Hotjar: deep user behaviour insights

Any website should be built with one key focus: user experience. Be easy to use, guide the user through the content, make him stick around as long as possible and have a clear CTA should be the priority. Hotjar is a tool that allows you to gain insights regarding the optimization of your website and how visitors behave, leveraging the best source of information: website usage of the users themselves.

Disclaimer: Links to Hotjar are referral links; prizes for referrals consist of karma, a t-shirt, a hoodie, a free premium account.

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Hotjar: all-in-one suite to understand your users

Have you ever wondered what does a user do on your website? What pages he visits, what button he clicks, what content he reads, how much he reads, …?

Stop guessing and start using Hotjar!

This awesome tool allows you to understand exactly how users behave on your website, what catches their eyes and what they focus on.

The best part? Their freemium pricing allows you to start right away, for free.

Here’s a quick rundown of all the 8 features.

HeatmapsUnderstand how your users use the website by visually representing what they click, how they move and how much they scroll.
Visitor recordingsWatch real recordings of user behaviour on your website. Find out how they surf and identify potential issues.
Conversion funnelsSet up funnels of your intended customer jorney, understand where they are dropping off with statistics and session recordings.
Form analysisImprove your forms by discovering which fields take too long, are left blank or cause form abandonment.
Feedback poolsUnderstand behaviour and how to improve experience by asking your users directly.
Incoming feedbackEnable users to leave immediate visual feedback, understand what they love or hate.
SurveysKnow your audience better with surveys, built with an easy editor.
Recruit test usersLeverage your own users for testing.

Democratizing user analytics and feedback

All Hotjar features focus entirely on gathering the best insights regarding user behaviour. They can truly be considered the best, as they come directly from actual users.

What is offered is an all-in-one suite that aims at replacing the need for multiple stand-alone tools (such as CrazyEgg, ClickTale and SurveyMonkey) for a fraction of the price. Indeed, the free plan includes most features and is great for those who are just starting out, while the first paid plan goes for only 29$.

True to this intention, Hotjar’s particularly inspiring vision is to “change the way the web is built and improved by democratizing user analytics and feedback” (I love it!).

Above all, the first two features are real goldmines. Heatmaps and recording are incredibly useful to gain deep insights, at the aggregated and individual level respectively. They are automatically generated, without impacting website performance and in full compliance with privacy laws. Paid plans allow you to record unlimited recording and to access additional features, such as advanced reports and recordings auto-tagging.

Hotjar heatmap example: partial heatmap for
Partial heatmap generated for

Furthermore, the other features are quite useful as well. Setting up funnels is quite easy and reports are simple and clear (and graphically more pleasing than those in Google Analytics). Form analysis is quite interesting and a more rare feature.

Finally, feedbacks, polls and surveys have the potential to give the best and in-depth insights. The drawbacks are that they have to be manually set up and it takes time to go through rich qualitative data.

Hotjar and privacy (GDPR)

If you’re in Europe, have European visitors, users and customers or process EU data, privacy is a huge concern — GDPR introduced strict policies for collection and use of personal information. A tool that automatically records all user sessions seems likely to raise a lot of eyebrows.

You don’t have to worry though: Hotjar is fully GDPR compliant!

It is built from the ground up with a privacy-by-design approach. Personal information is automatically suppressed in recordings (and additional filters can be enabled).

Check out this recording example, and compare it to my Contact page: personal details and even forms are automatically masked, without me having to tweak any option.

For more information and instructions consult their GDPR compliance page: they truly care about people’s privacy.

The inspiring business journey of Hotjar

I have known Hotjar for quite some time now and I planned to write an article on this tool sooner or later. However, yesterday I stumbled upon the company’s story and it pushed me to write this immediately. I simply had to, it’s truly inspiring.

At first, I thought Hotjar was the usual, wonderful tool from the US. In reality, the founders are from Malta — not exactly a tech and innovation-focused country.

Most importantly, it really hit me the transparent and customer-centric approach of their business. They truly put the customer first, and money comes naturally, as they are loved by their community. Corporate culture is of utmost importance and key to their success as well.

Moreover, it’s a great example of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach and of beta-testing done right. Their marketing was stellar, with transparency being a core component — they even feared of revealing too much, but their openness actually paid off. True to their roots and vision, continuous engagement and feedback from the users were the foundations of their ongoing improvement. A referral system boosted their beta-phase launch and it was later repurposed to generate loyal and raving fans.

I truly encourage anyone to read the lengthy 3-part Hotjar story written by CEO and founder David Darmanin over the span of 3 years:

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Alessandro De Vecchi

Marketing, web, and anything-tech enthusiast.
Newbie blogger, spends his nights studying, testing, creating content and job hunting.
Gray and blue are his favourite colours. Loves minimalism.

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2 thoughts on “Hotjar: deep user behaviour insights”

    Howdy would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using?

    I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m
    having a tough time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.

    The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs
    and I’m looking for something unique.
    P.S My apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

    • Hey there, thank you for your appreciation!
      This website is based on WordPress. I have never used the other solutions you mentioned, so I can’t really give you any feedback about those.
      I’d suggest you stick with WordPress as well, especially if it’s your first website and have no particular needs.
      It’s both easy to use and maintain and highly customizable even without coding skills. But if you have coding skills, all the better!
      Moreover, if you’d ever want to add a shop, Woocommerce has the same perks.

      Here’s another tip!
      Download the Wappalyzer browser extension to get an overview of the technologies used by a website!


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