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What Is Microsoft Clarity: A Comprehensive Guide

By Tara Porter
Updated December 12, 2023
Microsoft Clarity

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know to decide whether or not Microsoft Clarity is right for you (odds are, it absolutely is). There's also a bit of confusion as to how it differs from tools such as Google Analytics and Hotjar, so in this article, we will clear that up too.

Microsoft Clarity is one of the most underused products out there. It's a tool that can provide data-driven insights into user behaviors so that you can make informed decisions on topics such as:

  • Improving your website
  • Creating support materials for your web enterprise applications
  • Enhancing marketing efforts
  • Making informed software updates & renewal purchases

That's just a brief list--but we go into much more detail in this article.

What is Microsoft Clarity?

Microsoft Clarity is a free, user-friendly behavioral analytics tool that helps you understand how people navigate and interact with a website.

It captures anonymous user data, transforming it into visual insights that reveal what users are doing, where they're clicking, and how they're interacting with your content.

What does Microsoft Clarity do?

Let's break down some of the best features of Clarity:

  • Heatmaps: Visualize where users click, scroll, and move their mouse, revealing areas of high and low engagement. This helps you identify hot spots and areas that need improvement.

Microsoft Clarity VisualSP Digital Adoption

  • Session Recordings: Watch actual recordings of user sessions, giving you a firsthand look at how users navigate your website. This allows you to observe their journey, identify pain points, and understand their behavior in real-time.

VisualSP and Clarity to improve process governance

  • Funnel Analysis: Track user flow through conversion funnels, like checkout processes or registration forms. This helps you identify where users drop off and optimize your funnels for better conversion rates.
  • User Paths: Analyze the paths users take through your website, identifying common navigation patterns and optimizing your site layout for a more intuitive user experience.
  • Custom Events: Track specific user actions, like button clicks or video plays, to measure engagement and understand user behavior more deeply.
  • Rage Clicks: Identify areas where users click repeatedly in rapid succession, indicating frustration or potential usability issues.
  • Scroll Data: Analyze how far users scroll down a page and identify the content they engage with most.

Scrolling Data for web application

  • Filter by JavaScript Errors: With Microsoft Clarity's filtering capabilities, you can isolate and analyze data from specific JavaScript errors, allowing you to pinpoint and fix user-facing bugs faster (this is one of our favorite ways to use Clarity).
  • Segmenting and Filtering Views: Segmenting and filtering user behavior data in Clarity reveals specific patterns and trends within different user groups, enabling you to tailor your website or application to their unique needs and preferences.
  • Session Replay: Replay specific user sessions to identify bugs, user errors, and other issues impacting your website's usability.
  • Real-time Data: Get instant insights into user behavior as it happens, allowing you to make data-driven decisions and react quickly to evolving trends.

Microsoft Clarity Use Cases

It feels like at least once a week our team comes up with a new use case for Microsoft Clarity. Here are some use cases that we've found:

IT/Support

  • Uncover User Pain Points: Analyze application usage data and session recordings to identify user struggles and bottlenecks in your applications. This insight helps you prioritize updates and improvements for features that cause frustration or hinder productivity.
  • Track Application Adoption: Analyze user behavior data before and after training initiatives or new software rollouts to measure their effectiveness. This data-driven approach allows you to ensure successful adoption and optimize your IT investments.
  • Improve Self-Service Support: Use user data to improve self-service options within applications using a Digital Adoption Platform. This reduces the need for IT support and empowers users to resolve common issues independently.
  • Identify Overutilized/Underutilized Resources: Analyze system resource allocation and user activity to identify under-provisioned or over-provisioned resources. This helps you optimize resource allocation and ensure efficient system performance.
  • Identify Common Support Issues: Analyze user interactions with support channels to identify frequently asked questions and address them proactively.
  • Simplify Bug Detection for Custom Applications: Recreating user-reported issues for custom applications (such as a customized Dynamics page) can be time-consuming and challenging. With Microsoft Clarity, you can filter views by error and witness the problem firsthand by watching recorded user sessions. It even gives you the exact timestamp of when the error occurred.

Learning & Development

  • Pinpoint Knowledge Gaps: See where learners struggle on web enterprise applications to identify knowledge gaps and create additional support resources.
  • Measure Training Impact: Quantify knowledge retention and performance improvements to demonstrate the value of training initiatives.
  • Improve Process Governance: Make sure team members are following the correct processes. Watch recorded user sessions and see how they navigate your site. If you spot areas with poor adherence, that is a great opportunity to improve communication, training, and support materials.

