5 Tools that Let You (ethically) Spy on Visitors

Google Analytics. Google Analytics. Google Analytics. We’ve all heard about it and most u of us use it everyday.

But what if we want to find out more about our visitors?

What if we want to learn how much of our content do they actually read? How much do they scroll on a page?

What if we want to see which area of our website really interest our visitors?

Or what if we want to check if there are some errors that keep visitors from buying from you?

Today you’re going to see how the following tools can help you achieve all this.

Some of them are free, some of them are paid and some of them have a freemium version.

But all of them have one thing in common.

They can all help you learn more about your visitors so that you can improve your website for higher conversion rates.

5. Yandex Metrica

Think of Yandex Metrica as to Google Analytics on steroids.

Besides the classic features like the number of visitors, where do they come from etc., Metrica also comes with Heatmaps and Visitor Recordings.

What are Heatmaps?

They show you how the users move the mouse when they’re on your website. It usually comes with a Clickmap feature that shows you where the users click.

Yandex Metrica - Marketing Tools

The main advantage of this marketing tool is that you can better understand how your audience uses your website.

And once you know this, you can improve it and get more sales.

For example, do your visitors click more on filters? Make them more visible.

Do they click on images that don’t redirect the product page? Make them clickable.

Do they move the mouse on certain areas with small font? Make it larger.

But, before jumping to conclusions, you should note that it takes some time to gather all this data, especially if you don’t have a lot of traffic.

For example, if you only have 100 visitors on a certain page, don’t try to interpret that data right away.

But there’s something even more interesting that you can do with this tool.

You can get a video recording of what your visitors are doing on your website.

Marketing Tools - Heatmap Click tracking

“How is it possible!?” you might wonder.

Nope, it’s not black magic nor somebody watching you through the built-in web camera of your laptop.

These recordings just recreate the mouse movement of your visitors.

But there’s something more.

You’ll have one recording for each visitor. In this way you can carefully examine each and every one of your visitors.

Here’s what you can discover with this instrument:

How much does this marketing tool cost?

You’ll like this. It’s completely free. Yup, you heard that right.

Why completely free?

Here’s what they say on their website:

Yandex.Metrica is developed and supported by Yandex, one of the largest internet companies in Europe. Our business is built around web search and many other products which help people solve everyday problems better and reach their goals faster – like Yandex.Maps or Yandex.Disk. To continually improve our services, we process huge amount of anonymous data on users' behavior: it is used to glean insights and feed machine learning algorithms. Yandex.Metrica is one of the ways we get that data, which is why we aren’t building a paywall around it.

We never sell or pass your data to third parties.

4. Hotjar– incoming, polls, heatmaps, visitor recordings

If you don’t trust a russian software (Yandex Metrica), maybe you’d like something from Malta.

Hotjar is the “wonder-software” from the digital world because it’s one of the first online instruments that dramatically reduced its prices.

If before you needed a separate tool for heatmaps, another one for surveys, another for polls and another one for funnels, now you have Hotjar.

Instrumente de marketing online - Hotjar

How did they manage to create such a great tool, at such a low price (starts from $89/month and has a free version)?

Well, they don’t gather all the data, but they sample it. Meaning that from 1.000 visitors, maybe only 500 or 700 will be taken into consideration.

If all of the visitors would be taken into account, it would load Hotjar’s servers (and probably the prices would be much higher).

But there’s something more.

One of the best things at Hotjar is that they constantly improve the tool to make it useful for people. They always add new features and improve the existing ones.

Here’s some of its best feature combinations:

Heatmaps + Incoming – this combination shows you the mouse movement and where the clicks occur. Incoming is quite a new feature which asks feedback from people who visit the website.

Form Analysis + Visitor Recordings – Form Analysis is used on the pages where you have a form like newsletter signup or just a plain contact form. This is super-useful to discover errors that could prevent people from taking action.

Hotjar - Form Analysis and Visitor Recordings

I remember a situation that I discovered on a website thanks to this feature:

On the checkout form there was the Country, State and City field. The problem was that on mobile, the City label was missing.

You could see on the recordings how users selected the country, then the City (but in fact this was the State field) then he tries to submit the form.


Of course, the person thought he completed all the fields. Only after a few more trial and errors he discovered that there was one more field that was hidden.

The problem is that not all visitors are as patient as the person in the example above.

In fact, probably I would’ve lost 99% of sales if I hadn’t discovered that little error.

