Hotjar Review

Hotjar is an all in one great tool that takes the place of multiple analytics/feedback products such as ClickTale, Ethnio, Qualaroo, Crazy Egg, and Survey Monkey and It results in significant savings over buying separately each of the products it replaces. Hotjar is a new and easy way to truly understand your web and mobile site visitors that will let you find your hottest opportunities for growth today. Let’s take a look at each feature:


Setting up recordings is easy. With your tracking code installed, all you need to do is turn recordings on. It will record all sessions up to what your plan allows. When you go to the screen to see your recordings, you will be met with a plethora of data in an easy to ready format including country, number of pages user viewed, length of recording, OS, and Date. And the recordings are numbered for easy reference. This is very helpful should you let’s say wish to discuss any in particular with a colleague and if you have a ton of recordings, you will be happy to see a good number of filters to limit results to a special subset of recordings. You can filter on entrance/exit pages, number of pages viewed, visit duration, and sessions you have starred. You can also target by user id, country, devices, OS, and browser type.

When you playback a recording it takes only a second or two to load. Then you will see the arrow of a cursor moving around the screen in a yellow highlighted circle making it easy to see, and a red trail left behind everywhere the cursor moves. If a user clicks, you will hear the click even if the object their cursor is on is not clickable. Seeing a user trying to do something that your software does not support should tell you something. Also, although there is no camera that is doing eye tracking on what the user is looking at, you will be interested to see that most users hover over text that they are reading, so in effect you will know what they are likely looking at.

Another great feature when playing back recordings is that you can skip pauses. We have found that this usually lets us watch a 10 minute sessions in 1 or 2 minutes. And you can also speed up the playback speed to up to 4x, but we feel anything over 1x is too fast to gain meaningful insights about what’s happening. You can also add notes or tags, synced to a certain time in the video. If you or a colleague then clicks on a note, they will see playback starting at the time of the note.

Heat Maps

Heat maps let you see in one static snapshot user activity on a specific page for a given time period. This is very powerful and can be thought of as an overview of the recordings feature. By looking at a heatmap you can see activity levels on various parts of a page. This will give you insight into what content is popular and what is not. You may be surprised to find that what is popular might not be what you expected!

Setting up heat maps in Hotjar is fairly simple. You just pick the name you wish to use for the heatmap and the page URL to be mapped. Ideally you want to focus on pages where you are expecting users to take some kind of action. Also there are many options to tell Hotjar on which pages to apply heatmap such as URL starts with, ends with, and so forth. You can even exclude elements from the heatmap such as pop ups. For extra flexibility, you can specify a specific url to use for the backdrop in your heatmap, which is handy if more than one page may display from not using exact url match option.


You may already be using funnels in other software such as Google Analytics, but we now use Hotjar’s funnels in addition or instead as they tie in nicely with the rest of Hotjar’s tools. For example If you see a dropoff point, you can then click directly to the recordings tool to see what is actually going on preceding this dropoff point!

For those of you who don’t know what funnels are, they are a set of steps that users need to go through to get to a specific goal on your site. Most common would be for ecommerce where the goal is to make a purchase. So In this case you would define the end of the funnel as viewing the signup success page. Then you would define steps leading up to the purchase such as viewing an item, adding it to your shopping cart, going to the checkout page, making payment, and then ending with the signup success page. Then when you view the funnel, you will see on a number and percentage basis how many people progress to the next step and more importantly the number that don’t. Then you can focus on wherever you see the most significant drop-offs and try different ideas to decrease them.


The forms functionality is really neat. It lets you see detailed objective info on how people interact with each field on your form. To set it up, first you name your new form and tell Hotjar the page URL for the form. Then you will see a list of all forms and form fields to display. Next, you select the form and fields you want to monitor. Certain fields that would create security issues such as credit card number fields cannot be selected.

After leaving time to collect some data, you will be able to see stats for each field such as the time users spent on the field, the percent left blank, and percent where they changed their entry. You will also see successful submits and drop-offs by field. This functions similar to funnels in that fields can be thought of in terms of steps. And just as with funnels, you will want to work on any fields that have high drop-off rates.

You can also get extra insight by watching some recordings, focusing in on watching customers filling out the field in question. This will give you the ability to answer questions such as: Is the customer pausing a long time before filling out a field? This could mean they are being mentally taxed to remember or find info not readily available. The solution may be removing this field and asking for this info at a later date. Another question might be: Is the customer entering info incorrectly? e.g. they keep entering a dash for a customer account number when only numerical values are accepted. In this case you may wish to change form validation and/or form instructions.


Polls are mini discrete pop ups that appear after a set length of time, when a user scrolls to a certain section of a page, or when they are about to exit your site. This feature is how I first learned about Hotjar as I saw it being used on a website. You can choose to target by device such as desktop, tablets and phones. You can choose specific or all pages. What’s also nice is that you get a bank of about 30 stock questions to ask. You can choose free form or other types of answer formats. After a user submits an answer, you have the option to ask them to leave their email address should they want to be gotten in touch with for a reply/followup.

You can choose where on a page a poll shows and hide branding with certain paid plans. You can have the poll keep showing up until users provide an answer or set it for only one time so as not to bug them. Viewing poll responses is quite simple. They are listed in a tabular format specifying a user’s country, page of poll, device type, browser, OS, and date. One very cool feature is that you can see results for each question as a word cloud, a feature that shows you the most prevalent words in responses in a fun, easy to read way.


For much more extensive feedback than polls, Hotjar has surveys. This survey functionality is similar to what you would find in a standalone service such as Survey Monkey. It has a bit less features, but most of what most people need. You can choose to brand the survey with your own company logo if you wish. You can set pop ups with stock or customized text to ask users if they will fill out a survey. You can set the behavior of this pop up in a similar manner to that of pole popups. Also after you create the survey, you will get a link for the survey that you can distribute as you please.


The recruiters functionality is basically a special pop up asking users if they would like to be involved in usability tests. The default message reads, “We are looking for visitors to participate in a usability test. To qualify simply fill in the short form below. If you are selected, you will be contacted by a member of our team.” You can also entice them with an offer e.g. “Help us improve our site and earn a $20 Amazon Gift Voucher.” You can set the behavior of this pop up in a similar manner to that of pole popups.


Incoming lets you collect visual and instant feedback from your visitors.
This feature is in beta and will be reviewed soon.

So all in all, Hotjar really is a swiss army knife or feedback and analytics tools and it nicely complements Google analytics. There are options for a free plan and trials of their paid plans but once you try it, we doubt you will want your money back 🙂

StickyMarketers is a Hotjar agency reseller and it’s StickyEnhanced edition of Hotjar
brings its users the complete Hotjar experience at a discount as well as free installation, a friend referral program with monetary incentives, and optional affordable implementation of Hotjar’s 9 Step Action plan.

Get Hotjar at a discount