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6 ways to discover and analyze valuable user segments in Hotjar

Effective user segmentation analysis requires more than just categorizing users based on arbitrary metrics: you must truly understand your customers—their jobs to be done, preferences, and online behavior—to find meaningful segments and optimize their experiences with your brand. 

Hotjar’s advanced segmentation filters, integrations, and quantitative and qualitative tools make it easy to analyze user segments from every angle and generate a roadmap for growth by putting users first. 

1. Filter session data to identify valuable segments 

All Hotjar tools—including Heatmaps, Recordings, and Feedback—include session filters that let you drill down into your data and find valuable information. Use these to apply different types of user segmentation, for example:

  • Behavioral segmentation: filter by the pages users visit, where they click, exit, churn, u-turn, enter text, encounter an error, or trigger an event

  • Geographic segmentation: filter by country

  • Technographic segmentation: filter by device, screen resolution, browser, and operating system

#Use Hotjar’s filters to segment user data
Use Hotjar’s filters to segment user data

To identify the characteristics of valuable user segments, set up custom user attributes—like last_purchase_date, subscription status, or on-trial— to view sessions that match your KPIs or product goals. 

For example, filter your session data by total_purchases to see the behavior of high-value repeat customers. View heatmaps and session recordings to identify common characteristics (like country or device type) and actions (like CTA clicks) that correlate with your ideal customer outcome.

Analyze user segments in Hotjar

Create custom segments, apply advanced filters, and integrate with your stack to optimize your product for your most valuable users.

2. Apply predefined and custom segments to analyze behavior

Instead of adding multiple filters to your data every time you want to analyze it, Hotjar segments save you time with one-click predefined and custom filter collections

Use the predefined segments in the menu bar to skip straight to sessions that share a common trait. For example, you can observe and compare customers that come to your site from specific traffic sources like

  • Direct traffic

  • Mobile users

  • Organic traffic

  • Paid traffic

And you can also review sessions based on visitor behavior or website events, including 

  • Rage clicked

  • Returning users

  • New users

  • Error occurred

If the existing options feel too limiting, no problem: you can always create custom segments from your filter combinations. Just hit the ‘Save’ button and give your new segment a unique name.

3. Use funnels to compare segment performance

Hotjar Funnels gives you a visual overview of how different segments perform, allowing you to identify your best-converting segments, spot issues before they escalate, and share segment success with stakeholders. 

Apply filters to define each funnel step, define what a conversion is (e.g. a CTA click or trial sign-up), and compare the performance of up to five segments in a single funnel.

#A segmented funnel showing desktop vs mobile performance
A segmented funnel showing desktop vs mobile performance

For example, set up a funnel to compare how traffic from social media, organic search, and paid campaigns convert new visitors into trial sign-ups. Use funnel analysis to click through to relevant recordings of

  • Users who dropped off—see if they encountered errors or got confused by specific UI elements 

  • Users who converted—see if you can determine which element(s) in the customer journey persuaded them to continue

4. Identify user personas to use as segments

Quantitative segmentation data like customer lifetime value (CLV) or onboarding completion status isn’t enough to help you identify your most valuable audience and its primary goals and challenges. 

Use Hotjar Surveys to build accurate user personas by asking users and customers short open-ended questions about their needs and pain points.

#Ask B2B customers how they use your product to understand how it helps them achieve their business goals
Ask B2B customers how they use your product to understand how it helps them achieve their business goals

Start with our free user persona template and create a survey to collect some of this information. You can choose to send it via email or pop it up on your site or product when users visit a specific page (for example, the pricing page).

You’ll learn

  • Who your users are and how they describe themselves

  • What their main goals are

  • The barriers they face

  • How they use your product 

Next, use the one-click AI-generated survey report to quickly summarize responses and create one or two simple user personas—use these as needs-based segments to better position your messaging and product offering, and improve retention.

#Use customer feedback to build personas for target groups
Use customer feedback to build personas for target groups

5. Target surveys and interviews to understand your market segment

The previous step was about surveying your website visitors and existing customers and then grouping them into segments based on their answers. Here, you take the opposite approach: identify key customer groups first, then collect targeted feedback from them.

Collecting qualitative feedback from your most valuable customer segments helps you identify customer needs and understand what drives loyalty in a way that numbers alone cannot. 

Do this in Hotjar by

  • Using Surveys to target on-site surveys to visitors or users who take specific actions or match your segment criteria

  • Using Engage to interview users who match your ideal customer profile

#Types of customer segmentation available in Hotjar Engage
Types of customer segmentation available in Hotjar Engage

Target Hotjar Surveys to any user on your website or product using session filters, including custom user attributes like logged_in or on_trial. For example, you can apply value-based segmentation by asking questions to customers with the highest lifetime value. 

And when you need in-depth, in-person (well: in-Zoom!) conversations with existing or potential customers, Hotjar Engage lets you recruit participants or find matches from a pool of 200,000+ people. 

You can apply several customer segmentation models to make sure you only recruit people who fit your criteria including

  • Demographic segmentation: screen for participants based on their age, gender, and job title

  • Psychographic segmentation: screen for participants based on their interests, lifestyle, and opinions

6. Combine data to see the customer behavior behind segments

Combining qualitative and quantitative data sets from different tools helps you carry out deeper customer segmentation analysis, like viewing behavior from specific customers and getting real-time alerts when your target audience leaves feedback.

Here are a few ways to amplify segment data collection in Hotjar:

  • Use Hotjar’s Google Analytics 4 (GA4) integration to filter insights using customer data from your GA4 segments, including user city, gender, campaign manager ID, and user ID. Do this to investigate the reason behind changes in your Google Analytics user segments, like an increase in bounce rate or a dip in conversions.

  • Use Hotjar’s Segment integration to filter Hotjar data (including Heatmaps and Recordings) by events and user attributes collected by Segment to see the real user behavior behind any custom segment

  • Create custom Dashboards to monitor your segments’ performance across Hotjar tools in one place—track funnels, feedback scores, errors, and clicks so you can attribute what’s leading to segment success and spot bugs quickly

  • Use Hotjar’s Slack integration to get updates when there’s a new session recording or survey response from users matching your key segments. This way, your team will spot a sudden drop in performance early and have the data on hand to troubleshoot issues before they escalate. 

#Get segmented updates sent from Hotjar to Slack
Get segmented updates sent from Hotjar to Slack

Using Hotjar filters, I hone in on every recording of users who fail to onboard and use the integration to send them straight to Slack. That way, as soon as something goes wrong, I’m able to see the issue in Slack and coordinate with the team.

John Gilmore
Sales Operations Manager at ClassHero

Understanding > categorization

User segmentation analysis is not a one-off box-ticking exercise: it’s an ongoing process to understand who your best customers are and what they need from your business so you can deliver it to them. 

Ultimately, there’s more to growing your customer base than just using automation to categorize your audience into random traits like their marital status. Instead, focus on analyzing user experience, listening to what your customers say, and understanding where they get stuck. 

By optimizing for customer joy, you’ll win more business, even if the segments surprise you.

Understand customer segments with Hotjar

Create custom segments, apply advanced filters, and integrate with your stack to optimize your product for your most valuable users. 

FAQs about user segmentation analysis