Hotjar is a website analytics tool that delivers meaningful, actionable analytics without the need to crunch numbers or create graphs. They achieve this by presenting your website traffic data in two formats: heatmaps and recordings.
Hotjar Heatmaps Visualize User Behavior
Hotjar heatmaps visualize user behavior by showing where users click, how they move around the page, and how far your visitors scroll down the page.
Here's an example of a click heatmap from our main homepage.
If you look closely, 72 out of 814 visitors clicked on the "Login" button in our top navigation bar. This matches the number of clicks on the "About Us" and "How It Works" links, both of which are links we'd like visitors to click.
However, at the time of writing, our Login button takes users to our currently invite-only platform. The platform's landing page doesn't provide much information on how to get access. This tells us we're likely wasting a lot of our traffic by accidentally funneling them to our platform login page. We should consider using the real estate in our top nav bar for better links.
Hotjar makes it super easy to draw these conclusions from thousands of visits to our page with their heatmaps.
Hotjar Automatically Segments Heatmaps
Heatmaps are automatically segmented by device type—desktop, tablet, and mobile. This is important because the layout of your site and the attention span of your visitors will vary by device. You can see if your mobile layout is poorly optimized by comparing the heatmaps between the different devices.
Here's a snapshot of the scroll heatmap on the mobile version of our site. Before we changed the layout, we had the picture on the top of the screen and it was much bigger. Hotjar heatmaps showed the vast majority of mobile users weren't making it past the hero image. Based on this insight, we shrunk it and moved it below our welcome text.
Little insights like these can lead to huge improvements in user engagement, and Hotjar made it easy for us to identify opportunities for improvement.
Hotjar Recordings Show You Real Site Sessions
Hotjar recordings show you real site sessions so you can view how users move and interact with your website. Recordings are a great supplement to heatmaps for identifying things like usability issues, confusing user experience, or unexpected areas of your site that hold the user's attention.
Another advantage of recordings is they show you the order in which users interact with different sections of your site. For example, you might see that users are skipping your website header and going straight to the pricing portion of your site, indicating most of your visitors are interested in your pricing.
You can easily use this insight to optimize your user engagement by placing pricing higher up on the page, or even running ads that directly mention your pricing.
I can't explain how surreal it is to watch a recording of a real live user browsing your site. Watching our first recording of a site visitor was the magic moment that convinced us to keep using Hotjar.
Recordings Can Be Filtered By User and Session Info
All Hotjar recordings can be filtered by session info, such as the user's country, device type, and operating system. You can also filter by how long they spent on your site or how many actions they took.
We've leveraged this in many ways. We filter by recordings less than 10 seconds when we want to understand why users are exiting certain pages quickly. It's then up to us to see what we can do to hold their attention for longer. We might also filter by recordings longer than a minute to see what appeals to our more engaged users.
Recordings also show the path users take to get to our "conversion" action. The main call to action on our website is to our "Hire Your Team" button which launches a form that interested clients fill out. If you have a separate landing page for your call to action or conversion page, you can filter recordings by landing and exit pages to only look at recordings that arrived at your call to action.
Hotjar's pricing depends on your usage and what type of customer you'd be.
Their personal plans are meant for personal sites and early-stage startups with low traffic. On their Free plan, you can store up to 300 recordings total (100 per day), 2000 pageviews per day, and 3 heatmaps. What this means is you can generate heatmaps for three pages and track up to 2000 visits a day. In practice you can have heatmaps for more than three pages, for example all of our blogs follow the same template in our CMS so we can use one heatmap for all of them.
This should be good for most personal projects and even some super early stage startups. However, we wouldn't recommend it for startups that are expecting a decent amount of traffic. We quickly outgrew the Free plan's limitation of 3 heatmaps and 300 recordings.
The Plus plan is $39/month and boosts your recordings storage to unlimited and allows you to capture 10,000 pageviews/day. This is a great start for startups like our own with a modest amount of traffic.
Hotjar's business plans are where things start to heat up for more mature startups and even large enterprises.
If you want more daily recordings or pageviews, you pay a higher price until you hit $989/month at 800,000 pageviews/day and 15,000 recordings/day, after which you have to contact their sales team.
Although the prices seem pretty steep, we absolutely recommend Hotjar Business for any businesses that have high daily traffic and want to capture heatmaps and recordings from their visitors. The automated recording tagging will help a lot with processing through all the recordings.
You can find a more detailed breakdown here: https://help.hotjar.com/hc/en-us/sections/360003795554-Plans.
Hotjar also offers agency plans for companies looking to install Hotjar on their clients' sites. You still purchase a separate Hotjar plan for each client site, but you can manage them from one dashboard and receive a volume discount. Read more about the discount here: https://help.hotjar.com/hc/en-us/articles/115011734388-Using-Hotjar-for-Your-Clients.
Hotjar also offers a way for your to collect user feedback directly on your site, via a survey widget. We didn't use these on our own site, but if you were looking to directly collect user feedback, you can do it all with Hotjar.
With incoming feedback and surveys, you can eliminate any guesswork and get input directly from your users. The best thing about this feature is that fact that you can target it to specific pages. If you just rolled out a new page or feature, you might want to collect user feedback for that page specifically.
Hotjar Review—Should You Use Hotjar?
Before switching to Hotjar, we explored using other analytics services like Mixpanel and Amplitude (read our comparison article here). When we discovered Hotjar, we immediately converted and used it instead. Hotjar was super easy to install, and the amount of immediately actionable insights was more than worth the price.
If you experience a decent amount of traffic to your site but want to increase conversions, engagement, and the attention span of your users, consider using Hotjar. The Business plans come with a 15 day free trial, or you can just take the Free plan for a spin instead. You can get started in less than 15 minutes, and once you see your first recording, I promise you won't look back.
If you have any questions about Hotjar or website analytics, feel free to start a website chat or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org!