Hotjar is an analytics tool that allows you to gather qualitative data and feedback that allows you to have a greater understanding of how visitors engage with your website. Using Hotjar’s terminology: they are an “all-in-one analytics and feedback” tool, which provides several essential analytics features and user feedback tools within the one platform.
Hotjar can be used to visualise what users do on your website so that processes can be optimised for a higher conversion rate. Hotjar also allows you to collate feedback in a report format that is quick and easy to understand. Hotjar is flexible enough to provide quick access to simplified reports to beginners who are just starting with their website in addition to well-established companies looking to optimise their existing website. In short, Hotjar can complement and enhance the data and insights that is provided by Google Analytics.
Some of the key analytics features that Hotjar offers, which will be discussed in more detail include heat maps, video recordings, conversion funnels and form analysis. Also, some types of feedback provided include user polls, incoming feedback and surveys.
Setting Up Hotjar
We want to add the tracking code to the <head> section on each page that we want to get data for. We would recommend installing the tracking code using Google Tag Manager, as this tool can provide event tracking for your website, with the additional benefit that you can add the code once to Google Tag Manager for your whole website. That said, if you want to install the tracking code for a specific platform you are using, then Hotjar has great help guides on how to do this.
Please note that the tracking code will be unique to each website, so ensure this tracking code is used on one website. New tracking codes can be created later on if additional websites are required to have Hotjar tracking enabled. If there are concerns about Hotjar slowing your website down in the longer term, you can remove the tracking code once the data has been collected.
One of the ways that Hotjar provides analytical insight is by using heat maps. The heat maps feature allows an additional visual understanding of how the user interacts with the website. The user’s motivation and desires are measured using clicks, moves and scrolls. The page elements are colour-coded from hot (red) to cold (blue) to indicate which are interacted with the most. Viewing the data in this manner allows the complex list of several interactions from the user to be understood quickly and easily.
Heat maps have three screens to show the interaction from your users. First, Click allows us to see the areas that the user clicks on, which allows us to see which content is most popular with the user such as a call to action. Allowing the clicks to be illustrated can indicate the motivations of the user on the website and content can be amended to optimise that process. Second, Move is the area of the page that the user moves the cursor over. This can be useful when identifying the areas of the website that the user is focussing attention in, without necessarily clicking on. Third, the Scroll view shows the area of the page where the users view when scrolling down the page, which can be useful for deciding the order of content on a page and stacking the most important above the fold.
Another feature is the data can be viewed per device type. For instance, the available device types are desktop, tablet and mobile. This feature enables the data to be broken down by device type and provides an opportunity to analyse performance for a specific medium. Having the opportunity to analyse each device allows optimisations to be made where the layout of the content will likely change.
Finally, hovering over each of the elements will show how many interactions that specific element has received. Also, the interactions will be shown as a percentage of the overall total for the page, which allows each element to be compared to see which is the most popular. The data can also be downloaded if additional analysis of the data is required at a later date.
Another great analytics feature that HotJar provides is visitor recordings, which is a short video recording of the user’s journey on the website. In short, it eliminates the guesswork of user journeys and directly shows the real behaviour during the user’s session. Similar to the heat maps, the visitor recordings is another analytics feature from Hotjar that reports the insights visually. Displaying the data in this manner allows complex information to be understood and actioned quickly and effectively.
With visitor recordings, it can be seen exactly how the user interacts with elements on the page. For instance, how users scroll, where users move their mouse or tap the touch screen. The ability to view the user’s behaviour directly allows usability issues to be uncovered. If the user takes longer than expected to complete a specific task, some of the issues that are shown in the video can be priceless when looking to amend the page to meet their requirements more effectively. Having a better understanding of the user’s issues allows more effective solutions to be put in place to address them.
Within the Hotjar interface, the video recordings are listed in table format. For each video, information is provided such as the session duration, the number of pages visited, device, browser and operating system. The data provided by Hotjar can complement the existing data that is commonly provided by 3rd party analytics providers such as Google Analytics. The video listings can be filtered by date if two versions of the same page need to be compared. Additional available filters include sessions with a specific entry and exit page, a specific number of total pages, operating system and browser. These additional filters make it easy to compare how users interact with specific areas of the website.
Diving deeper into the analytics tools provided by Hotjar, another feature provided is conversion funnels. The objective of conversion funnels is to analyse the conversion process and flag any areas where the user completion of a specific step drops off unexpectedly. The conversion funnel is created by listing a series of pages that the user will access when completing a specific task. Then, Hotjar will provide insights in the form of total sessions on each step. From there, Hotjar will report the percentage of users that complete each stage as well as the entire process as a whole. Hotjar allows the creation of multiple conversion funnels so multiple conversion processes could be analysed at once such as a product checkout process, completing an enquiry form, subscribing to a mailing list etc.
To summarise, highlighting each stage of the conversion process and analysing the completion rate can uncover issues which cause the user to not complete the process. Uncovering specific areas of concern allows targeted action to be taken against troublesome areas of the process and therefore increase the number of conversions accordingly. Furthermore, the visitor recordings feature mentioned previously can be used in tandem with conversion funnels so that recordings of the attempted conversions can be viewed and analysed at a later date.
Overall, the conversion funnel is a good start when analysing the conversion process. It can provide some insight into where issues lie and suggest where the process could be improved. However, the analytics provided is fairly basic when compared to more all-encompassing analytics tools, which provide additional insight such as goals and events analysis.
