If you’re serious about conversion rate optimization (CRO), then you need to know where people are focusing their attention when they visit your website. That’s why you should use a heatmap tool.
In this article, we’ll review both tools so you can decide which one is better for your business.
But which should you choose? Unfortunately, there’s no “one size fits all” answer to that question.
What Is a Heatmap, Anyway?
In a nutshell: a heatmap shows you which parts of a web page get the most attention.
How does it do that? With colors.
It looks a bit like the storm map that your local meteorologist often shows on the evening news. The more intense parts of the storm system appear in brighter colors than the less intense parts.
On a web page heatmap, bright colors indicate more attention. Soft colors indicate less attention.
Why is that important? Because you should put elements that you want people to interact with on the parts of your page that receive the most attention. That way, those elements are more likely to get clicks.
A particularly bright part of your page is usually a great place for a call-to-action (CTA) button.
How Does a Heatmap Tool Measure Attention?
A heatmap tool measures attention by grabbing the HTML of your page and analyzing the parts that people interact with.
For example, your page probably has a number of menu links at the top, clickable elements within the content, a call to action (CTA) button, and links in the footer. Every time somebody clicks on one of those elements, the tool notices.
The elements that receive the most engagements will get the brightest colors on the heatmap.
You could write some code that aggregates that data and produces the heatmap report. As you can imagine, though, that’s not easy to do.
That’s why you need a heatmap tool.
Crazy Egg vs. HotJar
Now that you understand a little bit more about heatmaps and their usefulness, let’s take a look at a couple of the best heatmap tools available.
HotJar bills itself as an “all-in-one analytics and feedback tool.” If you’ve been in digital marketing for more than a week, then you know that there’s no such thing as an “all-in-one” tool.
But it would be nice if such a tool existed.
Still, HotJar does offer a number of benefits. It combines services provided by a number of other marketing tools, such as ClickTale, SurveyMonkey, and Qualaroo.
We’ll just focus on the heatmap aspect of the tool here.
Crazy Egg claims it’s “like a pair of x-ray glasses that lets you see exactly what people are doing on your website.” It does that with more than just heatmaps, though. It also uses recordings.
In other words, you can watch a video of how people interact with your website. That will tell you quite a bit about where visitors are focusing their attention.
Crazy Egg also supports split-testing. That will help you understand how changes to the user interface impact visitor behavior.
Comparing Crazy Egg and Hotjar
Let’s compare the two tools before we dive into the review.
Both Crazy Egg and HotJar offer heatmap reports. They show you where visitors click and tap on your page.
In case it’s not clear from the use of the word “tap” above: Crazy Egg and HotJar both support mobile devices.
They also support scrollmaps. Those are like heatmaps but focus more on people scrolling rather than clicking.
HotJar stands out by offering a move heatmap report. That shows you where people move their mouse cursor on your site.
Of course, that isn’t supported on a mobile platform.
Crazy Egg offers a confetti report. You can use that to see how many clicks and taps an element receives based on referral sources, search terms, browser type, and other info.
Additionally, Crazy Egg also has a list report that displays all the elements on your page that received a click.
Who uses Crazy Egg? Prominent companies include Dell, Etsy, Optimizely, and Yahoo.
Who uses HotJar? Prominent companies include IKEA, Nintendo, Panasonic, and Unbounce.
It’s worth noting that one popular CRO service (Optimizely) uses Crazy Egg whereas another one (Unbounce) uses HotJar. That should tell you right off the bat that the two services are comparable.
Both Crazy Egg and HotJar offer free trials. With Crazy Egg, it’s a 30-day free trial. With HotJar, it’s a 15-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
According to SimilarTech, Crazy Egg is used by about 290,000 websites. HotJar is used by about 425,000, so it’s clearly the market leader.
Datanyze has different numbers. It’s got the number of Crazy Egg websites at about 101,000 and the number of HotJar websites at about 225,000.