Conversion Funnels + Heatmaps

The Conversion Funnels feature lets you setup a certain path you predict your users will take.

One example would be: homepage -> category page -> product page ->cart -> checkout/confirmation page.

From a simple look you can discover the problems on this path.

Hotjar - Conversion Funnels

You could find out if a certain button doesn’t work. Or if it isn’t very clear for the user what is the next step to complete an order etc.

How much does this online instrument cost?

There’s a free version that allows you up to 2000 unique visitors per month (this threshold keeps changing, but it’s around this number).

Then the prices start from $89/month.

8. Heap – retroactive analytics

Heap. Heap. Heap. If you don’t use it in combination with Google Analytics you’re losing a lot of valuable insights about your audience.

Tool pentru a vedea comportamentul trecut al vizitatorilor pe site

How is this tool different than Google Analytics?

Well, 2 reasons.

One, it offers you much more granularity than Google Analytics. For example, if we want to see all the users who ended up on a certain page AND clicked a certain button, we can do that very easy. If we want to filter these users on a daily basis, all we have to do is click a few buttons.

Second, it offers you a retroactive analysis. For example, in Google Analytics, if I install the tracking code on 15th of December 2017, I cannot see what the user has done on 15th of December 2016. With Heap, this thing is possible.

How much does this tool cost?

They offer a FREE version. Then, prices start from around $500 per month, but they keep playing with their pricing strategy so you’ll have to check it out.

7. SimilarWeb - spy your competitors

SimilarWeb gives you a lot of information about your competitor’s websites, like:

Let’s take Amazon as an example.

2.6 billion visits per month!

And if you look at their traffic source:

… you can see that the majority of their traffic is Direct. This means people type in Amazon.com directly in their browser.

You see, you can use these insights to discover new channels that your competition might not know about or they are doing it poorly.

Think about it, if you see that your competition is getting a lot of traffic from Social Media, but not from search engines, you can do the following:

  1. Learn from them what they are doing well on Social Media and adapt it to your business
  2. Double in on search traffic to become the biggest authority on that channel.

How much does this online tool cost?

The offers a free version that gives you a lot of great insights like the ones above. But if you want more data, it can be quite expensive. Their prices start from around $1000 per month.

Fortunately, the free version should give you more than enough data to make an impression on your competition.

Oh, and they also have a Chrome extension. You just added to your Chrome and every time you are on a website you can click the button and it gives you all that data.

6. Facebook Audience Insights - discover what people like and engage with

This tool is magic. It was created to enable advertisers to target their ads more effectively, but you can use this tool to learn about your audience, even if you are not advertising to them.

Imagine sitting at a coffee with your ideal customer and him telling you what he likes, what pages he follows, what personalities he admires etc.

And then, you take all these insights and use it to craft persuasive messages.

This is how Facebook Audience Insights helps you.

Let’s say for example that you sell iPhones. You want to see what other pages people follow, what are their interests, what is their age etc.

The first thing you need to do is select an audience you want to start with (you can change your answer later).

Facebook Audience Insights

You can choose between:

In this example we will focus on the first option, however you follow the same process if you were to select 'People Connected to Your Page' or 'Custom Audiences.'

Next, you narrow your audience as you prefer. Yo can select people in a certain country, of a certain gender, or people who have certain interests (in our case Apple Inc.)

After we’ve selected our filters, we can explore the data.

As you can see, there’s a lot of information to take in. You’ll have to play with the options and see what is relevant to you.

How much does this online marketing tool cost?

It’s totally free. There’s no premium version whatsoever.

Before starting spying on your visitors, do this

You see, these tools can give you a tremendous amount of information. All this data could help you create better messages, create more persuasive ads, send better emails and even improve your products/services!

But the problem is, you might not remember all this data. You discovers some great insights with the help of one of these tools, but 1 month from now when you might need it to create a marketing campaign, you might not remember it.

So to avoid this, create a customer avatar sheet where you put all the information you gather.

Source: Digital Marketer

Facebook Insights help you discover that your audience follows a certain personality and reads certain books? Put that info on the paper! Or on the screen, in this case.

Hotjar tells you that your audience doesn’t like long form content? Write it down.

You’ll be amazed how effective this method can become!

About the author

Patrik Bindea is a growth hacking marketer and the owner of strodin.com, where he helps dentists get more patients. He obsessively tests everything until he finds those details that turn strategies, concepts and words into sales.  

iD Marketing tools is devoted to helping marketers and business owners find the best tools and tactics with data driven insights and tutorials.


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