Mouse tracking is a method of tracking the movements of a user’s cursor. This can be used to monitor and assess how visitors use a website. It is also commonly known as cursor tracking.
This process requires the usage of a piece of tracking software. The software tracks how the mouse moves across the screen, at what point the visitor scrolls down a web page, and the order of the sequence of these movements. It will also detail what areas of a site were clicked on by a visitor, including any internal links, external links or call to action (CTA) links.
Mouse tracking gathers information about the way in which a testing group engages with a website. By grouping the data collected, this information can be considered representative of the average user’s typical pathway through the site.
This process enables website owners to improve the usability of the website, and make improvements to the site’s user interface and user experience. This can be used alongside other methods of web analytics, such as eye tracking, in order to get multiple sets of data which supplement each other.
How does mouse tracking work?
The process of measuring mouse tracking works by tracing the way users navigate the site, by tracking the movement of their cursor.
The software then converts these measurements into statistical data, which you can use to make changes to your website that will make it easier for users to navigate.
Mouse tracking visitor reports can be viewed in a number of different ways, these include:
- Confetti reports
- Scroll maps
- Click maps
Each of these displays the metric in a different way, with varying levels of detail.
A screenshot of the mouse tracking software Mouseflow
What does mouse tracking tell you?
The software traces how the mouse moves across the page, whether or not the user proceeds to scroll down the page (and where this scrolling stops), and indicates any areas which users click on.
Furthermore, this measurement informs you how often users clicked onto another page of your website, how easy it was for them to find a CTA or use the site’s navigation menu, how long they spent on the page, and how well they engaged with the information located there.
Changes that are based on this kind of analytics have the potential to increase the likelihood that visitors will browse your site for longer periods, and complete the full desired user journey of, for example, reaching the checkout stage and making a purchase.
This data could also be specifically geared to assess the success of a CTA button or the placement of an advert on your website, as it informs you how often this feature was noticed and used by your customers.
The information gained from mouse tracking can be used alongside A/B testing to optimize a website's design. This method of website redesign secures site owners the highest likelihood that visitors will undertake the hoped-for user journey of the website, and so boost your conversion funnel.
These various capabilities make mouse tracking a highly efficient way of optimizing a website.
Mouse tracking VS other types of tracking tools
Mouse tracking is one example of a number of different analytics tools, which are all designed to help web developers optimize a site by gaining a clearer insight into the current site’s usability, the experience that it provides, or any issues with its navigation.
Other types of tracking tools include:
- Keystroke logging
- Click tracking
- Macro recording
Mouse tracking differs from these metrics in that it focuses on the movement of the user’s mouse.
The benefits of this type of tool, over the other options, are that the information can be recorded in sessions, thereby enabling the web developer to play back the mouse movements of users in real-time.
Furthermore, it provides a highly detailed insight into the user’s journey of a site. This is because it outlines all of the pathways which the visitor made with the cursor. This means that it provides a more natural source of data, which can be used to understand user behavior and their mindset far more clearly. It can also be undertaken using cloud-based systems, so is far more affordable than a test which would require specialist equipment and controlled settings.
Importance for Online Marketing
Mouse tracking can be used by marketers to optimize their website so that it best fits with the consumer’s expectations, interests, and behavior in general.
These improvements can be made gradually in a process of trial and error by using A/B testing. This method encourages web developers to test the effect that, for example, a new color palette has on the visitor’s attention span.
By repeatedly using mouse tracking to monitor how the user’s journey alters, website owners can experiment with different changes in order to better optimize any key areas of their site - including images, headlines, adverts, offers, page layout, and many more. This will improve both the usability of its website and its ability to engage the customer.
In addition, conversion rates can be boosted by modifying different elements so that they are less frequently ignored by users.
Ultimately, this tracking tool can be used to create an intuitive website design that is made to suit the target market and their online behavior exactly.