Why We Stopped Using Hotjar - Our New Favorite Heatmapping Tool: Microsoft Clarity

Sep 12, 2022

Heat maps and session recordings are two cornerstones of optimizing the user experience of your website. About a month ago, I found Microsoft Clarity as a possible replacement for Hotjar. Hotjar is a super effective tool, but they lock most of their features behind a subscription - enter Clarity. Over the past month, we've been testing Clarity for one of our eCommerce clients, specifically to see how we could improve our product ad landing pages. We quickly found four things that Clarity does significantly better than the free tier of Hotjar.

Unlimited recordings

Microsoft's tagline on Clarity's pricing page is "It's free—forever". Unlike Hotjar's free tier, which is capped at 35 sessions per day, Clarity has no recording limit, or feature limitations of any kind. When you're running eCommerce ads, like many of our clients, 35 sessions per day just doesn't cut it. The most useful feature so far is filtering - filtering sessions based on URL parameters (like seeing only cold traffic from ads), segmenting visitors, and filtering heat maps give a much clearer picture when we look at how pages perform with a specific audience.

Insights & Analytics

Once we got Clarity up and running, it became my go-to dashboard for site performance. Their default dashboard and analytics show me everything I need to know about a site - but the best part, is on any individual metric - you can filter recordings to that the sessions for that metric with one click. Like this 👇

Minimal Page Speed Impact

We've done a lot of speed testing on e-commerce sites, and the two most consistently impactful tools when we're looking at page load speed are 1) Facebook's Pixel and 2) Hotjar's tracking code.


So far, Clarity seems to have minimal impact on website load speed where we've tested it. When we compared our Clarity recordings to our PPC click data, Clarity didn't miss any sessions from PPC traffic, which is a huge plus for analyzing ad landing pages. So it's not slowing down the site, but it's also not deferring its loading in a way where it misses sessions.

Bonus Feature: On-Site Heat Maps

Reviewing click & heat maps can take some time if you're looking at multiple pages. Clarity's Chrome extension makes it super simple to follow the clicks on your site and re-create how your users are interacting with your product/collection pages.



Why would Microsoft give a tool this good away?

My guess is Microsoft recognized what Google Analytics being installed on so many sites meant for Google - behavioral data from across the web. Microsoft is slowly seeping into territory that's been owned by Google for many years - and the competition is great for users.


Conclusion - Clarity is a better heat mapping tool for scaling eCommerce businesses

The lack of limitation, pre-configured dashboards, and extensive feature set for $0 makes it a no-brainer. Pair that with the bump we got in page speed from removing Hotjar, and we're sold.


If you're looking to up your eCommerce website game, improve your conversion, speed up your website, or create an online store that blows your customers (and competitors) away, schedule a consultation with our team.