Are you an agency specialized in UX, digital marketing, or growth? Join our Partner Program

Learn / Blog / Article

Back to blog

Hotjar vs. FullStory: which platform is right for you?

Hotjar and FullStory are two behavior analytics platforms popular for analyzing website performance and user behavior. 

Both have similar tools and features but essential differences in their function. While FullStory aims to collect as much user interaction data as possible, Hotjar’s combination of voice-of-the-customer (VoC) tools with heatmaps and recordings enables a more qualitative, people-centric approach to behavior analysis.

Last updated

2 Jul 2024

Reading time

17 min


Keep reading for a comprehensive comparison of Hotjar and FullStory. We cover the following topics: 

  1. Main differences between Hotjar and FullStory 

  2. Primary tools each platform offers

  3. Noteworthy capabilities of Hotjar and FullStory

TL;DR: Hotjar vs. FullStory 

There’s a lot of information to cover here, so let’s take a quick look at the highlights. Here’s what you really need to know about Hotjar vs. FullStory: 

  1. Hotjar is a standout in its field, offering a complete package of behavior analytics tools spanning heatmaps, recordings, feedback, surveys, and user interviews.

  2. Hotjar’s in-built VoC tools bring deeper insights that heatmaps and recordings alone can’t capture. FullStory integrates with third-party VoC tools, meaning users must create separate accounts and pay additional costs.

  3. The Hotjar platform is intuitive and easy to use, so any type of business or team can get set up without needing support from developers; FullStory has a steeper learning curve.

  4. Hotjar specializes in building a greater understanding and empathy for your users through a range of qualitative and quantitative user insights, so you can make intelligent, impactful optimizations to your website or product.

  5. Hotjar is a highly collaborative platform with team-focused features and unlimited seats for free. Fullstory lacks this depth of collaboration features and charges for >10 users.

  6. Hotjar offers 12 months of data storage for free, while FullStory charges extra for any data storage for periods longer than one month.

The main differences between Hotjar and FullStory

For the purpose of this comparison, we’ll primarily analyze the features and tools available on Hotjar’s Business plan and FullStory’s Advanced plan. 

Both platforms aim to bring you a greater understanding of your user behavior. However, they vary in both their functions and philosophies. 

  • Hotjar’s software takes a customer-centric approach to your user behavior analysis. Combining factual, quantitative data with qualitative data that brings context to your user behavior, Hotjar delivers manageable information with actionable, people-first insights.

  • FullStory indexes every user interaction within your site, so it can identify and support individual users. However, this means you’re at risk of having vast amounts of data without context on why it looks the way it does.

Before we review the main tools and features these platforms have in common, let’s dig deeper into their most significant differences:

Feedback and Surveys

Hotjar is a standout in this comparison thanks to its customer feedback capabilities. The Feedback widget and Surveys tool, available in the Hotjar Ask product, come standard on all plans. 

Feedback is an expandable on-page widget that lets users share their opinions about the page itself. It gathers a feedback score over time, allowing your users to

  • Score their experience with emojis or stars ⭐

  • Add a screenshot of a page element to explain and contextualize their feedback 📸

  • Comment to provide additional context 🗨️

#Hotjar’s Feedback widget gathers in-the-moment user reactions
Hotjar’s Feedback widget gathers in-the-moment user reactions

Hotjar’s Surveys tool lets you place surveys on a page as pop-ups, buttons, or overlays to catch your users’ attention while they’re exploring your site or send them out via email after the fact so users can answer in their own time. You can also trigger surveys to appear only to certain users or after a user takes specific actions. 

More than 40 templates and a question bank help you set up your survey and ensure you ask the right questions at the right time.

An example of a Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) survey created with Hotjar

Hotjar’s free Ask Basic plan gives your site three surveys and three feedback widgets every month. Paid plans give you an unlimited number of both, so the potential for inspiring feedback is endless.

Feedback and Surveys can be accompanied by corresponding recordings of specific user sessions, so you see your users in action at the time they shared their responses. 

FullStory doesn’t offer VoC tools for gathering user feedback. FullStory customers can integrate the platform with external feedback tools like Qualtrics and Survicate, but this requires separate accounts and comes at an added cost.

