Hotjar Reviews In 2023: A Marketer’s Experience with Hotjar+ Best Hotjar Alternative

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You’re in the right spot if you’re looking for an authentic, first-hand experience of Hotjar. Want to know if it is worth the money? Is it easy to use?. Keep reading to learn! Here, we’ll give you an eye-opening Hotjar review in the last section of this post.

I had meant to give Hotjar a shot since I first heard about it. After days of anticipation, I finally got the time to give it a go, and here’s my comprehensive review of this CRO tool, what I like, and what I believe should be improved.

Once you’ve finished reading, you can make a clearer decision on what your preferred metrics for web analytics are and if Hotjar performs best depending on your mission and the size of your business. If you are a Hotjar user and already know what’s going on there, you can skip the article and sign up on WatchThemLive to eliminate all the headaches.

Now, Let’s get started!

What Is Hotjar

Hotjar is a behavioral analytics tool that started its journey in 2014 and attracted its first customers a year later. Since it was early on the market, Its pricing is unreasonably high. Hotjar’s core feature is session recording with a focus on surveys and feedback. In general, this website visitor tracking tool tries to become the ultimate all-in-one marketing suite for marketers and Shopify/eCommerce store owners. But how successful has it been?!

Let’s start off with Hotjar reviews and our experience with it, ready?!

Hotjar Review: My Experience with Hotjar

When I first entered the website, what initially caught my eye was the simplicity. They do not believe in jargon, and I respect that. On the top right of the homepage was an option for night mode. With my night mode on, I signed up through my Google Account and proceeded to the next step.

Hotjar Homepage
Hotjar Homepage

Hotjar Review: The Set-Up Process Is Complicated

Once you have signed up, you would need to add a website under your account to start viewing its analytics. There are a few methods one can use to install Hotjar on their website. Together, let’s see my Hojtar review of each method and the whole setup process.

I thought the WordPress plugin was the easiest route to take. Unfortunately, WordPress would not allow me to install the plugin, which I assume was due to authorization. So I was set off on a mission to install the code manually.

I thought it would be best to contact customer support, but then saw that they reply within two days, and I was inclined to give Hotjar a go TODAY. With that said, after approximately an hour of research, I finally learned where I should be pasting the code provided by Hotjar. It was quite time-consuming.

Hotjar Setup Process
Hotjar SetUp Process

I’m not a programmer and do not know how web development works. However, one thing I do know is that I don’t want to be involved with it while I’m trying to manage my website as a one-person band. The more code there is, the more intimidating and intangible the whole process gets, and I’m not a fan of that. Aside from that, the tracking code I was provided with was quite long; which is always a dead giveaway that it is going to slow my website down.

Hotjar tracking code
Hotjar tracking code

Hotjar Review: Its UI Is Very Confusing

Once Hotjar was set up, I headed over to my profile. I quickly realized that the user interface was unreadable and confusing. Fortunately, they have a navigation bar on the side of the page, but the experience is not as user-friendly as one might think.

It made me wonder: Will my future teammates be able to use this service? We’re looking at all these people with different skill sets and backgrounds, so it would only make sense to shoot for a platform that is easy to use and does not intimidate or confuse its users.

Now, let’s take a look at Hotjar review based on its top features, shall we?!

Hotjar Review: How Do the Features Work

After about 15 minutes, data analytics started coming in. Let’s dive into how its analytics features work, shall we?!

#1 Hotjar Heatmaps

They provide three different types of website heatmaps for a given webpage, and I fairly enjoyed working with them, despite the long loading time. I liked that I could view the heatmaps in mobile view as well. It gave me more context to work with.

However, the heatmaps take very long to get updated. So, the data analytics will be incomplete and will possibly cloud your judgment.

#2 Hotjar Session Recordings

Moving on to the next feature in our Hotjar review: Session replays! The session replays tool did not come through as I expected them to. I quickly realized that I could not match filtered events to the actual visitor sessions. 

For example, when I filtered the sessions by u-turns, I could not pinpoint which visitor sessions those snippets belonged to; which made it impossible for me to reach out to those visitors and follow up on their issues. I also could not tell if two or three short snippets I was provided with belonged to the same session or not. It was frustrating at worst and negligent at best.

Hotjar recordings
Hotjar Recordings

The rage click filter can be useful, but among all of my recordings, the system did not identify one rage click. It is either the case that I have gotten no rage clicks – which I know is not the case since I ran a test and rage clicked on my website – or that Hotjar could not identify the rage clicks in my recordings. It was quite a bummer, especially since I was really excited to try out this filter.

