What's new in Hotjar
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What's new in Hotjar

Hotjar makes it easy to go beyond traditional web analytics and understand what users are really doing on your site.

Improvement
June 22, 2020

Keep recording without creating snapshots

We’re making a major improvement to the way Hotjar captures data and taking the manual work out of understanding what users are really doing on your site.

What you need to know:

  • We are beginning the rollout of continuous capture, which will replace the current snapshots method of capturing data about user behavior in Hotjar.
  • When fully rolled out, you will no longer need to manually create and restart snapshots in Hotjar Recordings and Heatmaps.
  • This will mean no more manual restarting of recordings and no more gaps in your data between snapshots. The result? A clearer picture of how your user behavior varies over time, and less of your time spent on manual work.
  • This will be a phased release so, depending on your plan and the tools you use in Hotjar, you might not see any changes straight away.
  • The first phase is a limited release of continuous capture in Recordings to sites on Business plans with an allowance of 50,000 pageviews/day or higher.

We’re making Hotjar better, based on your feedback

We get a lot of suggestions from you, our customers, on ways Hotjar can make your lives easier and give you a better understanding of your users’ behavior. By far, the most common frustration is the need to create ‘snapshots’ in our Heatmaps and Recordings tools.

Let's face it, starting and stopping snapshots in order to generate recordings and heatmaps is not a natural part of your workflow. This can be confusing: you stop seeing new recordings, you get frustrated when you realize you need to manually restart a recording snapshot to avoid gaps in your data.

The new way of capturing data

We’ve taken this feedback on board and built a new way of capturing the data used to generate heatmaps and recordings in Hotjar, automatically and continuously.

This will mean no more logging in to manually restart your snapshots and no more gaps in your data between one snapshot ending and another starting. Continuously capturing data will give you a truer picture of user behavior on your site, allow you to identify trends in behavior over time, and ultimately enable you to make the right changes to your user experience.

What our BETA users have to say

MaxiAxi is a leading online retailer of light and sound equipment. As participants in the BETA phase of continuous capture in Recordings, the MaxiAxi team has been experiencing this new way of generating recordings and have seen huge benefits.

Sven van Laar, Ecommerce Manager at MaxiAxi, is a regular user of Hotjar and sets aside a few hours every Friday to watch recordings of MaxiAxi users navigating the company's ecommerce site. This helps him to identify opportunities to improve the user experience.

"We've been able to fix a lot of issues with the checkout, things customers didn't get, things that didn't work, or problems that we didn't see but customers did. When you had to keep restarting snapshots, you risked missing a problem that came up in the store at a time when recordings weren't being generated. Now, with continuous capture in Recordings, you don't have the fear of missing out. You can always see the actual data, it's there waiting for you. You can trust that Hotjar will be ready for you, and you know the recordings are there."

A phased rollout across Hotjar’s tools and price plans

Hotjar’s evolution from snapshots to continuous capture will be completed in phases and will be limited to certain tools within Hotjar and specific price plans at first. As we get feedback from initial customers and fine-tune the new experience, we will eventually make this the standard for all of our customers and across all tools in Hotjar.

The first step was taken last week when sites on our Business plans with an allowance of 50,000 pageviews/day or higher (price plans from $/€189 and up) got access to continuous capture in Recordings. If your site is on a plan that already has access, you can read more here about how continuous capture works in Recordings, what has happened to your existing snapshots, and the daily recordings allowances for your plan.

When will continuous capture be available in more tools and plans?

Continuous capture in Heatmaps will follow in the third quarter of 2020. The full rollout across all tools and to sites on all Business plans will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2020.

If your site is on our Basic or Plus plans, you will need to wait a while longer to get the benefits of continuous capture, but it will eventually become the standard in all Hotjar plans. If you want to remove the manual work of starting and stopping snapshots as soon as possible, you can always upgrade your site to one of our Business plans (even if only temporarily) to get earlier access to continuous capture and lots of other advanced features.

The transition from snapshots to continuous capture will change how Hotjar fits into your workflow, and we’re confident that it will make it far easier for you to get the insights you need to create experiences that your users love.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact our support team.

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Improvement
November 14, 2018

🚀Hotjar just got a performance boost

The DevOps team at Hotjar is always looking at ways of improving the speed and efficiency of our service through optimizing how we collect, store, and give you access to your data, and we are excited to share this update with you today.

We recently switched service providers of our content distribution network (CDN), which allows us to deliver our data collection script faster, depending on where your customers are situated.

The biggest regions impacted by these changes were the EU & US, who are now seeing a 64% & 58% improvement in the average time between requesting and retrieving the Hotjar script and associated assets respectively.

We really appreciate the trust you put in us and we are committed to constantly improving Hotjar for you.

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Improvement
December 12, 2017

We’re Protecting You And Your Users With More Secure Recordings

We recently published a blog post about our commitment to privacy. As a Hotjar co-founder and Director of Engineering, I am following up with this technical explanation of the changes we made to our recordings so they are more secure and privacy-centric for you and your website visitors.

How do recordings work?

When visitor sessions are recorded, recording tools such as Hotjar typically take a copy of the HTML of each page and record keystroke data (anything that the users types within input fields) to be able to replay those sessions accurately.

At Hotjar we have always been conscious of respecting people’s privacy and, in an effort to ensure all sensitive data is suppressed, we have offered Hotjar users two options:

  • The ability to completely turn off the recording of all keystroke data (while always suppressing credit card number and password fields automatically).
  • The ability to suppress other sensitive data, such as names or usernames, within HTML elements by adding a small snippet of code to their website.

What’s changing?

