Websites, landing pages, SaaS tools. All of it. We want to facilitate a digital revolution to help designers, programmers, and marketers build user-centric platforms and tools. But this only works if you understand your user in the first place:
What makes them behave the way they do.
What’s driving users to your website?
What do they really think of your [product, website, or tool]?
If you get it right, you’ll see your user base, revenue, and brand take off. That’s what happens when you give people what they want. But if you get it wrong? Well, we all know how that goes.
The Heart of the User
Making data-driven decisions should be etched into your DNA.
Because data doesn’t lie and users opinions matter. If you can see how users are interacting with your site and literally ask them why they’re doing what they’re doing, you’ll be able to build something that people really want - not what you think they want.
When the Hotjar team discussed how we could share some practical ways to use Hotjar Recordings, we chose to reach out and survey our most active users to see how they’re using Hotjar Recordings in their businesses.
Fast forward a few weeks and hundreds of responses later, we started to see some clear trends and wanted to share them with you.
So, here ya’ go.
How Hotjar Recordings Are Being Used Across the Globe
More than 60% of those surveyed use Hotjar Recordings daily, or every other day of the week. This clearly shows that for most of our users, Hotjar Recordings are a critical part of their weekly workflow.
This is huge.
It means that tens of thousands of people all over the world are using Hotjar Recordings to see, analyze, and understand how their users interact with their websites. And as a result - they’re building user-centric solutions that are a win for themselves, but more importantly, for their users.
So without further ado, here’s what we learned about Hotjar Recordings and how they're being used, taken directly from our survey...
#1 User Experience (UX) Analysis (31.4%)
It can make or break your business. We discovered that most of you use Hotjar Recordings for just that - to see how visitors experience your website overall. This allows you to empathize with them and build and lay things out to make the user experience a pleasant one.
We learned that generally speaking, most of you start broad and look at everything to find out where visitors are getting stuck. We call these barriers. When you see that users are confused or behaving erratically on your site, you know what needs to fixed:
”One client is in active optimization phase: We captured recordings, clicks & scrolls to analyze user actions once a product was in the cart. Using this data we added relevant content to the appropriate areas to improve conversion rate. Up about 22% so far. Testing continues.” ~Survey feedback
#2 “Discover” UX Issues (28.5%)
This user case is a bit more intentional. The goal here is to “discover” UX issues. For some, Hotjar Recordings were used to find out why people using a certain browser had trouble with a login form. For others, they wanted to look at specific elements like images, videos, or buttons. If there’s a known (or suspected) issue, Hotjar Recordings help you see it as the user sees it. The ability to do this is invaluable”
“Yes - I've uncovered many issues using session recordings. As an example, we recently saw users struggling to remember their log-in information due to a misleading prompt above a form, and other users struggling to find a key bit of information. We are doing user testing to further validate the issues.” ~Survey feedback
#3 “Discover Visitors Journey” (18.1%)
How a user navigates through a site and what content they digest along the way is ridiculously important for every site owner to understand, especially sales/e-commerce sites. A good portion of our survey respondents told us that Hotjar Recordings (along with Funnels) help them break down their users into “buyers” and “non-buyers” to look at their journeys and identify patterns. This allows them to take that data and lay out the right kind of journey (e.g. where they place forms, content, buttons, opt-ins, etc.) to improve conversion rates and capture more leads:
“We mainly use recordings as a second layer of insight - to try and get an understanding of odd user journeys we've spotted in Analytics, or things we've spotted in heatmaps or form analytics. Also to look for barriers and friction in pages.”~Survey feedback
Everything on every site everywhere can always be better. The process of discovering the how and why of making your site better is called Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). In a recent chat with Hotjar CEO David Darmanin, I asked him what he thought about CRO, and his reply was insightful:
“It really means 'extracting the most out of the traffic, visitors to your site – by persuading them to CONVERT to an action' but what CRO should really be all about is 'fuelling the growth of your organization by optimizing the different levers of the engine e.g. monetization, demand, word-of-mouth etc.' To me it's more Growth Optimization, but we really do lack a term right now. Some call it Growth Hacking.” ~David Darmanin
Whether you approach things from a “conversion” or “growth” viewpoint, the need to optimize for the user and your organization is vital. It has to do with sales, psychology, user interface, user experience, copy, language, persuasion, and design:
What barriers exist on my site and how can I eliminate them?
What’s driving people to convert? Is it a piece of content, an opt-in?
Are visitors ignoring my call to action? Do they even see it?
Should we wait 30 sec. instead of 15 sec. for the entry popup to display, because most users are just closing it right away?
Why do we lose visitors so late in the checkout process?
What’s the reason(s) why “Landing Page A” converts 20% better than “Landing Page B”?
“My focus is mainly on behavior. I look at what the visitor is doing (or isn't doing, based on my [site] and then go back to optimize the page they visited (either by changing the headline or colors). After doing that, the conversions usually spike up a bit.” ~Survey feedback
#5 Miscellaneous Reasons (4.7%)
The survey showed us that Hotjar Recordings are also used for unconventional things. Some of you use Hotjar Recordings to do detective work and show the results to your clients or team members. A few people told us that they used the results to:
Detect bot behavior (fake traffic) on their website or a client website
Show designers and site developers what they could do better. “So you assumed something, here’s what really happens!”
Sell CRO services to clients
Whether you’re using Hotjar Recordings to impress a client, build a case with a team member (or boss), or find out about fake traffic, the possibilities are endless.
The most important part of building for your user is understanding them. We’ve established that and beat that drum pretty loudly. Advertising legend David Ogilvy understood this a long time ago, and wrote:
“Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.”
Now, of course, your users aren’t your enemies (usually) but Ogilvy's logic is undeniable. If nobody likes the widget you made, time to stop trying to push it on them. If people aren’t buying the gizmo you’re selling and they’re telling you they don’t like it, time to stop selling it.
Designing, building, and testing shouldn’t be a “one time only” thing. Every tweak or rearrangement of elements and content, every change to your site, every new landing page, should be fully tested and then optimized again.
Think of it as a rolling process, one of constant iteration and improvement. You can never test enough, optimize enough, or get enough feedback. It’s a process that should always be happening, all the time, on every piece of online real estate you own.
If you haven’t used Hotjar yet, sign up for free (or login), so you can start using Recordings to optimize your site for growth and get to know your users.
I'm a full-stack marketer & creative copywriter @ Hotjar. Besides being a part of the Hotjar team, I'm also a lover of leather bound books, an IPA snob, and a strong advocate of the infamous and glorious Oxford Comma.