Drawing in visitors to your site is only the first part of the equation. Once they reach your website, there are many things that can go wrong. They might be off-put by an awkwardly designed interface, frustrated by unresponsive buttons or just plain old bored by what they find, never reaching the content you’ve carefully prepared.
This is where web analytics software enters the picture. This type of tool focuses on analyzing user behavior – ways people interact with your online content. Humans are fickle beings with increasingly shorter life spans. This means you have to optimize every aspect of your website in order to keep people engaged and funnel them towards making a purchase.
Web analytics tools
Google Analytics is probably the first web analytics tool most online vendors and digital marketers turn to. While powerful, Google’s tool can only get you so far, which is where more advanced web analytics software enters the picture.
Two of the arguably most popular pieces of software in this niche are FullStory and Hotjar, both dedicated to taking traditional web analytics to the next level. In this article, we’ve prepared a Hotjar vs FullStory showdown, where we compare feature sets and pricing offered by these providers.
Besides running an in-depth comparison between the two tools, we’ll also look into what both solutions might lack and see whether an alternative service like FullSession might be just what the doctor ordered.
What are Hotjar and FullStory?
At first glance, Hotjar and FullStory are pretty similar. They’re both web analytics tools with a focus on helping you collect and interpret quantitative and qualitative data on user behavior of website visitors.
The two companies even launched in the same year and have similar website analytics feature sets, including capabilities like visitor heat maps and user session recordings. Both of them provide a treasure trove of insightful customer experience data that a company can use to drive sales and increase conversion rates, as well as help them provide a better user experience overall.
However, while similar, there are also significant differences between Hotjar and FullStory. For example, Hotjar can be used to collect user feedback and conduct surveys straight on your site. On the other hand, FullStory falls short in those areas but is great for providing hands-on customer support.
Behavior analytics software like Hotjar and FullStory aims to move past traditional web analytics tools like Google Analytics.
The main issue with traditional analytics is that while they provide data like customer clicks, bounce rates, and conversion rates, they don’t really help you truly understand user behavior and divulge why visitors act as they do. Yes, you can see people are leaving your website after a few seconds, but traditional tools will give you no clue as to whether that’s connected to unresponsive pages or because they got annoyed trying to click a banner that wasn’t a link
These are exactly the conclusions Hotjar’s researches came to in their State of Web Analytics 2020 survey. According to the survey’s results, all types (Basic to Elite) of web analytic tool users believe that the main issue with traditional website analytics is that they’re “not helpful in explaining why customers behave the way they do on a website”.
The same survey also clearly shows that companies that rely on web analytics more tend to have significantly higher profit margins. This should pretty much be a no-brainer for any company serious about staying competitive.
Now, let’s take a closer look at what each tool offers and how their features stack up against each other.
Hotjar and FullStory features comparison
Now, we’ll do a thorough Hotjar vs FullStory comparison based on the features offered. First, we’ll look at the features both platforms share and then move on to those that differentiate them.
Both Fullstory and Hotjar boast the visitor heatmap feature. On heatmaps, data is visualized through colors, where the sections of your website page that are most interacted with are in red (hot), while those the least clicked-on are in blue (cold).
A heatmap, in this context, is actually an umbrella term that includes multiple facets of on-site user interaction. This includes:
Scroll maps: a heatmap that shows you how far down your pages users scroll, with exact percentages for each page section. This is a useful tool for assessing whether your pages are too long and finding out exactly where you’re losing engagement. This can be very helpful in solving user experience mysteries like why some of your page buttons get no love.
Scroll map data can be aggregated to include multiple pages or a single URL, as well as display scroll behavior for different device types.
Click maps: this type of heatmap, as the name suggests, tells what visitors click when they’re on your website. Such information is invaluable, as it shows you what buttons, links, banners, or CTAs on your site draws in users the most.
In case a click map’s user behavior data tells you that visitors do not go towards elements of your website that you want them to, you can redesign or alter said page in order to make the target links more attractive. Instagram is a great example of this practice – they swapped out the often-clicked Activity tab with the ‘Shop’ button, driving people towards their newly opened marketplace.
Hotjar and FullStory both feature scroll and click maps in their offers. On top of that, the heatmaps from these tools provide you with rage-click, dead-click information and other frustration signals. This points to things like buttons on the page that users click furiously – something we all can relate to – indicating website bugs, glitches, or slow-responding pages.
Hotjar has another type of heatmap that’s not offered on FullStory’s platform – move maps. These show user mouse movement patterns, giving you even more insight into how users interact with your pages. With it, you can see what elements of your website capture the attention of users. For example, If customers keep gravitating towards the top par, it’s a smart idea to place CTAs or lead capture links there.
While heatmaps are great for gathering general data about how customers behave on your website, you’ll often want to see exactly how individual users act when they visit your pages. Unless you want to spy on your customers (not recommended), you’ll want to make use of session recording.