1. By default, Hotjar will now suppress all keystroke data within recordings

2. We’ve given Hotjar users the ability to whitelist fields they wish to record keystroke data for

3. Hotjar will never record keystroke data on potentially sensitive fields

4. We’re now loading and replaying recordings over HTTPS

1. By default, Hotjar will now suppress all keystroke data within recordings (unless the fields have been manually whitelisted).

To ensure we remove all potentially sensitive information from text written into input fields, we are now:

  • suppressing keystroke data by default for all new accounts, and
  • introducing a new whitelist system that allows Hotjar users to manually tag the fields they wish to record. 

Hotjar suppresses keystroke data using JavaScript directly on a web visitor’s browser. This means that the Hotjar script does not record or send the data to our servers, and asterisk (*) symbols are sent instead of the actual text. We will also be randomising the length of these asterisks strings to further obfuscate the suppressed data shown in recordings.

A RANDOM NUMBER OF ASTERISKS HIDES THE ORIGINAL LENGTH OF CHARACTERS IN A FIELD.

If a Hotjar user wishes to record keystroke data on specific fields, an account admin will need to turn on keystroke data recording from their site settings and manually whitelist fields (they will do so by adding an attribute or class to their input or textarea fields, as explained below).

How does this affect you if you currently record keystroke data on Hotjar?

You will need to whitelist the specific fields you wish to keep recording (explained in the next section). If you have this setting turned on, but do not whitelist any fields, Hotjar will still suppress keystroke data.

How does this affect you if you currently have keystroke data recording turned off on Hotjar?

If you currently do not record keystroke data, nothing will change. Hotjar will keep suppressing all text entered into input and textarea fields in recordings.

2. We’re giving Hotjar users the ability to whitelist fields they wish to record keystroke data for.

To improve their visitors' experience, sites may have specific needs to record and replay keystroke data on individual fields. If this is your case, Hotjar now offers the ability to manually whitelist fields.

Note: We have whitelisting restrictions in place, which means that there are specific fields we will never record, regardless of whether they are whitelisted or not (explained in section 3 below).

If you wish Hotjar to record your fields, you can follow these two simple steps:

1) An account admin will need to enable the "Record keystroke data on whitelisted fields" setting. This can be done from the site settings, when starting a new Recording snapshot or by editing an existing Recording snapshot.

SITE SETTINGS (AVAILABLE FROM SETTINGS > SITES & ORGANIZATIONS)

RECORDING OPTIONS (AVAILABLE WHEN YOU START OR EDIT A RECORDING SNAPSHOT)

2) Hotjar users need to manually add a “data-hj-whitelist” attribute OR add a “data-hj-whitelist” class to their input and textarea tags to whitelist their fields.

Using element attributes:

<input type=”text” name=”company” data-hj-whitelist />

<textarea name=”comments” data-hj-whitelist></textarea>

Using element classes:

<input type=”text” name=”company” class=”data-hj-whitelist” />

<textarea name=”comments” class=”data-hj-whitelist”></textarea>

Once you’ve turned on keystroke data and whitelisted your fields, Hotjar will start to record keystroke data from them unless those fields form part of our whitelist restrictions list.

3. Hotjar will never record keystroke data from potentially sensitive fields.

Regardless of whether whitelisting has been used, there are some specific field types that Hotjar will NEVER record when detected.

As a session is being recorded, Hotjar tries to detect sensitive fields such as names, addresses, phone numbers, passwords and credit cards and suppresses any text written in them.

Our whitelisting restrictions include:

  • Any input fields of the following types: password, email, tel (telephone number).
  • Any fields which contain content that looks like emails or credit card numbers (detected through regex).
  • Any fields with the following name or id: username, name, surname, lastname, familyname, fullname, email, phone, telephone, tel, mobile, address, address1, address2, addressline1, addressline2, postcode, postalcode, zip, zipcode, ssn, nis, ppsn, dob, dateofbirth, password, pass, creditcard, cc, ccnum, ccname, ccnumber, ccexpiry, ccexp, ccexpmonth, ccexpyear, cccvc, cccvv, cctype, cvc, cvv. We also ignore case, “-” and “_” characters when matching (“NAME”, “full-name” or “family_name” would also be matched).

If Hotjar detects any of these fields, their content will be immediately suppressed and replaced with a string of asterisks (with the length randomised), before they are sent to Hotjar’s servers.

4. We’re now loading and replaying recordings over HTTPS.

HTTPS is a widely used Internet protocol used to ensure data can’t be viewed or modified by a third party as it is being transmitted to a user’s browser.

Hotjar now loads and replays all recordings of fully secure sessions over HTTPS: if the original session recorded happened over HTTPS (a secure session), Hotjar will play that session back over HTTPS.

Note that if only parts of the original recording happened over HTTPS, Hotjar will have to replay the entire recording over HTTP.

What’s next?

At Hotjar, we really care about your privacy and the privacy of your website visitors and users. Hotjar is NOT designed to show how a specific and identifiable person is using the site or app: we are building a solution that teams can use to truly understand how a site or app is being used, and more importantly why, as a whole and without making any of the individuals recognizable.

The difference between these approaches is huge. While most of our competitors allow you to tag, identify and search for specific users, with Hotjar we allow our customers to understand their visitors’ experience and identify common issues and opportunities without making individual users identifiable.

Over the next few months, we’ll be making some changes to start automatically suppressing any personally identifiable data detected in pages within the HTML itself. We will also be working on further improvements throughout the whole of Hotjar as part of our initiative to be compliant with GDPR - a new EU legislation that is completely in line with our own beliefs about user privacy. As always, we welcome your feedback to help us keep improving Hotjar for everyone.

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