Hotjar vs. Google Analytics: An in-depth comparison |

Hotjar vs. Google Analytics: An in-depth comparison

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    How are people using, or not using, your website? Do you know how they're navigating it, what they're looking at, where they click, and what elements lead to sales and conversions? Software like Hotjar and Google Analytics can help.

    Knowing how your users engage with your site helps you learn more about them, including what they're doing on your website if they're finding what they need, and who eventually makes a purchase. Without visitor analytics on your website, you're missing out on the detailed data that can help you make improvements that meet the majority of your customers' needs rather than merely a few.

    Below, we'll compare two analytics platforms: Hotjar vs. Google Analytics. We'll share the benefits of each one and how you can use a heatmap tool with Google Analytics to get the best insights possible.

    What is Hotjar?

    Hotjar is a heatmapping tool that helps businesses understand web user behavior and what they need. Their bread and butter is heatmaps (a visual representation of mouse movements and clicks), but they offer a full suite of user analytics software (you have to pay for each one), including feedback collection via user surveys, and a platform to interview website beta testers.

    They promote their heatmap software as helping you to:

    • Determine if your website changes are capturing attention or getting ignored.
    • See where users are clicking (or not clicking).
    • Find bugs and issues your website team may have missed.

    Here's what a Hotjar dashboard looks like:

    Hotjar Dashboard
    Image Source

    What is Hotjar good for?

    Hotjar is good for providing basic heatmaps. While it's more expensive (compared to other heatmaps like or Lucky Orange), it's fine for businesses who want:

    • Basic visual heatmaps
    • Long-term data storage of heatmap info
    • The ability to track users anonymously

    Hotjar doesn't give you revenue metrics or allow you to group page elements to see a combined view of clickmap info. You'll want to choose a different heatmap software (like for these E-commerce metrics.

    What is Google Analytics?

    Google Analytics is a web analytics platform that allows you to collect, analyze, and report your website traffic. By adding a small line of code to your website's header (manually or through a plugin), Google Analytics will track all user activity on your website. You can view basic data like how many people visit each page, how long they spend on those pages, how long they spend on your site, and how many conversions or goals your visitors accomplish (like making a purchase or downloading a resource).

    The amount of data it can track is honestly quite impressive. It's all stored in the back end in a series of spreadsheets, which is translated into visual representations (like graphics and charts) for us to understand more easily. It also provides beautified, filterable data tables for the analytics geeks among us.

    Here's what a Google Analytics dashboard looks like:

    Google Analytics Dashboard
    Image Source

    What is Google Analytics good for?

    You can use Google Analytics to collect more web traffic info than any heatmap software. However, it's still got limitations (some pretty critical ones, in our opinion). It's good at gathering loads of data and presenting it to you in a chart. Still, it doesn't actually tell you anything helpful.

    Yes, you can see how many people visit your new product landing page, but not how (or if) any of those visits are actually turning into sales. It can't tell you why your campaign conversion rates are down or why many people start the checkout process but never finish.

    Google Analytics is good for the “Data Geeks”—the data analysts who love numbers and manually looking for ways to improve the results. It's also good when your bosses say they want a bunch of charts and graphics to show how well your website is doing at a very high level.

    Is there anything better than Google Analytics?

    Google is really good at what it does and provides some good info, so don't go looking for a Google Analytics replacement just yet. Instead, add a heatmap software like or Hotjar to complement it and get the handy (actionable) information you need: what people are actually clicking on, how they're using your site, and how that engagement translates to sales.

    How do Hotjar and Google Analytics compare?

    Below, we'll compare Google Analytics and Hotjar, and show you how they can be used separately and together to get you the most helpful info about your website visitors.

