Best Practices for using Hotjar’s surveys.

Before getting into surveys I just want to mention the Polls feature and how it differs. Hotjar’s polls are great because you barely have to think or do any work to deploy them. They can literally be deployed in about 30 seconds. They are great for certain things where you just have one burning question to be answered such as “Is our price too high?” or “What is stopping you from making a purchase today.” However if you want to see if more action is needed than some simple tweaking, you should try out Hotjar’s surveys.

One major advantage surveys over polls is being able to ask a more detailed strategic series of questions. By mixing up some “What issues need to be immediately addressed?” type questions with some “What do you want to see in the future?” type questions, you can get a lot of actionable data.

Before you create your survey you should think about what goals you are trying to achieve.

Such as:

  • How can we sell more product?
  • Who is our target customer?
  • Why are our customers so loyal to us? Is it the personal attention? Our pricing? Etc.

You also need to think about what Hotjar calls the “type” of each question.
You have 5 choices:

  • Short text answer
  • Long text answer
  • Radio buttons
  • Check boxes
  • Net promoter score

Short text answer should be used when the answer will be just a few words as there will be only a small text box available to fill in.

Long text answer is great for more open ended questions. This will show a decent sized text box to make clear you welcome a long answer. If you are looking for a one or two word answer this text box will look out of place.

Radio buttons should be used when you wish to present multiple choices but only one can be selected.

Check boxes should be used when you want as many choices selected as is pertinent.


Net promoter score is a great way to find out overall satisfaction. You specify the question and can change the labels “high score” and “low score” to any you wish and then ask for a response from 1 to 10. For example, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to buy a car in the next 30 days” and users will see custom labels next to 1, such as “definitely not” and next to 10 “definitely”.

Remember when designing your survey that you will need to be able to aggregate the answers in a way that they can be analyzed. For example, if all of your questions are open ended long text answers, not only will it be very time intensive to read through, but will be extremely difficult if not impossible to summarize. On the other hand if you restrict answers to a set of ones that must be chosen from, then you can easily sum all responses together. By having an option be “Other” and giving users a textbox for comments, you still give the ability for someone to put in a response that isn’t In your list. Additionally If you don’t have an “other” choice, if the question is required, users will pollute the data by having to choose a response at random.

Hotjar lets you specify for each question whether it is required. My thinking has always been to make all questions required except for ones that are privacy related eg. phone number or ones that may not apply to everyone or the person may not know the answer and would be forced to guess: e.g.”How often do you get your car’s oil changed?”. There are a bunch of issues with this question. First off they may not have a car. They may borrow a car that is not theirs. They may drive a motorcycle instead. Or they may share the car with someone who takes care of the car.


The great thing about using Hotjar’s survey as opposed to a standalone survey such as Survey Monkey (besides the price) is that it’s already integrated with your site! This means you can prompt anyone anywhere on your site to take the survey by specifying a bunch of parameters that will determine when the prompt will show. These includes specifying what pages the survey invite pops up on, how long after user visits it pops up, how far a user needs to scroll down a specific page or it can show when user is abandoning a page. Also you can choose what devices it should show on such as computer, phone, or tablet. If the survey requires a lot of typing you might not want the survey invite to show on a phone, a device on which many people might not like doing extensive typing. Besides distributing the survey on your site, you will also have a link that you can distribute any other way you like such as through email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

When it comes to seeing the survey results, one thing to note is that although you can view individual survey responses, there are no tools to aggregate answers and analyze them. However you can export them into another program such as Excel to analyze. Also, Hotjar’s platform is only about 2 years old and new features are added all of the time so perhaps survey analysis tools may be added at some point. I hope this gave you a good overview of Hotjar’s survey functionality which for many is all they need.

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