Mouseflow vs Hotjar

The definitive guide to understanding the difference between the two platforms

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Mouseflow vs Hotjar: which one to choose?

If you have come this far, it means that you are considering subscribing to either platform to improve your website experience and for that, we are grateful. We understand that making a choice requires a lot of research and we’re here to help by offering you an in-depth comparison of Mouseflow vs Hotjar to facilitate your decision making.

At first sight, the platforms seem to have the same functionality with similar toolsets. However, at a closer look, you will see that there’s a tremendous difference between the two just as there’s a clear difference between the Polaroid and digital camera. The biggest difference is not in pricing or in the number of recordings either of these platforms has to offer, but in the way the data is collected and the level of insights you can get with either. 

Going further we’ll help you understand the value each platform brings to your business by covering the following topics:

Mouseflow vs Hotjar: what’s the power of no-sampling?

Same, but not the same: how non-stop recording leads you to better insights faster

Is Mouseflow right for you?

 

TL;DR: What are the fundamental differences between Mouseflow and Hotjar?

  • Not missing a single visitor or insight. One of the main differences between Mouseflow and Hotjar is that Mouseflow doesn’t sample your data. Another one is that by default Mouseflow records 100% of your site’s visits from the start unless you choose otherwise. Hotjar, on the other hand, is based on data sampling and recordings happen in batches. As Hotjar explains: “The traffic used in the sample is randomly selected and ensures you can see what your visitors are doing around the clock”. So you get some statistics, but not the full picture.
  • No setup required after installation.  With Mouseflow your data is available to analyze as soon as you start recording your website. Heat maps are instantly-generated for all tracked pages, and your visitors’ sessions get recorded automatically. You don’t have to worry about setting up your heat maps or session recordings up to start gathering data. With Hotjar, you’ll need to create a new heat map and recordings for every page and occasion and time. If you fail to set these up ahead of time, you will lose the opportunity to gather this data.
  • Automatic identification of issues. Watching visitors’ sessions can become overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start. With Mouseflow,  you spend less time finding the problem and more time focusing on fixing the issues with its friction score. This is a unique feature that is included in all of Mouseflow’s plans which comes at no extra cost or additional set-up. Take it one step further and define your own, custom friction elements. With Mouseflow you can also track JS errors on your website automatically. No extra set up needed and at no extra cost. This will facilitate your communication with developers when fixing issues on your website. Hotjar doesn’t provide automatic issue identification or JS error tracking.
  • Insights without constraints. For example, you want to see the difference in heat maps between paid and organic traffic. With Hotjar you can’t apply filters to heat maps created from the collected data (apart from device and heat maps type). To see the difference you’d need to set up two new heat maps, define source parameters for each of them, the amount of traffic you want to record, and start collecting data. Wait a few days or weeks and voila: now you can look at the data. With Mouseflow that’s super easy all you need to do is to select the page you want to look at and filter by source. That’s it, no waiting.

 

 

Mouseflow vs Hotjar: what’s the power of no-sampling?

One of the biggest differences between the platforms is that Hotjar samples your recordings and Mouseflow does not. But what is sampling anyways and why is it important? Well, the devil is in the details as they say…

Let’s draw an example: You are a supermarket owner. You have 100 customers, and you want to conduct a study of how they behave inside your store. With Hotjar, you would only be able to study a portion – or sample – of randomly selected customers of the 100. The selection and sample varies according to your plan, and you have no way of knowing exactly the ratio of visitors to samples recorded.

Some of these customers in the sample would have made a purchase, others wouldn’t, but the truth is that some information will inevitably be lost and you will not be able to review it later if you need it. 

sampling vs no sampling With Hotjar’s sampling you only record a fraction of your visitors, not all of them.

With Mouseflow, you will record every customer inside the store without any exception. There is no random selection or sampling of any kind. However, if you want, you can always adjust the settings – Mouseflow leaves that choice to you, thus allowing you the flexibility to manage data consumption under your allotted plan. In short, Mouseflow gives you complete control over your recordings, and Hotjar does not.

