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Your introduction to Hotjar: what it is, what it can do for you, and how it works

You already know it: what’s best for your users is best for your business.

But do you have the information and insights you need to build and create products that your users will love?

You may have important numbers like churn rate, page traffic, and drop-off rate from a product or web analytics tool. But do you know why your users are behaving a certain way? Where specifically in your product they're having issues that cause them to churn? Why they aren't converting?

Hotjar helps you answer these questions. Let's show you how: 

PX insights
Behind the scenes

Last updated

18 Aug 2022
Person guiding another person while holding hands

What is Hotjar?

Hotjar is a product experience insights tool that gives you behavior analytics and feedback data to help you empathize with and understand your customers through tools like HeatmapsSession RecordingsSurveys, and a Feedback widget.

Hotjar complements the data and insights you get from traditional product and web analytics tools like Google Analytics or Mixpanel. It’s an industry-leading and easy-to-use service that combines product experience insights, user behavior analysis, and customer feedback to help you connect the dots between what's happening on your site, and why it happens.

Create a product experience your customers will love

Product experience insights from Hotjar help you improve UX and build products that delight your customers.

4 reasons you should use Hotjar for your website

If you own or manage a website that you’re trying to improve, you’ll probably value any tool that:

  • Gives you clear and visual data points about what’s happening on your site

  • Helps you get some of the context about why people behave the way they do

  • Does the above quickly without requiring a steep learning curve

  • Is easy to get buy-in for and show the value of

Hotjar does all of the above. Let’s look at each of these four areas in more detail: 

1. Hotjar is a visual and direct way to understand and empathize with your users

If you manage an online store, or you're part of a digital product team, you’re probably already using a traditional analytics tool like Google Analytics or Mixpanel to show you the big picture of your website ecosystem and product design. Likewise, if you’re an ecommerce or product marketer, you’ll be using the same tools to look at specific traffic data to understand conversions.

There is no limit to the amount of data you can track. But have you ever looked at these numbers and wondered why your users behave the way they do? What they’re actually doing on your website? And what they have to say about the experience you’re providing them?

Think of it like this: your traditional analytics overview is like seeing your website from 50,000 feet. You know there’s something going on down there—conversions are down over there, but you can’t explain why.

Hotjar puts you on ground level with your users, so you can see what they do. Go beyond the big picture, and experience your website through their eyes: 

  • Heatmaps show you an aggregate of user behavior on individual site pages: where do your users click and scroll? What are they interested in? Do they see the most important elements of the page, and interact with them?

  • Recordings let you watch anonymized user sessions across your website, so you can see where individual users get stuck, rage click, u-turn, and eventually abandon your page.

The key takeaway? Empathizing with your users is the first step towards improving their experience in your product.

"Showing clients analytical numbers about what happened and where isn't always enough. When I introduced visual insights into 'why' shoppers behave certain ways, specifically session recordings, I saw jaws drop and excitement build".
Jeff Bronson
Ecommerce Warriors

Read more about how leading ecommerce consultants eCommerce Warriors use Hotjar to wow their clients with visualized user behavior and product experience insights.

Even more curious about how using Heatmaps helps increase conversions? Using Hotjar to gather behavior data, Bannersnack increased signups by 25%.

2. Hotjar helps you collect feedback that explains your users’ behavior

Let’s say you’re up and running with Heatmaps and Recordings, and you spot a recurring pattern where it looks like your users are getting frustrated. They might be scrolling up and down and clicking around, unsure of what to do next.

It would be a mistake to go ahead and make big changes to their digital experience without validating your assumptions about what’s going on. Why not ask them what they think, instead?

The added magic of Hotjar is how it completes the picture of the user experience (UX) with feedback. It’s important to get visual insight into user and product experience (PX) and observe what your visitors see and do, but what you need next is context: the drivers that lead people to your site, the barriers that stop them, and the hooks that convince them to do something. With Hotjar, you have different ways of doing it:

  • On-page Surveys are little popups that let you ask a quick question, in the moment, to your users.

    • Do you want to know why people don’t convert on your page? Pose the question to those who did, and see if something almost stopped them—so you can go ahead and fix the issue for everybody else.  

    • Ever wondered what’s going through your users’ heads when they exit a page? Measure exit intent by asking for feedback.

    • See something going wrong in a Recording, like someone clicking repeatedly on something that isn’t there, or users struggling to navigate through product features? Run a Survey, and ask people what they’re looking for.

  • Feedback is an expandable widget on the side of your web page that lets users share their hate-to-love feedback about the page itself.

    • Get the added context of having your users highlight things on your page and give highly specific feedback on their experience. For example, perhaps they want to tell you something about your pricing plans—you should give them an opportunity to do so.

    • Collecting ongoing feedback is your best way of being systematic about building customer- and user-centric experiences on your website and products. Here’s how we use our feedback tools ourselves at Hotjar to improve our product.