User interviews 

Hotjar Engage lets you conduct interviews and user testing on the Hotjar platform to connect with your users directly and gather insights into how they perceive your brand, product, or user experience. While other behavior analytics platforms, like Mouseflow, offer a dedicated Surveys tool, Hotjar is currently the only platform with a user interviews component.

#User interviews with Hotjar Engage
User interviews with Hotjar Engage

User interviews take your qualitative data collection to another level and bring you face-to-face with your users: no need for guesswork, interpretation, or manual analysis. You can use Engage to host, record, and transcribe interviews with users. You can also invite your team or stakeholders to the show and add them to calls as observers. 

Engage brings to life the behavior you see in heatmaps, recordings, and feedback. This touchpoint gives you added context for your users’ sentiments and even more insights about their experience with your site or product. 

On Hotjar’s free Engage Basic plan, you can host up to 36 (3 per month) 30-minute interviews per year and store your website visitor recordings for two weeks. Upgrading to a paid plan gives exclusive access to Hotjar’s private pool of more than 200,000 testers, plus the addition of moderators and spectators. 

FullStory has no tool for conducting user interviews. 

Highlights and collaboration

The Highlights feature in Hotjar lets you capture standout snippets of recordings or heatmaps, then tag relevant teammates, label the behavior, and add each highlight to a dedicated collection. 

You can save your highlights with filters like

  • User location

  • Date

  • Type of behavior 

Hotjar doesn’t just take a people-first approach to your end users—it’s designed to make your team’s life easier, too. 

Built with collaboration and teamwork in mind, Highlights empowers you and your team to share knowledge and increase awareness of your user experience. Everyone who should be involved can be. Hotjar provides unlimited user seats on any plan, making data accessible to your entire team.

#Hotjar Highlights lets you capture snippets from larger heatmaps and recordings
Hotjar Highlights lets you capture snippets from larger heatmaps and recordings

FullStory does not provide dedicated collaboration features beyond Spaces for each team, so it can be hard to truly collaborate and build a shared understanding of users.  Its notes library tool for session replays shows all notes chronologically, but this doesn’t allow grouping by theme, e.g. all “bugs”.


FullStory’s OmniSearch is an AI-powered search function with a broad spectrum of filters that lets users sort through their data and home in on highly targeted learnings. Because FullStory indexes so much information from all sessions on a website, OmniSearch is essential for efficiently filtering and searching this data to get to the crux of a visitor’s behavior.

#FullStory’s OmniSearch feature
FullStory’s OmniSearch feature

FullStory customers can filter by parameters such as

  • Events, e.g. rage clicks

  • User attributes

  • IP location

  • Time of visit

  • Browser

  • Page visited

Users can create their preferred combination of filters, input their scoped query into OmniSearch, and access specific user analytics scenarios for deeper analysis. They can then save these filter combinations as segments to reuse again. 

Hotjar does not have a specific search function on its platform. However, it offers full session capture and more advanced filtering options on higher plans, so you can easily track and analyze large amounts of data.

Mobile app user analysis

FullStory for Mobile Apps analyzes user behavior on mobile apps and is available for Android and iOS users.

#The FullStory mobile app dashboard shows users by device type
The FullStory mobile app dashboard shows users by device type

The tool recreates sessions based on page mockups to reconstruct the user experience. It suppresses all sensitive information and does not record or screenshot the end user’s screen.

FullStory customers can analyze where users clicked, what pages they viewed, and how they interacted with an app without interrupting the user experience or revealing private data.  

Hotjar gives you insights into how users behave on digital products like websites and web apps, but not specifically for mobile apps.


FullStory customers can access funnels with every plan, including their free plan. 

Users can create funnels for specific segments using URLs, event data, or a combination of both. FullStory also allows users to design funnels to track particular customer journeys, such as an end user’s final conversion or a new visitor’s sign-up and onboarding process.

#FullStory’s Funnels tool
FullStory’s Funnels tool

FullStory's funnels can be paired with its Journeys and Session Replays to visualize common paths and gain inspiration for multi-step funnels.

FullStory also allows users to compare date ranges, properties, and segments of users. Users can compare up to three different date ranges or segments.

Hotjar does have a Funnels tool, but it’s currently only available on the Observe Scale plan, which we discuss more later on. 

