Heatmap, Hot or Not? Free Alternatives for Crazy Egg
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!
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 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: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.
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
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.
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.