    Trackable Analytics

    Google and Hotjar track 2 different sets of metrics. All are useful in their own right but serve entirely different purposes:

    Google Analytics

    You can use Google Analytics to track “events” on your website; there's way too many to list them all here but some of the most commonly used trackable, high-level events include:

    • Number of visitors to a page
    • How long people spend on each page
    • What page or website sources they arrived on your website from (referral traffic)
    • How many people arrived on your site and peace out immediately (bounce rate)
    • Visitor and device demographics


    Hotjar tracks visitor behavior and displays this data using an augmented reality overlay on your website using a color-coded heatmap. Red = highly engaged, blue = least engaged, with colors in between the spectrum. This shows you more targeted info about how individual elements on your page are doing, rather than the page as a whole (like Google Analytics provides). You can track:

    • Which elements people click on (clickmap)
    • How people scroll through each page (scrollmap)
    • Recorded sessions to show every mouse movement and click for an individual user session
    • Feedback from users (for an additional subscription fee)

    Pricing Comparison

    For the budget-aware business owner, the subscription price may be a deciding factor for which solution you choose:

    Google Analytics

    First of all, know that Google Analytics is a free tool… Well, mostly. The free version of Google Analytics will work for most companies. For large businesses that need more in-depth analysis and tracking of more data (because you have large or hugely popular websites), you can pay for an enterprise version called Google Analytics 365. But it's likely out of budget for most of us, starting at $150,000 per year Ouch!


    Hotjar has a forever free version of their heatmaps. But this free version offers very limited features, including only tracking up to 35 daily website sessions. Their paid plans range from $32 per month (for up to 100 daily sessions) to $9,448 per month for up to 270,000 website sessions monthly. It can be a manageable cost if you have a small website with only a few visitors a day. But, as you become more popular, your monthly subscription could skyrocket to $9,000 or more. Ouch, again!

    A better heatmap alternative: Use the free version of Google Analytics, and instead of Hotjar, use After a 7-day free trial of, you only pay $0 for up to 10 million views per month (you read that right, it costs nothing to view up to 10 million website visits per month with

    💡Check out's full array of features

    Available Integrations

    Another important thing to understand about Google Analytics vs Hotjar is what other software and systems they can integrate with. Having your analytics programs “talk” with your other systems and digital platforms makes your job so much easier and removes manual administrative work to transfer data and do analysis where needed.

    Google Analytics can be installed on any website platform, including WordPress, Shopify, and even your own hand-coded websites. It only needs you to add one short line of code in your website's header. Easy!

    Hotjar boasts compatibility to link with thousands of popular apps and websites without code. This is through the use of plugins. You can also link your Hotjar data with more apps through Zapier.

    Ease of Use

    If an analytics app isn't easy to use or comes with a large learning curve, will you really use it, even if it's free? Likely not.

    The biggest fault in Google Analytics is the huge learning curve that comes with it. Installing the Google Analytics code is easy, even for newbie web developers. However, understanding what the numbers mean and how to set up custom tracking can be hard. If you start using Google Campaign URL Builder (to track external links to your website) or Google Tag Manager (to set up your unique tracking links, site analytics, and remarketing codes), there's still more to learn to get the most value from Google Analytics.

    Because Hotjar data points are presented visually, you can see how users behave on your website at a glance. You just need to know that red areas on the heatmap mean more interactions, and blue represents less. Filtered data is also presented visually, so you spend less time guessing what these website metrics mean because you see it visually and color-coded right before your eyes.

    Can Hotjar replace Google Analytics?

    The answer depends on how you want to view data and what you plan to do with it. We don't generally suggest using only Google Analytics or only a heatmap. Ideally, they should be used together to provide both the page-level analysis (Google) and the individual user behavior within the page (heatmaps).

    Why beats Hotjar

    When looking for the best heatmap software to complement your Google web analytics data, will provide a better experience and results than Hotjar. offers several things that no other heatmap software does, including to:

    • Group page elements for combined analysis (they literally invented this, and no one else can do it)
    • View revenue data in your heatmap
    • View more detailed filtering
    • Get more monthly page views than either Hotjar or Lucky Orange's most expensive packages

    Your best option to get all the analytics your senior management team wants and your marketing and data analyst teams need is

    💡Sign-up for a free trial today to see the data you can't get from any other heatmap.