Mouseflow vs Hotjar vs SessionStack: A Definitive Comparison [June 2023]

Mouseflow vs Hotjar vs SessionStack: A Definitive Comparison [June 2023]

Mihael Cacic

Jul 6, 2023 • 13 min read

Mouseflow vs Hotjar vs SessionStack: Definitive Comparison

To understand their differences, I tested both Hotjar and Mouseflow for a month and found a few key differences which I’ll present to you in this article:

Hotjar is a great platform to help high-traffic websites understand user behavior through rough heatmaps and surveys. However, it doesn’t offer much insight into customer journeys and has a very basic session replay feature. I also noticed a significant impact on the site loading speed.

On the other hand, Mouseflow barely impacts site speed and it provides better insights than Hotjar with dynamic heatmaps. It also comes with form analytics to help you optimize the most crucial parts of the customer journey. But it falls behind in every other category — especially in session replay and funnel tracking.

As you can see, neither platform has great session replay features. And other features to support SaaS platforms or web apps (like error logging) are also missing. That’s why I’ve included SessionStack in the mix — its pixel-perfect session replay, practical error logging, sitewide click trends, and zero-delay co-browsing tools are perfect for product designers, developers, and customer support that want to quickly identify and resolve user frustrations on their products.

In this article, I compare Mouseflow vs Hotjar vs SessionStack in four key areas:

  1. Heatmaps
  2. Co-browsing
  3. Session replay
  4. Customer journey analysis

To give you a complete understanding, I also touch on site loading speed impact and integrations in the overview table below:

Hotjar Mouseflow SessionStack
Price
⭐⭐⭐
Limited free plan. Paid plans are split according to use cases starting at $39/mo for 100 sessions/day.
⭐⭐
14-day free trial with access to full functionality for 1 website. Paid plans start at $39/mo for 5,000 sessions.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
SessionStack’s pricing is currently in revision.*
Session Replay
⭐⭐⭐
Core session replay features like player controls, activity log, and highlights feature to tag important events.
⭐⭐
Very basic, unintuitive session replay features. Doesn’t support an error or activity log. 
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Sophisticated session replay features like filters, search bar, and activity log along with a dedicated error tracking section.
Co-browsing

No live session replay or co-browsing capability

No live session replay or co-browsing capability
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Sub-1-second full co-browsing features with interaction tools like pointer, pen, and control takeover.
AI Integration
⭐⭐⭐⭐
AI-assisted customer survey analysis.

No AI capabilities
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
AI-augmented session replays. Saves time with optimization recommendations and session summaries. 
Heatmaps
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Offers click, scroll, and move maps + ability to compare user actions on specific pages.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Offers click, scroll, & move maps + dynamic live heatmaps for visualizing interactions with every element. Only available for desktop sessions.
⭐⭐⭐
Provides site-wide click tracking with information like dead clicks and rage clicks about each page element.
Customer Journey Analysis
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Funnels are limited to four event types, and ten steps. The Scale plan offers side-by-side comparison graphs.
⭐⭐⭐Provides inaccurate data because it ignores key user behaviors like skipped pages, order of visits, and conversions. But takes ‘Friction Scores’. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Can create funnels with four events and no step limit. Maps basic user journeys to identify problematic site elements.
Site Speed Impact

Reported 829ms average page speed impact across the web. Strong impact on main thread execution.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Average 68ms page speed impact across the web. Light JavaScript — loads without blocking the browser thread.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Extremely lightweight JavaScript. Doesn’t block main thread execution.
Integrations
⭐⭐⭐⭐
10 native integrations + Hotjar API + Zapier
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
127 native integrations + Mouseflow API
⭐⭐⭐
14 native integrations + SessionStack API 
G2 Reviews
291 reviews with a 4.3 Rating 452 reviews with a 4.6 Rating 63 reviews with a 4.9 Rating
Used By
Unbounce, Decathlon, Brand24, Hussle, Yatter Verizon, Vodafone, Philips, Etihad Kraken, Bazaarvoice, Imagine.ai, Mend, Texas.gov
Best For
For large traffic websites with teams that need collaborative user behavior analytics tools. For visualizing user interaction and optimizing forms. Identifying user frustration points with your app or website.
Try free forever
(no card required)
14-day free trial
(no card required)
Book a demo

SessionStack is being reshaped to meet the growing demands of its existing and future customers. The team is laser-focused on helping e-commerce businesses streamline their conversion rate optimization efforts for faster revenue growth. This is done through an industry-first AI capability – SessionStackAI, which is based on the rich session data the platform is already built to collect.

