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 the third part of the article about the heatmaps and alternatives for Crazy Egg. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know or drop a comment below.
It’s simplicity really strikes me, but I do have some concerns about Heatmap.me.
- You have to navigate to each and every page separately to activate the tracking, so it can become cumbersome.
- You receive some metrics, such as interaction %, page views and clicks but that’s about it.
- Whenever you decide to stop the tracking on a certain page, the heat map and its metrics are gone.
- You can not export the results. You could take a screenshot and store it locally but the data itself is lost.
SumoMe was recommended by one of our readers. SumoMe is easy to install and works with a small widget, which is placed on top of your pages. SumoMe offers several apps in the Sumo Store, which you need to install in order to activate them. The apps are divided into the following categories:
- Email: List Builders, Smart Bars, Scroll Box
- Analytics: Google Analytics, Heat Maps
- Sharing: Image Sharer
- Traffic: Discover Traffic
- Communicate: Contact Form
- Upgrades and Services: Paid upgrades
All of these apps, with the exception of the paid upgrades, are free to try out. Of course there are some restrictions. In case of the heat maps, you have a maximum of 1000 clicks per page.
I have noticed a bigger flaw as well. The heat map also registers the clicks made in the widget itself, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. Clicks from my IP address should be ignored anyway. One of our readers has found out that you can turn of tracking for internal users in SumoMe’s system. It is not checked by default though so you need to switch it on.
Personally, I find it difficult to use as well. Fair enough, I have only tried the heat map app, but the widget, the different apps and interacting with its interface is just too complex. Therefore, I would not recommend this tool.
Heat-Map.co works very similar to Feng-GUI. It doesn’t use actual click behaviour to generate the heat map, but an algorithm. Just as with Feng-GUI, I highly mistrust these results.
You have two options, either track the URL of the website or you upload an image. When going for the URL option, you need to give the viewport dimensions (width and height). First of all, not everybody knows that by heart. Secondly, what with responsive designs?
I made a heatmap of my homepage, which you can see below. Maybe a few examples why I don’t trust these results. The heatmap shows that most clicks happen on the title of the article. That is actually correct. My guess, however, is that this is caused by the H2 title tag and the fact that it happens to be clickable.
Actual click events, which are reported in Google Analytics, show me that a good number of people click on the “Continue reading” link as well, which isn’t shown here in the heat map.
A second example is to be located in the sidebar: Popular UX Books, Popular Articles, Newsletter Subscription and UX Related Resources. According to this heatmap, people are clicking on the bold text. Again, Google Analytics is telling me otherwise.
One last example is to be found in the main navigation. According to the heatmap of Heat-Map.co, people are not using it at all. Once again, Google Analytics shows that “Home” and “UX Books” are clicked more often than the logo.
More heat map tools will be added to this post as soon as we have tried them out.
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