We're mostly familiar with typical analytics tools such as Google Analytics, but user experience tracking tools like Crazy Egg and other competitors have been rapidly gaining popularity over the last few years. But how is Crazy Egg different from Google Analytics? How does it work? Do you need it? Is it worth it or is there a better competitor out there that offers more value for money? In this Crazy Egg review, I try to answer these questions and more, and I also take you on a thorough product tour.
What is Crazy Egg?
Crazy Egg is one of the oldest software of its type, having been established in 2006 by Neil Patel and Hiten Shah. Its purpose was to help website owners increase their conversion rates, by tracking user behavior and presenting it in innovative ways that typical analytics software did not usually offer.
Once it's installed on your website, some of its features start working right away and others need to be configured on your Crazy Egg control panel's side before they become active. The software currently offers 4 main features: Heatmaps, Visitor Recordings, A/B Testing, and a website editor. We'll explore each in more detail later in this blog post.
How does it work?
Once you sign up for an account, you'll be asked to install a code snippet on your website. Crazy Egg (I'll refer to them as CE moving forward), also directly integrates with some of the most popular website building platforms out there. This means if you're using one of them it's even easier to get up and running.
Here's what will appear if you choose to install CE yourself:
And if you choose to use an integration (WordPress is also supported but doesn't appear in this list):
Why Crazy Egg?
Once we start exploring the product itself in the next section, the answer to this question will be clearer, but let me give you an overview. User behavior tracking allows you to identify which sections of your website attracts visitor interaction/focus the most. It helps you answer questions like: Do they read this whole page/post (scrolling)? Where do they click? Are they finding what they're looking for? Is there something annoying/frustrating them?
These questions are hard to answer using just numbers provided by Google Analytics or otherwise. For instance, I once had a client discover that their CTA wasn't prominent enough. Watching visitor recordings, he noticed most visitors kept scrolling up and down looking for where they should go.
Once you see how visitors are interacting with your website, you can come up with lots of ideas for improvement and then use A/B testing to test out these ideas in the wild. The results can be shockingly positive at times. For example, the Crazy Egg case studies section covers a recent experiment conducted by one of their clients, WallMonkeys.
WallMonkeys was able to achieve a 550% increase in conversion rate by a simple change to their homepage.
In this section, we'll explore the Crazy Egg interface and the different features offered by the platform. Each navigation menu item will have its own subsection within this section.
The CE is pretty straightforward. On the left-hand side, you have the main navigation menu. Right at the front and center, you get some basic numbers that give you an idea about what's running right now. These are not numbers you can derive insights from, for that, you'd need to dive into specific subsections.
The numbers here focus on giving you a general idea of what's happening. You can see the number of snapshots that are currently running vs the completed ones (more on that later), number of visitor recordings in the last week as well as the total number of tests you're running, how many of the variants are beating their control version as well as the total number of conversions obtained from all tests.
Perhaps the most useful number among all of these is the “variants beating control” number. Using that single figure, you can instantly tell if any of your A/B tests were successful. That figure is far from enough, of course, but it's good to have it available at a glance on the dashboard.
At the very bottom of the dashboard, you also have the option of enabling desktop notifications which would push reporting notifications directly to your browser. I'm no fan of browser notifications at all but if it's your cup of tea, you can choose to enable it.
One thing to note here is the word “high priority recordings” under the “Recordings” section. This figure doesn't reflect all recorded sessions but only “high priority recordings”. CE defines high priority recordings as “recordings that were created in the last week, include users who viewed 3 or more pages and have started their session on the homepage”.
I'm guessing they define it like this to make sure these “high priority recordings” actually drive some value because single-page visitors may not be very helpful and homepage visitors get exposed to everything you have to offer versus just a section of your website. The one-week criterion is most likely there just to ensure recency.
Options and settings
These don't deserve to get a dedicated subsection but they should be mentioned. Right under the main product features in the navigation bar, you have account options including profile, team and billing settings.
There's an “Install Crazy Egg” section that helps you install the app on your website and make sure it's working correctly.
Other options include access to the CE API, the ability to block certain IP addresses or ranges from being tracked and the option to add more websites to track in your account.
A snapshot is basically a page on your website that you ask Crazy Egg to create a heat map and track visitor activity for during a specific period of time or when the page hits a certain number of visitors, starting from when the snapshot is created.
In the snapshots section, you can manage all your snapshots. That includes adding, editing, and deleting snapshots as well as reviewing their stats.
