May 2011, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive
Click Maps Offer Visual Data on Auto Shopper Behavior
Have you ever wondered exactly how your home page is used? Which buttons, images, specials, promos, etc., are clicked the most? We can see reports on this data but I’m a very visual person; spreadsheets and reports don’t tell me as much as a visual representation of the data. At our company, we play with data all day like Legos—building different reports, queries and dashboards. We have even looked at how certain weather conditions affect auto shoppers in that area. Turns out, hurricanes do not curtail online auto shoppers.
More importantly, we wanted to see a visual of one month’s worth of clicks on a popular dealer home page. For me, it was not only fascinating, but as I studied it, along with looking at the live site, I could begin to see very important details about shoppers’ true intentions, and I started to formulate ideas on how to improve the effectiveness of this home page.
On the click map below, the green dots represent every click from shoppers in one month. There are drop-down submenus under the main navigation buttons that are not visible here, so clicks that look random are probably not. But we see an obvious concentration of clicks on “Used Cars,” “New Cars” and “Specials,” which is important to know. For one, it’s important to keep specials current at all times.
Notice the high use of the vehicle search feature on the right-hand side; it is a very effective tool. However, there is a marked increase in clicks when this feature is on the left side of the home page. And notice all the random clicks in the right margin of the page? When using the site, clicking on a drop-down opens a large window listing all vehicle makes. However, when you roll off of this window, the window stays on the screen, covering a third of the home page. To make it disappear, one must click on an area outside of the window; hence all the clicks in the margin. There is an easy fix for this small issue that would make the shopping experience a lot easier.
Also notice the random line of clicks straight down the page, across the nose of the jet fighter in the top image. What you don’t see is a live chat window that opens at the top of the page and slowly slides down the home page. This line of dots correlates with the close button on that sliding window. Shoppers chase the moving window down the screen. However, we see many clicks on the actual chat icon embedded on the home page; perhaps this is better placement for consumers.
Very few clicked the “What’s Your Car Worth” area, but the home page specials are highly clicked. There are almost no clicks on the social media icons, supporting the thought that social media as a whole is a higher-funnel tool and shoppers tend to not “swim back upstream” during their shopping.
Whether you look at a report or a visual click map, look closely at the actual usage of your home page. See what works and what doesn’t, and make changes. Then, re-evaluate. Strive to make the shopping experience quick, easy, painless and logical. Small changes can make a big difference!
Vol. 8, Issue 3