 

As part of the ongoing change, SessionStackAI is currently offered only as a paid pilot service with a 21-day free trial. To find out how SessionStackAI can help optimize your e-store with no effort, book a demo today 👉

What is Mouseflow?
“Map the customer’s mouse flow” ✨🗺️✨

Since 2009, Mouseflow has helped over 125,000 organizations (and counting) improve their conversion rates by aiding decision-makers in their quest to understand ‘why’ users perform certain actions. 

Mouseflow offers a variety of tools to uncover hidden user insights that would otherwise go unnoticed. For example, the live heatmap tool visualizes user interactions with dynamic elements like drop-down menus, revolution sliders, parallax scrolling, and other dynamic features – something that “static” heatmaps don’t support. Not to mention form analytics that track metrics on how users reach and interact with the most conversion-critical elements of any website: web forms. And although its session replay features leave a lot to be desired, the upside is that it’s very lightweight and doesn’t affect your site speed at all. 

Product and marketing teams will find Mouseflow’s basic session replay features and error logs limiting. But they’ll love that you can expertly analyze conversion-critical elements using heatmaps and form analytics. Which explains why brands like Verizon, Vodafone, Philips, and Etihad (companies with form-heavy sites) trust Mouseflow.

What is Hotjar?
Upgrade your web analytics from what to why” 🤷➡️🕵️

Armed with his knowledge as a conversion optimization specialist, David Darmanin started Hotjar in 2014 with the vision of creating an all-in-one platform for understanding and improving your user’s experience.

Hotjar’s tools are designed to uncover high-impact optimization opportunities by visualizing what visitors do. You have access to click, scroll, and movement heatmaps to understand how your customers interact with your page and session replays & event logs to understand why. Meanwhile, its integrated feedback form feature helps you understand what the user likes about your website. Finally, the highlights feature lets you easily mark and share notable events with your marketing and development teams for further review.

Hotjar is perfect for analyzing high-traffic websites because of its collaborative tools that provide insights into rough customer interaction trends, which is why brands like Panasonic, Decathlon, and T-Mobile trust it.

What is SessionStack?
Create the perfect customer experience” ⭐💻⭐

In 2016, Alexander Zlatkov left his role as a software engineer at Progress to found SessionStack and use his experience to create a tool that enables companies to understand exactly how users interact with their online apps.

SessionStack achieves this with advanced session replay features that go beyond, eventually earning them the title of G2’s “session replay category leader” in 2023. Thanks to its low latency of under one second, it allows you to essentially join in on users’ sessions in real time. This also allowed SessionStack to take live sessions to the next level with co-browsing — a feature that lets you interact with users and even take control of their session without installing any third-party software. But even if you miss the session, it offers advanced error logging and user action segmentation that surface the most pressing issues site-wide.

SessionStack’s advanced feature set is trusted by brands like Kraken.com, Bazaarvoice, and Imagine.ai. And because of the tool’s diverse use cases, it supports many teams across the aisle, including but not limited to product management, development, and customer support.

Hotjar vs Mouseflow vs SessionStack: Session Replay

Hotjar is great for analyzing user behavior. Mouseflow is great for optimizing customer journeys. SessionStack is ideal for troubleshooting errors effectively.

Hotjar Mouseflow SessionStack
⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Session replay lets you record a user’s session for playback later. You can track important actions like clicks, scrolls, navigation, and even mouse movements to understand how a user interacts with your website.

We will compare the session replay feature of all three tools in the following areas:

  1. UI/UX Design
  2. User segmentation
  3. Live sessions & Co-Browsing
  4. Error logs

UI/UX Design
Hotjar has a basic but user-friendly interface, SessionStack’s is intuitive and information-rich, while Mouseflow’s is too simplistic.

