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How Hotjar increased installations by 26% with a personalized approach to onboarding

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Mike Cullen
Staff Product Marketer

About Hotjar

Hotjar equips product teams with Product Experience Insights, showing them how users behave and what they feel strongly about, so those teams can deliver real value.

🎯 The challenge

While a one-size-fits-all onboarding process may seem straightforward, genuine user engagement thrives on personalization. Mike Cullen, a driving force behind Hotjar's user onboarding, understands this importance. “We want to help users discover value and reach their goals.” Recently, they've revamped Hotjar's customer onboarding checklist, shifting from generic to personalized experiences, recognizing that customization is the key to fostering lasting engagement.

🏆 The solution

Out with the old, in with the personalized. Hotjar turned to Appcues to validate a more tailored onboarding journey for new users. 

👀 How they did it

1. Formulate a strategy

It’s not always clear where to start with onboarding experiments⎯which is why rapid experimentation is so important. 

Mike Cullen shared their approach,

“We were beginning to see a drop-off in conversion from users creating accounts through to them installing Hotjar on their sites. To address this, we came up with a bunch of hypotheses about how we could help more users to install Hotjar by making it easier, but also by making it clearer what they could do next once they installed Hotjar on their site.”

2. Focus on expertise level

From there, the team crafted three checklist variations and served them up based on a user's response to a question: "Have you used Hotjar before?" Based on their response, the user was shown one of three checklists: Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced. Here's the kicker, the first step in all three checklists remained consistent: Install Hotjar on your site. Later steps would then be tailored to the users’ familiarity with the platform.

✅ Results

This small move of one clarifying question delivered a jaw-dropping impact. Users who completed the question were 26% more likely to complete the crucial first step of installing Hotjar.

In awe of the results, the Hotjar product team baked this new step into the native product signup/onboarding experience. Mike shared,

“This was a great win for our product marketing team. It let us bring a validated hypothesis to the product team.” 


Our hot take

We're thrilled that a simple approach to personalization yielded such a substantial impact. Personalization doesn’t demand complexity; sometimes, the mere assumption of a personalized experience is enough to propel users toward the desired action. Kudos to Mike and the entire crew for making onboarding more effective, one personalized checklist at a time! 🌟

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