 

Same, but not the same: how non-stop recording leads you to better insights faster

How much insight do you get? Don’t just take our word when we say it’s like comparing a Polaroid to a digital camera. Both are cameras, both take pictures, but they are very different. If the picture is destined to go beyond the fridge door or memory board, you’re likely to use a digital camera. Let’s dive into the differences, one by one.

Session Recording and Replay:

Mouseflow vs Hotjar: the difference in session recordings
HotjarMouseflow
RecordingIn snapshotsNon-stop, unlimited
Users capturedSome (sampled)All (not-sampled)
Filters6 filters
URL, Country, Tags, Page Count, Hotjar User ID, Device, Browser, OS
100+ filters
URL, Country, Tags, Page Count, Device, Browser, OS, Screen resolution, HubSpot User ID, Friction Score, Friction Event, Duration, Traffic Source, Returning visitor, Custom Variables, Custom Behavior Tags
Recording break-downEntry page/ Exit pageShows all pages visited with times, tags, and friction scores during a session organized in a waterfall view.
Can downloadNoYes

Apart from recording non-sampled data, which we covered above, Mouseflow gives you several other differences to consider.

Hotjar records in batches and you need to keep selecting the amount of information you want to record and later reset the recording once the limit is reached. 

Session recording comparison
Hotjar’s session recording setup.

With Mouseflow, once you start recording there are no extra actions required and you don’t need to worry about remembering to turn the recordings on. This also helps you avoid having any regrets about not recording at a specific time.

Mouseflow's session recording overview
Mouseflow’s session recording dashboard – once you start recording, no additional actions are required.

Reviewing your visitors’ videos is essential to understand how they behave on your page. Let’s compare both platforms’ dashboards and session recording players.

Hotjar does a nice job in organizing information for you out of the box. You can favorite recordings, review entry/exit page, session duration, number of pages viewed, country, and the date that the sample recording was made.

Hotjar's view of session recordings.
Hotjar’s view of session recordings.

You can also add more columns to review devices, operating system, referrer URL, browser, and a number of actions taken inside the video.

Hotjar also allows you to filter your recordings by the aforementioned attributes, and by tags (which you add to your recordings manually), behavior-specific attributes like rage-click and “u-turns”, by results from feedback campaigns and by user attributes (set up needed from development). These last filters are available only on Hotjar’s business plan.

Hotjar’s session recording player is very familiar. It has what you can expect from a video player, plus a sidebar with the option to comment and add notes about the recording, as well as a detailed list of all actions taken on the page and their timestamp.

Mouseflow’s recordings dashboard is a comprehensive overview of all of your recordings. You can review the city and country from the recording, the referrer URL, entry page, how long ago was the recording made, number of pages in the recording, friction (more on that in a second), duration, devices, and tags and variables.

Mouseflow vs hotjar Session recording view Mouseflow’s session recordings view.

By clicking on the number of pages visited on a recording with more than one page recorded, you can quickly get a breakdown of all the pages visited, how long they stayed on each page and the tag details of each. 

 

Heat maps:

Heat maps are a flagship feature for both Mouseflow and Hotjar, and it is one of the most sought after tools by professionals in CRO, UX/UI, marketing and product fields. Let’s take a look at the differences.

Mouseflow vs Hotjar: the difference in heat maps
HotjarMouseflow
GeneratedManually for each pageAutomatically for all tracked pages
Types3: Click, Move, Scroll6: Click, Move, Scroll, Attention, Geo, Live
Filters availableDevice, TypeDevice, Type, Time, Traffic Source, Browser, Screen Resolution, OS, Tags
Recording break-downEntry page/ Exit pageShows all pages visited with times, tags, and friction scores during a session organized in a waterfall.
Visualization of dynamic elements (sliders, menus)NoYes
Can downloadYesNo


Hotjar’s
heat map tool offers an overlay of clicks, movement, and scroll with the option to review behavior by the device. To use a heat map, you must first set up the pages you’d like to analyze, pick the sample size you’d like to collect, and turn on the heat map to start collecting data.

Hotjar's heat map example

Mouseflow offers 6 types of heat maps out of the box. This means that as soon as the tracking code is installed, the heat maps will be instantly generated for all your pages without any extra set up. With Mouseflow, you’ll be able to analyze clicks, scroll, movement, attention, geographical location, and a live render of your site that enables the visualization of dynamic elements on a heat map as you navigate the site yourself.

