Pros and Cons of Microsoft Clarity – 2020 Review

Microsoft is changing the game with its latest offering—a free UX analytics tool that can record and show you what users are doing on your website. This tool, called Clarity, provides engagement metrics, recordings, heatmaps, and website performance data that will help you improve user experience and design across desktop and mobile screens.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Easy to install
  • Easy team and project management portal for agencies
  • Integrates with Google Analytics data
  • Unlimited recording
  • Recording storage for 12 months
  • Unlimited heatmaps
  • GDPR and CCPA compliant

Cons:

  • Analytics data is basic, not a Google Analytics replacement
  • Can’t filter traffic by traffic source/campaign
  • No A/B testing tools for UX testing or design improvements

Microsoft Clarity Basics:

With Microsoft Clarity, website managers no longer have to pay companies like Hotjar, CrazyEgg, or Lucky Orange to better understand and calculate modifications they should make to their website while still respecting your users’ privacy and staying GDPR compliant.

Learn more about GDPR Compliance.

The goal of Clarity is to make user analytics easy. When UX data and design can be visually monitored and analysed it can paint a clear picture of why data metrics like bounce rate, time on site, and pages/visit are they way they are.

Regardless if you are a developer or marketer, understand audience behavior is very important to improving conversion rates and ROI. With Clarity, you can get an inside look at how your users behave on your website without having to sort through a lot of data that you might not be interested in.

Additionally, you will be happy to hear that Clarity is designed to have a very low impact on page load speed. This means that your users aren’t going to have to wait for your webpages to load. With no caps on traffic, Clarity is a great option for websites, whether they see a million views per day or just a handful.

Clarity’s Dashboard

Using the insights dashboard, you can see aggregate metrics that will help you better understand your website’s traffic. On the dashboard, you can easily see how many users were clicking on links that don’t exist, how many people scrolled up and down a page looking for information, JavaScript errors, and the average time a user spends on your site.

You can also use session filters to learn even more about user behavior. For example, you can see data in only a particular country or on a specific operating system. You could also change the timeframe to see performance information for different time periods.

Session Recordings

Are you curious about how people interact with your website? Session playbacks are an excellent resource for website managers. With session playbacks, you can see if users are clicking on your links, CTAs, and more to better understand what is working for your website and what isn’t.

These playbacks also help you see novel patterns like “rage clicks” and “excessive scrolling” during your users’ sessions. Rage clicks are clicks that a user makes on a portion of your page that they think should link to another page or website. When you see these kinds of clicks, it is a good indicator that you need to provide a link because your website is non-intuitive.

When it comes to pricing these kinds of tools, the number of recordings you get and the amount of storage time is a huge driver of cost. This is why Microsoft launching a free tool with seemingly unlimited recordings and 12 month’s of storage is a game changes.

It’s hard to tell if the data value Microsoft (and ultimately Bing Search) gets from this tool, will keep Clarity free forever, but as of right now it seems to have a street value of well over $300/month. If you are a digital agency managing multiple websites the value could be worth much more.

View Heatmaps of Your User’s Webpage Browsing

Heatmaps can be incredibly important for companies to see what people care about when viewing your webpages. With Clarity, you can see both clickmaps and scrollmaps.

Clickmaps show you what content is the most important to your users and better for desktop view of user engagemetn.

Scrollmaps are better for mobile view and shows you when people stop and what is most important on your pages.

Either way, you can see exactly what your users are interacting with to determine if your design is successful or how modify your website to encourage the user behavior you want.

Clarity aggregates these two different types of data into their heatmaps so that you can quickly see important behaviors and trends that your users are displaying on your pages.

Filters Not As Good As Others

While it hard to argue with free, our biggest complaint about Microsoft Clarity is the ability to easily filter by traffic channels or ad campaigns. As you can see in the screen shot from our Crazy Egg account these filters are easy to set.

crazy egg audience filters
Crazy Egg Recording Filters

We fill that analysis on the types of traffic channels is important. For example, your Paid Search ad should be reviewed and monitored differently than referral, email, or organic search traffic. With Clarity their are several advanced filters to choose from, but it seems to miss here:

All hope is not lost for Microsoft to expand this product. After all, it’s only a week old, and I’m sure they have some plans to improve this software. At the momment, if you go to their segment page all you get is a “coming soon” message.

What Does Microsoft Clarity Mean for Industry Software?

Clarity makes tracking certainly makes tracking user data cheap and easy for the digital marketing community. And, since Clarity is similar to other services like those provided by Lucky Orange, Crazy Egg, and Hotjar, we know there is a market for this type of software.

The rub it taking the time or paying someone for the analysis time. It will be curious to see what happens with this type of analytics data now that it’s free and how many companies jump on the bandwagon of actually using this for more than a novelty, but actually influencing design and UX decisions.

At Rank Fuse Digital Marketing, we are currently experimenting with Clarity on some SMB accounts to see how we can use it along with Google Analytics to improve the services we provide to our customers. We hope to use see both tools working together to get a better understanding of user experience on the web.

You can sign up for Clarity today at https://clarity.microsoft.com, or call us if you need help.