Hotjar: what is heatmapping used for

Hotjar is a tool that every digital marketer should have in their toolbox. Not only that, but it is also an essential tool for companies and entrepreneurs who want to develop their online businesses. Have you ever heard of it? Whatever your answer, don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place! Here you will find all the information you need to understand what it is and how best to use this user behavior analysis tool.

Whether you have your own site or work on your company’s, this Hotjar guide will be very useful. Give yourself some time, because in just a few minutes:

  • You will know how to improve the quality of navigation of the site you work on;
  • You will be able to keep users longer between your web pages;
  • You will know how to optimize your conversion funnel;
  • You can increase your conversion rate, acquire new customers and increase your sales.

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What is Hotjar used for?

Hotjar is an all-in-one visual analytics tool that allows you to get inside the mind of your users. It is not magic, but user experience, i.e. the study of the experience a user has when purchasing a product or service online. With Hotjar you can literally spy on the actions users take on your site: clicks, taps, scrolls, and mouse movements.

You will see how visitors move between your pages, where they linger, what information they skip, where they leave the session, or at what step they leave your conversion funnel. This is very valuable information because it will allow you to optimize your digital strategy and save time, resources, and money.

In addition, you can use heatmaps to understand the hot and cold spots on your site, which will allow you to place the messages you want to communicate in the right place, according to their priority. Thus, you will guide users as they navigate in the right direction, without the risk of losing them on the path to conversion.

And again, you will be able to perform A/B tests, e.g. you will see which Call to Action (CTA) converts the most, or which color leads more users to click on a button. In short, you will be able to fine-tune your strategy, making sure your potential customers find the right messages in the right place

The information you gather from your tests will be very useful: you will be able to improve the user experience of your site and create a customer journey that will allow you to increase your lead generation and sales. In this way, by putting the user at the center of your design, you will be able to tailor a perfect marketing strategy for them.

To understand how to make the most of this tool, continue reading this guide to Hotjar to discover all its features.

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How does Hotjar work?

Let’s take a look together at all the features this fantastic tool offers:

  1. Heatmaps.
  2. Visitor registrations.
  3. Conversion funnel.
  4. Form Analysis.
  5. Surveys to obtain feedback.
  6. Incoming Feedback (beta).
  7. Questionnaires.

Hotjar heatmaps

Heatmaps, also known as “heat maps”, are a visual representation of data, depicted through color. With Hotjar’s heatmaps, you have a map of the “hot” and “cold” spots on the pages of your site, based on the interactions users have had with them.

In blue, you will see those areas that have caught the least attention, while as the color temperature “warms up”, going to yellow and red tones, you will see the areas where visitors have focused their actions the most.

Google Analytics, a very useful Google platform for analyzing user behavior, does not have the same functionality as Hotjar when it comes to “on-page” navigation: Hotjar has more potential since it returns qualitative data. Google Analytics makes it possible to discover very useful information, such as

  • the number of users
  • sessions and their average duration
  • The number of pages per session
  • traffic sources
  • the bounce rate
  • the exit pages.

All of this data, which represents only a fraction of the immense potential of Google Analytics as an alternative to Hotjar, is important both optimize the structure of a site and to refine an acquisition strategy, but it tells us nothing about what physically happens between web pages as they are visited by a user. Instead, Hotjar can do this by providing many features, including three different types of heatmaps.

  • Click Heatmaps: where do users click, or tap,?

With this type of heatmap, Hotjar tells you where users perform actions on the page, which CTAs are the most clicked, which links are the most followed, or which photos or videos catch their attention the most, giving you a clear picture of which elements are not working well and which should be replaced to optimize the performance of our content.

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  • Move Heatmaps: how do users move?

With Move Heatmaps, you can see where users move their mouse most and check whether your content organization is working or needs to be optimized. The Move Map is often associated with eye movement, but it must be borne in mind that the mouse track does not always correspond to a reading pattern.

move heatmaps image

  • Scroll Heatmaps: how far do users follow you?

This map is very useful to understand the depth of the scroll, so presumably “how far they read” the messages you want to communicate to them. Analyzing the scroll is especially useful where you have quite long content, such as a blog article, or a landing page. If users go all the way to the bottom, it is a good sign.

If not, maybe you should review the structure of the message or the target traffic you are bringing to it, if you are doing SEM or social advertising. With the scroll map, you can improve the design and structure of the content within your pages.

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Regarding heatmaps, Hotjar allows two other very useful operations:

1. split, or divide, heat maps according to the device from which the session was made: desktop, tablet, mobile; 2. make a download of the heatmaps, a very useful action to keep a history, or to submit a report.

