Why Mouse-Click Tests Are Vital For Improving Conversion Rates

by Derek Halpern · 20 comments

Increase Conversion Rates

When you run a website, it’s smart to tweak your web design with hopes of improving conversion rates.

After all, how else can you discover small changes that lead to massive results?

The problem is that when you make those design changes, conversion rates don’t tell the whole story.

Well, that’s where the “mouse-click” test comes in.

First, What’s A “Mouse-Click” Test?

Quite simply, it’s a heat map that shows you where people click on your website.

The cool part is that you can see what people click on, even if it’s not clickable.

And that’s the main reason why “mouse-click” tests rock.

You may make a slight change and discover that one of your design elements entices people to click.

But if it’s not clickable, that’s a wasted click.

And a wasted click, is a possible loss of a sale or lead!

How A Mouse-Click Test Revealed A Remarkable Insight On Social Triggers

Over at Social Triggers, I redesigned my Feature Box, and here’s what it looks like:

Here’s what I was thinking:

1. Since captions are one of the most well-read pieces of text on a page, I wanted to include the testimonial from Chris Brogan below my image.

2. Since I don’t use much color, I included a purple “comment box” above my image with a small arrow pointing towards the image and testimonial.

Overall, not only did I think these changes looked nicer, I believed that a random visitor would be better persuaded to sign up for my newsletter list.

However, that’s when the “mouse-click” test revealed an interesting insight. Take a look at it:

Mouse Click Test

Do you see those red clicks? The ones on the purple box?

Well, if you take a look at the legend, when you see red clicks, that means people are clicking on an item… a lot.

What’s funny is, that’s not even clickable.

The purple box was supposed to grab attention… not attract clicks.

However, after running this “mouse-click” test, I’m now persuaded to make that purple box clickable.

After all, people are clicking on it anyway, might as well see what happens when I make it clickable.

The Bottom Line

When you make changes to your website, some of your design changes may have unintended consequences, and you can use Mouse Click tests to discover what those consequences may be.

Now what do you think?

Have you created any Mouse Click tests?

If not, do you plan to now?

(One note, if you want to know what program I used, I used Click Tale, but you can also use something like Crazy Egg too)

About the Author: Derek Halpern ran marketing at DIYthemes, and is the founder of Social Triggers. To get more tips on how to be confident, sign up to his list here.

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Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate

Good post. I’ve done those before. Pretty revealing.

Have a good weekend.


Now that’s so helpful.. I would also like to add everyone “should walk through their business” oh yes i read that from one previous post here from you Derek..

A funny email capture on the wrong side of the credit card receipt. lol…i still remember…


I’ve found out very interesting things about my sites doing these mouse-click tests. However, I like CrazyEgg, the interface is awesome and it’s super easy to setup.

Derek Halpern

I actually meant to link Crazy Egg there, and not Kiss Metrics. Kiss Metrics is their other company.



I knew these can be a great test to see what people are clicking but can’t believe you got so many clicks on that button without it being clickable. Well, I can believe, it is just weird to see these test and realize how we may have been missing out on some stuff. Thank for the demonstration, I will have to look into this (and already scared to test my feature box,lol).

Mr. G

I’ve never thought of such a test. Now I want to do one!

Thanks Derek, as usual

Sean Davis

Nice find.

You asked what we thought about the purple box on Twitter and you may remember that I said I wasn’t a huge fan. I said that it took away from what you had going on in your feature box… basically causing a distraction. My first impression was that people would pay it more attention than they should.

Because people have clicked it so much, it’s safe to say that it has value. What if you…

1. Moved the purple box beneath the unordered list and put the little arrow on the right side

2. Shifted the head/brain image up to where the top of it is where the top of the purple box is now

3. Move the email optin form to the right of the newly placed purple box so that the arrow points to it.

And since people will still click it, maybe have the purple box somehow tab to the email optin form when clicked?

Just a thought.

Anyway, very nice use of the mouse click tools. Direct feedback is great… especially when it captures human behavior in its most natural form!

Laura Roeder

I’ve done this test as well, my takeaway is usually to add a lightbox opt-in on whatever people are trying to click on that isn’t clickable.

Derek Halpern

That’s smart.

Lightbox that pops up on click. I think ill try that out.

Garrick Dee

Great tool Derek, takes the guess work out of optimizing your site for conversions.

Sherryl Perry

Interesting. I did not realize that captions were “one of the most well-read pieces of text on a page”. I never use them but I’ll start now. (It amazes me sometimes the tips that I pick up when I think I’m going to be learning something entirely different.)


Now I understand how a design change could adversely affect the site’s conversion. I feel it is vital to have this clicktest after each design change. Thanks for the post.


I never thought of testing this. I was always changing components of my page to see which version converts better, but knowing where people click is vital information. just never thought of it…


I’m thinking the word ‘free’ might have something to do with those clicks?


any free alternatives for CrazyEgg or ClickTale, even some limited editions will do for me..

Sreejesh @techgyo

One alternative I know is Usabilla, they have a limited free plan for 1 test but just 10 participants.


It’s funny how often a site will suggest you do something and then not have a clickable link. Like your purple box, I don’t think you were aware you had planted a call for action and then left it without a forward step people could take. Last night I was trying to use a site which had a banner at the top with steps from 1 to 5. None of those links were clickable. But the one clickable link was buried at the bottom of the right corner. Not easily found.

Manuel da Costa

I use crazyegg for my website but recently came across seevolution which I find much better to see heatmaps , clickmaps etc

I also use userfly for ‘videos’ of the users on the site

Tom S

Interesting post, just curoius why you left out the “free” options such as: Codynamix, Attention Wizard, Click Density, or Click Heats?
For those behind the curve, and who wish to try this for the first time, it’s a less annoying than using a tool which hassles you for a payment with each free trial and then shuts down after 30days.


Google analytics has In-Page Analytics to show heat maps.