Hotjar review

I've been using Hotjar pro for a few months and felt it deserved a review. Before I get started let's take a quick look at what Hotjar does with some added commentary from my experience of using the product.

Hotjar feature set
> Heatmaps
Heatmap reports allow you to toggle between desktop, tablet and phone devices while viewing click, move and scroll data. The average fold and percentage of page scrolled are handy indicators that in the past I've had to calculate independently of the clickmap tool, so I've found this feature very useful. There's a "share heatmap" button that is great when emailing reports to people without Hotjar accounts. Probably the killer feature recently added is the capability of creating heatmaps on dynamic/session based pages (including password protected pages). This means you can look at heatmap data on shopping cart pages, we had looked at this in the past with another vendor but were restricted in having to implement a PHP API which wasn't practical.

An example heatmap from a form page:

> Visitor recordings
Visitor recordings are one of my favourite tools, you can't beat spending time watching how people actually use your website. What's really cool is you get to see what they're seeing, so if you have an A/B test running - you'll see the actual variant they're exposed to. I was quite surprised with how far this actually goes, to the point I've watched recording of users that have a browser infected with adware and you see the ads too. As with the heatmaps it's easy to share recording with a public URL (again, very handy) but the most useful feature is being able to create visitor recording on session/dynamic pages such as a multi-step shopping cart.

An example visitor recording taken from my blog:

> Conversion funnels
If you have a set of pages you want to analyse you can create a conversion funnel and watch visitor recordings of those that fallout at stages or those that go on to complete the funnel. I have only dabbled with this feature, I like the idea but to date I've mostly used the visitor recording on particular page/s that interest me.

> Form analytics
This feature allows you to see form field level abandonment rates, which fields take too long to complete and what fields are left blank. I've only briefly experimented with this feature as they don't support forms on dynamic pages yet, the good news - it's on the roadmap.

A form analysis report with drop off, time spent, left blank and re-filled data:

> Feedback polls
This has been my most used feature, it takes minutes to launch a poll (like the one below) and before you know it, highly actionable feedback start coming your way. You can trigger your poll using 4 different events:
  • Immediately after the page loads
  • After a delay of n seconds
  • When user is about to abandon the page on a desktop device
  • When user scrolls halfway down the page
These are perfect for high value funnels when the visitor is about to abandon.

> Surveys
The survey feature allows you to build fully-blown surveys using Hotjar's editor, once done they can be published via URL or just before your visitors abandon your website. The following options are available when adding questions:
  • Long text answer
  • Short text answer
  • Radio buttons
  • Checkboxes
  • Net promoter score (you should see this one when you scroll down this blog post)
More question types are on their product roadmap including "question logic" which might be important to some of you.

> Recruit user testers
Hotjar's recruiters feature allows you to recruit your own visitors for user testing. You have the same targeting options as with Polls and the following information is captured:
  • Full name
  • Age
  • City
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Country (automatically captured)
  • Device (automatically captured)
  • Browser (automatically captured)
  • Operating System (automatically captured)

What makes Hotjar standout
Okay, so here's a run down of what's impressed me since using Hotjar:

> Unlimited
There are no restrictions with server calls, number of websites (assuming they're yours) or the number of users. This is a stark comparison with other vendors where we've had to conserve server calls by only adding tracking codes at the time of launching a heatmap, video recording or survey. This "always on" approach becomes a big time saver as we can now go live in minutes with initiatives compared to days/weeks when multiple teams would have been involved with adding tracking and QA.

> Free version
There's a free version available, this is a great acquisition idea and I'm surprised more vendors don't try this. I started using the free version on this blog and soon after we started to use the paid version at my work.

> Support
The support is fantastic, I've had issues resolved within hours of reporting them. Even the free accounts get support and all my emails have been responded to in a matter of hours or less. I'm not sure how this will scale as they get more users but for now it's excellent.

> Pricing
The pricing is very disruptive when compared to more established players in the marketplace such as ClickTale. For €89 per *month* ex. VAT (yes, monthly billing opposed to annual) we get a ton of features and insight that would cost significantly more when using multiple vendors.

> Roadmap
There's a publicly available roadmap for everyone to see and understand when new features are coming:

What can be improved
> Integrations
Being an Adobe customer I'm keen to see integrations with Adobe Analytics and Target but there's no mention on the product roadmap. This could be an issue further down the road as heatmaps, net promoter scores and visitor recordings are all good scenarios when web analytics data would be needed for further context.

> Technical
We've had an issue with a few heatmaps when the page is using unique div ids so click data can't be reported. Moreover click data reporting can be confusing depending on how your pages are structured as each div has clicks associated with it, so if you have a button with parent and child divs then click numbers will be associated at different areas of the button when I'd expect to report one number associated with the whole button. However, heatmaps are more about looking at a picture than reporting absolute numbers so this isn't a deal breaker.

> Security
I'd like better security options, this isn't a complaint specifically towards Hotjar as most SaaS platforms don't offer much. At a minimum you should be able to restrict login access by IP address.

Wrapping up
In summary the ease of getting Hotjar's features live has been invaluable for gathering qualitative data for actionable experiment ideas, fixing content and debugging. If you're haven't tried it yet give their free version a spin - you've got nothing to lose.

Right, that's it - thanks for reading. If you have any comments, questions or feedback please leave them below. And you can follow new posts on Twitter, Email or RSS.