Mouseflow's heatmaps view

While having 6 types of heat maps is an advantage when analyzing your visitors’ behavior, you also get contextual information depending on the type of heat map you are viewing.

Mouseflow contextual click information on heatmaps
Mouseflow’s example of click information on a heat map.

A key differentiator between Hotjar’s and Mouseflow’s heat maps is that with Mouseflow you can use its powerful filtering capabilities to analyze the data according to your needs. Do you want to discover why your landing page is not converting better? Just select the page from the menu, or select the utm_source you’d like to review. No extra setup needed. With Hotjar, applying filters like source or page means setting up a new heat map every time. 

In addition to filtering, Mouseflow also enables you to review heatmap changes in time. You can browse dates of interest and analyze how changes have impacted your visitors’ behavior. This is especially handy when running A/B tests or changes in the page structure to improve conversion rates.

Conversion Funnels:

Mouseflow vs Hotjar: difference in funnels feature
HotjarMouseflow
Users capturedSome (sampled)All (not-sampled)
Editing your funnelsTraffic older than 90 days is lost if an edit is madeEdit when you want. Never lose your data.
FiltersCan not filter your funnels’ data100+ filters:
URL, Country, Tags, Page Count, Device, Browser, OS, Screen resolution, HubSpot User ID, Friction Score, Friction Event, Duration, Traffic Source, Returning visitor, Custom Variables, Custom Behavior Tags

Building conversion funnels for key transactions on a website is one of the most important tools for understanding performance on a site. To help with this Mouseflow and Hotjar allow building funnels and reviewing sessions from visitors that dropped-off and also successfully converted, with a few key differences:

  • Filtering options with Mouseflow are extensive and can be applied across your funnel for more in-depth analysis.
  • Funnel data and results are more reliable from Mouseflow as it covers your whole universe of visits and not a random selection as it is with Hotjar.

Hotjar's funnel view Hotjar’s funnel view

 

Mouseflow's funnel view Mouseflow’s funnel view

 

Form Analytics

Hotjar vs Mouseflow: what’s the difference in form analytics?
HotjarMouseflow
Users CapturedSome (sampled)All (not-sampled)
Form results dataAfter configurationAlways. Set up and analyze when needed
FiltersCan not filter your forms’ data100+ filters
URL, Country, Tags, Page Count, Device, Browser, OS, Screen resolution, HubSpot User ID, Friction Score, Friction Event, Duration, Traffic Source, Returning visitor, Custom Variables, Custom Behavior Tags

Ever had a form on your website for lead generation and can’t know for sure what’s keeping your leads from converting? Are you asking for too much? Form analytics enables you to review a funnel-like analysis of the forms on your website. Mouseflow and Hotjar allow to set up form analytics, however, with Mouseflow you can :

  • Set up form analytics and review the results, as soon as you start recording on your website. Mouseflow doesn’t require setting up and activating form analytics to start analyzing. (With Hotjar, you will need to select the size of the sample and activate it to start gathering data).
  • Filter out interactions with the form according to your needs with the parameters we discussed in session replay.
  • Replay sessions from visitors who dropped out or succeeded in completing the form.
  • Completely rely on forms data and results as it covers your whole universe of visits and not a random selection as with Hotjar.


Hotjar’s form analytics view

Form Analysis
Mouseflow’s form analytics view

Feedback campaigns

Hotjar vs Mouseflow: what’s the difference in feedback campaign?
HotjarMouseflow
Users CapturedSome (sampled)All (not-sampled)
Trigger on click rage, click error or inactivityNoYes


A key difference between Mouseflow and Hotjar’s feedback tool is that Mouseflow allows you to trigger surveys when a user experiences click rage, click errors, or inactivity. Both Mouseflow and Hotjar can trigger surveys at page load, when they have scrolled a percentage of the page, with a delay so it shows after a few seconds since the visit started when the mouse leaves the page (exit-intent) and with a custom trigger placed on the page.

With Mouseflow, you can also target visitors by language without extra set up.