Error reporting

FullStory’s development tools are available on all plans, including their free Business plan trial. They offer both a console view and a network view of errors, so you can dive deeper into error reports on your site to find the source of the issue and analyze issues like

  • Page performance

  • Loading speed

  • Reliability of your site

#The network view feature of FullStory’s error reporting
The network view feature of FullStory’s error reporting

While this type of error reporting brings more advanced information about issues on your site, it adds complexity that necessitates engineering QA teams' support. 

Hotjar does offer console tracking, but it’s currently only available on the Observe Scale plan, which we discuss more later on. 


There are several plan options available on both platforms.

Hotjar’s free-forever Basic plan gives users access to the Observe, Ask, and Engage products, so they can immediately start analyzing their data with tools like Heatmaps, Recordings, Surveys, Feedback, and Interviews for a full picture of their user experience. 

For those looking for more advanced filtering options and additional features, there’s the option to upgrade to Plus, Business, or Scale plans. Pricing is available on the website, and users can upgrade plans themselves. 

FullStory similarly has a free plan which gives access to most basic features, including Funnels. Customers then have the option to upgrade to Business, Advanced, or Enterprise plans if they need advanced features or more sessions.

Pricing is only available to a limited degree on the FullStory website—you won’t find specific price points. Customers must contact the Sales team for an accurate quote. Users also need to go through the Sales team if they wish to upgrade their plan.

What are Hotjar’s and FullStory’s key tools? 

Now that we’ve assessed where Hotjar and FullStory differ, let's compare the main tools and features they have in common. 


In this section, we look at the types of heatmaps, plan options, page insights, and features available with Hotjar and FullStory’s heatmap tools.

Hotjar Heatmaps

Hotjar Heatmaps is available on every plan—even the free Observe Basic plan lets users create unlimited heatmaps. Heatmaps immediately starts collecting user data once you’ve set up your Hotjar account and installed the tracking code.

Heatmaps aggregate user behavior on site pages, showing where users click and scroll, what interests them, and how they interact with page elements. 

Hotjar has five types of heatmaps:

  • Move maps, which show where the user’s cursor moved or lingered on a page 

  • Click maps, which show the elements or areas of a page users click or ignore 

  • Scroll maps, which show where users scroll to and elements they overlook

  • Engagement Zones heatmaps, which show where users interact with a page the most 

  • Rage click maps, which show where users repeatedly click in frustration

#An Engagement Zones heatmap showing which areas of a page users interacted with most
An Engagement Zones heatmap showing which areas of a page users interacted with most

Hotjar’s dedicated Heatmaps insights panel lets you assess your heatmap data so you can more holistically understand the user journey. With a free plan, you’ll be able to see things like drop-off rates or the average time spent on a page, while higher plans reveal data like rage clicks, u-turn rates, and page errors. 

The unique Retaker tool lets users take multiple screenshots of a page or session: if you feel a heatmap is missing valuable information about your users, you can simply retake it to capture a more accurate picture of the data you’re interested in. This includes dynamic content such as drop-down menus or pop-ups.

#The Retaker tool lets you capture the essential details in your heatmaps
The Retaker tool lets you capture the essential details in your heatmaps

Hotjar's Observe (Heatmaps and Recordings) plans come standard with a free Ask (Feedback and Surveys) and Engage (Interviews) plan, so Hotjar users can also review heatmaps accompanied by user feedback and survey responses to spot bugs and get greater visibility into users' behavior.

FullStory’s heatmaps 

Like Hotjar, FullStory’s heatmaps are available on all plans. 

The platform offers two types of heatmaps and three heatmap overlays:

  • Click maps

  • Scroll maps

  • Conversion maps

  • Rage clicks overlay

  • Dead clicks overlay (shows when users click non-interactive elements) 

  • Error clicks overlay (shows when clicking causes an error message)

FullStory’s heatmaps show the top 25 most clicked elements on a page, automatically discounting any dynamic elements. Unlike Hotjar, they don’t offer a retake function, meaning users can miss out on data around pop-ups and drop-down menus.

#A FullStory scroll map
A FullStory scroll map

With FullStory’s heatmap overlays, you can filter your results by rage, dead, or error clicks and see heatmaps that show only those actions. You can also expand to see the number of users who have taken this action, how many times it occurred, and on what elements it took place.