SessionStack has a very user-friendly design with a video player on the right and an action log on the left-hand side of the screen (1). As the video plays, the corresponding timestamp is highlighted on the action log, making it easier for you to track actions and pinpoint exactly when an event occurs. 
Meanwhile, the console (2) below the video player simplifies troubleshooting by providing detailed logs on each action – great for analyzing errors. You also have a search bar and filters (3) to easily find specific events in the session replay (like dead clicks, rage clicks, and errors).

Hotjar’s session replay tab has a very similar interface to SessionStack, with the video player in the center, a list of session recordings on the left (1), and session information and recorded actions on the right (2).

It has a unique “Highlight” feature (3) that lets you label important actions (clicks, errors, movements, etc.) for review, making it easier to collaborate with remote teams of developers and marketers.

Compared to the other two, Mouseflow’s session replay features are pretty bare-bone.

It illustrates actions like clicks, scrolls, etc. on the video player bar using different colors (1). Notable events (rage clicks, dead clicks, tags, etc.) are highlighted using different icons (2): ⚠️ for errors and ⚡ for rage clicks.

AI-Augmented Session Replays
SessionStack’s session replays are enhanced by AI, allowing speedy session rundowns and optimization recommendations.

When using SessionStack’s session replay tool, you’ll see a “Get AI Summary” button in the left-hand toolbar. By clicking this button, the AI compiles a summary of the entire session’s recording. This summary is divided into three parts:

  • Session outline: A few sentences summarizing the user’s actions during the session.
  • Important occurrences: A roundup of ten significant events that took place during the session.
  • Optimization tips: Brief advice on refining the user journey based on the session’s events.
SessionStackAI

User segmentation
All three offer user segmentation. SessionStack offers basic options, Hotjar offers a side-by-side visual comparison, and Mouseflow lets you create custom tags and variables.

EDITOR’S NOTE: What is user segmentation?

User segmentation (or ‘audience segmentation) lets you categorize your users according to their demographic, user behavior, interactions, and type (new vs returning). You can use this information to derive insights on how you can improve your UI/UX to refine usability and maximize conversions.

Mouseflow offers basic segmentation options like user actions, pages visited, device type, duration, country, etc. However, you can create custom variables and tags for specific use cases (like specific campaigns, order amounts, abandoned carts, etc.) to analyze trends specific to your business.   

SessionStack keeps user segmentation simple with filters covering key factors about users, sessions, and events (shown below). You can create and save custom user segments to analyze user behavior and interactions on your website.

Hotjar provides very granular insights with a side-by-side comparison feature to analyze users across segments. You can filter according to events, user attributes, and error messages by choosing from predetermined user segments or, alternatively, you can create and save your own.

Live Sessions & Co-Browsing
Hotjar and Mouseflow don’t support live sessions, while SessionStack does and even offers a unique feature – co-browsing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: What are live sessions?

Live sessions let you view user interactions on your website in real-time allowing product, development, and customer support teams to identify and solve issues while speaking with a customer.

SessionStack’s live sessions let you track a user’s journey in real time. They are the only company offering truly real-time live sessions with a consistent latency of less than one second. And that lets them create a whole new feature for next-level customer support: co-browsing.

Co-browsing allows customer support and account managers to provide users guidance in real time, without the need for any additional software, plug-ins, or add-ons. 

NOTE: Co-browsing is different from screen sharing. Co-browsing doesn’t require any tool or plug-in installation. It’s also browser-based so you only get access to the shared tab and nothing else. Read more about that in our article about co-browsing

The co-browsing mode gives you access to three tools:

  • A pointer: A cursor to highlight elements on the user’s screen without interacting with the elements on their page.
  • A pen: Lets you highlight and annotate on your user’s screen.
  • Control takeover: The user can give you permission to perform actions on their behalf from your browser.

SessionStack ensures the user’s privacy by masking sensitive information like passwords, credit card details, etc. Some of this information is masked by default and you can also set your own parameters.