Hotjar rage click filter
Hotjar Rage Click Filter

Moreover, I noticed that Hotjar doesn’t record all user sessions. The recorded sessions were far less than the actual number of my website’s sessions displayed on Google Analytics. This means you might miss out on valuable insights.

I like going through every single one of my session recordings -hence clicking on every session recording-. However, my browser was slowing down on me. For every new recording I clicked on, a new tab would open up to display it, which really ate away at my internet speed. The autoplay was not of much help when I had to watch videos from different timelines and in new tabs anyway.

#3 Hotjar Surveys & Feedback

The feedback option could have been useful had it shown up on my website. But after hours of waiting, it was nowhere to be found. I submitted this issue to the customer support section and haven’t received a solution so far.

Hotjar feedback
Hotjar Feedback

The survey templates lacked variety. Let’s just say I wasn’t inspired by them and didn’t find the feature handy and upgrade-worthy. 

Now, you may consider:

How Is Hotjar Pricing

This platform offers a free forever plan and 3 paid plans. Hotjar pricing for paid plans start from $39 to $99 per month. To subscribe to its Scale plan, you must contact its sales team and negotiate the price!

Hotjar Pricing and Packages
Hotjar Pricing and Packages

Unfortunately, its free plan has a lot of limitations and doesn’t offer all the features. Plus, there is no free trial to gather valuable user insight before committing to a paid plan, especially considering the high subscription cost.

Now, let’s talk about my final judgment in this Hotjar review and see if it falls short! Ready for a ride?!

Hotjar Review: My Final Verdict

The main shortcoming Hotjar has not been able to fix – after all these years of being in the competition – is that it generalizes small organizations’ crucial data to the point where it negatively affects the final direction of your decisions.

For small businesses, the stakes are high, and the budget is limited. They should be watching each and every user “individually,” and Hotjar’s model revolves around managing big data. This can be detrimental to small to medium-sized businesses.

I think the reason for this deviation is mostly rooted in user persona research and audience targeting. The more you immerse yourself in the community, the better your understanding of what your users’ needs are.

You might be asking yourself: With these weak points, why is Hotjar on every ‘Best Web analytics service to try this year” list? 

I think I have the answer:

The reason Hotjar initially blew up was mainly that it had the first-mover advantage. Even though Google Analytics has been around since 2005, Hotjar went a step further and modernized the idea of web analytics; with the help of a seasoned marketing and development team, launched a service that caught the eye of your typical project manager in the early 2010s.

To recap, Hotjar is a good option for companies with at least 100+ employees who can afford to pay an annual subscription to unlock all premium features. Otherwise, there are alternatives such as WatchThemLive that provide the same resources (and more) at a much more affordable price, with more magnification. I respect security compliance, as well as the awareness they have raised on the topic of digital marketing and the importance of web analytics.

Let’s see what customers say about Hotjar! Ready?!

Hotjar Reviews: What Do Customers Say About Using It

Hotjar is known to have session recordings, heatmaps, surveys, and feedback. As I mentioned earlier, their core is the session recording feature; but be careful because purchasing their side features can cost you a fortune.

#1 “They Force Free Users to Upgrade Their Subscriptions”

In the eyes of the customers, what makes it even worse is their free package. Let’s read a recent review from Gianluca, who is a professional web developer:

Hotjar Client Feedback
Hotjar Client Feedback

As you can guess, they have been too harsh to force free users to upgrade to premium packages in a manner that has become very annoying. 

#2 “ Hotjar Customer Service Isn’t Responsive”

The same type of comments come from Shopify and eCommerce store owners. In fact, they complain about customer service being poor at Hotjar, constantly sending people away to the FAQs or the resources library, where it’s time-consuming to find the specific answer you are looking for.

A’Lei Beauty is another Shopify store owner complaining about Hotjar’s services on Shopify.

Hotjar Review
Hotjar Review

WatchThemLive: The Best Hotjar Alternative

Hands down, the best thing about WatchThemLive is the session recording feature. I love that it constantly adds new features to keep up with its users’ needs. Its innovation shows no sign of stopping, and its development roadmap proves why you need to hop on its platform.

As you might have guessed, being a younger platform in the market has made them 2x better in terms of customer support, product development opportunities, and even feature enhancements.

If you’d like to instantly start with the best Hotjar alternative, you can sign up on WatchThemLive now and unlock their features for free.

WatchThemLive Features

WatchThemLive is becoming the only super app in the market that any marketer, developer, or Shopify/eCommerce store owner may ever need. You can easily understand this from their promising roadmap.

