This week I'm reviewing Hotjar, a qualitative data tool for heatmaps, real session recordings, and surveys.
I've used Hotjar on the job in order to supplement quantitative insights when they fall short of the real human experience. It's a pretty great tool for small brands, so I'll dive into some pros and cons...
Even the cheapest plans have quite a bit of functionality, which makes this tool useful for small brands. And if you're still developing your analytics capabilities, Hotjar can be a good stop gap to understand user behavior in the meantime. I especially think Hotjar is useful for debugging-- for example if you're seeing dropoff at a specific point and want to know why, you can use Hotjar to confirm that it's because users are seeing a blank page or error message that wasn't intended. Also if you regularly AB test, you can create filters to track users for specific tests which is extremely useful to understand behavior on new features.
The sample size of recordings is quite low, and sometimes Hotjar cuts off recordings before the end of the session (at least in my experience). I think you can get a lot of what Hotjar offers through click/scroll data via an analytics tool, which means I honestly don't use Hotjar very often.
Take it from me
I haven't used a tool for heatmaps and recordings that works as well as Hotjar, and it really is a useful supplement to an analytics tool. Hotjar has helped me solve for serious technical bugs on several occasions, so it's worth having, but you don't need the most expensive plan IMO, just the basics. And if you don't have your analytics built out, this is a good (and cheaper) alternative to see how your users are interacting with your site.