yandex session recording and heatmaps

Yandex Metrica: a free analytics and session recording tool for any business

Bringing qualified, high-volume web traffic is the main purpose of every company’s efforts towards building a solid digital presence and attracting the right customers.

However, the user’s arrival at your website doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know how to understand his engagement with your company and use it to improve your Marketing strategy. How did he arrive to your landing page? Which pages did he view? Where did he click? Luckily, there is a tool to discover all that – and no, I am not talking about Google Analytics. Today, we will talk about Yandex Metrica – a completely FREE cloud-based software that helps you obtain a comprehensive understanding of your audience to get better web traffic and convert visitors into buyers.

What is Yandex Metrica, and how is it different from Google Analytics?

When we talk about cloud-based software for analyzing traffic and understanding user behavior, the first thing that comes to mind is Google Analytics. However, despite being an extremely powerful tool for gaining insights about your website’s traffic, and probably the most popular one on the market, it is not the only one – and it definitely lacks some interesting features.

Yandex Metrica is an analytics and session recording tool powered by Yandex, the largest technology company in Russia, and the most popular search engine on the Internet in Russian (Yandex is the 5th largest search engine in the world).

yandex search engine

What makes Yandex Metrica different from Google Analytics is that, apart from the classic metrics that all analytics tools provide, it offers heatmaps & session recording for absolutely free. 

Why do I put so much emphasis on free? Well, because heatmaps & session recording tools can get really pricey – for example, Hotjar’s business plans start from 89 EUR per month (and are limited to 20,000 pageviews/day), and can reach up to 1,000 EUR per month! Inspectlet has a free version, but it is extremely limited – with only 100 recorded sessions monthly. On the other hand, its paid plans vary from 30 EUR to 500 EUR monthly.

Yandex Metrica, on the other hand, provides you with unlimited recording sessions and heatmaps for…yes, you guessed it, free! (I might have repeated that a bit too many times…) But why is that so? Here’s their explanation:

yandex metrica free tool session recording analytics

If this is not really exciting, I don’t know what is.

But what other features does Yandex Metrica offer? Here’s a brief overview:

  • Detailed traffic data – with these features, you can find out which sources are driving traffic to your website, compare sources by user retention, apply built-in attribution models, and use spam filters to protect your site from fake sessions. Additionally, you can control the amount of bot traffic that comes to your website.

  • Audience – audience features let you know your users better and discover whether they are coming from a computer or a mobile phone, what is their location, and how did they behave on your website. These metrics allow you to answer questions such as: How many pages did my visitor see? Are my visitors first-time users, or returning users? Did my visitors use ad blocker?

  • Performance – performance features such as event tracking, funnels and e-commerce reporting allow you to track the interactions that happen between your visitors and your website, helping you build the right path to increase your conversion rates. Which products on your website are the best performance? How can you boost the conversion of other products?

performance data yandex metrica

  • Behavior – behavioral analytics is a great way to understand the engagement of your visitors – where are they clicking on your website? How do they navigate on your pages? You can answer these questions with features such as session recording, form analytics, and click & scroll maps.

session recording yandex metrica

Yandex Metrica: Session Recording and Heatmaps

So far, so good – we saw that Yandex Metrica is a poweful analytics tool, and it can be used as a great complementary software to Google Analytics. However, today I want to focus on 2 awesome features that Google Analytics lacks: session recording and heatmaps, and enter into detail on how they work.

Session Recording

Session recording tools are a great way to replay customers’ visits on your website, and see how they navigated on your pages. Literally. By replaying sessions that actually happened on your web, you can see where your visitors landed, which pages they visited after that, where they clicked, whether they scrolled till the end of a specific subpage, and what was the information that they were looking for.

Recording sessions can even give you a hint on whether your visitor actually intended to buy, or just wanted to get familiar with your product or service – which is a great source of data if you know how to use it.

session recording yandex demo

As you can see from the free demo, Yandex Metrica gives you detailed information on the date and time of each visit, how much time a user stayed on your website (which is extremely valuable, as it shows whether he found what he was looking for), how many pages he viewed before leaving, whether it was his first session (or he has been here before), and even the referring site (whenever available). And of course, you get general details on country of origin, browser, and traffic source.

If you are wondering why is there no information on the search phrase, a lot of companies (including Google) stopped giving this data due to security reasons, so you will rarely see it anymore.

yandex recorded session

With Yandex Metrica, you can replay your sessions as many times as you want, pause them to obtain in-depth details on a specific movement, and analyze this data to improve your website performance and increase your conversion rate.


Another awesome feature provided by Yandex are heatmaps. If you are not familiar with the term, heatmaps are basically visual representations of data that use a system of color-coding to represent different values.

In case of web sessions, they are a great way to monitor where users spend the most of their time on your website. You can use heatmaps to identify whether you have placed the important information on easily accessible places, avoiding its placement on less-visited segments of your website, such as the bottom of a page.

yandex heatmaps

In this image, you can see that the segments in red are the most visited or clicked elements of your webpage, while the elements in green or blue are significantly less popular – meaning that your visitors do not get to click on these elements too often.

Some of the benefits of heatmaps include:

  • Track and monitor the clicks that users make on your website;
  • Discover areas that do not attract the attention of your visitors – heatmap insights help you improve or eliminate areas that aren’t performing well;
  • Find out the right areas that attract the attention of your audience, and use this knowlege to place important information there;
  • Improve your website navigation;
  • And check if all links and other clickable elements are working correctly.

If you are interested in trying out Yandex Metrica to improve your website performance, you can go directly to their live demo, and check out their features in the matter of seconds!

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