WatchThemLive helps you out by providing you with:

Session Recordings

With this feature, you get to collect video recordings of the users visiting your platform or web app. Recordings of users’ sessions let you evaluate your customer journey on your website and identify potential improvements or conversion issues.

WatchThemLive's Session Replays
WatchThemLive’s Session Replays

There is also a console error under each session that informs you about the error occurred during the session. Moreover, you can easily export the data in CSV or PDF, or even share the videos with your teammates.

Sign up now and get immediate access!


WatchThemLive also allows you to create heatmaps to discover where your visitors are clicking the most (or least) on a page to improve your conversion rates and website efficiency. Currently, the clickmap is a helpful feature when it comes to placing CTAs in the right spot, running successful campaigns, or even filling out the forms.

WatchThemLive's Heatmaps
WatchThemLive’s Heatmaps


Looking for a website analytics tool to get an immediate overview of all you need?! WatchThemLive is a great choice! This service offers different widgets that answer all your questions about your website analytics.

There are also filtering options that give you the opportunity to narrow down your data based on range, name, page, country, and more. 

Goal Tracking

Create goals to track conversions and increase your conversion rates based on factual data. You will also be able to leverage web analytics to acquire valuable insights, set goals for your website, and achieve objectives.

WatchThemLive's Goal Tracking
WatchThemLive’s Goal Tracking

Everyone, including Shopify/eCommerce store owners, can also record mouse movements, ‘Name, Phone, and Email’ of registered users, and even the browser console.

Visitor Journey Tracking

You can use the visitor tracking tool to understand your audience throughout their browsing experience on the site. This will enable you to customize offers and content for individual visitors and enhance your general audience engagement.

WatchThemLive’s Fabulous Features

These are distinguishing features that make WatchThemLive shine from almost all competitors out there.

Visual Live Chat

Are you struggling with understanding visitors’ issues when they ask for help?! Don’t worry! WatchThemLive’s visual live chat helps you find their problems and resolve them faster than ever. But how?!

Well, this impressive feature will give you access to the users’ recorded session when they leave a message on the chat box. With the help of this service, there is no need to ask them to explain the bug or take a screenshot! Pretty straightforward, right?!

Let’s introduce the other breathtaking feature!

Video Testimonials

Looking for an impactful way to win the trust of customers?! As you may know, written testimonials are a good solution, but video testimonials stand out from the other method to get social proof. They’re honest advertisements of your product and services. But What makes WatchThemLive’s video testimonials different from others?!

Well, this service does its best to bring your customers in front of the camera and record a video. It displays a pre-set questionnaire on the users’ screen, and all they need to do is press the play button and answer the questions. By using this feature, you make high-quality testimonial videos quickly and cost-effectively.

Sign up now for FREE and give it a try!

If you’re keen to learn more about this too, we’ve also provided a complete WatchThemLive review!

Now, let’s compare these two analytics tools!

Comparing WatchThemLive and Hotjar 

You need to consider essential factors before even considering Hotjar. Throughout the rest of this post, we will cover the features, pricing, and customer reviews of both tools. These are all critical factors to consider before actually buying the product.

#1 Ease of Set-Up: Which One Is Better

Both platforms have various setup options on paper. But as stated above, Hotjar’s WordPress plugin is reportedly faulty. 

But it is much different for Shopify owners! 

How Does It Look for Shopify Store Owners

While you can automatically install and verify WatchThemLive on your Shopify store, Hotjar users need to take 14 steps to install the tool on their store! 

It’s not an easy task for a Shopify store owner to start working with Hotjar. Imagine being forced to go through a long article to learn how to do something, let alone the implementations.

The easy installation has always been an advantage to using WatchThemLive. It can be installed on all platforms, including WordPress, Shopify, Hubspot, and more. In fact, they have a really long list of the platforms they integrate with, and you hardly can find a third-party app missing.

WatchThemLive is easy and fast, and you don’t need to have any knowledge of coding to install it or start growing your website. In case you’re interested, you can Sign up now and take full advantage of its free plan!

#2 Pricing: Which One Is More Affordable

WatchThemLive, the best alternative to Hotjar is suitable for all businesses and offers a free plan and 4 paid plans starting from $29 to $99, which makes it highly affordable even for start-ups.

Besides, Hotjar’s free plan offers only 1,050 sessions per month. If your website gets more visitors, you must upgrade to the ‘Plus’ plan. The bad news is that the ‘Plus’ plan also offers a limited number of sessions.

That is, there are many limitations even with its first paid plan as it doesn’t give you access to all Hotjar features.

