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Hotjar vs Clarity: which one should you choose?
Deciding between tools is never easy. There are endless features to compare, heaps of reviews to read through, and countless differences to consider.
But don’t sweat. We’ve taken the time to detail the core differences between our products—so you don’t have to.
Last updated18 Aug 2022
Reading time11 min
If you’re considering both Hotjar and Clarity but can’t quite pick between them, read on. You'll learn:
The major differences between Hotjar and Microsoft Clarity
Four questions to ask yourself before making a decision
Why some companies pick Hotjar (and why others pick Clarity)
Whether Hotjar is right for your business
TL;DR: what’s the difference between Hotjar and Clarity?
Before we get into the weeds, here are the four key differences between Hotjar and Clarity:
Hotjar lets you hear directly from users: don’t just look at what your users are doing—find out whythey do it, so you can understand the whole picture. Clarity doesn’t let you collect user feedback.
Hotjar is built for teams: an insight is only useful if you can share it with others. Hotjar gives you the tools you need for collaboration. Clarity is built for individual practitioners who like to fly solo.
Hotjar integrates with the tools you love: send data across your business via Slack, Optimizely, Hubspot, Segment, Omniconvert, Google Optimize, and 2,000 more integrations using Zapier. Clarity only offers one integration.
Hotjar offers support to those who need it: not everyone has used a platform like this before. If you're just getting started and need some help, Hotjar’s detailed video guides, in-depth knowledge base, and always-available customer support are here to help. Clarity doesn’t have a support team.
How do Hotjar and Clarity compare?
Ready to start using Hotjar?
Start for free today and get the powerful product experience insights your business needs.
Brief introduction to Hotjar and Clarity
Clarity is a behavior analytics tool developed by the folks at Microsoft. First released as a beta in 2018, the team spent two years building and testing Clarity before officially releasing it in October 2020.
Clarity, like Hotjar, helps its customers understand how users experience and interact with their site, and offers two main tools to do this:
1. Session playbacks (also known as recordings)
Session playbacks are recordings of visitors browsing your site. You can see user behavior as it happens—watch as people smoothly navigate through your site, or identify where they get stuck.
Heatmaps show you where users click and scroll on your site in aggregate, and are used to discover which parts of a page drive the most engagement.
Clarity also has a website overview, which is visible on the homepage as you log in. It showcases interesting user sessions and key website problems at a glance, and is a handy feature that can quickly get you up to speed with what’s happening on your site.
Unlike most other tools on the market, Clarity is completely free: there are no paid plans. When comparing Clarity and Hotjar side-by-side, keep in mind that Clarity only has a free version, while Hotjar has a free version and lets you upgrade to paid versions as your business grows.
Hotjar’s story began in 2014 when our five co-founders joined forces to democratize analytics and feedback data. We’ve been building our platform for over half a decade now, and over 900,000 websites are using our tools to gain product experience insights—making Hotjar the most popular heatmap and session recording brand on the market.
Over 35,000 companies sign up to Hotjar each month to take advantage of our four key tools that provide businesses with brilliant qualitative and quantitative user insights.
1. Session Recordings (also known as session replays)
Like Clarity, Hotjar offers Recordings to reveal what users do when they visit your product page or site. But that’s where the similarities end. Hotjar comes packed with collaboration features:
Tag a colleague when you spot an interesting recording by combining this tool with Hotjar’s Highlights feature
Rather than watch every session replay, prioritize using Hotjar’s relevance score to quickly spot the ones that matter most
Send recordings straight to Slack with our out-of-the-box integration
Hotjar’s Heatmaps come packed with more functionality than Clarity’s, with the ability to generate not only click and scroll heatmaps, but also move maps—which show an aggregate of all cursor movements on your page, vital for spotting where attention drops—and the option to export your data.
In addition to powerful recordings and heatmaps, Hotjar alsolets you collect direct user feedback with surveys and a feedback widget.
3. Surveys (on- and off-site)
Imagine for a second that your website is a brick-and-mortar store.
While Clarity allows you to watch people move around inside your store, Hotjar Surveys let you actually hear from customers while they browse, helping you collect vital information about their experience, needs, and behavior.
