Heat Maps and Section Naming

Section Meta Events

Heat Maps are generated for Sections. By default, names of Sections are based on simplified URL addresses. For example, the following URLs:

  • https://www.mysite.com/products
  • http://www.mysite.com/products
  • http://mysite.com/products
  • http://mysite.com/products?utm_source=google

would all be tracked as:

Section=products

therefore, data from visits to those URLs, unless segmented to show, for example, only traffic from google, would be aggregated on a single heat map.

By default, Sections are tracked also on every change of hash parameter in URLs and that, if set correctly, allows you to differentiate between layout variations of a single page and generate accurate heat maps for modal/toplayer windows, tabbed views, and navigation dropdowns:

Section=products
Section=products#new
Section=products#newsletter-signup
Section=products#women-dropdown

or multistep forms:

Section=checkout#step-1
Section=checkout#step-2

Aggregating Heat Maps for Pages of The Same Type

Many websites, especially e-commerce sites, have tens of thousands of pages of a same type:

Section=products/women/dresses/1234/long-blue-dress
Section=products/women/dresses/3456/cocktail-dress-with-silver-stripes
Section=products/women/dresses/5678/casual-dress-with-stripped-pattern

Each of those sections would get just a small number of visits and it would be difficult to use heat maps to understand how users are interacting with product pages due to high fragmentation.

To avoid that, you could change the default tracking of Sections to produce less detailed names, for example:

Section=products/women/dresses/product-page

and aggregate interactions from different pages into a single heat map.

Avoiding Fragmentation Due to Session or Time Specific URL Elements

Using custom section names can also be useful if URLs contain session specific elements that are passed in a pathname (part after domain name) and not in search params (part starting from ?):

Section=checkout/ses-id/19283753
Section=checkout/ses-id/19283758

or date specific:

Section=book-room/from/2016-09-12/to/2016-09-24
Section=book-room/from/2016-09-14/to/2016-09-21

Generating Heat Maps for Pages with Layout Modified by URL Search Params

Another case when using custom section names is critical is when the same page changes layout based on parameters passed in search params (part of URL starting from ?), for example:

  • http://mysite.com/products?view=gallery
  • http://mysite.com/products?view=list
  • http://mysite.com/products?view=map

Since search params are by default ignored, the above URL would all be tracked as:

Section=products

In such case, the custom names should be set to:

Section=products/gallery
Section=products/list
Section=products/map

or tracking of search params should be enabled for those pages.