Microsoft Clarity: Heatmapping That’s Accessible (and Free)

Posted on in Blog

Organizations and marketers invest tremendous amounts of time and money to find out what users want. Website UX tools like Microsoft Clarity help businesses and organizations sift through mountains of data to improve user accessibility and leverage customer behavior to optimize site design.

Clarity sets itself apart with its ease of use and competitive pricing – you can’t beat free.

What Is Microsoft Clarity?

Sometimes shortened to “MS Clarity,” Clarity is Microsoft’s behavioral analytics tool. Clarity takes user site interactions, such as clicks, scrolls and other events, and turns them into visual insights. Marketers can organize data using several dashboards, including a “session replay” feature that replicates a typical user session.

MS Clarity’s Features and Metrics

Using Clarity’s primary dashboard, you can quickly create custom filters that cut through aggregate metrics and focus on the user interactions you want to see. This is incredibly useful in making reams of fascinating but overwhelming data more manageable – and actionable.

At Oneupweb, we use Clarity’s custom filters to focus on:

  • Conversion events like form submissions, call clicks and file downloads.
  • Heatmaps from a particular audience, such as only organic users who submitted a form.
  • The cities or countries users are from and which pages they access.

These features help marketers visualize a user’s path to conversion no matter where they start or how they get there, sparking creative ways to move users more efficiently.

Three Metrics for UX Design Improvements

Clarity also offers three useful metrics to improve the user experience with subtle design changes. Metrics like bounce rate and engagement rate in Google Analytics 4 offer surface-level insights into UX, though Clarity goes a bit deeper with on-page tracking:

  • Rage clicks – We’ve all done it. Rage clicks are several rapid clicks in the same area. It’s often a sign that the clickable area, or “target size,” is too small or inaccurately represented by a page element, such as a photo or color block.
  • Excessive scrolls – Too much scrolling means users are (desperately) looking for something. In most cases, it means users can’t find something or the page’s content isn’t what they were expecting.
  • Quick backs – This is an incredibly useful metric for ecommerce brands in particular. Quick backs measure any time a user visits a new page on the site and immediately navigates to the previous one. It’s a sign that they didn’t find what they needed or the content on the new page didn’t match what they were expecting.
  • By offering these metrics, plus session replays and heatmaps, Clarity is an extremely valuable tool for UX and UI designers looking to improve accessibility and the overall experience on a site.

The Tool’s Clear Privacy Concerns

All that tracking relies on third-party cookies, which limits how much data Clarity can collect. Users have to give consent to cookies before using the site just as they do for any other third-party cookies marketers use to collect user data. Microsoft has switched up its recipe to make Clarity’s cookie consent advisement GDPR-compliant.

Wait, so is Clarity HIPAA compliant?

Yes and no. Microsoft claims that Clarity meets HIPAA privacy regulations, but if you dive into its terms of use, they may tell you a different story. The user requirements specifically note:

You will not use the Offering in connection with content which may contain sensitive user materials, such as health care, financial services or government-related information.

Microsoft

As a result, we do not recommend using Clarity in industries that are required to be compliant with HIPAA. We’ve developed different processes to help our especially privacy and security-sensitive banking, healthcare and legal clients.  

Microsoft Clarity vs. Google Analytics: Do You Need Both?

Clarity doesn’t replace Google Analytics 4, but its data does add context to GA4 metrics. While there is some overlap in channel acquisition reporting and overarching engagement metrics like bounce rate, Clarity and GA4 are very different tools.

Clarity vs. Google Analytics

MS ClarityGoogle Analytics 4
HeatmapsNo heatmaps
Session behavior recordingsHigh-level session and event tracking
UX-specific metricsLimited built-in behavior tracking (e.g., 90% scrolls; time on page)
Custom behavior filtersCustom event tracking (if configured)
Cross-domain tracking functionalityCross-domain tracking functionality

How to Add Microsoft Clarity to a Website

There are a few ways to install the tool on a website after you’ve created a Clarity account. The easiest way to install Microsoft Clarity is through a third-party CMS integration such as a WordPress plugin or Google Tag Manager tag. Since it’s Microsoft, there are plenty of platforms that make it simple to add Clarity. Alternatively, you can install it manually by adding the code to the <head> section of your website.

So, Why Is Microsoft Clarity Free?

Remember: If a product or service is free, you’re the product. Microsoft Clarity is free because it uses the tremendous amounts of user data generated by the tool in a lot of ways, including training artificial intelligence applications. Microsoft says it never shares data with third-party vendors, so at least it’s keeping non-anonymized info to itself.

Take UX Improvements Further With Oneupweb

Clarity is an accessible and affordable tool to start improving your site’s user interface. But don’t stop there! Tap into more than two decades of digital marketing experience with Oneupweb.

Our teams are experts in user experience and accessibility improvements and, with a fully integrated digital design and development team, we can do it all. Start the conversation; get in touch or call (231) 922-9977 today (or tomorrow, if you’re busy).

Up Next

Oneupweb has a great partnership with one of the nation’s fastest-growing homecare franchise brands. It’s a unique opportunity for our agency to leverage our franchise and healthcare marketing experience to support a company on the move. As the industry gets more competitive, effective marketing is a key differentiator – and we’re driving impressive results across...

Read More