Mouseflow's feedback campaigns set up Mouseflow’s feedback campaigns builder

 

Is Mouseflow right for you?

Whether you are a startup or a big company doing business online, Mouseflow is a powerful complement to your analytics stack. Its features have been developed to provide flexibility and readily-available insights that improve efficiency and effectiveness, something that is highly valuable at any company regardless of its size or stage. 

Mouseflow’s benefits span across different areas of interest. Further, let’s highlight its benefits by roles and by company size:

  • If you work in product

Mouseflow can help you validate your user flows and ensure that your features suit your clients’ needs, collect feedback directly from your users to understand what to build next. Moreover, as Mouseflow doesn’t sample your data, you can review how changes in the product have impacted your visitors’ navigation by accessing historical data.

  • If you work in digital marketing

As a digital marketer, it has become increasingly important to understand why your customers aren’t converting. Mouseflow’s set of tools will help you improve your conversion rates by allowing you to build website conversion funnels per acquisition source, campaign, keyword, and/or content type. Analyze heat maps to understand how your visitors consume your website, what gets their attention, and replay sessions from dropped-off visitors to identify problems in your path to conversion. 

  • If you work in UX/UI

With Mouseflow’s friction score you can quickly identify sources of issues with your visitors’ sessions to iterate rapidly and continually. By complementing your favorite analytics tool with Mouseflow, you can have the full picture with quantitative and qualitative data to truly understand what’s preventing your visitors from arriving at the aha! moment. You can also run feedback and NPS campaigns to learn more about how people perceive the product.

  • If you are a Startup

When you are a startup, it is all about efficiency, cutting costs, and getting the best bang for your buck. Resources are limited and you are always running against time. Mouseflow is not extraneous to this situation. In other words, the product has been developed around providing the most valuable insights in the least amount of time and effort. Our pricing plans are affordable and our product capabilities can scale alongside your startup quickly by just consulting with our A-team in support. Share or download recordings across teams, departments, and freelancers to speed-up your iteration and beat your competitors in finding product-market fit.

  • If you are a bigger company (Enterprise)

Mouseflow’s flexibility and advanced filtering capabilities are perfectly suited for multi-disciplinary teams focused on optimizing web properties. It is trusted by over 165,000 brands to deliver powerful insights that can change the course of a business into the path of success. Error tracking can facilitate communication with development teams, while Friction Score can free-up resources when analyzing vast amounts of recordings.

 

Let’s recap the most important differences between Mouseflow and Hotjar before we let you go:

 

  • To sample or not to sample? That is the main question.

While Hotjar samples recordings, with Mouseflow you don’t have to worry about missing out on recordings from your visitors, nor worry about activating recordings every time your sample has been captured. Install the tracking code, start recording, and get some popcorn :).

  • What about heat maps?

As soon as you start recording Mouseflow provides you with 6 types of heat maps built instantly for all of your pages. Review historical data by just adjusting the date and review how your visitors’ behavior has changed over time.

  • What’s the word on Funnels?

Mouseflow will allow you to build funnels any time you want. Forgot about setting up the funnel? Afraid you lost all that goodness? Don’t worry. Mouseflow has been gathering that data all along.

  • Form analytics are my jam, what do you say about that?

In the same was as with funnels, form analytics data is captured by Mouseflow from the get-go. Simply build an instance to analyze any form on your website and watch videos of the visitors that interacted with it.

  • Error tracking , friction, and advanced filtering

These are three unique features of Mouseflow’s product. Error tracking is available as soon as you start recording visitors on your website and is included in all of our plans. Your developers are going to love it!

Friction tags each of your recordings with three levels of happiness automatically so that you can review problematic sessions first and get to your most pressing issues quickly.

With advanced filtering, you will be able to segment your sessions recordings, heatmaps, funnels, and form analytics by multiple variables and combinations giving your team unparalleled flexibility to understand how behaviors differ by cohorts of interest.

 

At Mouseflow, we are incredibly humbled to be considered as one of your choices to upgrade your stack. Our support team is ready to answer any questions you may have about our product or plans, so please do not hesitate to shoot us a message at support@mouseflow.com, or chat with us directly on Twitter or Linkedin at @mouseflow.

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