3 Unexpected Ways to Get the Most Out of Hotjar

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When you run a website, an important part of your job is understanding how your users interact with it. Even more important is gathering actionable insights from that information, adapting and expanding in ways that make the most sense for your brand and the people that visit your site. There are lots of tools out there that can help you do this (some better than others), but you can’t go wrong with the accuracy and cost efficiency of Hotjar.

Hotjar acts as a window into the behavior of your users. Constant analytics and feedback help you understand not just what is happening, but why. Used in conjunction with Google Analytics, it paints a clear picture of the actions taking place on your site, helping you see exactly what is going on and providing you with the data you need to make changes where necessary. 

Some of Hotjar’s coolest functions are its analytical tools, including heatmaps and recordings of real-time visitor behaviors, but there’s more to these tools than meets the eye. Read on for three unexpected ways you can use Hotjar to engage your audience and get more insights and leverage for your content marketing.

1. Use Hotjar as a platform for your A/B testing

The best content marketers know that you don’t just put out a web property, cross your fingers, and hope that it performs well. Instead, you take charge before ever hitting “publish,” testing ideas against each other to see what will result in the best conversion rate. This A/B testing – also referred to as split testing – ensures that you get it right the first time and don’t waste time with ineffective content. 

With Hotjar’s heatmaps you can receive clear visual representations of performance, which is perfect for comparing and contrasting multiple iterations of an idea. Simply create your variations with their own URLs, follow the Heatmap Guide to set-up heatmaps for each URL, and then sit back and watch how they perform. The heatmap will help you determine exactly what is and isn’t working on each variation, including insight on link clicks, scrolling, and general behavior. 

Unlike traditional A/B testing, which often just shows you the overall performance of a particular page, Hotjar’s heatmap tool allows you to see the very specific functions that are leading to the success or lack of success of a variation. At the end of the testing period, instead of simply choosing A or B, you can choose the facets of each that worked the best and combine them into a successful page. 


2. Rewind a user’s journey through your site

Let’s say you’re looking through your Google Analytics report and see that a bunch of users are bouncing from a particular page. Or perhaps you run an ecommerce store and notice that users are filling their cart and then abandoning it without making a purchase. Hotjar’s recordings of visitor behavior allow you to not only walk through a user’s experience, but to reverse it, pinpointing particular nuances of your site that may be causing them to leave. 

Recording of a user on a Brink Insights client application. 

Recording of a user on a Brink Insights client application. 

The beauty of Hotjar’s visitor recordings is that they force you to challenge your conceptions about how users respond to your site’s design. You may think a certain pattern of behavior is intuitive on the site, or that a button is clearly visible and obvious on the page. But your users approach the page from a completely objective standpoint. Their eyes and cursors scan the page in a way that potentially differs from your own experience. And that clearly visible and obvious button? Perhaps it’s too small or it’s cluttered among less-relevant buttons that distract from its purpose. 

What are your users seeing that you aren’t? What aren’t they seeing that you are? Working backwards through their experience will help you identify specific failures in design by centering in on the moment they left and what might have caused them to do so. 


3. Get real-time feedback about the user experience

For all the science behind digital marketing data analysis, sometimes it can feel like a total guessing game when it comes to understanding what your users want out of your site. Much as we wish it could, human behavior can never be fully interpreted through numbers and visualizations – that’s why patterns of behavior are so important, they give you more data points to track. But a particular choice of a particular user to do or not do something on your site can be for reasons totally unknown. That is, unless you ask.

Not only does Hotjar show you the responses of your users, it generates a wordcloud that shows the words most frequently used in replies. This wordcloud is from the same Brink client's application. 

Not only does Hotjar show you the responses of your users, it generates a wordcloud that shows the words most frequently used in replies. This wordcloud is from the same Brink client's application. 

Hotjar offers you the ability to speak to your users and get their opinions through pop-up surveys. This can be incredibly useful when you have narrowed in on a problem but can’t quite seem to figure out what the root of it is. There are four different options you can select for choosing when a survey appears: immediately upon the page loading, after a delay of x-number of seconds, when a user is about to leave the site, or after they’ve scrolled halfway down the page. Each of these options correspond to distinct customer behaviors that are important to interpret and understand. 

The big benefit of Hotjar’s pop-up surveys is that you get users’ opinion in the moment. Surveying through email, while an effective means of gathering user insights, can’t capture the real-time thoughts and concerns of someone interacting with your site. Use Hotjar’s pop-up surveys to figure out exactly what’s appealing to or irking your users, and use this information to build something that’s more effective. 


Getting the most out of Hotjar

As with any analytics platform, the more you put into Hotjar, the more you’ll get out of it. Effectively leveraging it for content marketing means putting in the time necessary to strategically focus your tracking efforts. Think of the questions you want answered – for example, why do users keep bouncing from this page? – and then use Hotjar’s analytic and feedback tools to help you determine the reason and the solution for the problem at hand. You’ll quickly realize that Hotjar is an incredibly valuable partner in your digital marketing endeavors. 

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