What Are Heat Maps? How to Use Heat Maps with PDF Documents

pdf-document-heatmapping

Heat maps are a great way to understand how individuals are interacting with your website. Primarily websites have had the most attention with heat mapping but now, at HelpRange, we have been working on PDF document heat mapping. 

What you can learn with heat mapping is – what your users are doing in terms of where they click, how far they scroll and what they are engaged by and what they are not engaged by.

With this guide, you will get an introduction to heat mapping and specifically, we will focus on the PDF document heat maps as this is relatively new to the world of documents. The point of this guide is to help you understand how useful heat maps can be for developing future ebooks, lead magnets, sales pitches and design proposals.

What is a heat map?

A heat map is essentially the graphical representation of data but instead of showing you numbers, you see color variations. The purpose of this is to make it incredible easy to visualize data that would otherwise be too complex to understand or make effective decisions with without the right training.

The term heat map was first trademarked in the early 1990’s by software engineer, Cormac Kinney when he created a tool to graphically display financial market data in real-time. These days heat maps are widely used for scientific purposes and extensively across websites.

What is PDF document heat map?

PDF document heat mapping helps to visualize the most popular and least popular elements of a page within the document. Most popular is red in colour and the least popular is blue or there is not colour at all. 

document-heat-maps

Heat maps essentially aggregate user behavior and displays in understandable layman terms. Now you do not have to be a data analyst to understand that a specific image or paragraph grabbed the most attention. This data has many benefits from helping salespeople understand how leads are responding to an offer to web designers knowing what area of their proposal is getting the most focus – all of which helps you make decisions in real-time.

What types of heat map are there?

This guide discusses PDF document heat mapping but there are in fact a wide range of tools. Knowing the difference between them will help you to further understand the true benefits of heat mapping.

  • Scroll maps: These heat maps show you the the percentage of people who scroll down to a specific point of the page. More red equals the most amount of people seeing the section.
  • Click maps: This heat map shows you where people are clicking with their mouse.
  • Move maps: This tracks where users are moving and pausing their mouse as they navigate the page. There are hotspots which represents where the user is pausing their mouse which researching showing that there is a correlation between mouse position and where the user is reading. The basically means that the mouse is placed where people are looking.

What are the benefits of using heat maps for your PDF documents?

Normally when you send out a PDF document you lost control of it. You simply have to wait for a response or question and deal with it when the request arrives in your inbox. This is where PDF document heat mapping gets really interesting. That sales offer you sent with a breakdown, you are now going to see where the client/lead is focusing most on. Which section of the breakdown is getting the most focus or the least. 

With this heat mapping you are now able to anticipate, in real-time, any potential feedback or hurdles that might arise. So using document heat maps you can understand if people are:

  • Reading key areas of the document or are they skipping passed it
  • What pages are getting the most engagement
  • What elements such as paragraphs, sentences and images are being noticed
  • Which areas of the page are not being engaged with
  • Document drop-off points with scrolling

Because a heat map is a visual representation of data, it makes it incredibly easy to make decisions, even in real-time. If you see that a lead is really focusing on a page in your pitch, reach out and get to the bottom of the interest – positive or negative. You can now start testing different variations of documents to see what is working and what is not. You are essentially getting website level analytics for documents and that’s super exciting.

Now that you understand how heat mapping works for documents, you should check out PDF document tracking too. Combining the two enables you to use deep analytics in a secure and controlled way to improve your documents for future use.