Google Analytics is a very popular tool for tracking website visitors, but it’s not the only solution and certainly not the perfect solution for everyone.
Depending on your business model and your needs, an alternative analytics solution might serve you far better and be a lot more useful to your business. Whether you’re looking for something supplemental or something to completely replace GA, this post has got you covered.
Read on to discover the best Google Analytics alternatives for your website.
What's Wrong With Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a very competent analytics tool. And it's free. So why even bother looking at alternatives?
While Google Analytics is not a technically flawless product and many of the alternatives listed below offer features and functionality that it lacks, I think that's not the main problem with GA.
The main problem is that, if anything, Google Analytics is too advanced.
Or, to put it more bluntly, it's just too damn complicated. Even for something as simple as creating and tracking a conversion goal, you'll have to look up tutorials. And good luck trying to set up more in-depth insights for e-commerce or user interaction and retention.
By default, Google Analytics shows you some stats about how many visitors you have and where they come from. Anything beyond that is often frustratingly difficult to set up and before you know it, you're knee deep in trying to set up a custom dashboard (what's the difference between custom dimensions and custom metrics again?).
And if you only look at the data that's easily accessible by default, you're not actually getting any value out of it at all.
Having said that, it’s infinitely better to use GA and only its most basic features, than not analyzing your traffic at all.
There are many alternative analytics solutions that provide features that Google Analytics doesn’t or give you new and improved ways of working with an interpreting your visitor data.
How to Spy on Your Website Visitors
Here are some of the criteria I looked for, in the different analytics services:
- Does it track visitors and interactions in real time, so you can see what's happening on your site right now?
- Does it correctly measure time on site, even if only one page is viewed?
- Does it allow useful sorting and filtering of the stats, so you can make intelligent decisions based on your analytics?
- Does it allow easy tracking of conversion goals and funnels?
Before going any further, we need to examine the three broad types into which the test candidates fall:
3 Flavors of Analytics
Each of the products and services I looked at falls into one of three categories: website analytics, real-time stats and advanced customer analytics.
1) Website Analytics
This type of service can be thought of as a “Google Analytics alternative” most directly. It provides an overview of where your visitors are coming from, what they’re doing on your site and gives you various ways to search and filter the data.
2) Real-Time Dashboard
This type of service is mostly concerned with what’s happening right now on your website, giving you a second-by-second view of traffic and visitor actions. Historical data, conversion tracking and similar features take a back seat.
Real-time dashboards are usually well designed and nice to look at. They focus a lot on "feel good" stats and their use is limited, for most businesses. In my opinion, only a news website that gets huge amounts of traffic can really benefit from real-time stats like these. It gives them an opportunity to detect hot stories and act on trends in a fast paced environment. If your site doesn’t publish multiple stories per day and has any less than 100 visitors active at any given time, a real-time stats dashboard will not be a valuable addition to your business.
3) Advanced Customer Analytics
This type of service is most useful for websites that sell one or multiple products directly to the visitors. With advanced customer analytics, you can answer questions such as:
- What steps do visitors take, before turning into customers?
- What are commonalities between customers who cancel their subscription and how can we address them?
- How does a recent change made to a sales page affect the customer lifetime value in our business?
- Who exactly are our most valuable customers?
Examples of advanced customer analytics solutions are Kissmetrics, Mixpanel and Indicative. I've created a separate roundup review of these tools, here.
In summary, website analytics are about visits, pageviews and historical data, real-time dashboards are about spotting trends as they happen and advanced customer analytics are about a deeper view of conversions and revenue.
Part 1: Website Analytics
Let’s start by having a look at the tools that most closely resemble a direct alternative to Google Analytics (in alphabetical order):
I’ve been using Clicky for quite a long time now. In the beginning, I had mixed feelings about the user interface, but once I got used to it, I recognized its merits. The standard dashboard gives a very comprehensive overview over all of the core data: visitors (today vs. yesterday or any other date-range you set), visitor actions and bounce rate, top content, top search terms and traffic sources.
One thing Clicky does well is allow you to dig down and segment/filter your data in many ways. It doesn’t just show you some fancy graphs, it lets you get right down to the stuff that matters the most: you can find where your best converting traffic is coming from, you can see which pages are grabbing your visitors’ attention and which aren’t and much more.
One of my favorite things about Clicky is how easy it is to create campaigns and conversion goals, so you can measure your site’s effectiveness and even revenue generated. An interesting feature is that it allows you to set up custom twitter searches, so that you can monitor mentions of your site or brand on twitter, from within the Clicky dashboard. The service also integrate with a service called SheerSEO as well as Visual Website Optimizer for rank tracking and split testing respectively. Plus, it comes with a very well-made WordPress plugin.
Clicky calculate bouce rate differently from most analytics solutions and they’re proud of it. Clicky considers every visitor who spends more than 30 seconds looking at a page as an “engaged” visitor and doesn’t count them as a bounce, even if they don’t view a second page on your site. This makes a lot of sense, since you can’t really say that someone who visits your site, reads a whole post and then leaves was “bouncing”. They just found what they were looking for.