Visitor registrations

With Hotjar you can record your users’ sessions and see what they see on your site. You will not have to deduce the behavior of your visitors or the difficulties they encounter in their browsing experience, but you will be on the safe side because you will see it.

record the sessions with hotjar

The recordings will allow you to observe clicks, taps, and mouse movements. With all this information, you can:

  • Understand what the strengths or weaknesses of your pages are;
  • users are expected to find the most important data or information;
  • examine empty clicks (where you should perhaps insert links or animations);
  • understand what obstacles visitors encounter and eliminate them to smooth the customer journey that will lead them to conversion.

This functionality, combined with heatmaps, will allow you to do excellent Conversion Rate Optimisation. Furthermore, although users’ IP addresses are anonymized, you will receive a lot of information about the sessions, e.g. country of origin, day, browser, operating system, and number of actions performed.

In addition, within hotjar’s visitor registrations, you can choose to:

  • Replaying the sessions of real users;
  • add tags to registrations;
  • see users’ actions and add notes or comments;
  • share the recordings with anyone;
  • filter registrations easily: by content, UTM source, and output pages;
  • delete certain keystrokes, or text, depending on the type of sensitive data your users enter into the site. Hotjar will obscure these fields by putting “***” asterisks, or “111” numbers in their place.

Conversion funnel on Hotjar

How does Hotjar work when it comes to conversions? With Hotjar’s conversion funnel, you can define unlimited steps and watch records of abandonment pages on your site. Creating a funnel report is very effective for identifying barriers to conversions on your site. In this way, you can find out how to improve your users’ navigation flow.

Hotjar: conversion funnel

With Hotjar, you create your conversion funnel by setting goals. The advice is to have one for each of the goals you want to achieve on your site. Each funnel report only returns the data of visitors who started with step 1, so if you have several sources of traffic for the same objective, it is advisable to create two different funnels with as many different step 1s.

Here are some funnel examples (source: Hotjar):

  • E-commerce: Homepage > Product Pages > Cart > Checkout > Thank You Page
  • News / Blog: Homepage > Article Pages > Subscribe Page > Success Page
  • Web App: Homepage > Trial Signup Page > Interface > Upgrade Page > Thank you page
  • Lead Gen: Category pages > Landing page with form > Thank you page

Analysis of contact forms

With form analysis, Hotjar tells you how users interact with your contact forms: for instance, you will understand which fields create more engagement, which take too long to fill in, which are left blank, and why forms are abandoned.

analysis of contact forms

To use this function, you must first set up automatic tracking of the form, and to do this, simply enter the URL of the form in question in Hotjar, then the tool itself will recognize the steps of which the questionnaire is composed. Once this is done, a sort of funnel is automatically created, which converts to sending the data after the form is completed.

Using this tool, you can be identify as:

  • the average time taken to fill in each form field;
  • fields left blank;
  • the refill, in percentage, i.e. how many times a field is refilled by users;
  • fields leading to the abandonment of the form.

By analyzing forms, Hotjar allows you to monitor, on a single dashboard:

  1. conversion rate,
  2. interactions,
  3. average time per interaction,
  4. successive fills,
  5. fields left blank,
  6. drop-out fields,
  7. fields completed successfully or those that generated an error.

Hotjar Feedback Surveys

What is Hotjar for when it comes to surveys? You can ask unlimited questions to your users, you can ask them questions about specific pages, or ask them why they leave the session, just as it is happening. Thus, you can get a lot of data on visitor behavior, and you can understand why they convert or leave your site.

Hotjar: surveys and feedback

If you listen to the users you will understand how to improve the experience on the site and the great thing is that you won’t have to guess because they will directly show you how to do it.

With hotjar’s feedback polls, you have at your disposal:

  • Direct feedback from site visitors;
  • multiple questions;
  • visualization of feedback and results;
  • customizable widgets.

Incoming Feedback

With this feature, Hotjar allows users to leave instant, visual feedback on your site, while you take advantage of opportunities for growth and improvement. Incoming Feedback allows you to:

  • gather feedback with a context;
  • consult the visual feedback dashboard;
  • monitor sentiment across all pages;
  • customize widgets.

Hotjar: incoming feedback in site


Hotjar also offers customizable surveys. You can better understand your visitors by creating your own responsive survey with an easy-to-use editor and you can collect responses in real-time, from any device. You can circulate your questionnaires via links, e-mail, or directly on your site, inviting users to respond as soon as they are about to leave the site.

