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Hotjar Events for product teams: best practices and expert tips

Hotjar Events lets you filter recordings and heatmaps and trigger surveys based on actions users carried out. Find out how to get the most out of Events as a product team.

Last updated

25 Aug 2022

Reading time

7 min


Creating an exceptional digital product means consistently nailing customer needs. As you tweak features and add functionality, you don’t want to guess what’s going on in your users’ minds. Ideally, you’d want a way to know if they’re loving the experience of your product so far to validate if you’re adding value.

Guess what? There’s a way: it's called event tracking!

Specifically, tracking events with Hotjar Events enables your product team to see how people interact with your app or site (and whether the changes you’ve prioritized have had the desired effect). At the same time, it helps you understand the motivations behind users' actions. It’s also a brilliant way to manage team resources and measure product success. 

Let’s unpack these benefits and discuss the best practices below, so you can continue building the most effective software or platform for your users.

Launch product features users love

Stop guessing how users experience your product. Set up and track the right events to glean insights into what they truly want and need.

What is event tracking, and why is it important?

Unlike entity data or user attributes (such as user ID, first name, last name, and email address), you can track and measure event data: user actions. Event tracking is a key process in collecting usage information, which you can then analyze on a product analytics or product experience (PX) insights platform like Hotjar. 

It’s a primary technique for your product team to record changes in user behavior: how they use your product or service in general or interact with certain components and features. In turn, you can delve deeper to see how these changes affect conversion, revenue, sales, and other business metrics.

For instance, you might track user logins to compare people who access your software weekly with those who do not. You can then look into what’s not working for your non-frequent users and brainstorm ideas with the team on how to improve retention.

What can product teams gain from tracking events?

You can customize events to your heart’s desire through the dedicated Hotjar Events application programming interface (API). But it’s crucial to remember it’s about collecting useful data. 

It’s not possible to create an event for every user interaction with your product. (And you won’t be too pleased if you’re tasked to do this, either.) So, we’ve established some criteria to help you choose the right events.

Hotjar Eventsfor product teams

In addition, activating tailored and targeted events allows your team to achieve remarkable results throughout the development and the entire product lifecycle. Here are a few examples:

Support goals at various levels

To avoid data clutter, set up only events that support your current goals, categorized into: 

  • Business

  • Product usage

  • Research or testing

As the core unit of your company, the product team can also distill business goals into product usage goals. This means you’ll home in on user actions that have a direct impact on business growth. It could be something that’s relatively minor but affects your sales or revenue, such as clicking on a coupon code on the checkout page.

Enable continuous discovery

Continuous discovery describes product teams’ relentless effort to search for new information on: 

  • What customers are thinking

  • How they’re experiencing the product

  • What their specific needs are

Here, you can take advantage of event tracking via the Hotjar Events API when, for instance, launching feature updates or iterating on your product. Filter Hotjar Recordings or Heatmaps based on relevant events, or use certain events to trigger Feedback or Surveys.

Optimize your product

Event data can reveal sources of bottlenecks, errors, and friction, helping you develop solutions. 

You can also spot opportunities and ideas for future changes (and continuous discovery) with the insights gleaned from your events-based analysis.

Save time and effort

Enhance your analysis and streamline workflows when you capture the right events. 

Tracking events makes it easier to validate your assumptions. And when presented with other data on the Hotjar Dashboard, where you can view all the metrics that matter to your team, the insights it brings also empower you to get buy-in—not just from your team members but also from the rest of the company’s stakeholders.

Hotjar Dashboard overview

What questions can the right event data help product teams answer?

Useful product data provides a front-seat view of the user experience (UX). This perspective empowers you to answer high-level questions, such as:

  • Are customers having a good product experience?

  • Are we meeting their expectations?

  • How can we build a better product?

For example:

During a session on your app or site, a user completes a purchase. If you’ve set up an event for this action, it will trigger the API to send that event to and save it on Hotjar. Now you can track all the sessions in which users made purchases, and filter the data to compare it with users who did not complete their purchase. 

You can then look further into those who did not convert to see if they encountered any error or got frustrated by something along the way. 

Hotjar Events can help you nail down what’s wrong and do something about it. And it also applies to what’s working, what could work, and what your team needs to prioritize.

What are the best practices for making the most of Hotjar Events?

Whether you’re just starting out with Hotjar Events or have done this before, remember that the events you track will evolve over time. So, we suggest keeping the following should–dos handy as you encounter different scenarios:

Adding events when launching new features

Assign events that will provide you with the data needed to understand whether a new feature is working or not. To ensure you’re tracking relevant events, do the following:

  • Identify the information your team and other stakeholders require from the product and users (you might reach out to departments like business operations, sales, customer support, and even the executive team)

  • Be purposeful and build events that support business, product, and/or testing goals

  • Create documentation for all your events, including the “trigger,” “activation date,” “related goals,” “parameters,” etc.

  • Review the code to ensure it’s working properly

💡Pro tip: for more information on how the API works and what calls to make, read our Help Center article.

Updating events as existing features change

If you adopt a product experimentation culture for your team, you will constantly be trying different methods and product iterations to discover solutions. Tracking through the Hotjar Events API will slot right into this ongoing process.

And as you augment your product with a new feature or functionality, you ‘ll want to make some updates accordingly:

  • Decide if this change requires adding a new event or updating an existing one

  • List the changes in your documentation

  • Determine if the incoming and outgoing events should overlap until the new one has gathered data history (e.g., for a dating app, shifting from tracking all swipes to tracking positive and negative swipes separately)

Watching out for common event tracking mistakes

Lastly, put a checklist together of the following to avoid making event tracking mistakes:

  • Communicate with stakeholders across your company

  • Limit events to ensure you get easy-to-maintain, useful data

  • Follow the correct Events API call format

  • Add parameters to your events, such as data segmentation by gender, age, location, and more, to enhance analysis

  • Review your events and update documentation regularly

Why are product experience insights crucial for creating products and releasing features users love?

Product analytics shows what’s happening at the page level of your site or platform. Meanwhile, product experience insights give you access to more granular details that explain why something is happening. 

Why are users dropping out of your checkout page? Why are they not clicking the call-to-action (CTA) button on your homepage?

Let’s say you notice the ups and downs in your charts on Hotjar Trends or see a series of rage clicks on your Hotjar Dashboard. Here, you can enhance your analysis by looking at the relevant recordings or heatmaps, and uncovering the reason for the user behavior.

See Hotjar Events in Trends

Further, you can filter the sessions captured through Recordings or Heatmaps using the events you have set up. You see, all tools on our platform work together to help you learn the “why” behind your metrics, find issues and fixes fast, and understand your users much better.

This way, you will know which feature to develop or functionality to improve next, or even spot an error to resolve immediately. 

There’s no need to guess what customers want to find on your app or platform: you have the data and insights to nail it down. And then, your team can prioritize a solution over other tasks in your backlog. 

From gathering useful data to delighting users 

Find the Events feature pre-enabled on your site if you have one of the following Observe or Ask plans: Plus, Business, or Scale

You can create up to 1,000 unique events per Hotjar site, with an unlimited number of users associated with those events. Go on, get tracking!

Build the solution users need

Create Hotjar Events that support your business and product usage goals. Then watch your UX, sales, and revenue improve.