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Hotjar & Chill: how to host a Hotjar Watch Party

Roll out the red carpet and send an invitation to everyone who’s anyone—your product team, designers, developers, testers, marketers, and more: it’s Hotjar Watch Party season!

Last updated

15 Nov 2022

Reading time

8 min


At a Hotjar Watch Party, your entire team takes a moment to watch real users interact with your product, or website, getting you all on the same page in record time.

This isn’t just an excuse for you and your colleagues to kick back for an hour or two. It’s a creative (and fun!) new way to align with your team, empathize with your customers, and make impactful changes, fast. Plus, it’s the hottest party in town!

What’s a Hotjar Watch Party, anyway?

A Hotjar Watch Party brings your team together for one hour to watch a series of session recordings related to a goal or topic of your choice. It sounds simple, and that’s because it is! But it’s also a surefire way to spark new ideas and uncover surprising insights. Just ask Sara, the Customer Knowledge Manager at online home-rental company Spotahome, who hosts legendary Hotjar Watch Parties by inviting everyone in product and engineering to a call. 

She plays a series of recordings and asks all attendees to make notes on interesting insights they spot. According to Sara, “After most sessions, developers and product managers would leave the meetings with a crazy amount of bugs to fix.” 

There’s no doubt seeing how people interact with your product first-hand is priceless knowledge to have, but many people on your team may never have experienced it for themselves. That’s what makes a Hotjar Watch Party invaluable: sharing insights with your entire team turns solo scrolling into a full-on party!

Find—and fix—issues faster than ever!

When it comes to your customers, don't rely on guesswork and assumptions. Host your first Hotjar Watch Party to get on top of your user experience in an instant.

5 reasons to host a Hotjar Watch Party 

If you’re a Hotjar user, you already know how valuable Hotjar’s insights can be. But by sharing that knowledge with your entire team, the value is multiplied. Here’s why you should host one right away: 

  1. Design improvements and bug fixes are actioned faster when the entire team sees users struggling first-hand

  2. A cross-functional list of partygoers brings new perspectives, so you’ll get a complete analysis of your user, customer, or product experience

  3. You won’t need to convince stakeholders of the value of Hotjar; instead, show them and wait for their lightbulb moment!

  4. Prioritize your backlog with fixes and improvements that your entire team are aligned on

  5. Have the perfect excuse to sit back, grab a snack, and watch a movie in the middle of your workday 😉

If this sounds like something you could get on board with, read on to find out how to get started!

Prepping for the hottest party in town 🎉

A Hotjar Watch Party may be an epic extravaganza, but it won’t take you too long to make a successful event happen. In fact, you’ll be ready to party in 4 simple steps:

  • Step 1: do some initial party planning

  • Step 2: organize your entertainment

  • Step 3: create your exclusive guest list

  • Step 4: get the party started! 🍿

Step 1: do some initial party planning

From the Oscars to Coachella, every great event has a purpose, whether handing out an award or giving a platform to new performers. A Hotjar Watch Party is no different!

Choose your theme 

When it comes to Watch Parties, the topic of your party is the thread that ties your event together. Hotjar Watch Parties are most productive when you choose a specific topic or talking point related to your goals as a team. The first step of your party-planning process is to decide on a topic that could have the biggest impact on your business. Ask yourself: what’s important to your team right now—and what could potentially move the needle the most?

Consider staying laser-focused on something like a newly released feature, a new landing page, or a stage in the user journey. This way, you’ll be able to spot patterns quicker.

Have fun with filters

Now, you can look for recordings that match your chosen topic. Start by using filters to find recordings relevant to your chosen topic. For example, if you want to analyze users who tried out a new feature or abandoned cart in the last 30 days, filters help you gather the list of related recordings. Once you’ve identified your criteria, save this view as a new segment to easily go back to it when you need to.

Filters and segments are only available on Observe Plus, Business, and Scale plans. They are not available on the Observe Basic plan. Visit our Hotjar Plans article to find out more about what's included in each one.

💡 Top tip: sync your company’s existing user data, like custom attributes and events, with Hotjar so you can filter by specific user properties or actions for more targeted insights. With User Attributes, you can analyze behavior-based user properties, like role, industry, sign-up date, and more. And with Events, you can analyze behavior based on actions the user carried out—think clicked CTA, completed step 1, added to basket, and more.

Step 2: organize your entertainment

So, you’ve decided on the theme and narrowed down your list of related recordings. Now it’s time to review the “auditions” and refine your entertainment even more.