Marketing

  • Identify the Most Engaging Content: Analyze heatmaps to see which content sections receive the most clicks & scrolls. This helps you understand what resonates with your audience and optimize your content accordingly.
  • Optimize Call to Action (CTA) Placement: Use click maps & scroll data to identify the optimal placement for your CTAs, ensuring maximum user engagement and conversion.
  • Personalize User Journeys: Track user paths and identify common navigation patterns. These insights allow you to personalize user journeys and deliver relevant content and experiences based on individual behavior.
  • Improve Landing Page Performance: Analyze user behavior on your landing pages to identify areas for improvement. This helps you increase conversion rates and maximize the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

Product Development

  • Understand User Intent: Analyze session recordings to observe how users interact with your product features and identify areas of confusion or frustration.
  • Prioritize Feature Development: Use user data to identify which features are most valuable and prioritize development accordingly.
  • Optimize User Interface (UI): Analyze heatmaps and click maps to identify areas of the UI that require improvement, such as poorly labeled buttons or confusing layouts.
  • Identify Usability Issues: Use session recordings to pinpoint user pain points and identify usability issues that hinder user experience and product adoption.

Human Resources

  • Pinpoint Onboarding Issues: Analyze recordings of new employee onboarding experiences to identify areas of confusion or frustration. Improve onboarding materials and processes to ensure a smoother and more positive experience for new hires (here are some strategies for minimizing stress with software onboarding)
  • Optimize Self-Service Onboarding & Training: Analyze employee interactions with HR portals and knowledge bases. Identify areas for improvement and ensure self-service options are readily accessible and easy to navigate.
  • Measure Training Effectiveness: Track employee behavior before, during, and after training programs. Analyze data to measure the effectiveness of training initiatives and identify areas for improvement.

Sales

  • Improve Sales Training: Analyze how sales representatives navigate CRM systems and interact with customers. Identify areas for improvement in their training and provide targeted coaching to boost their effectiveness (here are some strategies you can use to improve CRM adoption).
  • Identify Sales Obstacles: Analyze session recordings and heatmaps of visitors interacting with online sales forms. Identify areas that confuse or hinder completion, leading to lost sales opportunities.
  • Personalize Sales Strategies: Analyze user data and session recordings to understand individual customer needs and preferences. Tailor sales pitches and communication styles to each prospect for a more personalized and effective approach.

Accessibility

  • Identify Hidden Accessibility Barriers: Analyze heatmaps and session recordings to uncover potential accessibility barriers that may not be readily apparent.

Microsoft Clarity vs. Hotjar

Both Clarity and Hotjar are popular user behavior analytics tools, but they have some key differences:

  • Pricing: Clarity is entirely free, while Hotjar has both free and paid plans.
  • Heatmaps: Clarity offers basic click heatmaps, while Hotjar offers a wider variety of heatmap types, including scroll heatmaps and attention heatmaps.
  • Session Recordings: Clarity provides unlimited session recordings, while Hotjar limits recordings on their free plan.
  • Integrations: Clarity integrates with various platforms like Google Analytics, VisualSP (a must-have if you want to use it on multiple applications and websites), and Google Tag Manager, while Hotjar has a broader range of integrations.

Microsoft Clarity vs. Google Analytics:

While Clarity excels in user behavior analytics, Google Analytics focuses on website traffic and performance. They can be used together to gain a complete picture of your website's performance and user behavior:

  • Focus: Clarity focuses on how users interact with your website, while Google Analytics focuses on website traffic sources, demographics, and key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Data Type: Clarity collects anonymous user behavior data, while Google Analytics collects aggregated website traffic data.

Getting Started with Microsoft Clarity:

Microsoft Clarity is incredibly easy to use. Simply sign up for a free account, add the tracking code to your website, and start collecting data. You'll be able to see your first heatmaps and session recordings within minutes.

VisualSP Lite is a tool that makes this step even easier. While you'd normally have to add the tracking code to each application that you want to use Microsoft Clarity on, VisualSP makes it so that you only activate the code once (with a simple toggle) and it works on any site. VisualSP experts also provide support to you as you set this up so that you can be set up for success.

Click here to try VisualSP Lite for free

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