To follow on from the previous blog on
personalisation and mobile devices in your email layout, we
finish up this mini-blog series on layout by looking at one of the more
advanced tools you can use - heatmaps.
Heatmap and Layout:
of the more advanced tools that companies use to judge the impact of design and
layout is heatmapping. This measures how the reader's eye moves over the email
and how much time is spent on various parts and content.
behaviour in general is reflected in this example in Fig.4 below, where the
recipient focuses heavily on the top left of the mail, moves from left to right
and then scans further down to look for relevant content. The line break
indicates the fold - the point at which you have to scroll. You will notice a
big drop in the amount of content consumed below the fold.
From an image versus text perspective,
a well-designed email should still be effective even
with image blocking. The below heatmap* compares two emails - one with images
intact (left) and the other blocked (right). While the version with the images received more attention, and the
reader spent more time on the page, it was not by a significant amount. This
was because there was good use of text-oriented design, including tables and
alt text to ensure that no context was lost. In the example with the image, the
reader spent longer around the image and the headline, but less time scanning
through the rest of the mail.
Heatmapping is an advanced tool and
not something that most companies will invest in, but it proves the key
principles around email layout and design have a scientific basis - you need to have
a balanced mix of text and images, and that people do generally consume the
content starting from the top left and moving down.
In the next blog, we will take a more
detailed look into email marketing content
and subject lines.
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2009 Email Marketing Benchmark Guide, Marketing Sherpa