Beyond Bounce Rate How To Learn More About Your Visitors

Beyond Bounce Rate: How To Learn More About Your Visitors

SocialB Digital Marketing Blog Last modified: 01 Feb 2018 by Paul Hogg
SEO | Web Design

When it comes to increasing your website’s conversion rate, understanding your visitors is essential. While Google Analytics is a fantastic tool, there is only so much you can do with bounce rate/exit rate/other site usage metrics. To make your website easier to use and more informative, more information is essential.

In this blog post, I aim to explain how to understand your visitors’ behaviour and intent better using our recommended tool:


To get started, we recommend Hotjar. It’s free to use on a limited plan which has all you need to get started.

Once you’ve created an account and added your website, you’ll be presented with the dashboard. On the right-hand side, you’ll see a sidebar broken down into ‘Analytics’ and ‘Feedback’.

Hotjar Sidebar

Let’s break down what each section is used for:


Heatmaps, Recordings, Funnels, and Forms are all incredibly useful tools when it comes to further understanding your visitors’ behaviour patterns and suggested intent. Let’s have a look at each:


Click heatmap

This heatmap shows us where visitors have clicked on the website, telling us how most people tend to move through the website on this page. This view is useful for seeing where visitors are trying to click (if a lot of people are clicking an unlinked image, it might be worth adding a link to it).

Move heatmap

This heatmap shows us where visitors move their cursor on the page. This view is great for telling us what visitors are reading as most people tend to hover over what they read. This information can be used to understand what content is and isn’t valuable to visitors.

Scroll heatmap

If you have a lot of information on crucial pages of your website, the scroll heatmap will show you how far down the page visitors tend to scroll. This view is useful for deciding how to structure pages content-wise and can help you hypothesise for A/B tests.

View sample heatmap


Once you’ve had a look at your heatmaps for an idea of what visitors are doing on specific pages, it’s time to watch some recordings. Recordings are a fantastic way of understanding how visitors navigate your website and interact with different pages. All user information is anonymous, so any privacy concerns are minimal, but the insight into how your visitors actually use your website is extremely valuable. In Hotjar’s basic plan, you can record up to 100 sessions, but feel free to delete the recordings once you’ve watched them or any non-valuable ones to free space up, allowing you to record more.

Hotjar Recordings

Watch a sample recording


These are very similar to the goal conversion funnels found in Google Analytics, but – in my opinion – are much better. In GA, you have to enter the exact page URL as steps in the funnel, while in Hotjar there are many variables you can use to group pages together, such as ‘URL starts with’, ‘URL ends with’, ‘URL contains’, and more.

Funnels are an excellent way of clearly visualising how you want users to move around your website against how they actually do.

Hotjar Funnel


Form analysis is great for websites with checkout pages, long contact forms, registration forms and any other long user-filled forms. Use this report to see where visitors are struggling when filling out forms on your website to redesign them for a higher conversion rate.

Hotjar Forms


The 4 analytics tools included in Hotjar are all incredibly powerful and can give you unparalleled insights into how potential customers are using your website before leaving or converting.

But this information can only go so far. In order to build the best possible picture of how people are using your website, you will also want to give your visitors a voice, asking them specific, relevant questions about their intention. This can be achieved using Hotjar’s 4 feedback tools: Polls, Incoming Feedback, Surveys and Recruiters.

Let’s break down each one again:


Feedback polls are one of the best ways of directly asking your visitors relevant questions. There are a number of feedback question ideas online that you can implement depending on your situation and goal.

A good example might be asking visitors if your pricing structure is clear after seeing lots of hovering in your movement heatmap. If they select ‘No’ to your first question, you could then ask how it could be improved. While this example is quite generic, when tailored (and timed to pop up after the visitor has had a chance to read the page), these feedback polls are an excellent way of giving the visitor an opportunity to give valuable insights into their thoughts and feelings – essential information for improving your website and business.

Hotjar Polls


If a feedback poll is too invasive for your visitors, look at adding an incoming feedback widget. This sits on the side of the screen as a clickable ‘Feedback’ icon that expands when clicked (as seen in the example below). While you may not get as many responses as a poll, incoming feedback widgets are a great tool for allowing customers who have something they want to say about your website to voice their opinion.

Hotjar Incoming


Once your visitors have converted, asking them if they’d like to complete a survey is a great way to gain deep insights into why they decided to choose you and on any other questions you’d like to ask them. Hotjar’s easy to use survey builder makes putting one together a breeze.

Hotjar Surveys


If you’re looking to survey and record specific users, look no further than recruiters. Offer your visitors something tempting in exchange for participation in a usability test. When visitors fill out this form, their information will be sent to your records in Hotjar, allowing you to select the most relevant users for your test.

Hotjar Recruit Test Users


While Google Analytics is a fantastic go-to tool, remember that there is more to understanding customer experience than bounce rates and time on page.Tools such as Hotjar, Qualaroo or Clicktale can add that level of qualitative data to quantitive reporting, giving you an overall better picture of how your website is currently being used. To get started, get your heatmaps setup and start recording visitors. After you’ve spent time collecting and analysing these, look to ask them questions using either feedback polls or the incoming widget, then come up with ideas as to how you can improve the website for your visitors and test them using tools such as Google Optimize.

We were not sponsored by Hotjar or any affiliated company to write this blog post.

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