roundup for anyone looking for click tracking software.

    I would like to point out that we found Corunet to be a useful solution at some point. It’s pretty flexible, but perhaps it takes a tech savvy person to implement.

    Best,
    Susan of WebMeUp.Com

  • Ellen L.

    Thanks Paul, you did a really great job here!
    I personally use a killer combination of Mouseflow and Website Auditor for my projects.
    First I polish up all on-site optimization aspects, like duplicate content, broken links, code errors, robot.txt, XML sitemap, plus analyze page elements where keywords can be strategically placed (title, headings, ALT text, meta tags)in WebSite Auditor. And then I use Mouseflow do check how fixing on-page issues impacts user behavior. This works all the way around too: if I discover that there are usability problems on site – and this is something MouseFlow is excellent at – I do use WebSite Auditor again to fix them out.

  • http://usabilitytools.com/ Anna Kitowska

    This is a great list, although some of these tools are no longer free.
    You might also want to take a look at Click Tracking tool available on UsabilityTools http://usabilitytools.com/tools/click-tracking/#tool-description

    There is a free trial option that allows to test up to for 10 000 pages for free. This particular tool have several benefits that are usually not available in other platforms, including heatmaps for dynamic website elements.

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  • http://heatmap.ca Rob

    Hi Paul, I just launched http://heatmap.ca (August 7th, 2013) and it’s 100% Free.

    It generates Click Heatmaps and offers Click and Tap Playback! It works with Fluid layouts so it will playback a user session if they are on a Mobile device or desktop computer. If you have media queries that change the layout on the page, when a mobile device hits it, we have a feature where you can enable Dynamic Content on the page and then apply the Heatmap or Play user sessions to reveal hot points on the dynamic elements! Playback of sessions overlays an optional path with arrows (click 1,2,3 etc). There is even an instant playback speed. The Dashboard runs on your site and works on a Smart Phone or Desktop computer. At heatmap.ca there is a page of visual analytics including clicks by Country, State, City, Time of Day, Day of week, Tablets, Phones, etc.

    This is not a limited tool…you get 500,000 clicks per month, Unlimited Views, you can monitor 100 pages per month across multiple domains.

    On a personal note, I thought it was about time this type of service was available to all small to medium sized businesses as a free service. I am giving something back to the community. Enjoy!

    Rob
    I welcome your feedback and if you have any questions, let me know.

  • Emilly

    You need consider http://www.mousestats.com/ in this comparison.

  • http://danielpowney.com Daniel Powney

    Hotspots User Tracker is a free WordPress plugin which provides heat maps for mouse clicks and touch screen taps. It also caters for responsive web design, difference devices and zoom levels. It’s free, no signup required. All of the data is stored locally in your database.

    http://wordpress.org/plugins/hotspots/

    Daniel.

  • http://www.gazehub.com Shahram

    This is a great list. I would like to add our website to this list: http://www.gazehub.com

    Shahram

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  • saul

    Paul,

    What are your thoughts on the best methods of analyzing heat map/click map results writing a synopsis of them? I currently use CrazyEgg.

  • Juan

    I want to try it now

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  • http://smanagercms.com Pablo garcia

    Hi,

    I used inspectlet.com for heatmap and wepify.com for CMS and they both works great! They have free plan.

    Cheers

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  • David

    This is a new software that allows you to have a clear picture of your site. Includes heat maps, exit polls and feedback, online surveys, analysis of funnels and many other features.
    It is the most complete tool of its kind.
    Be sure to see it, because they are in pre launch at an incredible Price or even free. http://www.hotjar.com/4652