In order to take advantage of CE's heatmaps feature, you first need to create a “snapshot”. Here's what you see when you click “Create snapshot”:
You need to choose one or more URLs for snapshot creation. You then choose the devices you'd like to track. Finally, you'll choose when to start and end the snapshot. The default is 60 days or 25,000 page visits, but you can customize that. You can also choose whether you want the snapshot to start right away or have it scheduled. Advanced settings include things like blocking/ignoring popups on the page, delaying snapshot capture till page loads, track a portion of your visitors instead of everyone, among other advanced features. Most people will be fine leaving these to defaults.
Crazy Egg does an amazing job helping you understand how the features work. In every section, they've included a working, live “demo” of the feature. I'm not talking about a video, but an actual live demo. So in the snapshots, you already have a demo snapshot in your account for quicksprout.com. You can freely explore every aspect of that demo, it's just like the real thing. Here's what the click heatmap tracking looks like in the demo snapshot:
The “bright” areas are the most clicked while the blue/dark areas are the least. In this example, it seems like QuickSprout's search bar is getting a lot of love. In this same section, you also have other reports: the scrollmap, confetti, overlay, and list. You can read more about each in CE's help center.
The recording section is simpler to understand. Recordings are just like the name suggest: they're video recordings of your visitors browsing through and interacting with your website. You can see what they're doing on your website as if you were sitting right next to them. The feature is a little creepy but very helpful.
It can provide a lot of qualitative feedback by evaluating how individual visitors interact with your website. To make recordings more helpful, you can choose to filter and show recordings of visitors having common traits.
For example, you can display recordings of visitors who have visited specific pages, are from the same country or location, using the same device…etc. Other helpful conditions also include visitors who have visited a specific number of pages or “more than” a specific number of pages on your website, as well as visitors who have spent more or less than a specific amount of time browsing your site.
Crazy Egg also has a demo recording you can view. When you click on a recording, it opens up in a “player” with several options. You can choose to “skip” the inactive parts of the recording or when the visitor is idle.
This is particularly useful because many visitors would have sessions lasting like 5, 10 or even 20 or more minutes on your website but in reality, they're only active a small portion of that time. The rest of the time they may be browsing other tabs, or may have just left their device open on your website and got up to do something else.
The A/B testing (also known as split testing) section is where you can run impactful experiments that actually help your business. Other sections mainly provide data and from that data, you draw insights and get ideas.
But the data and insights, no matter how cool they are, don't help you unless they're turned into action, and this is where A/B testing comes in. This is the part that drives all the impact and is the heart of conversion rate optimization. Utilizing split testing in conjunction with data and insights obtained from the other sections, you can maximize the potential of running a winning experiment.
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The beautiful thing about CE's A/B testing feature is that it does not require any modifications to your website, and this is what makes it awesome. Say you want to test different versions of a heading on your homepage. To normally do this, you'd have to duplicate the page and change the heading in the duplicate version.
Then, you'd have to figure out a way to “rotate” the two pages so that visitors go to a single URL, but then end up being served the first or second page. You will most probably accomplish this through redirects, and things will get messy. On top of that, you'd have to figure out a way to elegantly measure the impact of each page and decide on a winner. CE practically takes all the pain out of this process.
Using their editor, you can make changes on the fly and have them reflect immediately on the page. No touching code, having to duplicate pages or anything like that. They handle it all for you. They even have an algorithm that automatically monitors the performance of variants compared to the control version, and adjusts the traffic share of variants based on their performance.
That said, the A/B testing module seems rather limited because it doesn't appear to allow you to make major page changes such as completely altering the layout or adding/editing images. It focuses on helping you test text and color changes.
The editor works in a similar fashion to the A/B testing tool but it's meant to modify the control version. In other words, if you want to carry out a change on your website but can't/won't because of a technical reason or otherwise, you can go ahead and make that change here and it'll immediately reflect on the page, as long as CE is installed.
It's important to note here, however, that I don't recommend using this feature unless you absolutely can't edit your pages directly for some reason. Using this feature just because “it's easier” may not be a very good idea as it's really more of a “workaround” rather than a solution. There's nothing better than editing your website natively.
Crazy Egg is pretty flexible when it comes to pricing. First off, they offer a very generous 30-day trial. Most cloud application providers opt for 7-day and 14-day trials. A 30-day trial is more than enough time to test the product thoroughly.
Do note that in order to activate the trial, you'll need a valid credit card. Your card won't be charged at the time of sign up but will be charged once your trial has ended, unless you cancel. Now as for the plans, Crazy Egg has 5 different plans starting from $29/mo all the way up to $249/mo and beyond.