Here’s a comparison table of WatchThemLive vs. Hotjar pricing in their first paid plan:

 a comparison table of WatchThemLive vs. Hotjar pricing
WatchThemLive vs. Hotjar pricing

In addition, Surveys and Feedback are not included in the  ‘Plus’ plan. So, to access these features, you would need to upgrade to ‘Scale’ which will cost you a whopping  price per month!

On the other hand, WatchThemLive offers 12,000 sessions, enables you to share them and provides console error.

#3 Session Recordings & Console Error: WatchThemLive or Hotjar

All session replay tools give you an opportunity to record visitors’ sessions in the audio-visual format. They give you in-depth insights into the customer journey. But what makes WatchThemLive stand out from its competitors?! 

Well, WatchThemLive provides a console error displayed in sync with each session to warn you that an error occurred in the user journey. With the help of this fantastic feature, you can monitor errors and bugs as they occur during a session and see the complete details. Then you can fix the problem, and improve UX and conversion rate.

But, unfortunately, Hotjar doesn’t offer console errors! So, you must watch all sessions to find the issues that users faced! 

By now, you know all you need to consider switching from Hotjar and buying its best alternative. If you aren’t convinced yet, let’s continue with our Hotjar review. 

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Hotjar’s features with WatchThemLive, a solid Hotjar alternative in the Behavior Analytics market.

WatchThemLive vs. Hotjar Review: Features
WatchThemLive vs. Hotjar Review: Features

#4 Visual Live Chat & Video Testimonials

As you can see on the above picture, WatchThemLive offers 2 impressive features that distinguish it from Hotjar and any other analytics tool. The visual live chat feature helps you to understand users’ problems and answer them faster than ever. So, with the help of this feature, you can have a responsive support team and deliver a seamless user experience.

But, Hotjar lacks a visual live chat service. Therefore, when customers are faced with a bug, they need to leave a message on the chat box, explain the problem, or even take screenshots to give you evidence! Most of the users never do it, they just leave your website!

Another unique feature of WatchThemLive is video testimonials which are social proof for your business. In today’s day and age, proof-based marketing is much more reliable than promise-based efforts. so, you need to add customer audio-visual reviews to your product page. It’s an impactful method to vouch for your brand!

Therefore, you can get proof in the best way by using WatchThemLive video testimonials and showcasing your satisfied customers’ videos. Sign up now and give it a try!

FAQs on Hotjar Review

By now, you’ve read all you need to know about Hotjar’s shortcomings and its best alternative. Now, it’s time to jump into some frequently asked questions regarding Hotjar reviews. Ready?!

1. What Are Hotjar Downsides?

Here’s a list of Hotjar shortcomings that might make you consider a better option, WatchThemLive

  • Hotjar doesn’t offer funnel analysis which is vital for funnel optimization, so you must integrate with a third-party tool for this service,
  • It slows down your website speed, 
  • This platform doesn’t provide responsive customer service,
  • It doesn’t offer psychographic segmentation,
  • Moreover, It doesn’t let you customize your dashboard view,
  • And, you need a technical person (a person with programming knowledge) to use its event tracking feature.

2. Does Hotjar Slow Down My Website Loading Speed?

As you may know, website loading time is one of the most important factors that cause bounce rate and decrease conversion rate. They don’t guarantee that your website loading time won’t be affected by using their service. This is a huge red flag! To wrap up, Hotjar makes your website loading time longer and claims that any Javascript code will affect your website.

3. Is Hotjar Worth It?

Unfortunately, no. Although some of the main analytics features of Hotjar include heatmaps, session recordings, surveys, and feedback, there are some shortcomings. For example, Hotjar session recordings capture the majority of your visitors’ sessions depending on your subscription’s session limits. So, if your website gets more visitors, it won’t record their sessions. Besides, it lacks funnel analysis, free trial, ROI tracking, customer segmentation, A/B testing, and video testimonials.

Hotjar Review Conclusion

So far, we’ve provided a complete Hotjar review and all facts behind it to help you make an informed decision. If you are not okay with your visitor experience insight tool getting expensive so quickly, then you need to have an alternative to Hotjar. 

We recommend using WatchThemLive which is the most powerful conversion rate optimization tool that allows you to track all your website analytics data and also covers Hotjar shortcomings. WatchThemLive has many features such as session recordings, visitor journey tracking, analytics, heatmaps, and advanced filtering. Visit WatchThemLive to create your free account or to get a premium package that fits your business or store’s needs.

Cyrus Nambakhsh

Cyrus is a serial entrepreneur, product-led-growth expert, a product visionary who launched 7 startups. He has built scalable platforms to help businesses and entrepreneurs. Visit my profile here: ==> For Guest Posts and Links Contact: [email protected]