Click Maps: The Key to Email Treasure

Dear Email Diva,

I would be interested to know if there is any data on whether people respond to email alerts marketing (little ads at the end of an alert -- for example, a stock market quote that the recipient pays for), especially if they have to scroll down to see the ad.

Dawn Knutsen

Corporate Coaching International

Dear Dawn,

The short answer is yes, people click on ads that are relevant to them. The publisher of the alerts should provide a range of click-through rates their advertisers have received, and a few tests will tell you whether the vehicle works for you.

But the other part of the question -- do people read/click on things they have to scroll down for -- is far more interesting and gives the Email Diva an opportunity to share her secret weapon with y'all: The Click Map.

The Click Map is simply a screen capture of your email with an overlay showing the percentage of clicks for each link. Well duh, you say, our ESP has that feature. Yes, but in all the applications I've seen, the clicks are represented as numbers, not percentages, and the presentation of the information makes it difficult to "see the story" a click map provides.



Here is an entirely made-up example:

The Click Map, rendered this way, gives you an immediate sense of which content is drawing attention and which is not. It tells a story that the raw numbers can't, because you can immediately grasp the relative importance of each link.

With this tool, you will develop theories about why something did or did not get the activity you would expect. Test those theories by isolating that element and executing further tests. If you do this regularly, you will understand how link placement, offer, copy and graphic treatment influence user behavior.

Creating these maps can be tedious and time-consuming, but it helps you become one with your data (ommmmmm) and learn its lessons. The first step is to get SnagIt from TechSmith. It's a low-cost tool that allows you to capture on-screen information in ingenious ways, such as from a page that requires scrolling, and edit it in simple ways, such as displaying percentages. (I do not get a kickback from recommending this product or have any affiliation with this company, but perhaps I should!)

Then take your click data and do a simple calculation for the link click percentages: Clicks on link A/Total Clicks. Some prefer to use unique clicks on link A; I prefer total clicks. If someone clicked on a link multiple times, that means interest to me, so I want to capture all activity.

Do this and you will see, for example, that just because a link is below the fold doesn't necessarily mean that people aren't finding it. If the information is compelling, and the reader scanning your message can easily find it, that link will get attention.

Follow the click map to email intelligence treasures. Hope to see you on Captiva Island at the Email Insider Summit and...

Good Luck!

The Email Diva

Send your questions or submit your email for critique to Melinda Krueger, the Email Diva, at All submissions may be published; please indicate if you would like your name or company name withheld.

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