Also, Datanyze says that Crazy Egg has a .048% market share and HotJar has a 1.07% market share.
HotJar is a leader in most countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom. Crazy Egg leads in Iceland, Ethiopia, and Côte d’Ivoire.
On TrustRadius, HotJar has a slight lead among users. It’s got an 8.5/10 rating and Crazy Egg has a 7.8/10 rating.
Crazy Egg is much less expensive. Its pricing ranges from $29/month to $189/month billed annually. HotJar costs between $89/month and $589/month.
That’s probably why one of the reviewers on TrustRadius wrote: “Crazy Egg is the best CRO and LPO tool for performance marketers who have a limited budget!”
Ease of Signing Up
It’s easy to sign up for either one of the services. As we’ve just seen, they both offer free trials.
Yes, you’ll have to go through the usual process of filling out a form, but both tools do a great job of guiding you through the process.
Of course, you’ll also need to install code on your site. If you’re one of those skittish marketers who would rather swallow a live rattlesnake head-first than touch any code, you’ll have to contact a developer to add the code.
Once you’re signed up and the code is installed, you can view your reports.
Both tools should work on your website right out of the box. There are some caveats, though.
It doesn’t appear that Crazy Egg users are experiencing compatibility issues.
Neither Crazy Egg nor HotJar integrate with Google Analytics at this time. That’s probably because they consider their services as alternatives to Google Analytics.
It’s probably advisable to use Google Analytics in addition to either one of the services, though.
You also can’t just drop your heatmap reports into Google Drive or Dropbox with either tool. That would certainly be a nice-to-have and hopefully will be provided in the future.
Neither of the tools integrate with Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce Cloud, or Slack.
However, Crazy Egg does integrate with Optimizely, Boast, and Bitium. HotJar integrates with HubSpot and Shopify.
Also, HotJar offers API access. Crazy Egg doesn’t.
Both Crazy Egg and HotJar have pros and cons in terms of usability.
You might experience a learning curve when it comes to understanding the Crazy Egg scrollmap. Once you figure it out, though, you should be fine going forward.
Also, Crazy Egg gives you separate snapshots for desktop and mobile. That could be a problem because the tool essentially charges you per snapshot.
With HotJar, you can see desktop, tablet, and smartphone views all in one snapshot.
Also, keep in mind that HotJar has additional features beyond heatmaps. That’s a two-edged sword.
Sometimes, additional features are great because you use them. Other times, they complicate the user interface when you’re just looking for one feature.
The heatmap reports produced by both tools look very similar. There are some key differences, though.
First, as we’ve seen, HotJar shows you where the mouse moved on the page in addition to mouse clicks.
Also, HotJar shows you how many clicks on element received when you just hover over it. With Crazy Egg, you have to view a separate report to see that level of detail.
Where Crazy Egg shines is with the confetti view. That breaks down your heatmap into new vs. returning visitors, country, browser, day of the week, and other details.
Although both services offer scrollmaps, they display them in different ways.
With HotJar, the scrollmap just shows how far people scroll down on the page. It’s on a red-to-yellow scale.
With Crazy Egg, the report shows you how long visitors spend on a specific part of the page. That uses a white-to-yellow-to-red scale. That’s why it’s a bit confusing.
Some users would like both of those types of scrollmaps in one tool.
It looks like Crazy Egg delivers the quality of support in line with the price of the plan you choose. In other words, if you go with the cheapest plan, you can expect the lowest level of support.
That’s arguably a sensible business decision by Crazy Egg, but you have a business to run as well. If you rely on quality support, you might want to go with HotJar.
That’s because HotJar offers both phone and live-chat support. Reviews about the quality of that support are generally positive.
Wrapping It Up
Clearly, both Crazy Egg and HotJar have their pros and cons as heatmap tools. It’s up to you to determine what’s best for your business. It’s likely that you won’t go wrong with either option, though.