Use surveys to find out who your customers are, why they're abandoning your website, and what they really think or feel about your brand and product—in their own words.
4. Feedback widget
Hotjar's Feedback widget is a real-time suggestion box on your site.
Users can express their frustration or delight with individual elements of your site, right down to the page, form, or image they’re looking at. The Feedback widget reveals how assets are performing, what frustrates your users, and quick ways to make your site easier to navigate.
If you’re more of a visual person and retain what you see and hear better, we’ve summarized all of the above in a short video:
4 questions to ask yourself before making a decision
Now, we won't tell you which product to choose. The right tool depends on your needs and requirements. But, to help you out, here are four questions to ask yourself before making a decision.
1. Do you want to hear from users as they experience your site?
If you want to ask users why they behave in a certain way, Hotjar can help here; Clarity cannot.
Seeing how visitors use your website is only a piece of the puzzle—yes, you can see whatthey do on your site, but you don't know why they do it.
For example, say you’ve created an online product that helps users track their fitness goals, and you’re watching a recording of a new user on your site. They’ve filled in their details and set up their account, but they don’t add any fitness goals. They spend 15 minutes clicking around, then they leave. Worse yet, they never come back.
You’d be pretty stumped at this point. You can see that people are coming to your site and leaving before setting their fitness goals, but you’ve got no idea why.
With Hotjar’s Observe and Ask tools—like Surveys and the Feedback widget—you can capture real-time feedback from visitors as they use your product.
In this example, before the user leaves your site, you could use a survey to ask, ‘Did you accomplish what you planned today?', and users can respond to let you know whether they did or didn't.
2. Are you a data analyst veteran, or will you need support?
If you’re just getting started with behavior analytics and product experience insight tools, and want some support, Hotjar is here for you.
If you’ve used software like Hotjar and Clarity before, you should have no problem getting started with either tool. But if you’re new to this, here’s something you should consider:
Currently, Clarity doesn’t have a customer support team. If you get stuck, there’s no one for you to contact. They do have some getting started docs and FAQs on their online portal, but it's just general information about the tool.
At Hotjar, we have a friendly bunch of customer support specialists, always available to offer you personalized support. We respond to every email ticket within 48 hours (sometimes less!), giving you peace of mind when using our tools.
Our talented support team also keeps our knowledge base packed with useful information. All of our latest features are shared here, with guides to help you set up, as well as detailed walk-throughs on some of our most powerful features.
3. Are you flying solo, or will other teammates need access?
Cross-team collaboration isn't possible with Clarity. That’s fine for individuals, but teams need Hotjar.
Both Hotjar and Clarity work well for individual users: it’s easy and fast to start on your own. But sharing insights and collaborating with your team is a whole different ball game, and you’ll need unique features to help with that.
Hotjar and Clarity both offer unlimited 'seats', meaning you can get all of your teammates set up with their own accounts without paying extra. But many of Hotjar's customers don’t only need unlimited logins—they also need features to help collaborate with their team.
Here are four ways Hotjar helps with cross-functional collaboration:
Want to show a colleague a heatmap or session recording? Simply share a link to a live URL. Your teammates won't even need to log in to see it.
Want to keep your team up to speed on Slack? Hotjar has a bespoke Slack integration to automatically send insightful feedback and Recordings to your channels.
Spot something interesting in a recording? Just comment on a key moment during the recording to quickly share with a colleague.
Need to keep up with how other colleagues use the platform? Hotjar has a ‘Workspaces’ feature to see what your teammates are working on.
4. Do you want to integrate this data with your tech stack?
If you’ve got a large tech stack and want to ensure it all works seamlessly, you need Hotjar. Clarity doesn’t currently offer any integrations.
Let’s face it: most of us have a near-endless number of tools in our tech stack. (Arguably the hardest part of many people's jobs is figuring out which password combination works for each app.)
Integrations make things easier. You can pass data from one app to another and combine sources to spot new insights. Hotjar has several custom-built integrations to help with just that.
