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A/B Testing + Clickmaps = Awesomeness

Posted in Multivariate Testing, News on June 2nd, 2010

Do you know where visitors are clicking on your website homepage? Do you know which parts of your website are hotspots that attract visitor attention? You can, of course, fire up your web analytics tool and tell me that 20% visitors go to sign up page after visiting homepage but that information doesn’t tell you the whole story.

First, some stats about Visual Website Optimizer homepage: 30% of visitors who come to homepage visit the sign up page too. Of course, this figure is unsurprising because we have a giant Sign up for FREE 30 day trial button right in the middle. So, a lot of visitors must be clicking on it to arrive on the sign up page?

That is what we believed all the while. In Visual Website Optimizer, we had recently released an experimental feature called clickmaps & heatmaps. Clickmaps provide complete click statistics on the web pages for different test variations. Heatmaps help in visualizing hotspots on your webpages where most clicks happen.

Continuing with the story of our homepage, here is a screenshot of heatmap of our homepage:

Can you see the hotspot over tiny Pricing link in the top navigation bar? To know exact statistics, we turn to clickmap of the homepage:

We were completely thrown off our chairs when we realized that 25% of the clicks on the page happen on that tiny link, while the giant Sign up for FREE Trial only gets 5% of the clicks. Moral of the story: the button isn’t playing as important role as we imagined. So, what we now replaced the Sign up button on homepage with Watch a short video button because any way visitors interested in signing up are clicking on Pricing link.

A/B testing and Clickmaps combined

The power of clickmaps & heatmaps increases ten-fold when you combine it with A/B testing. For example, if we replace Pricing link with Free Trial – will it generate a similar distribution of clicks? What if we replace navigation bar from left to the right? What if we change the text of the big button from Sign up for Free Trial to Plans & Pricing? All these are interesting scenarios and we plan to test them one by one.

Recently we completed an A/B test where we tested homepage against a simple page with a text box allowing visitor to do a live demo of the tool on his/her website. While the test results weren’t conclusive, the heatmap provided interesting insights:

The clicks were evenly distributed on different links and elements. Another surprising statistic was that in this variation about 10% clicks happened on Home link in the navigation bar as compared to 2% in our default homepage. This shows that because of the text box a lot of visitors thought that they weren’t on the homepage and tried to go to a page which provides more information.

The qualitative results produced by clickmaps and heatmaps complement quantitative A/B test results such as the one in screenshot below (not related to our homepage test):

The combination of A/B test and clickmaps is a lethal one! Being able to visualize click activity for your different variations gives you tons of ideas and insights beyond what can be captured in hard statistics.

Login to your Visual Website Optimizer account or sign up for a free 30 day trial to let us know if you find the new feature useful. Eagerly waiting for your comments! :)

PS: You can, of course, produce clickmaps and heatmaps for your website without needing to create an A/B test.

Paras Chopra

CEO and Founder of Wingify by the day, startups, marketing and analytics enthusiast by the afternoon, and a nihilist philosopher/writer by the evening!

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9 Comments
Dan McGrady
June 2, 2010

Nice post. We’re setting up heatmaps on our site as well. We’re currently using Google Analytics events to track clicks (not very useful).

I’m interested in seeing the results of “Sign up for Free Trial” vs “Plans & Pricing”

Brad Dickason
June 2, 2010

I really enjoy your posts and have posted a few comments on Hackernews about your stuff in the past. Thought it would be best to leave it here.

The reason people (myself included) click Pricing is because they want to know what they’re getting themselves into before starting a free trial. I suspect that if you added the pricing clearly on the homepage, the # of clicks on your ‘free trial’ button would increase and pricing would decrease dramatically.

This is covered in the book ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’ where the author describes a man refusing a flower from a little girl because he’s “on to her game.” The idea being that people have become conditioned NOT to accept free things without understanding the ramifications of signing up – “What if I like it? What happens then? Do I have to pay $600?”

I have noticed this affecting my signups for web apps lately. For example, ZenDesk looks great but the 30 day trial won’t help my company in its infancy. I would love to use a ‘free single user’ version and would gladly pay eventually, but I click pricing and see that after my 30 day trial expires, I’m stuck paying much more than I’m comfortable with. So I haven’t signed up yet. Again, GetSatisfaction is similar. I would like to use their service but before clicking ‘Signup’ I click Pricing to see what I’m getting myself into. What happens if I get hooked? Am I going to be out $200/month?

This is the question I asked myself with your software and your pricing is reasonable. I will definitely sign up when my company launches our product.

Paras Chopra
June 2, 2010

Yep, we will be setting up that test soon. Google Analytics doesn’t do a great job at tracking all clicks on the page. Its overlay feature isn’t very useful either.

Web Self Service
July 21, 2010

We may do the same with the Heatmaps but we would have to update our site first. Thanks for sharing!

Mihir
March 4, 2011

That was a great insight Paras! I am too amazed by the less percentage of people clicking on the big fat button and more of them going for the link in the navigation.
I think it must be that the features and benefits on the first fold created interest in them and persuaded to look for the pricing.

[...] the date range doesn’t apply to clickmap and heatmap data. They are always shown in [...]

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[...] You get integrated heatmaps and clickmaps. [...]

[...] 48.41% ImprovementSims 3 – 128% ImprovementPageperfect Case StudiesOther Useful ExamplesAB Testing + Heatmaps CombinedTwitter Tests Text within Signup ButtonHuman Photos can Increase ConversionsZappos Sells 6-30% More [...]

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