Error logs
Hotjar and Mouseflow have basic error-logging features, while SessionStack has a dedicated page that helps you instantly identify errors site-wide.

Mouseflow automatically tags errors in the session replay. You can use filters to see specific errors during a session and hover over the error icon in the progress bar for more information (shown in the GIF below). Personally, I found this inconvenient while trying to perform other actions simultaneously like taking notes, screenshots, etc.

SessionStack and Hotjar both log errors in the session replay tool. They let you add filters to drill down on specific error types (rage clicks, dead clicks, u-turns, etc) and both also offer a console where you can get more information about individual errors.

In addition to that, SessionStack also has a dedicated page that lists all logged errors across your website (2). Clicking on an error displays more detailed information (1).

You can view each error in the session replay tool by clicking the “Play” option in the expanded error view and see exactly what the user was doing when it occurred (1). Check the console for more details about the error (2). 

Winner: SessionStack allows real-time interactions with its co-browsing feature, something customer support teams will find very useful. It also offers great error-tracking and logging features for developers and product designers.

Mouseflow vs Hotjar vs SessionStack: Heatmaps

Hotjar and Mouseflow are ideal for understanding user behavior, while SessionStack is for identifying issues.

Hotjar Mouseflow SessionStack
⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐

Heatmaps provide a visual representation of how users interact with your webpage by highlighting areas that receive the most clicks, movements, and scrolls. 

 

They let you identify elements receiving the most clicks, webpage sections that receive the most attention from users, and any elements that cause frustration during a session.

Hotjar tracks the most common interactions: clicks, scrolls, and mouse movements.

Hotjar offers three different heatmaps:

  1. Click maps to see which elements users click on and the frequency.
  2. Move maps to see where users move on the page.
  3. Scroll maps to see how far down users navigate and where they drop off. 

You can apply various filters to understand how your website is performing across user segments and devices and tag any anomalies or interesting interactions using the Highlights feature (which we’ll discuss in-depth in the Session Replay section above).

Mouseflow offers dynamic heatmaps.

Mouseflow also tracks clicks, scrolls, and movements with its heatmaps. But what sets it apart from the crowd are the dynamic heatmaps. 

Dynamic heatmaps overlay clicks, scrolls, and mouse movements directly on the page. And the maps change according to the elements on the page (shown below). That means you get a very accurate representation of how users interact with your page — which Hotjar’s click maps can’t do.

For more granular insights, you can also apply various filters like custom date ranges, map types, and custom tags. The only downside is dynamic heatmaps are only available on the desktop app.

SessionStack provides insights into user interactions.

SessionStack doesn’t have visual heatmaps. Instead, it compiles a sitewide overview of essential user actions to highlight problematic elements:

  • Most clicked elements (1)
  • Elements with the most dead clicks (2)
  • Elements with the most rage clicks (3)

This is great for quickly analyzing and troubleshooting issues on your website. You instantly see what needs your attention without having to dive into the data. 

Winner: Mouseflow. Its dynamic heatmap gives you the most accurate visual representation of user interactions. It also offers a well-thought-out heatmap dashboard with click maps, move maps, scroll maps, and filters to derive granular insights.

Mouseflow vs Hotjar vs SessionStack: Customer Journey Analysis

Mouseflow’s analysis tools are flawed, Hotjar’s are limited, while SessionStack offers a more complete solution for troubleshooting.

Hotjar Mouseflow SessionStack
⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Customer journey refers to how users navigate your website and interact with content (webpages, blogs, articles, social media posts, etc). You can track your customer’s journey using tracking funnels, i.e. a step-by-step process of how you think visitors interact with your website. Funnels help you understand visitor behavior and segment them according to their interactions.

Mouseflow doesn’t analyze key patterns in the customer journey.

Mouseflow uses both historical and real-time data to provide insights for optimizing your funnels for higher conversions. But unfortunately, you’ll never get the full picture since Mouseflow’s conversion funnel tracking ignores certain behaviors: 

  1. It doesn’t consider the order in which a user goes through the funnel as long as the user visits all the pages in the funnel.
  2. Users can visit any number of pages in between. 
  3. If the user doesn’t visit even one of the pages in the funnel, they’re counted as dropped.

