Tracking and understanding user behavior is central to not only understanding your customers, but also how they interact with your brand and your website. After all, brands want their customers to remember their digital experience favorably, so it makes sense to ensure your user experience is clean and effective. Tools like Crazy Egg and HotJar make it easy to understand user behavior, but there’s a new and free-to-use player on the scene: Microsoft Clarity.
While Microsoft may not have the best history when it comes to forward-thinking technology (R.I.P. Internet Explorer), the tech giant has spent the past few years quietly updating its capabilities and tool sets. Bing Webmaster Tools has gone through a long evolution and has become much more useful, so Microsoft took another step and created a free click tracking, heat mapping, and user behavior management tool that integrates right into the Bing Webmaster Tools interface.
Microsoft Clarity might not be a major improvement in the click and scroll-tracking world, but its wide range of trackable elements, plus its ease of use and unlimited data caps, will make it a very useful tool for marketers everywhere.
Let’s take a look at Microsoft Clarity’s benefits, its problems, and how to install the tag on your site or through Google Tag Manager.
The Benefits of Microsoft Clarity
Before I get ahead of myself, I want to point out that Clarity is still in beta mode and probably will be for a while. The tool was first released in October of 2020 and has slowly gained acceptance among digital brands. Microsoft is actively testing, refining, and reshaping both the interface and how the tool functions, so things might change before the full tool is released.
With that said, Clarity is a fun and very insightful tool that I think will become a useful analytics program for businesses of all sizes. In fact, Clarity does not have a page cap, which means it’ll grab user data from every page that receives interaction. This is a big difference from some of the single-page paid versions offered by competitors and could prove very useful to larger businesses.
The interface and dashboard are easy to use and understand, and with so many interesting areas to investigate, it can be pretty easy to get lost in the details.
Clarity tracks a few areas that aren’t typically included in analytics programs. Areas like Rage Clicks detail users who aggressively multi-clicked a target, like a spot that they thought might be a link, while Dead Clicks highlight spots where you might have an inactive link.
User Recordings and Heat Mappings
Account managers can review top referrers, the top pages, and other items that appear in analytics programs, but one of Clarity’s standout features is its user recordings. With this system, brand managers can watch playback sessions and see how users interacted with the site.
You can track how many pages they visited, the session duration, and how many times they clicked page elements. By watching these session recordings, it’s very easy to figure out exactly how customers interact with the brand, including what they like, what they don’t like, and what you may need to change.
One more important note: Clarity was designed to be fully compliant with domestic and international privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA (check out our blog on CCPA guidelines: How Your Business Could be Affected by the California Consumer Privacy Act), so you don’t have to worry about leaking user information.
Issues and Possible Bugs in Microsoft Clarity
Sadly, no website analytics tool is perfect, especially when it’s free and still in beta mode. Clarity struggles with a few areas that I hope to see cleaned up as the tool gets closer to full release.
Currently, Clarity users can’t filter out internal traffic, company machines, or anything that might throw off the overall numbers. Clarity tracks everything that happens on the site, so if your employees regularly use your company website for reference or as a sales tool, or even if they’re just making updates, they’ll be grouped in with potential customers.
This also applies to specific campaigns or channels. As of now, you can’t filter by anything, so the data you’re viewing covers every channel and campaign. I very much hope this changes in the future.
The tool does have some trouble rendering page elements and differentiating colors, so what you see in the interface might not perfectly reflect your site’s appearance. For example, Clarity has issues rendering some of the images and custom design elements on CQL’s Homepage. This sort of limitation might make it tough to understand click behavior for some on-page elements, though this will be different for every website.
Finally, Microsoft Clarity doesn’t offer A/B testing or any real recommendations for improving your site’s overall UX. You’ll be able to see how users interact with your site, but if you want to identify and implement best practices and useful solutions, then you’ll have to rely on other user engagement tools.
How to Add Microsoft Clarity to Your Website
Adding the Clarity tag to your website is extremely easy, particularly if you already have Google Tag Manager active on your site and an active Bing Webmaster Tools account.
Microsoft made sure to provide a long list of detailed Clarity implementation guides for multiple platforms, but the truth is, you only really need to use one of two options.
To begin, simply visit the Get Started with Clarity page and fill out the related account information.
If you already have a Bing Webmaster Tools account, then simply log into your account and navigate all the way to the bottom of the left-hand navigation column. Click the Microsoft Clarity icon and start setting up your new tag.
Once you’ve signed up for your account, you’ll be sent to the Setup page. From here, simply copy the provided bit of code and select one of the two implementation methods outlined below.
Add Microsoft Clarity to your Global Head Tag
For this method, also known as the manual install method, you simply need to paste the provided Clarity code into your site’s global <head> tag.
Depending on your platform, this might be a simple update or could require assistance from your development team. However, as long as the code is present on every page of the site, you’ll be able to track user behavior and find new ways to satisfy customers.
Add Microsoft Clarity with Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager (GTM) is one of the most useful tools on the market when it comes to quickly implementing tags, and I was happy to see that Microsoft made Clarity fully suitable for GTM.
Like the manual install method, you simply need to grab the tag provided by Clarity. But this time, you’ll add that tag to a Custom HTML tag in GTM and set up a basic trigger to make sure the tag fires on every page load.
This is a quick, easy, and reliable way to start monitoring your users and finding your site’s strengths and weaknesses.
You might start seeing user data in the dashboard within 30 minutes, but be sure to give Microsoft about 24 hours to get everything lined up. After that, you’ll be able to watch user recordings, following heat maps, and get a much better understanding of how people interact with your brand’s digital presence.
Contact CQL for Help with Microsoft Clarity
Reach out to the digital marketing and analytics experts at CQL today to learn more about understanding your customers and managing your brand through innovative user experience tools. With free-to-use analytics programs like Clarity, you’ll be able to help your brand grow and scale into the future.