All plans come with Unlimited A/B tests and edits but they're limited in terms of monthly page views, number of allowed visitor recordings and the number of websites you can use the app on. I suspect the bottleneck for most people might be the visitor recordings, followed by the monthly page views.
I don't find data retention policies that much of a problem with these platforms, but it's another limitation and differentiating factor among the plans. The $29 plan comes with 3 months of data retention, the $49 one comes with 1 year. All the other plans come with a 2-year data retention policy which appears to be the maximum.
If you have more than 500,000 monthly page views or need to have more than 5,000 recordings, then you will want to contact them for the enterprise plan, which appears to be a custom tier that will obviously cost more than the highest advertised tier of $249.
Their support portal is pretty comprehensive with articles covering every major feature of the platform. They also have short video tutorials that pop up inside your control panel as you explore it.
On the $249 plan and above (enterprise) they state you get priority support, but it isn't clear what that means or how it works. On their “Contact Us” page, you can only send them an email. No phone number and no chat. Well, there is a chat icon but clicking on that opens up a form to send them an email, similar to what appears on their “contact us” page.
I cannot really gauge their responsiveness because I didn't need to reach out, but their chat application says they usually respond “within a few hours”. I'm particularly fond of chat and phone support, but email will still do, depending on how responsive they actually are.
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Five tools stood out when I was researching the competition. They're all very similar to Crazy Egg, but the focus areas of each differ slightly (sometimes more than slightly). While all of them offer basic visitor session recording, some have branched out to traditional web analytics, mobile app recording, user feedback, error logging and more.
Your choice will mainly be dependent on the price point that suits you as well as the features that you feel matter the most to your business.
HotJar is more focused on direct user feedback. They offer heatmaps and visitor session recording similar to what Crazy Egg offers, but they branched out to things like feedback polls and surveys.
Other offerings also include: funnel and form analytics which are two interesting features that help you create better-converting forms and funnels. They have a free “personal” plan available and their paid plan starts at $29/mo for 10,000 page views. This plan does not include removing the HotJar branding on widgets containing surveys and polls though. For this, you'd need to upgrade to one of the business plans that start from $89/mo for 20,000 page views.
SmartLook started out only offering visitor recordings but now also offer heatmaps and funnel analytics. They have a free plan that is limited to 1,500 visitors per month and their paid plans start at $19/mo for 5,000 monthly visitors.
They don't offer everything Hotjar offers which may explain the cheaper overall pricing, they also haven't been around as long. A unique feature they offer is “mobile app session recording” that supports both iOS and Android, but that plan starts at $600/month.
MouseFlow is also one of the big names in the industry. They offer session recording, heatmaps, funnels, form analytics, and user feedback widgets which makes their offering pretty close to that of HotJar's. Their entry-level plan costs $29/mo then it jumps to $99 and then $399. The main difference between plans is the number of allowed monthly pageviews, number of websites and data storage retention periods.
Lucky Orange is perhaps one of the cheapest alternatives of its kind if not the cheapest. They offer visitor session recording, heatmaps, funnel analytics, form analytics, user feedback (polls) and chat support. Chat support is an interesting offering unique to them, as most companies that offer chat support software either do it exclusively or as part of a bigger customer support/helpdesk suite.
Their plans start at only $10 and that gives you 25,000 pageviews. Their most expensive plan is just $100 and they have custom Enterprise plans. All plans come with unlimited visitor recording and unlimited heatmap data. There's a catch though: All plans retain data for the last 30 days only. If you're big on reviewing data over long periods of time, Lucky Orange may not be for you.
I think you need to decide on a couple of things. First off, do you need what Crazy Egg offers? If yes, is Crazy Egg the right solution for you or should you go for an alternative?
In this review, we've explored CE thoroughly, but I've also given you a handful of alternatives. Most of them have the core CE features in common but branch out to other things as well. Pricing is also a big factor and it differs quite a bit among the competitors in this space.
I'll leave the second question for you to answer but for the first question: Do you need what Crazy Egg offers? In my opinion, if your site is new or very low in traffic, these apps won't be of much benefit. Either ignore them or dabble around with a free version.
The degree of usefulness of these apps is very dependent on data. The more data you have, the better they will serve you and the better the chance they can significantly impact your bottom line (positively). If you get 100 visitors per month, how long do you think it would take to run a single A/B testing experiment and get conclusive results? Even if you do run it and get conclusive results, how much impact do you think the change will make? In most cases, it'll be limited.
Well, this is it! Feel free to share your experience with these apps if you've used any of them before. Also, let me know if you have any questions!