Making informed decisions will become difficult since the tracking funnel data is incomplete. 

Here’s an example: in a funnel with three steps, let’s assume that for some reason, users are skipping step 2 and jumping directly to step 3. They may be doing it because step 2 doesn’t add any value to them. But you won’t know with Mouseflow since the platform doesn’t record this information.

Hotjar has limited funnel analysis features.

Hotjar makes it easier for you to compare multiple funnels, making it extremely valuable for A/B testing various customer journeys simultaneously.

However, it only allows ten steps and five filters per funnel for three specific action types: Viewing a page, Clicking on an element, and Triggering an event. Since your filters are limited, you can’t really break down the data to form granular insights. 

SessionStack does what the other two can’t.

Although very basic, SessionStack still manages to plug the gaps left by Hotjar and Mouseflow:

  • It lets you add unlimited steps to each funnel.
  • The user data is included as long as they complete the conversion step. 

Also, SessionStack lets you track two important event types: ‘dead clicks’ and ‘rage clicks’. Understanding where and why these events occur can help you resolve them and create a smoother customer journey.

Winner: SessionStack. Although none really stand out, SessionStack wins this one because it offers more with its unlimited funnel steps and better analytical capabilities.

Hotjar vs Mouseflow vs SessionStack: Pros & Cons

Hotjar ProsHotjar Cons
✅ Simple, intuitive interface❌ Limited free plan
✅ Supports essential types of heatmaps❌ Complex, expensive pricing plans
✅ Useful collaboration tools❌ Only records a sample of user sessions
✅ Customer feedback and survey tools❌ Doesn’t support live sessions or co-browsing
❌  Only offers basic funnel tracking features with the highest paid plan
Mouseflow ProsMouseflow Cons
✅ 14-day free trial❌ Basic, unintuitive session replay features
✅ Dynamic heatmaps❌ No live session or co-browsing features
✅ Extensive integrations
(including other website analytics tools like Google Analytics and eCommerce tools like Shopify)
❌ Live heatmaps only work for desktop
✅ Supports custom filters❌ Inaccurate funnel analysis
❌ Limited free plan
SessionStack ProsSessionStack Cons
✅ Comprehensive free plan❌ No annotation in session replay
✅ Affordable pricing plans ❌ Does not have page-specific heatmaps
✅ Easy to set up and navigate❌ Can’t track every user event with funnels
✅ Real-time co-browsing
✅ Very lightweight and doesn’t affect site speed
✅ Super intuitive session replays
✅ Dedicated error tracking page

Final Verdict: Hotjar vs Mouseflow vs SessionStack

HotjarMouseflowSessionStack
Best for:
Cross-functional teams looking to collaboratively analyze user behavior for high-traffic websites.
Best for:
Marketing and UX design teams looking to optimize conversion elements.
Best for:
Product, developer, and customer support teams that need in-depth user interaction insights and tools for live assistance.

Hotjar’s heatmaps and survey features make it best for understanding user interactions on large-traffic websites. Mouseflow’s heatmaps and form analytics capabilities make it ideal for optimizing critical conversion elements without impacting site speed. Meanwhile, SessionStack stands out with its advanced session replay, real-time co-browsing, and error log dashboards which enable customer support teams, product designers, and developers to quickly troubleshoot and resolve issues in real-time.

Use Hotjar if:

  • You have lots of site traffic.
  • You want to visually compare data from multiple sessions.
  • You are looking to collaborate for a tool that supports cross-functional team collaboration.

Click here to get started with Hotjar!

Use Mouseflow if:

  • You want a detailed analysis of your user interactions.
  • You want to optimize your forms for higher conversions.
  • You want advanced funnel analytics tools to analyze customer journeys.

Click here to get started with Mouseflow!

Use SessionStack if:

  • You’re looking to quickly identify and resolve issues and errors.
  • You want to provide your users with real-time, personalized support.
  • You are looking for a lightweight tool to track and optimize the user journey.

Click here to get started with SessionStack!

See what SessionStackAI can do for your business