Hotjar Review

We look at a new cloud-based tool for understanding website user behavior. 

You can try Hotjar for free, and you probably should. The web-based “all-in-one analytics and feedback” tool is a great way to dive into the type of data offered by ethnio, ClickTale, Qualaroo, Crazy Egg, Survey Monkey, and the like.

You’ve probably heard of some of the companies that use Hotjar. They include Microsoft, Intuit, Nintendo, and Panasonic. You can add dot818 to the list. Read on to find out why we like the program – and keep in mind that while this review is complimentary in nature, we were not paid or compensated by Hotjar to write it.



One way to find out what users want is to look where they’re looking. Heatmaps give you a collective representation of your users’ click, tap, and scrolling behavior, so you can quickly tell what is and isn’t drawing attention on a particular webpage.

You don’t need a data analyst say what your Hotjar heatmap means. It’s easy to understand. The information will help you better position your call to action, so it’s where you know users are looking. This can lead to lower exit rates and a better overall user experience.

After you’ve added Hotjar to your site’s code, setting up the heatmap functionality requires just a few button clicks. Your free plan will garner you 1,000 page views worth of information. The Plus plan doubles the number, and the Business plan bumps it all the way up to 10,000.

Like other heatmap providers, Hotjar lets you block IP addresses. We suggest blocking your own IP address so that you do not see your own clicks. You can also exclude elements from the heatmap by entering their css selectors.



Heatmaps show an overall look at what your customers are doing on your site, but if you want to monitor the individual user experience, there’s no better way than with a recording of everything users do while they are on your site. Hotjar offers that.

Setting up this feature only requires a few clicks on your part. If you go with the Basic (free) option, you’ll be able to store 300 recordings, which is already enough to diagnose some of the issues users encounter on your site.

Site audits go better with customer recordings than with a service like BrowserStack that puts you in the driver’s seat of an emulated browser or mobile proxy device. Recordings are superior because you’re seeing what the customer is doing. When they don’t convert, you know why. We have already diagnosed customer issues using this feature.

Hotjar makes it simple to pick and choose the recordings that are of interest to you. You can organize the recordings by the pages the user visited, how long they were on your site, and what device they were using.

One of the many ways to use this data is to focus on the users who spent less than a minute on your site. You can try to figure out if there’s a recurring reason why they left so fast.

If you’re worried about recording sensitive customer information, Hotjar lets you block fields. The easiest approach is just to block everything, but if you have a little technical know-how, you can fine-tune it a little bit more. When you block a field, the information will show up as asterisks in the video and the real data will not be sent to Hotjar.


Conversion Funnels

After you have Recordings set up, you’ll be ready to make full use of the site’s Conversion Funnels, which track where customers are falling off during your process. You can place the steps of your funnel wherever you like, but a good place to start is to use the steps a user would take from the landing page to conversion. The conversion funnel will show you where people are leaving your site. With the click of a button, you can pull up recordings of customers who converted or customers who didn’t convert when going through each step of the funnel.


Form Analysis

If Hotjar’s Form Analysis feature seems too good to be true, that just might be the case. Since we use AJAX to load the forms on our sites, we are unable to benefit from Hotjar’s Form Analysis feature, which only works for forms that are part of the site’s original HTML code.

If Hotjar recognizes your forms, then you will be able to use the Form Analysis feature. This will give you a detailed breakdown of which fields your user’s are filling out and where they are dropping off. Since this feature did not work for us, we can’t speak to how well it works.


Feedback Polls

Hotjar lets you communicate with your users when you need information from them the most. Imagine this: your customer has reached a part in your form where you’ve noticed a significant drop-off rate. At the moment they are about to exit your site, a message pops up asking them what’s preventing them from finishing the form.

You need to be careful with polls, though. You don’t want to bug a user who may have converted but left the site because they were annoyed by the poll.

When creating the poll, you’ll be able to choose the position and background color of the popup. If you sign up for a Business level account, then the Hotjar branding won’t appear on the poll. You can also select when the user sees the poll: just after the page loads, after a specified delay of so many seconds, when the user has scrolled partway down the page, or when a user is about to leave the page on a desktop device.

We recommend testing this on a page that receives a relatively small amount of traffic. This will let you test for bugs before introducing the poll to one of your main pages.



Polls are great for getting a little bit of information from your customers, but if you want deeper insights into how your customers feel, you’ll want to use Hotjar’s Surveys. These responsive surveys can launch when a user is about to abandon your site, or after a user converts.

If you want to generate more survey responses, then include a sweepstakes opportunity. In this case, when a user fills out your survey they will be entered to win something. Even something as small as a gift card could increase the number of surveys you get back. Just make sure to include any necessary legal language on your site.



Using the Hotjar Recruiter form, you can invite your customers to take part in a one-on-one site usability test. You can choose the positioning of the popup on your page and when it appears during the process. It can collect your users’ name, age, city, email, phone number, and gender. You can choose which of those fields show up on the form.

Picking the brain of an actual customer can show you what you’re doing right and wrong. You should know, though, that most users will ignore the Recruiter form. You might have better luck getting responses if you include a sweepstakes offer here.

We wouldn’t recommend using the Poll, Survey, and Recruiter popups simultaneously. If you do, the user might feel bombarded by extraneous forms and abandon your site.


Our Score

4.5/5 Stars

Hotjar makes it easier to do things you should already be doing. Its all-in-one approach can be a real lifesaver for companies that lack the manpower to monitor all of this data through several accounts. The one downside is that each of Hotjar’s parts would likely lose a head-to-head battle against a company that specializes in that feature. So if you’re already tracking this information through other means, it might not be worth the hassle of switching over to Hotjar.

At dot818 we like to share our thoughts about the useful technologies we’re using. Of course, we haven’t tried everything. If you have any recommendations on software and hardware we should talk about, please contact us and let us know.