Rank by relevance 

You’ll probably have a long list of recordings vying for a spot in the main event, but some will inevitably be more insightful than others. Sort your list of recordings by relevance and watch those with a “high” or “very high” score—these are most likely to provide you with valuable insights based on users’ actions during the session.

By combining filters and relevance scores, you’ll be able to cut through the noise and spot thought-provoking insights in much less time! 

Save party-worthy insights

Set your party up for success by saving and organizing your insights in a way that allows you to run through them seamlessly. That’s where Collections and Highlights come in!

From the Highlights area in Hotjar, create a new collection called “Hotjar Watch Party 🍿”. This is the “folder” where you’ll save and organize all those interesting moments you spot in recordings and the main stage of your party.

Next, work your way through the segment of recordings you created earlier. When you come across some questionable behavior, simply create a highlight—a short clip of user behavior you find especially interesting—and save it to your “Hotjar Watch Party 🍿” collection. Here’s how:

  1. When you spot something interesting, click  the 💡 icon in the player timeline

  2. Select one of the following labels to categorize your highlight: Bug | UI/UX Issue | Confusion | Frustration | Success | Conversion |

  3. Edit the length of the highlight by adjusting the slider on the player timeline or by updating the “Start” and “End” fields. If you don’t adjust the length, it will default to 30 seconds.

  4. Click “Save,” and you’ll see an option to add the highlight to a collection 

  5. Select “Hotjar Watch Party 🍿,” and the clip will be saved to your collection, ready for show-time 🎬

Add enough highlights (6-7, depending on the length of each one) to your “Hotjar Watch Party 🍿” collection. And that’s it! You’re ready to party.

💡 Top tip: take a free 10-minute course on collaborating with your team using Highlights to make even more of your insights!

Step 3: create your exclusive guest list

Now that you’re ready for the main event, you might be wondering who to add to your guest list. In our experience, the more, the merrier! One of the great things about Hotjar Watch Parties is the unique points of view gathered in one space. Everyone will be looking out for different things, which means the end result will give you a much more complete analysis than if you were to analyze recordings on your own. 

As Sara from Spotahome puts it, "If I watch these videos by myself, I might miss something that a developer would notice. What I look for is different from what others look for. When I have people from different backgrounds look at the same recordings, I know that we’ll have a complete analysis from everyone.

That’s why we recommend inviting people from different parts of your team: designers, developers, researchers, product managers, marketers, analysts, and testers. You can even take it a step further and extend the invitation to other teams across the business.

That’s a lot of people—and since it’s a party, you want all your guests to enjoy themselves. We recommend either hosting your event at lunchtime or towards the end of the day, so everyone can grab a drink or a snack and enjoy the show.

💡 Top tip: order some pizza and beer for a chilled out (but productive!) evening session. And don’t forget to put some time in the calendar and set up a Zoom link so you can share your screen with remote attendees.

Step 4: get the party started! 🍿

When the day finally arrives, all you need to do is open up the Zoom link and share your screen on the “Hotjar Watch Party 🍿” collection. From here, play the recording highlights one by one and ask attendees to make notes on any interesting insights they spot.

Use this as an opportunity to discuss the behavior you’re observing with your team—dig into the why behind user behavior. What happens next is magic: immediately, your designers will be looking to make improvements, developers will be spotting unexpected behaviors, analysts will have an aha! moment behind a change in metrics, and you’ll be thrilled you kicked off the first of many Hotjar Watch Parties! 😎

When you’ve worked through the recordings and finished analyzing the behavior as a team, don’t leave the meeting without a prioritized list of next steps. Make sure everyone is aligned around what needs to be done and add associated tasks to your backlog.

💡 Top tip: use this Miro template to categorize observations as a team and create a prioritized list of next steps.

Plan your first party!

Hotjar Watch Parties are a simple way to show your team first-hand how users are interacting with your product or site. We’ve heard from several customers that issues get prioritized quicker when everyone sees users struggling. Not only that, but the mix of perspectives enhances the analysis and gives you a more holistic view of user behavior. And if you’re a Hotjar champion who’s been trying to convince your team of the benefits of product experience insights, this is the easiest—and most fun—way to get them on board! 

If your team likes what they see, remember you can add unlimited users to your Hotjar account, so make sure to invite them after the session so you can all dig deeper into user behavior, together. 

Are you organizing a Hotjar Watch Party of your own? We’d love to know about it! Post a festive photo and tag us on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn with the hashtag #HotjarWatchParty on the day of the big event, and we’ll drop in and say hi! 👋

Get buy-in and align with your team

A Hotjar Watch Party gets your entire team to see what your users are seeing, helping you to empathize with the people that matter most.