    • You never know which golden tip or growth opportunity might come your way. Think of this widget like your always-open, permanent Usability Testing department.

See how eShopWorld use Feedback in Hotjar to understand their clients’ user experience in real-time, without disturbing the checkout flow.

  • Surveys let you collect user feedback after they’ve visited your site and performed an action on it.  

    • While Surveys and Feedback are great for users to give quick in-the-moment feedback as they visit your website, Surveys are sent out asynchronously, and your respondents can answer in their own time.

    • Your respondents can go into more depth, and you can learn a lot about their motivations, expectations, and outcomes of their experience with you. For example, if you’re in ecommerce, you can trigger a post-purchase survey to their email and ask how they would rate their experience, what almost stopped them from becoming a customer, and whether there was anything about the experience that you should improve.

If you’re still curious about improving the user experience with feedback, have a read of our beginner’s guide to website feedback with 10 practical use cases.

3. Hotjar gives you fast product experience insights with no steep learning curve

The complexity of some analytics tools can get in the way of your need to get going with understanding your users’ behavior: the learning curve is often high, the insights less than straightforward, plus heavy investment in setup time and signup costs means you might be wondering why on earth you didn’t just invite your users to your office to do usability testing in-person.

And that’s before we even acknowledge that a lot of analytics and insight tools will need you to get a lot of support from your development/tech team to implement them. If that sounds familiar, we've got good news. Hotjar is super easy to set up and doesn’t have a steep learning curve:

  • Setup is as easy as installing one tracking code snippet on your website, which will put no strain on your development resources. Better still, Hotjar supports major tag managers (like Google Tag Manager) and can be installed onto hundreds of other platforms. For example, adding Hotjar to your Shopify store is quick and painless, and gives you multiple ways to increase shop conversions. It's the same when you want to optimize your WordPress site.

  • Hotjar insights are for everyone. You don’t need a PhD in data science to interpret Hotjar’s insights: product managers, product designers, UX researchers, product and ecommerce marketers… everyone gets it.


    Virtually anyone on your team can look at a heatmap and interpret its color gradients, watch a couple of recordings and spot problematic interactions, and read feedback to understand what people really think of your website or product.

Pro tip: consider what the impact on UX and customer satisfaction would be if your whole organization was reviewing user behavior and reading customer feedback. If your mission is to put the customer and the user first, you’ll need all your teams to better understand and empathize with your user—and Hotjar helps you do exactly that.

See how digital signage experts Marlin utilize Hotjar across several teams: to speed up time-to-resolution for the service team, to create empathy in the product and development team, and to identify customer roadblocks that the Sales team will need to unblock.

4. It’s easy to get buy-in and show Hotjar’s value

Hotjar works for teams of all sizes. Whether you’re a small startup building on lean UX with a small budget, or a worldwide enterprise with thousands of web pages—it’s easy to get Hotjar approved:

  • Hotjar combines four powerful product experience insights tools in one. You don’t need to go through procurement for separate heatmaps, recordings, and feedback tools—you only need to do it once, and you get access to all of them immediately. No alarm bells at ‘corporate’ when you ask for approval.

  • It’s free to use Hotjar basic forever, and Paid plans won’t break the bank.

  • Clearance with legal won’t be an issue: Hotjar is GDPR-ready, and our product is built and maintained with a privacy by design approach.

How do you use Hotjar to understand and improve your product experience?

When it comes to using Hotjar on your website, there are many different usability and experience tests you can run and points of improvement to identify.

In this article, we’ve gone through major use cases around visualizing user behavior and getting feedback, but the actual things you will do after using Hotjar might include the following:

  • Compare taps and clicks before and after tweaks to your user experience.

  • Remove or rethink ignored content.

  • Align page copy to the same words used by your visitors in their feedback.

  • See which type of imagery works best.

  • Know whether your CTAs are attracting attention.

  • Ask customers what made them nearly not convert.

  • Translate common feedback comments into FAQs.

  • Give your clients or boss proof of what works or not.

  • Challenge internal misconceptions and 'best practices'.

  • Overhaul forms to generate more leads.

  • Restructure product layouts based on visitors' objections.

  • Test copy and elements to discover works best above the fold.

  • Understand why test pages do not beat the control.

  • Learn what features or elements to move higher or lower on the page.

  • Uncover distracting elements that you should remove.

  • Filter out noise from unqualified user tests.

  • Speak directly to visitors before they leave the page.

  • Prioritize where to test first by identifying big opportunities.

  • Identify opportunities for new features to build in your product.

  • Confirm your hypothesis before building new features.

  • Generate new A/B test ideas.

  • Collect valuable testimonials from customers.

  • Improve your UX and PX on different screen resolutions.

There are plenty of other ways to use Hotjar successfully to better understand your users' experiences and get their feedback, but don’t just take our word for it: over 900,000 organizations use Hotjar, and in June 2019 we were voted by our users on G2 as one of the best software companies in EMEA:


Frequently Asked Questions about Hotjar

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