FullStory vs Hotjar vs Heap: What's the best user analytics tool to learn from users and improve your site and software?

A while back, I was looking for the best tool to get data on how people used our site and where they had problems or got confused. The three apps that seemed the most promising were FullStory, Hotjar, and Heap.

All three are similar in giving insights on user analytics, approaching the job to be done from different angles. FullStory is built around individual user sessions, where you watch what people do. Hotjar is built around heatmaps where you see what users do in aggregate. Heap is built around analytics to watch for specific events.

You could imagine a scenario where you use Hotjar to get data on specific questions like if people have trouble finding a CTA button, then FullStory to record full sessions to see how people explore the site and app, then Heap to get ongoing data on user events to hone things further.

Here are my broad notes about each:


Hotjar is the more “consumer friendly” of the three, looks simple to use but also has less granular detail. It's best for a high-level overview of what people click or how far they scroll on the site. Has a form analysis tool which is interesting; it shows which field people drop off on the most. Records only some full users sessions; you start with a hypothesis that, say, one button isn't working as well as you like, have Hotjar record a number of snapshots (100-2000 visits), and then see the results.. It’s also cheapest.

  • Core feature is heatmaps, seeing what people click and scroll to
  • Visitor recordings are built around watching a specific Snapshot sample size of 100-2000 users, depending on plan
  • Has a built-in form analysis tool to see which field people dropped off on.
  • Has a “feedback” tool to let users send thoughts about your product from screenshots, and a survey tool as well.

Hotjar Price: Free for 2k pageviews a day, from $99/month for 20k pageviews/day.


FullStory hits the middle. Tracks everything that happens on the site, tries to figure out which events are what, has a “form abandonment” option to show forms people typed text into but didn’t submit, and more. You can filter to find specific types of events, then you can watch the session recording to see what happened and how people use the site/app. You can build dashboards around events you want to happen to keep tabs on them. It records everything that happens on the site, enough you can use it to provide retroactive support if needed.

  • Records full session from users and lets you search by event.
  • Has a “form abandonment” option to watch for forms people didn’t complete—filter by URL or css selector to find specific forms/form sections
  • Has heat maps (called "Click Maps") as well that show similar data to Hotjar's.

FullStory price: 1yr startup plan via Segment, then around $250-$800/month—but pricing requires talking to sales.


Heap feels the most advanced and technical (and Capiche's community's shared pricing says it’ll cost >$1k/mo.). Tracks every event, has you name events and then build charts around them. Designed to build reports around sessions that have specific events. It doesn’t record full sessions, just the data around them, and comically has a FullStory integration as well for that. Seems to be recommended more for detailed analysis on features inside apps.

  • Designed to create customer profiles with data based on site interactions.
  • Built around making dashboards to answer business questions.
  • You need to define more events to make Heap useful—it tracks views, clicks, changes, submits, and session starts, and then you filter based on element.

Heap Price: Pricing again hidden behind sales, but runs around $1-1.5k/month

#Hotjar #FullStory #Heap

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