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Understanding the “Why” Behind Packaging Success: Heatmap Question Types

Why do people like your idea? Upsiide's Heatmap question type can help you answer this question - here’s how.


Knowing whether people like your new pack is great. But it’s even more empowering to know exactly what they like or don’t like, about it. A tool like Upsiide’s Heatmap question type is perfect for achieving that goal and gaining a deeper insight into your consumers’ preferences.

What is a Heatmap?

In Upsiide, the Heatmap question type allows respondents to answer a question by engaging with the idea the user is testing. The user can highlight a specific element of an idea and add feedback, as part of the respondent experience.

The Heatmap reporting visualizes where people engaged (clicked/tapped) with the ideas tested. Respondents' full comments are shown to the researchers, and they can select certain areas of an idea if they want to see what respondents say about a particular element.

In the researchers’ view, the most clicked areas are indicated in red, with the least clicked areas showing a blue shade. If no respondents clicked on an area, there will be no shade shown.

Areas on a heatmap

Why should you leverage Heatmaps in your pack testing?

1. Engage your respondents with mobile-first question types

Traditional surveys can be tedious and often lead to respondent fatigue. As a mobile-first platform, we understand that engaging surveys result in better-quality responses. 

With the Heatmap question, respondents can interact directly with your idea, clicking on specific elements they like or dislike. This not only keeps them interested but also provides you with valuable insights into their preferences.

Take it from Patrick Lambert, our VP of Customer Experience:

Compared to a regular open-ended question, Heatmaps offer a great level of engagement. With just a few words and a simple click, we can extract verbatim data on the smallest details of an idea. It’s often said that ‘An image is worth a thousand words,’ and in our case, we could say that ‘A click on an image is worth a thousand words.’ The power of Heatmaps to reveal consumer sentiment and preferences is truly remarkable.

Upsiide logo

Patrick Lambert, VP of Customer Experience


2. Uncover the “why” in consumer preferences

Knowing whether respondents like or dislike your idea is good, but understanding why is even better. 

The heatmap question allows you to ask why people feel a certain way about your idea and offers the potential for optimization. “What do you like about this package?” “What would you improve in this product design?” These types of questions can help you refine and optimize your innovations effectively.

3. Discover how your customers describe your product

At the end of the day, you want to serve your customers better and drive growth in your market. And it all starts by understanding how consumers receive and process the information you’re sharing about your product. Once you and your buyers start using the same claims/messaging, you will have a good level of communication. 

For example, you might think that your product envelops the idea of “high-end.” But for regular customers, the mockup you presented is better described as “simple.” These two adjectives almost have opposite meanings - this fact may even affect your marketing efforts. 

That’s why it’s so important to understand the verbatim feedback with Heatmap questions and see what words consumers use in regard to your innovation.

Learn more about building the right audience for your research

Heatmaps in action: Understanding beauty & wellness packaging

Together with our parent company, Dig Insights, we recently ran a study with a total of 300 Americans aged 18-58 years old to learn about their attitudes around beauty and wellness, how they prioritize products and what packaging claims they love most. 

As part of the Heatmap question, we showed respondents a moisturizing cream by industry leader Kiehl’s. We then asked them to click on the elements of the package and provide feedback on:

  • What they think can be improved in a package

  • What they like about the package

FYI: We should note that Heatmap is a great tool to get feedback on ideas that are still in development. Kiehl’s cream already exists in the market, and we chose it purely as an example to demonstrate the benefits of Heatmaps. We love Kiehl’s and their products! ❤️

After reviewing the results, we turned to our Open Text Analytics Platform (OTAP). Just like Upsiide, OTAP is a proprietary tool of Dig Insights. It allows us to analyze ‘unstructured’ verbatim data and identify key themes and sentiments, thanks to its built-in AI chatbot.

OTAP dashboards

So what did we discover?

1. Consumers have a lot to say when it comes to small elements (e.g. colors and font)

When we asked respondents to share what they would improve in Kiehl’s package, it was great to see that consumers reviewed every little element of the cream. Many shared views on fonts, colors and layout.

Improvements question heatmap and word cloud

Here’s how OTAP summarized what people want to improve:

OTAP's AI summary on improvements

Here are some individual responses to this question:

Different colors of the words to separate the difference between the name of the brand, what it does, and the ingredients.

Female, 19, USA

maybe this text could be clearer

Male, 47, USA

2. Shoppers detect and evaluate packaging claims on beauty & wellness products

It’s interesting that while visual aspects of a package are important, consumers also pay close attention to what the packaging says about the product. In the word cloud below, you can see that words like “lightweight” and “hydrating” were mentioned many times. These claims were also mentioned on the product package.

Likes question heatmap and word cloud

OTAP has a lot to say about what people liked about Kiehl’s package:

OTAP's AI response about likes

Consumer responses support the sentiment above:

24 hour coverage. That’s nice

Female, 39, USA

Looks soft and hydrating

Female, 42, USA

Heatmaps, in a nutshell

Upsiide’s Heatmap question type is a fantastic tool for investigating what consumers say about your innovation. Using the study on beauty & wellness, we wanted to show how brands across various industries can leverage Heatmaps to power their research. Not only can you make your surveys engaging, but you can also understand what language consumers use to describe your product and why, which can help improve your pack offerings going forward.

Want to get started with Upsiide and leverage our Heatmaps? Reach out to our team now.