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How Marlin Used Hotjar to Find Bugs and Improve the Experience

“I'm able to get a 30,000-foot view with Hotjar, whereas without it, I'm stuck on the ground, relying on Google Analytics and customer interviews to try to ascertain exactly how users use our product.”

TechnologyHow to improve customer experienceHow to improve your productProduct manager

Last updated

24 Mar 2023

Reading time

3 min

Features used



How do you create a product that really solves your customers’ problems? How do you craft a sales message that fully addresses your prospects’ needs?

The team at Marlin was facing the challenges above when they decided that their best strategy would be getting inside their users’ heads and learn to empathize with them.


A digital signage company wanting to learn about their customers

Marlin is a US-based company that’s found a fascinating niche. You know those digital signs you might see in a doctor’s office that offer healthcare tips and other information? That exact technology is used in all sorts of industries, from manufacturing (e.g., communicating work safety tips) to hospitality (e.g., providing event information to guests), and Marlin provides the software and hardware required to create do-it-yourself digital signage.

The team at Marlin wanted to understand what their users were doing on different pages of the site so they could build a seamless user experience and deliver products that customers would love to use—and when they heard about how Hotjar might help, they had one main question: 


Would implementing Hotjar be worth the effort?

Stephen Ippolito is a Product Manager for Marlin, and two years ago he’d never heard of Hotjar. He and his team have a heavy workload, and he didn’t know whether it made sense to spend time and energy implementing and learning new software.

Fortunately, implementing Hotjar proved well worth the effort:

We chose to make the time to learn Hotjar, no matter what, because we saw the value in what it could bring us. I couldn't have imagined, at the time, how much value it would bring us after being a customer for over a year. What it has expanded to, over 18 months later, is a tool we use for not only UX, but for support, marketing initiatives, surveys, customer interviews, product decisions, presentations to our sales team, and communication to our entire company on how people use our product.
Stephen Ippolito
Product Manager at Marlin

Challenge #1: spotting and fixing bugs quickly

When users report bugs in Marlin’s software, the team uses Hotjar to review session recordings and understand exactly where the problem is occurring. Without Hotjar, they’d have to reproduce the issue themselves, which would take much longer.

When we receive a support ticket, we use Hotjar recordings to find that user's session with their consent. We then watch it, log the bug, and attach the recording to the ticket. This saves hours of work since we don’t have to recreate the problem itself.
Stephen Ippolito
Product Manager at Marlin

The team at Marlin relies on session recordings a lot. When we spoke to him, Stephen shared a win he had just gotten that same day: “Just this morning, we released a new feature and were able to see a customer navigate right to a specific part of the feature we highlighted in a user email. In most applications, there is a veil of secrecy because you really don't know how users use your app beyond speaking to them or using other analytics tools. We literally saw the fruits of our labor today.”

Challenge #2: building empathy to create superior products and UX

Stephen makes a habit of watching Hotjar session recordings: every Friday, he sits down and watches 30 minutes of recordings over a cup of coffee. But it doesn’t end there!

After Stephen identifies common problems in the customer flow, he shares the recordings with the developer team: suddenly, devs can empathize with users in ways that were impossible before. And when they launch new features, they can see how customers benefit from their changes firsthand.

Our developers don't talk to customers. Showing them Hotjar recordings of user sessions makes them empathetic when our users stumble, and it gives them a sense of pride when they see a user complete a task they just worked on.
Stephen Ippolito
Product Manager at Marlin

Since Marlin is a digital signage company, the team even goes a step further and displays Session Recordings on their own internal displays for the whole company to see. That way, everyone can understand the challenges users face. See it in action here: 

Challenge #3: creating a compelling sales message

Session Recordings help Marlin identify common customer roadblocks, and by solving these problems they’re able to carve out the selling points that make their products special.

As product usage grew within the app, we were able to back up anecdotal evidence of what users did and quantify how long it would take them to complete basic flows. This became a major point we highlighted to our sales team, as a product differentiator, in competitive situations.
Stephen Ippolito
Product Manager at Marlin

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