In this guide, we'll give you some tips to help you get relevant insights from Hotjar. We’ll be covering some session tracking basics, applying filters, and the core Hotjar tools.
- Check your tracking settings
- Get a top-level view using Dashboards and by scanning key pages in Heatmaps
- Cut the noise: filter your session data
- Spot issues or bugs, and uncover opportunities with user feedback
Whether you’re validating a problem space, working on issue discovery, or want to get a better understanding of your user journey — ensure you’re capturing the user sessions you need.
Decide whether to capture sessions shorter than 30 seconds
By default, Hotjar will track sessions that are 30 seconds or longer. Consider if your users engage with your product in sessions shorter than this and if so, select the option to capture sessions shorter than 30 seconds. See our article on Session targeting & tracking settings for help with changing this setting.
Customize data suppression settings
Hotjar suppresses keystroke data, such as text fields and inputs, by default and replaces it with asterisks (“***”). This is in line with our principles of protecting end-user privacy. There might be situations where you want to see non-sensitive keystroke data. For example, you might want to see what users type in your site's search bar to help you optimize for discoverability. See our guide on How to Show Elements and Keystrokes in Data Collection to learn about what’s allowed, and how to do it.
Track your subdomains using the same subscription as your top-level domain
Hotjar supports tracking across subdomains that use the same top-level domain, for example help.hotjar.com being a subdomain of the top-level domain of hotjar.com. By installing the same top-level domain's tracking code on your subdomain, you can track the user journey on your subdomain using the top-level subscription. See our How to Track Multiple Subdomains article for more details.
As you’re getting started in Hotjar, it’s useful to understand how your pages perform at an aggregate level. This is especially true if you have a specific site or product area in mind to optimize. Make it a regular habit to check your Hotjar Dashboards to keep an eye on important metrics, and clickthrough to Hotjar tools when you're after a more granular understanding of the data.
Viewing heatmaps for each of your key pages, such as your homepage or main dashboard, can help you identify areas of your site requiring further exploration. Use the update heatmap screenshot feature to view data on pop-ups, dropdowns, and dynamic page content. Having scanned your heatmaps, you can add to your analysis through viewing recordings or by gathering user responses with surveys.
As you begin zooming in from the aggregate level, you'll get even more granular by applying session data filters. Filters let you isolate particular categories or segments of data to get a better understanding and help you identify insights and trends that may not be noticeable at the aggregate level.
When you start collecting session data at scale, you’ll have more recordings than you have time to watch. You'll also want to improve your decision-making by analyzing only the data that interests you. Here’s a few recommendations for filtering your session data to get you started:
- Sort your recordings by the Relevance, Frustration, or Engagement score.
- Apply the Rage Click or U-turn filter to curate your recordings list with sessions where users are running into issues.
- Find sessions based on parts of your page where users have or haven't clicked using the Clicked element filter which requires no additional code on your site.
- Filter by User Attributes to show sessions from specific users based on attributes you've passed to Hotjar from your data.
- Save your favorite set of filters by clicking Save segment. With recording segments, you can quickly and repeatedly access your most relevant filters.
Session filters can also be applied across other tools including Heatmaps, Surveys, Feedback, and your Dashboards. You can also create and compare custom metrics using our Trends feature and apply filters to steps created within a Funnel (both Trends and Funnels are available on the Observe Business plan).(both Trends and Funnels are available on the Observe Scale plan).
Recordings let you see where users get stuck, but sometimes it can be difficult to grasp the full context of why users are stuck. This is where Hotjar's Feedback tool comes in.
The Feedback widget is a real-time suggestion box for your product or site. There’s one on this very page you’re reading, over on the right. It helps us stay informed about usability issues, bugs, or ways we can improve our Help Center. As you can see below, it can even be embedded inline with existing content on your page so you can ask for user feedback at just the right moment.
When your feedback widget is active, try and build a regular routine of reviewing responses. One way to do this is by using our Slack or Microsoft Teams integrations to automatically forward responses to you as they come in. You'll then be able to ping teammates to see the responses and jump into action if there’s an issue your users are highlighting.
For more guidance on using Hotjar and the Feedback tool to track down bugs and UX issues, see How Can I Use Hotjar to Find Bugs or UX Issues?