The first of our guides on smart filtering in Hotjar: what to look for in your Recordings when doing product discovery, and a practical how-to case study for Product folks ft. our own Product team.
|🔥 Who’s this guide for:||
|🔥 What you’ll get out of it:||
🔥 What you’ll be doing:
Here’s what’s in this guide:
- A quick intro to Recordings
- Cut through the noise: use Recordings filters (how Hotjar’s Product team does it)
- Automatically sending events of the sessions you capture (so you can filter by these events in Hotjar)
- Filter Recordings by your automated events and visited URLs
A quick intro to Recordings
Improving conversion rates, lowering time-to-value, increased customer satisfaction—these goals all ask that you empathize with your users and make improvements for their sake as they try and reach their goal with your product. That goes for buying something snazzy from your shop or completing a workflow in your B2B tool.
Hotjar Recordings are renderings of the real actions your users take as they use your product. Watching Recordings helps you understand where your users might be getting stuck, unable to reach their goal.
New to Recordings?
Have a read of our guide on setup, viewing recordings, and FAQs
Cut through the noise: use Recordings filters (how Hotjar’s Product team does it)
Once you’ve begun capturing user sessions with Hotjar, Recordings will start to pile up.
Lifting useful signals of user behavior out from your growing list of Recordings gets a lot easier when you filter. So what do you filter by?
I asked Renato, Product Manager for Activation at Hotjar (the team that owns our onboarding experience), about what prompts him to visit Hotjar Recordings to find relevant insights about how our users are onboarding. Further on we’ll look at how you can do the same for your own product discovery.
💸 Million-dollar question: what are you looking for in Recordings?
You don’t have time to watch every Recording that could feature the things you’re looking for, right?
So tell how you’d filter Recordings to focus on things that are important in your area?
Automatic sending events of the sessions you capture (so you can filter by these events in Hotjar)
What are Recordings events in Hotjar?
Figure out the best way to implement Events to filter Recordings.
First, to use the Events feature you’ll need a paid Hotjar plan: Hotjar Plus or Hotjar Business.
Write your events.
You’ll want to think carefully about using descriptive event names that will help you filter later on in Hotjar. Here’s an example building off our PM Renato’s use case of needing to watch Recordings of users who created an account.
Filter Recordings by your automated events and visited URLs
Now that you’re capturing user sessions with events, you’re ready to filter Recordings in Hotjar using this information.
Let’s use Renato’s examples to work with here. He wants to focus his attention on Recordings where users:
- Created their account today
- Verified their Hotjar installation
- Didn’t view a Recording
Go to Recordings.
Apply a filter to include sessions where your key user journey milestone occur (either with an event or by URL).
This will show you a list of sessions where a user does do something in your product experience that you’re hoping for them to do. In our case, we want to see users who created their account today so we’d specify that we want sessions where our registration page is visited. We’re also specifying the date range of the last 24 hours to focus on recent Recordings (you might want to expand or contract that time range depending on the types of UX you’re looking at).
We’ve got an automated event for successful verification of the Hotjar tracking code so we’ll apply a event filter with that parameter next. (Previously, automated events were called "Tags" as shown in the screenshot below)
Apply a filter to exclude sessions where a thing you care about happens (either by event or by URL).
This will refine your Recordings list to exclude users who managed to complete another important step in your product experience. The reason we’re doing this is that we want to focus our opportunity discovery on sessions where users managed to get part of the way through doing something but didn’t take that last important step. In our case we want to see sessions where the things mentioned above in step 2 happened (account creation, installation) but where users didn’t view a Recording in their first session.
We don’t have an event for ‘Recording viewed’ in our setup so we’d filter by ‘Visited URL’ as not including any URL in Hotjar that indicates the user watched a Recording.
Develop a hypothesis, validate, communicate, take action
Let’s recap Renato’s example. He went to Hotjar Recordings with an open mind to discover what users are experiencing in their first steps using Hotjar. He applied a filter set to focus on sessions where users had gotten as far as verifying their installation and who left without viewing a Recording of their own.
He discovered a pattern where new Hotjar users were clicking around looking for their first Recording. These users didn’t have session data yet, but they kept on looking for a Recording via a ‘getting started’ page that had a ‘view your first recording’ call-to-action. In essence: we all saw our users going in circles (In Hotjar Recordings there’s also a ‘u-turn’ filter 😉) and rage-clicking. Renato sent events of more examples of this happening in Recordings with the suitably named ‘Where is my f*cking insight?’
Renato raised it as an issue with the team via Slack, getting us all thinking about how we might address the problem.
What did we do with these insights? 🔮
After Renato raised the issue with the team, here’s what we did next.
Seeing the Recording, we felt the pain of users who made use of our Getting Started Guide which said ‘View your first Recording’-- a positive sentiment, but if there’s no recording to be watched yet, this is disappointing.
We soon after experimented with a couple of changes in-app and via email that were designed to let a user know via email once their first session recording is ready (in case it doesn’t arrive while they’re in Hotjar) and tell users to expect this in-app. Here’s what happened, all spurred on by spending a few effective minutes filtering through Hotjar Recordings:
Here’s your action plan to be effective while using Hotjar Recordings:
- What are you seeing in the Recordings? Is something getting in their way? Make note of what your user is trying to achieve.
- > Can you see users running into trouble? Are there more instances of a pattern occurring?
- Make use of comments on Hotjar Recordings to highlight pain points, so that when you share the Recording with your team, they can focus on the issue by looking at the timestamp.
- Get your team aligned - gamify the experience like Renato did when he shared a Recording with us and asked us what we felt was happening. Recordings are a great way to get stakeholders from across your team -- design, development, marketing, support, you name ‘em -- to buy into solving user-facing issues. Watching user experience firsthand puts everyone in their shoes and if they can see poor UX, not just in their analytics numbers, but in real life, you’re likely to talk about possible solutions sooner because of empathy.
- Once you make changes to address issues facing your users, see in Recordings if the path your users are taking and the behaviors they’re showing are evidence of the solution being effective. If your changes are aimed at reducing friction, can you see it? Are users taking fewer clicks to reach their goal? Are they no longer stuck in a loop?
Words by Alex Jost - Product Marketer @ Hotjar.
Big thanks to Renato Costa, Group Product Manager @ Hotjar.