Here are Hotjar’s best practices in the use of questionnaires.

  • You can easily create cross-device surveys.
  • Ask users multiple questions, including the Net Promoter Score (NPS).
  • You can invite visitors to the site to participate.
  • See the results for each question asked.

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How much does Hotjar cost?

Hotjar is a tool that tries to meet the different needs of its users. There are several solutions, the main ones being Hotjar Free and Hotjar Pro.

The free version of Hotjar has limitations, but using it still allows you to train and learn how to use this tool. For example, it is very suitable for people who are new to digital marketing. The premium versions of Hotjar, on the other hand, are adapted to the needs of people who are insiders and who deal, directly or indirectly, with user experience every day.

Finally, there is a subscription plan that caters to agencies, which have several customers and far more complex needs. Let’s look at the subscription options specifically.


The personal subscription is ideal for sites with low traffic and, within it, you can choose between Basic and Plus.

Hotjar Basic is a free version of Hotjar, for which all you need to do is register with your data and email and allows you to collect data from 2,000 page views per day, but has limited reports, unlimited users, and a one-year history of collected data.

Plus is ideal for sites with little traffic, or for early-stage start-ups. It allows you to collect data from 10,000 page views per day and costs $39/month. You get 30 days to get a refund if you are not satisfied, unlimited reports, unlimited users, a 365-day data history, and a 15-day free trial.


This is Hotjar’s most widely used subscription plan because it is versatile and suitable for multiple needs. It has all the functionalities listed in the Personal Plus plan but with additional features, such as access to advanced features, and removal of the “Hotjar” brand from surveys and reports.

A monthly subscription is taken out, the price of which varies depending on the daily pageviews. What are Hotjar’s prices? If you want to know exactly, go to the dedicated page on the Hotjar website.


It is a plan designed for agencies and consultants working with multiple client sites. The functionalities are all those listed for the Business plan, with specific additions:

  • Unlimited customer sites in one central account;
  • discount proportionate to the volume of sites managed;
  • invitation to customers to view and manage their data;
  • replacing Hotjar’s brand with your own brand or that of your agency.

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How to configure Hotjar on your site?

So, calm and cool heads: it is not difficult. But if you just can’t do it, all it takes is a little intervention by a programmer, just once.

Configuring Hotjar? Here are three methods for doing so:

  • with Google tag manager;
  • with a WordPress Plugin;
  • by intervening in the code.

Google Tag Manager

How to add Hotjar with Google Tag Manager? This tool is always the best ally for people who do not have hard computer programming skills but have to deal with the pages of a website. Once you have created the container for the relevant site and once it has been installed on all (on all!) the pages of the site, all you have to do is access the GTM dashboard and select the container, then:

add new tag > choose tag type > Hotjar tracking code > tag name > site Hotjar ID and here you must enter the code that Hotjar gives in reference to your site. Then you check the tag and that’s it.

tracking code in hotjar

Hotjar Plugin for WordPress

If you have a site, or e-commerce, developed with WordPress, know that connecting Hotjar to WordPress is even easier. All you need to do is to choose one of the plugins that allow Hotjar integration, you will find several, the important thing is that they are compatible with your version of the CMS.

The one worth trying is Hotjar Connecticator from Blue Medicine Labs, but you can choose whichever one you prefer, in any case, the steps are simple.

After you have installed the plugin in your theme, you will need to copy the tracking code that you will find in your Hotjar account, under Sites & Organisations > tracking code. Once you have copied the code, you will have to paste it into the box where it says “Hotjar script” and press save.

At this point, open a random page on your site and check, within your Hotjar account, whether the pageview has been triggered (activated). If the answer is yes, very good, otherwise repeat the operation, you may have copied the code incorrectly.

When you have finished, remember to exclude your IP address from the tracking, otherwise, you will also record your sessions.

Intervening on the code

If you are not an HTML wizard, I would advise you to turn to the programmer, because you risk breaking the pages of your site. Having said that, it is actually not difficult to install Hotjar from code. Again, you will have to copy the tracking code that you find in your Hotjar account, under Sites & Organisations > tracking code.

You will then have to paste this script into the <head> tag of all the pages of your site on which you want to use the tool.

install Hotjar from code

In the end, you can check the correct installation by seeing in Hotjar if pageviews are triggered, then remember to exclude your IP address from tracking.

What are the best alternatives to Hotjar? The answers could vary depending on your needs. No data analysis tool, however, will get you into the minds of users.

If you need advice on how best to integrate Hotjar into your marketing strategy, ask an expert!



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