Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a bug in your product! In this guide we’ll learn how to filter down Hotjar Recordings by individual user sessions, so you can reproduce issues reported by users, and prioritize potential fixes.
|🔥 Who’s this guide for:||
|🔥 What you’ll get out of it:||
🔥 What you’ll be doing:
🔥 What you’ll need:
Here’s what’s in this guide:
- The scenario: a user reports a problem, and you’re drafted in to investigate
- The problem: reproducing the issue yourself doesn’t work
- The solution: using Hotjar to see the exact session where s*** hit the fan
- How to do it: getting your User IDs or user emails into Hotjar
- How to do it: filtering Hotjar Recordings by a specific User ID to find bugs and issues
A note about capturing sessions
Hotjar should be able to capture the majority of user sessions on your site, but we can’t guarantee that a specific user will be tracked. Recommended reading: Does Hotjar track all your users?
The scenario: a user reports a problem, and you’re drafted to investigate 🔍
Your support team’s talking to a user in your helpdesk. They couldn’t do the thing they wanted to do. It seems to be a bug! Or is it? You get a request to investigate the issue along with the associated User ID or email. What now?
The problem: reproducing the issue yourself doesn’t work 🤷🤔
First on the checklist - reproducing the issue. You speed-click your way through creating a new fake account with an email variation and.... no luck. And everything seems to look fine in your logs. Will you ask your devs to switch focus and jump in to help investigate?
The solution: using Hotjar to see the exact session where s*** hit the fan 💡
I asked Chiara, dev team lead here at Hotjar, about how Recordings help her reproduce an issue.
The quickest way of doing this is by filtering your Recordings by the User ID or email of the user who reported the issue. This guide shows you how to find the exact session where your user ran into trouble with Hotjar Recordings.
1. Getting your User IDs or user emails into Hotjar
However, if you’re looking to find a specific user’s session to troubleshoot and provide support, your session recordings can be identified via custom data if you pass that data into Hotjar as User Attributes. User ID or emails are your best bets and likely what your stakeholders in support are working with as they help your user.
What are User Attributes?
User Attributes are facts about your users taken from your site’s data that you can pass into Hotjar to target and segment in Hotjar’s tools.
You can use your User Attributes to filter Recordings and target feedback widgets by specific audiences. They also allow you to lookup and delete user data by user ID making it easy to respect your user's privacy rights - which is especially important when passing personal information to Hotjar.
We highly recommend reviewing your privacy requirements before enabling User Attributes.
Pass User Attributes into Hotjar via Segment
(If your org doesn’t have Segment as its customer data platform, jump to Step 2!)
Getting your User Attributes into Hotjar via Segment is the easiest way of getting this step done.
Hotjar can be added as a Destination in Segment. This allows you to easily install Hotjar (which you may have already done), and instantly send customer data (in your Identify Spec) over Hotjar's Identify API without you having to add any additional code.
By default, User Attributes are disabled in Hotjar, so once you’ve added Hotjar as a Destination in Segment you’ll want to read on here into step 2 to see how to enable User Attributes in Hotjar 👇
Segment users 👋
Here’s more on Using Hotjar with Segment.
Pass User Attributes into Hotjar via our Identify API
In your Hotjar account, you’ll need to be on your User Attributes page. Find the Site you want to add User Attributes to using the selection drop-down. Click Enable User Attributes.
This snippet is an example of the kind of code you might need to have on your page. Your web developer will need to write additional code to send user attributes to Hotjar. Detailed coverage of the Identify API is available in the Identify API Reference Guide.
Once enabled, calls to the Identify API will pass User Attribute data to Hotjar for this Site, and you’ll be able to use your own user data to segment in Hotjar. 🎉
2. Filtering Hotjar Recordings by a specific User ID to find bugs and issues
Now you’ve got User Attributes enabled and your User IDs or user emails are in Hotjar, it’s time to put them to use. Next time you pick up on a support issue or <user feedback> where you need to investigate an issue, here’s what to do.
Head over to Recordings
Filter recordings by User Attribute (a User ID or email)
Hit the filter button, and under ‘User Attributes’ you’ll see a list of the attributes you’re currently passing into Hotjar with user sessions (see below).
Find the ‘user_id’ attribute and enter the user ID from the session where an error occurred (or email if you’re using that instead), and then hit ‘Apply’ (shown below).
Found the session? Watch the recording and see what went wrong
If there’s a session recording for this user that you’ve captured with Hotjar, you’ll be able to follow their path through your product in their session and identify where the error occurred.
- Did the user leave feedback during the session? The timeline in the Recordings player will show you where and when.
- Did the issue happen on a specific URL/ area of your product? Look for the right page in the session.
- The ‘Session info’ tab in the Recordings player might give you more data for your investigation of what’s going wrong. Info shown includes device type, OS, browser, and any recent User Attributes about the user’s session.
- The ‘Actions’ tab can be helpful to show you exactly which actions your user took, and elements of your product they engaged with.
- Tagging Hotjar Recordings lets you note what kind of session you’ve captured (e.g. if the user signs up to your email list, you could tag the session as ‘newsletter signup’). You’re able to filter your Hotjar recordings by a tag. In your investigation into the specific user session, when you encounter an issue facing a user, like a bug, you could tag the Recording so you can come back to it later, or tag more Recordings as examples where this bug is occurring to be able to reference multiple instances of the issue occurring.
For further info on User Attributes we also recommend checking out the User Attributes FAQs.
Didn’t find the user session you were looking for?
Hotjar should capture the majority of user sessions on your site, but we can’t guarantee that a specific user will be tracked. To know why users are not being captured, it’s important to understand potential traffic and traffic coverage:
Potential traffic is made of visits to your site that Hotjar could capture. There are a variety of technical reasons why someone may fall outside of your potential traffic.
Traffic coverage describes the total rate of sessions captured from your potential traffic. Your Hotjar plan determines if someone falls outside of traffic coverage.
Words by Alex Jost - Product Marketer @ Hotjar