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  • How Hotjar Gained 60+ New Trial Signups a Month with a Single Overlay

    Hotjar’s content experiment with overlays is turning website visitors into new customers. Here’s how.

    If you Google “Content is king,” here’s what you’ll find: More than 37 million Google results that justify how important content is online.

    It’s a tired phrase, but it’s true. At Unbounce, for instance, our blog has been invaluable in growing our digital footprint and our business.

    Every once in a while, you hear a story about someone who uses content to earn new customers and new revenue. And, they make it seem pretty easy (like “Why didn’t I think of that?”).

    Well, Nick Heim, the Director of Inbound Marketing at Hotjar, has done just that. He offered website visitors an ebook at just the right time and in just the right way by using an overlay.

    Overlays are modal lightboxes that launch within a webpage and focus attention on a single offer. Still fuzzy on what an overlay is? Click here.

    Overlays, a type of Unbounce Convertables, allow you to show relevant offers to specific users at the perfect time, making them less likely to leave your website without converting.

    By implementing a Convertable into his campaign, Nick isn’t just bringing in new leads, he’s actually turning website visitors into paying Hotjar users. So how’s he doing it?

    Let’s start from the beginning

    The TL;DR? Hotjar implemented a new Convertable on their pricing page, which resulted in new signups. The overlay offered visitors an ebook, The Hotjar Action Plan, in exchange for their first name and email address.

    Hotjar Pricing Page Overlay

    The overlay converted 408 visitors in the first three weeks, 75% of which were not existing Hotjar customers.

    Once a visitor converted on the overlay they received an email from Hotjar right away. Non-customers received an email with the ebook as a PDF, along with an offer to try out Hotjar for an extended period of time.

    Nick explains:

    For non-users, we sent them a quick instant thank you email followup that contained the asset and offered a 30 day trial of the Hotjar Business Plan. This is double the trial length a new user would usually receive by signing up through our site.

    Here’s what the actual email looks like:

    Hotjar follow up email

    Hotjar makes good use of the email they sent to preexisting customers, too. That variation contains the ebook as well as a simple question about what type of content they’d like to see — allowing Hotjar to continue delivering value to their customers. #winwin

    The overlay strategy

    The overlay Nick built was set to appear only to first-time visitors who are exiting the Hotjar pricing page.

    According to Nick,

    This was more of a visitor experience decision than anything. We didn’t want to come off as badgering visitors in the research phase [of the buying process].

    Hotjar Convertable Setup
    Setting trigger rules in the Unbounce builder.

    So, did it work?

    “Absolutely, we’re getting 60-70 new users per month as a result of the Convertable,” said Nick.

    From the overlay, about 3% of page visitors convert on the page.

    Hotjar Convertable Results

    Of those that converted on the overlay, 75% were not current Hotjar customers and about 19% of the non-users who received their follow-up email with the PDF have become new Hotjar customers.

    Already an Unbounce customer? Log into Unbounce and start using Convertables today at no extra cost.

    Experimenting the Hotjar Way

    Nick explained that his team at Hotjar hadn’t implemented overlays into their lead gen strategy before using the Unbounce Convertable; “this was a total experiment. We wanted to be able to nurture the new leads coming from different channels and bring them back.”

    Nick pointed out that, “these things [overlays] can be used really wrong. You need to be careful and consider the human on the other end. Think about the entire process.”

    For their experiment, Nick said, “[we didn’t have] hard goals, but we wanted to prove whether there was a case for using overlays.” Nick pointed out that it can be difficult to measure the negative effects of user experience — especially without a baseline to measure your results against.

    “We wanted to see if the risk was worth the reward. We did get the quantitative results — which for us, measure better than industry standards.”

    Hotjar’s Golden Rules for Using Overlays

    Through this trial experience, Nick and his team at Hotjar established some general guidelines for using overlays. Nick shared his golden rule for delighting visitors with overlays (opposed to pestering them).

    Start by asking yourself these questions:

    First, is it appropriate to use an overlay in this part of the user journey?

    If the answer is yes, ask yourself “What’s the least annoying way to accomplish that?” If the answer is no, don’t use it.

    Second, “Does it solve the problem [website visitors] are looking to solve?” Nick emphasized that the offer on the overlay needs to align to the problem that people are trying to solve.

    Finally, how do you know if you’re offering the right thing? Nick says, “Ask people! This is an awesome way to improve your content.”

    Hotjar's golden rules for using overlays

    Should you use Convertables?

    Overlays give us marketers an opportunity to present the right people with the right offer at the right time. Of course, they can also be used to do the opposite, and, as Nick says, “you don’t want to leave someone with a bad taste in their mouth,”

    Like any good data-driven marketer, you’re going to want to take it for a test drive. Like Hotjar, try experimenting with overlays to decide they’re a good fit. At the end of the day, it’s your customers and your brand that will decide if overlays work in your marketing strategy.

    About Maggie Crowley
    Maggie Crowley is Unbounce's Marketing Educator. With a heavy background in SaaS growth marketing, Maggie's primary role is creating tools and content to help marketers #dobetter online. Outside of the office, you can find her on the soccer pitch, rippin' up the bocce court or whipping up some southern soul food. Tweet her: @crowleymaggie
    » More blog posts by Maggie Crowley
    • Thanks for this post Maggie, interesting stuff. What I’m interested to know is what the retention of those customers is, and how great a % the growth was. If they were getting 100 signups a month then an extra 60 is off the charts, but if they were getting 1500, then not as much.

      • Maggie Crowley

        Hi Samantha, great question and super relevant. I’ll see if Nick from Hotjar can share any insight here and loop you in :)

    • Great post Maggie. But I was wondering, with overlay do you mean pop ups?

      • Maggie Crowley

        Hi Emmerey, this is a great question and super relevant.

        Technically, an overlay is a type of lightbox (or modal window) that opens within a webpage and focuses attention on a single offer. Overlays are sometimes confused with 2000s-era popups, but they are different for several reasons:

        1) They don’t hijack control of the browser
        2) They don’t open a new window
        3) They don’t contain their own navigation bar
        4) They’re controlled by site owners, not third-party advertisers
        5) They’re targeted based on things like browsing history, traffic source and location; whereas popups simply show when a page is visited

        In short, an overlay can be a delightful experience for users when it’s targeted to appear for the right person, at the right place at the right time.

    • Adam Safar

      Very interesting article and congrats on the success with it!

      Question: Doesn’t Google started “penalizing” popups/overlays or is this a different method you guys started using?

      Also, what’s your thought on “sliding in from top” overlays?

    • Very Useful Article.

    • I see these used in bad ways all the time, but thanks for unpacking an experiment with them that seems to have worked.