Similar to conversion funnels, Hotjar also provides an analytical feature that it calls form analysis. This feature works by analysing the interaction the user has with each form input. Each report lists each of the form inputs and provides a table of data, which breaks down the total number of interactions each input has received. Breaking the form down by each input can highlight issues with specific inputs where users have difficulty and cause the form to be abandoned. Highlighting specific problematic fields allows targeted action to be taken and form conversion to be optimised as a result.
Furthermore, the report highlights the total amount of time spent on each input. Again, a longer amount of time could suggest an issue with a specific input as perhaps the objective of the field is not clear to the user. Having the form reported back at an input level allows changes to be made to that specific input such as changing the input type, change the input label or updating supporting validation messaging. Finally, the report provides a final form completion figure which totals the number of successful form submissions from the user. The successful conversion figure can be saved when making comparisons in the future to measure the effectiveness of any changes made to the form.
Overall, the analytical capabilities of the form analysis is a solid start to optimising the conversion process of the forms. That said, the entire analytical insight provided by Hotjar does feel limited compared to more encompassing analytics platforms. Similar to conversion funnels, Hotjar is a useful supplementary analytics tool that should be used with more extensive analytics software.
Feedback is an essential part of the evaluation process and one of the best types available is user feedback. This form of feedback is a method that enables users to directly document their experiences on the website – in their own words. As mentioned previously, understanding the issues that the users face enables changes to be made to the website that addresses the issue directly.
Hotjar provides user feedback in three primary methods: incoming feedback, opinion polls and surveys. Each method is described in more detail below, however, it is worth noting that each method allows feedback to be gathered effectively and efficiently. The process of providing feedback is guided and simple, meaning the user is likely to provide more detailed feedback. Hotjar then collates the feedback and provides the data in reporting screens, which allows understanding the feedback to be quicker and easier.
One of the methods of user feedback is incoming feedback, which is where the user can report back on any issue that is encountered. They can also provide a screenshot of the specific issue. This form of open-ended feedback is great for uncovering a wide range of issues, as the user is not limited to specific questions or specific areas of the website. Having a wider range of issues uncovered means greater scope for optimising the website as a whole.
Incoming feedback would best be used on either a smaller website that has a limited number of pages or used on a specific process that has several individual steps. The reason for this is because larger websites may get overwhelmed with a vast array of different problems on different areas of the website, whereas a smaller website can allow more targeted action to be taken against a specific issue. Also, a conversion process with many steps is better suited to incoming feedback as there are more areas where issues could be uncovered and open-ended feedback is more effective in this case.
Another method of feedback that Hotjar provides is opinion polls. The main feature is that the questions and answers are prewritten and then deployed on a specific area of the website. This predefined approach allows questions to be constructed with a specific issue in mind. Again, it is a targeted action to a specific issue. The answers can be multiple choice, a rating from 1 to 5 etc.
The main benefit of this approach is that the user can be asked a specific question and insight can be provided to directly address a known issue. In addition, the multiple-choice answers make it easy for users to quickly provide an answer, compared to open-ended questions where users may decide not to fill in the form because of time constraints.
Multiple polls can be created at one time so that several conversion processes can be monitored at once. Hotjar provides analytics on the feedback received, such as charts and tables, which visualise the answers given by the users. Having a visual aide in this manner allows a complex range of answers to be displayed in a way that is easy to understand and act accordingly.
The final feedback method provided by Hotjar is the surveys feature. Building on the polls features mentioned previously, surveys allow the user to provide feedback on a much broader range of questions. Rather than getting presented with a series of quick-fire questions in the polls, users are encouraged to provide more lengthy responses and provide a more detailed account of experiences on the website. Inline with common form design conventions, the user can get provided with a series of input types such as long and short text inputs, multiple-choice, checkboxes, 1 to 5 rating etc.
The main benefit of the surveys is that they provide more detailed responses from the user. The additional details can be pivotal in identifying issues on the website and how to solve them. Due to the increase in detail provided by this method of feedback, the average user is not as likely to contribute. However, this form of feedback can be useful when involving specific stakeholders, such as clients, other members of the team or specially selected users. The surveys can be accessed via invitation, which enables specific people to access the survey. As the users can be specially selected, then the user participation can be expected to be more extensive and additional insight can be received.
Hotjar is a freemium tool, meaning that it allows a sample of the tools main features for free. The free version allows 2,000 page views per day, 100 video recordings and data storage for up to a year. The free version also allows access to the polls, incoming and surveys feedback tools and reports. Hotjar allows several websites to run in the same account, so many websites can be tracked simultaneously on the free plan. Above the free tier, there are various pricing options available for personal, business and agency accounts, meaning that Hotjar can be priced to suit specific website requirements and budgets.
With all Hotjar’s features considered, it is clear that Hotjar is a very powerful tool when it comes to optimising the conversion rate on your website. The key features of heat maps and video recordings break down complicated data sets and present the insights in a clear and accessible manner, which can then inform positive change on the website. Whilst the funnel and form features may lack the in-depth analysis in isolation, the insights provided can supplement a pre-existing 3rd-party analytics tool.
Hotjar also provides great feedback tools that enable the collection of priceless insight directly from users. The incoming feedback, polls and surveys offer the flexibility of extracting information from a wide range of users in an effective manner. The feedback is especially well organised in the reporting feature Hotjar provides, which makes collating large amounts of feedback as easy and efficient as possible.
The generous free plan and tiered pricing structure is another benefit, in a long list of gains that Hotjar provides. Whether the user is a seasoned digital veteran or a complete novice and whether the website is brand new or well established, Hotjar can be a priceless tool in maximising user conversion and collating customer feedback.