Analysing interaction – we call them ‘heat maps’

4 minute read

Hot or cold? Which of your campaign links are gaining the most traction, who is clicking them, when, and how often? Analysing opens and clicks is a good start but there’s also a wealth of intelligence to be gained by looking at a deeper level of interaction.

subscriber interaction overlay (we prefer to call it a ‘heat map’) is a neat way of displaying click information directly onto your campaign layout. It provides a visual representation of the interaction with each of the campaign links directly showing the relative engagement with each link.

While an interaction map doesn’t provide individual subscriber level information, it does provide valuable feedback on your audience’s engagement with your campaign layout and their attraction and interest in specific content areas. This can be used to improve aspects like the priority of content pieces and the relative performance of different calls to action – for example text or image links. It’s also useful for optimally arranging associated content – you might, for example, wish to put special offers or sponsor advertising close to high traction areas in your campaign.

Here’s an example from one of our recent newsletters.


It’s a collection of blog posts with click through to additional content via both text links and the associated images. People are generally attuned to the colour and underline format of text links (and in this case with reading from left to right) so these have typically attracted more clicks than the associated image. There are no direct call to action buttons here, but of course telling people specifically what their required action should be is always going to perform well too. Bearing in mind that attention naturally diminishes further down the page, this also gives information on the relative interest of each article – information that can give pointers to an improved headlines and ordering of content for future issues.

The next step is to generate a subscriber interaction report. Typically this provides information on which individual subscribers have opened your campaign and when, which links they have clicked and any other stored profile information relating to that subscriber. Either use this information directly or combine it with marketing automation rules which automatically categorise and organise your subscribers according to their activity. You can also use marketing automation rules to trigger alerts – opening a campaign and clicking a specific link are common examples of activity which you or your sales team may wish to be alerted to. And of course, feed these alerts directly into your CRM system – so the information is exactly where you need it.

As a final thought – it’s worth mentioning that although subscriber level analytics are readily available, they should be used with sensitivity. Most email savvy consumers are aware that their campaign interactions are being monitored, but visibly (even aggressively) acting on this information may cause you to negatively influence future behaviour – so if you’re using this information to directly re-target… be subtle.