🏆 Why Hotjar wins: FullStory heatmaps provide vast amounts of data, so it can be challenging to accurately identify and analyze what’s important to your users. Hotjar’s intelligent Engagement Zones, move heatmaps, and page insights give more context and clarity into your users' needs.


FullStory and Hotjar have similar session recordings tools. Both platforms offer recordings on their free plans, and both platforms support multi-tab recordings—meaning that you can accurately follow a user’s journey across multiple browser tabs or windows.

Below we compare these platforms’ recordings players and features, filters, and collaborative capabilities.

Hotjar Recordings

Hotjar shows session recordings spanning a user’s multi-page journey on your website. If your user moves to a different page (or tab), you can still get a holistic view of their journey—meaning it’s easier to understand your customer’s experience and build empathy for them. 

Hotjar Recordings categorizes user sessions by relevance, frustration levels, engagement, date, and your users’ location, so you can immediately see which sessions are of higher importance and watch them first.

#Hotjar Recordings organized by relevance and engagement scores
Hotjar Recordings organized by relevance and engagement scores

Hotjar lets you save your favorite filter combinations as ‘segments’, so only the data that matters most to you is visible, and you don’t need to manually apply them each time. 

You can also star and save your favorite recordings, so it’s easy to find them later to share with your team or take a deeper dive into your analysis.

#Session recordings in Hotjar help you identify where users get stuck so you can provide a better customer experience
Session recordings in Hotjar help you identify where users get stuck so you can provide a better customer experience

Hotjar’s player lets you skip straight to the good parts: you can highlight each recording with timestamps across its timeline showing particular events, like rage clicks, u-turns, and any feedback your users leave.

Team members can also attach tags to recordings to highlight specific user actions, so if you’re only interested in seeing rage clicks, you can jump ahead to these events.

#The Recordings player streamlines collaboration and data sharing across teams
The Recordings player streamlines collaboration and data sharing across teams

Watching the recordings that accompany user feedback gives a more thorough understanding of what visitors were experiencing at the time they left their responses. 

FullStory’s Session Replay

FullStory’s recordings tool—or Session Replays—is similar to Hotjar's in function and features, allowing its customers to capture user behavior in real time, filter by events or attributes, and gather page insights about each session. 

FullStory also lets its users deliberately hide or include active sessions—that means live recordings of users happening in the moment.

#FullStory’s active sessions filter on their Session Replays tool
FullStory’s active sessions filter on their Session Replays tool

There’s no ability to save recordings for later, so if FullStory customers find a session particularly interesting and want to take another look, they need to search for and find it manually.

🏆 Why Hotjar wins: the ability to save recordings for later, leave notes, and highlight critical moments makes analyzing Hotjar recordings less time-consuming and more collaborative for teams.


Comparing the Hotjar and FullStory dashboards, we cover important features, ease of setup, and available filters.

Hotjar Dashboards

With unlimited dashboards available on all plans, Hotjar allows you to create focused areas to monitor your business metrics. And you can start in seconds with a bunch of templates tailored to common use cases, like analyzing a marketing launch, or detecting bugs on your site. The best bit? Dashboards in Hotjar combine both what users do on your site (traffic, pages with most issues, bounce rates, etc.) with what they actually think about it (user feedback scores and net promoter scores). 

When looking at widgets on your dashboards, you can dive straight into recordings, heatmaps, or individual bits of user feedback. And you can zoom out to view charts of specific metrics over time.

Hotjar’s Dashboards show you all your insights in one place

FullStory’s dashboard

Given how much data users can collect and analyze, dashboards are a crucial part of the  FullStory platform. 

Only the primary user or admin can customize FullStory’s dashboards, and they can feature seven different card types for breaking down learnings:

  • Single metric: such as an A/B test result or the overall checkout rate

  • Funnel: showing where users are dropping out of flows

  • Dimensionality: ranking comparison of specific metrics, e.g. most clicked element

  • Text: organizing and categorizing your dashboard by theme

  • Trends: showing how interactions and behavior changes over time

  • Page flow: analyzing the transition between pages, such as ‘entry’ and ‘exit’ pages

  • Retention: showing how many users return or keep engaging with the product

#The trends card on FullStory’s Dashboard
The trends card on FullStory’s Dashboard

Users can filter their dashboards by subsets such as property, time range, segment, or a combination of both. And within each Fullstory “Space” you can find dashboards dedicated to that space.