We’ve already covered the Slackintegration—perfect for sharing insights—but we also offer integration with A/B testing tools like Google Optimize, Optimizely, and Omniconvertto add context to product experiments. With these integrations, you can compare before-and-after Hotjar Heatmaps and Recordings to see how users experience product changes.
Hotjar also comes ready-made with a Hubspotintegration to automatically add survey responses to a contact’s timeline. Plus, we offer integrations with Segment and Zapier,the Trojan horses of the integration world. (If you can get data into them, you can get data anywhere.) Segment lets you instantly send data to hundreds of marketing, analytics, and sales tools, including Google Analytics, Salesforce, and MailChimp; and Zapier integrates with over 2,000 of your favorite apps.
Why Hotjar? It’s built for companies doing business online
In short, if you want your website to generate conversions and revenue, you should use Hotjar.
While Clarity is a fantastic and easy-to-use tool, it simply doesn’t have the features you need to run a business. Here’s how Hotjar helps:
Hotjar scales with your business as you grow
Unlimited users and team collaboration features: if you run an ecommerce business, you probably work with a team (or teams) of colleagues. It’s no good collecting data on your own—your team needs to be on the same page. Hotjar’s unlimited users, Slack integration, and collaboration features help teams communicate and collaborate with ease.
A packed roadmap that’s constantly growing: when picking a SaaS (software-as-a-service) tool, don't just consider what the product does for you today, but also what it can help you do in the future. Unlike Clarity, Hotjar has a public roadmap packed with heaps of features that our customers have requested.
Customer support and personalized training: not only do our handy customer success team respond to tickets within 48 hours, but they also offer bespoke training for customers who need it. We’ll support you as your team grows, help you onboard new teammates, and guide you in choosing a plan tailored to your needs.
Stop making assumptions: understand WHY your users do what they do
Surveys and feedback to hear from users: find out what users really think and feel about your product (in their own words) with Hotjar’s Observe and Ask tools.
Filter recordings by feedback: most large online businesses have a lot of recordings to go through. We’re talking hundreds (if not thousands) every day, and no one has time to watch every single one. Filter Hotjar Recordings by behavior (like rage clicks) or feedback responses, and only watch recordings of users who respond a certain way.
Features and functionality that experienced users love
Move maps and Heatmap exports: over 126,000 people log in to Hotjar every month, and the tool they use the most is heat maps. Move maps and heatmap exports are great for measuring user attention and sharing insights. These features (for now) aren’t available in Clarity.
Ability to filter recordings by relevance: imagine getting someone to watch every session recording for you each morning, and having them highlight the 10 recordings you needto watch. That’s what Hotjar's relevance score does. Sort by relevance to see the most important and useful recordings right at the top of your list, and use Highlights to share them with your teammates.
User Attributes to upload custom data: with user attributes, you can upload custom data to Hotjar. Learn the path users take before they spend over $500 on your site; see what happens in the moments before loyal customers cancel their subscriptions; or watch happy customers fail to use your latest product feature.
Why Clarity? It's completely free with helpful dashboards
Clarity collects data on even the largest sites at no cost, which is a great offer, even though the tool is missing some important features. Like Hotjar, Clarity offers a free forever plan, meaning you never need to pay: you can try the tool before committing to it.
Clarity's dashboards provide overviews to help you understand how people use your website, which is a nice option for those who don’t like Google Analytics or want a single view for all website data.
So, is Hotjar for you?
Ready to start using Hotjar?
Start for free today and get the powerful product experience insights your business needs.
Hotjar vs. Smartlook: choosing the right platform for your business
Hotjar and Smartlook have similar analytics tools and features, but there are some key differences to consider when choosing the best option for your business. While Smartlook offers a reliable, basic package for analyzing user behavior, Hotjar’s uniquely customer-centric tools put empathy at the forefront to drive a deeper understanding of your UX.
Hotjar vs. Crazy Egg: which one is right for you?
Behavior analytics suites like Hotjar and Crazy Egg help you fill in the gaps left by other tools like Google Analytics, reducing guesswork when you optimize your website and product experience.
But which platform’s tools are easier to set up? And which will give you a complete understanding of your users, so you can quickly make the changes they need and ease their journey to conversion?