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How do Hotjar Funnels Work?

Creating a funnel report is an excellent way to identify the biggest barriers to conversions on your site and discovering opportunities to improve the flow for your visitors.

Why create a funnel?

It's easy to try and do too much by working on too many parts of your site at one go. By creating Funnels you can understand where you are losing the most Visitors and prioritize work on those steps first.

How they work

The key to a great funnel is to build it 'backwards'. Start by asking yourself – what is your biggest goal? A signup, an order? Create a Funnel that maps back to your highest traffic pages. The general rule is to have a Funnel for each goal on your site.

Each funnel will only show data for Visitors that visited the first step in your Funnel. So if you have 2 main sources of traffic for a goal e.g. Homepage and Landing page, you will want a separate Funnel for each.

Here are some typical funnel examples by type of site:

E-commerce: Homepage > Product Pages > Cart > Checkout > Thank You Page
News / Blog: Homepage > Article Pages > Subscribe Page > Success Page
Web App: Homepage > Trial Signup Page > Interface > Upgrade Page > Thank you page
Lead Gen: Category pages > Landing page with form > Thank you page

Example of a funnel showing sessions from a home page to the signup page.

Example of a funnel showing sessions from a home page to the signup page.

More examples:

Let’s say you have the following Funnel set up:
A > B > C > D

That means that each of those steps has to be visited in order, although it's fine if other pages are visited in between. For example, if the above site also has pages E, F, and G, then the following would convert:
A > B > E > C > G > D
E > A > F > B > C > G > C > D

However, if a step is skipped, the conversion won't happen:
A > B > D (Funnel drop shows at step B since step C was never visited)

Hotjar allows visitors to visit as many other pages as they want as long as the funnel steps are all visited in order. Meaning that the visitor can do this, and still be considered a conversion:
A > B > some other page > C > some other page > D

* Session length is set to 60 minutes in Hotjar.

Sampling.

In the majority of cases, Hotjar is able to record each and every visitor that meets its technical requirements and use that data to build your results. However, when traffic reaches set thresholds, Hotjar will automatically use a sample of your visitors to generate your results. The visitors included in the sample are spread evenly over the day, so the sampling itself will not introduce any kind of bias into your funnels.

How do I know when my funnel is based on a sample of my visitors?

Whenever a funnel is using sampled data, you will see a notice saying "This funnel is based on a sample of your total visitors". If this notice is not visible, that means that Hotjar did not sample your visitors for the date range your are viewing in your Funnel.

Funnel Updates.

Once a funnel has been set up, Hotjar will automatically update your funnel data once every hour. Since updating funnel data constantly could potentially slow down the interface and affect your user experience negatively, we instead perform the calculations in the background on an hourly basis, thus ensuring that funnel data loads instantly and is almost always up-to-date.

If you change any part of the funnel, Hotjar will instantly re-generate your funnel data - it may take a minute or two before you can see your new funnel data.

How do Hotjar Funnels Work?