Many of FullStory’s customers complain that setting up dashboards is complex and requires a lot of product knowledge. Only the creator or admin of a dashboard has the power to customize or delete it, meaning it’s less accessible to the broader team. 

🏆 Why Hotjar wins: Hotjar’s Dashboards are straightforward and comprehensive, with templates doing most of the work for the user. FullStory’s users have criticized its dashboards for being difficult to set up, requiring manual labor and deep product knowledge.

Hotjar and FullStory: additional tools and capabilities

Along with their suite of tools, there are some additional details to consider regarding both platforms’ functionalities.

Here, we take a look at


FullStory and Hotjar have much the same integration capabilities and are compatible with most of the same platforms. 

Check out the complete list of Hotjar integrations here.

🏆 Why FullStory wins: FullStory is compatible with more data management systems for those who want to analyze their learnings outside the platform’s capabilities.

Ease of use 

FullStory is a powerful tool—we can’t argue with that. But there’s a stark difference in both platforms’ ease, accessibility, and overall user experience. A recurring issue FullStory’s customers mention is that they find its UX complicated and struggle to set up their accounts independently. Many customers require FullStory’s customer support assistance to guide them through the process and help them customize the tools. 

Applying a people-first philosophy to every area of the platform, Hotjar prides itself on offering accessible tools that help its users see results regardless of their roles or areas of expertise. 

Pricing is transparent, and users can upgrade their accounts themselves. On top of that, most Hotjar users find it easy to install and set up their accounts without support, so they can kick-start their user behavior analysis with minimal effort.

🏆 Why Hotjar wins: it has a highly visual, interactive, and easy-to-use design. This makes getting set up and finding ways to improve your site with Hotjar’s tools a painless process. 

Exclusive to Hotjar’s Scale plan

High-traffic websites and enterprise businesses can benefit from Hotjar's Scale plan, which brings additional capabilities and even more value to the user insights Hotjar captures. 

We look at the following Scale-exclusive tools and features:

  • Trends

  • Funnels

  • Error reporting


Hotjar Trends translates quantitative data into visual charts and graphs revealing patterns in user behavior. The corresponding recordings show individual users’ actions during their time onsite. Plus, you can compare charts to see the differences in behavior over time. 

Instead of struggling to make the connection between isolated data and the people it represents, you can see exactly how users interact with your site and anticipate their needs over time.

#Hotjar Trends turns patterns in user behavior into simple, intuitive charts and graphs
Hotjar Trends turns patterns in user behavior into simple, intuitive charts and graphs


Hotjar Funnels allows you to create sales flows for your site and gives an overview of your conversion rates at every step of the customer journey, so you can clearly understand where and when customers convert (or don’t).

#Hotjar Funnels show the user flow
Hotjar Funnels show the user flow

Hotjar Funnels can include up to ten steps in a flow and include user events like visiting specific URLs and searches or clicking on certain elements. 

Users can compare multiple funnels against one another, and watch the corresponding recordings of what was happening during a visitor’s time on site so they can understand the why behind bounces or conversions. 

Error reporting 

Hotjar’s console tracking allows you to track onsite JavaScript errors and categorize your data with error filters. 

Hotjar delivers more simplistic error reports than FullStory that are accessible company-wide and don’t require specialist engineering knowledge. 

Why choose Hotjar?

What makes Hotjar so unique among a pool of behavior analytics platforms is simple: it’s the best option for a complete look into your user’s mind. Its Feedback, Surveys, and Interviews tools work in conjunction with Heatmaps and Recordings to give an unparalleled level of insights that take your customer-centricity and user empathy to another level.

User analytics is more than the cold, hard data of your website performance—it’s about the people behind the numbers. Hotjar not only shows you your user behavior in the form of visual, interactive heatmaps and recordings, but it also goes straight to the source, so you can break the communication barrier and hear what your users need. 

For those who want a deeper understanding of their website’s performance and endless inspiration to drive business developments that put the customer first, Hotjar is the obvious choice.

Grow your business with Hotjar

Make data-driven, customer-centric decisions about your business with our comprehensive suite of behavior analytics tools.