You’ll find this tool on both platforms, with the feature bearing the name ‘Session Replay’ on FullStory. Unlike heatmaps, the session replay functionality does not provide you with aggregated statistical data. Instead, it gives you a video replay of user sessions, letting you see exactly how the user navigated your website, how they moved their mouse, and what they clicked.
This type of insight is invaluable for seeing the advantages or disadvantages of your UX. Do all of your customers get stuck hopelessly on the same page? Do most of them gravitate towards the About Us section instead of to your blog? Session recordings help you find out.
Based on a session recording, you can also see precisely what issues your customers might face or what drives them away. You can then fine-tune the UI, reduce bounce rates, get more leads, optimize conversion rates and score more sales.
Additionally, session recordings are a great tool for ironing out any bugs or glitches on your website, as well as help you provide customer support by assessing real user behavior data.
FullStory session replay for providing customer support
In this Hotjar vs FullStory session replay matchup, the latter takes the win due to the added usability of session recordings for providing support to your customers. When a customer writes in, complaining about an issue, FullStory will provide you with a session replay showing you what the user did before and after they’ve submitted a ticket.
Instead of asking the age-old question of “What were you doing when the problem occurred?”, you can just fire up the replay and see for yourself.
Session recordings and heatmaps are features with powerful data collection capabilities that are bound to massively improve practically every aspect of the digital experience on your websites.
FullSession’s product session replay
FullStory and Hotjar both feature robust session replay capabilities that are bound to be useful for your business. However, Fullstory lacks move maps and user surveys, while Hotjar falls short when it comes to user segmentation and detailed data analytics.
FullSession, an alternative service, is just the right tool for businesses looking to spot pain points in user digital experience through session replay. FullSession lets you make use of advanced filtering tools to segment user sessions that actually matter to help businesses increase conversion rates. Hence, FullSession fills the gap in the web analytics tool market by boasting features omitted from Hotjar or FullStory.
With data divided into categories, you can conduct a truly thorough analysis of where and why your users drop off from your platform, as well as isolate which devices or browsers have performance issues on your pages and optimize them accordingly.
If this is something you feel your analytics lack, check out what FullSession has to offer. The service is free to use, so companies can test it out without paying.
Hotjar vs FullStory pricing differences
Now that we’ve compared what these platforms can do, it’s time to take a look at how much they’ll hurt your wallet.. Both companies have the same pricing model – they charge a monthly fee for the service, with a limit on the number of user sessions you can capture each day.
Starting with Hotjar, there are four different plans on offer:
- Basic – free, lets you capture 1,000 pageviews/heatmap, allows the collection of 300 recordings and the creation of 3 surveys and 3 heatmaps.
- Plus – $39/month, 100 daily sessions, 3,000 recordings/month and unlimited heatmaps and surveys.
- Business – $99/month, 500 daily sessions, 7 customer integrations, key user cohorts analysis, rage-click detection
- Scale – $389/month, full feature-set access, training with Hotjar specialist, SAML SSO
As for FullStory, there are three plans to choose from here: Free, Business, and Enterprise. The free plan gives you three seats, one month of data storage and 1,000 sessions per month. The FullStory free plan is pretty similar to Hotjar’s and should prove sufficient to test out the service.
Besides the free tier, you can also test out the paid plans in a 14-day free trial. Here’s what the paid plans provide.
Unfortunately, the company does not display the pricing for its service, meaning you’ll have to contact their sales team in order to get a quote.
FullSession: a free alternative
In case you’re on a tight budget, you’re running a smaller website, or just on the lookout for alternatives, FullSession’s site analytics tool is completely free to use. As such, cash-strapped users can use FullSession to easily get valuable data, optimize their site and get more leads, while firms already using some analytics software can test out a different platform without committing resources. Its easy copy-paste code implementation makes it great for the less tech-savvy business owners.
Hotjar vs FullStory comparison summary
It goes without saying that both of these tools do a great job of providing you with actionable user behavior data. With them, you can easily see how users interact with your pages, where most of their clicks go through, and what issues or bugs they face.
However, there are differences between the two as well. FullStory offers more ways to provide customer support to your users, thanks to its great session replay feature that ties into support tickets. Additionally, unlike Hotjar, FullStory allows you to set up a conversion analysis that can reveal what obstacles might stand in the way of your visitors performing desired actions on your site. Armed with this information, you can optimize your conversion funnels to get more sales and subscriptions, or increase your lead capture rate.
On the other hand, Hotjar’s powerful survey tool is ideal for collecting direct feedback before you make any changes to your site based on data collected through heat maps and session recordings. Additionally, Hotjar’s move maps give more depth to the user data you collected – a feature FullStory lacks.
When it comes to pricing, their pricing models are fairly similar. While it’s tough to compare them directly, as FullStory does not disclose the exact pricing for its plans, you can expect FullStory to be significantly pricier than its counterpart.
In the end, your choice will boil down to what your business needs the most, what you can afford, personal preference or a combination of all three. However, don’t lock yourself into deciding just between the two – there’s plenty of great alternatives to look at too.
Check out our Hotjar alternatives article to learn more about great tools similar to Hotjar.