Clicky Features & Highlights
Time on Site Tracking?
Twitter monitoring, easy
$9.99 - $20+ per month
Conclusion: Intuitive and clean user-interface, reasonable pricing and some innovative features make Clicky a Google Analytics alternative worth taking a closer look at. The biggest advantage of Clicky is how accessible it is. It doesn't do much fundamentally different from Google Analytics, but you'll get the hang of it much more quickly.
Link: Click here to get Clicky with it.
Heap analytics has its sights set on user friendliness. The idea is that you can easily set up tracking for all the important events on your site, without needing any technical skills.
Beyond installing the tracking code on your website, everything in Heap is done with point-and-click interfaces instead of cryptic menus and settings. You can even define custom events by clicking directly on buttons and forms on your site and telling Heap what you want it to track in relation to them.
In addition, Heap automatically tracks events on your websites and shows you a list of the most commonly performed ones, for you to label and classify. It even does this retroactively. So, if you decide to track a new event today, it will give you stats for this event from the past, all the way back to the moment you installed the Heap tracking code.
Heap is set up in such a way that it actively encourages you to create the tracking and reports that are actually useful for you. It doesn't overwhelm you with endless stats and screens. Instead, it guides you through the process of building your own reports, based on your particular business needs.
Heap Features & Highlights
Time on Site Tracking?
Easy, non-technical setup,
$59 - $399 per month
Conclusion: Heap sits somewhere in between an analytics solution and customer analytics. It wouldn't completely replace something like Google Analytics and it's not trying to, either. What it does is give you an easier way to examine the most important data on your site. And it does it impressively well.
Link: click here to marvel at Heap Analytics.
Open Web Analytics
Open Web Analytics (or OWA) is a free, open source web stats solution, like Piwik (see next entry). It’s self-hosted and it’s available as a WordPress plugin, which creates one instance of OWA to track the specific WP site it’s installed on. Installed separately and independently from WordPress, you can use OWA to track multiple websites.
The user interface is reminiscent of one of the older Google Analytics interfaces in the choice of colors as well as the general navigation. If you were a fan of the GA interface about 5 or 6 revisions ago, you'll love this. And even if not, the OWA interface doesn't take too much getting used to.
Open Web Analytics is feature-rich, especially considering that it’s free to use. It can track goals along several steps of a conversion funnel, it offers separate stats filtered by pretty much any factor you can think of and it even offers heatmaps and mouse-tracking. However, be warned: with those last two options active, OWA will gobble up server resources like nobody’s business. A shared hosting account will not find this agreeable.
Open Web Analytics Features & Highlights
Time on Site Tracking?
Funnel analytics, mouse-
Conclusion: OWA is a solid and feature-rich analytics solution. Unfortunately, it has the same bounce-rate and time on site weakness of most analytics tools. It also looks like it’s not being updated very frequently (not surprising, as the only income source seem to be donations).
Link: Check out Open Web Analytics here.
Piwik is advertised as an open-source alternative to Google Analytics and this seems an accurate description. It’s completely free to use and fairly easy to install. It’s available as a self-hosted script for free or as a hosted solution starting from €49 per month. I will be focusing on the free version for this review.
I immediately too a liking to the Piwik dashboard. After just a few minutes, I felt right at home and configuring the different widgets and views is very intuitive. I also like how easy and straight-forward the setup and tracking of conversion goals is. It’s also a breeze to add as many websites as you like to one and the same Piwik installation. Much like with Mint, the Piwik dashboard is very customizable and additional plugins are available to add to the system.
One of the best features is that you can very easily set up and track goals. Beyond the basic stats, I would have liked options for deeper and more detailed segmentation, which is often lacking.
Piwik Features & Highlights
Time on Site Tracking?
Open source, customizable
Premium plans from €49/month
Conclusion: For a free analytics tool, Piwik is quite impressive. I would have liked a few more features, but the only big drawback is that Piwik has the same, inaccurate way of tracking bounce rates and visit lengths that Google Analytics has.
Note that a premium, hosted version of Piwik is available, but I've only tested the free version.
Link: Get a taste of Piwik here.
StatCounter is one of the better-known free Google Analytics alternatives and it’s been around for a while.
There’s no way to be nice about this, so I’ll just say it: Compared to the other solutions listed here, StatCounter is ugly. But, just because you don’t get the “oooh, shiny!” effect when you log into StatCounter, doesn’t mean it’s a bad product. The basic data is all there and you can get insights into visits, visitor paths, popular pages, entrance- and exit-pages, incoming keywords etc.
In terms of segmentation, goals, campaign/funnel tracking and fancy stuff like that, StatCounter lags behind the competition. As with Mint, I found that StatCounter fails to deliver the kinds of insights that will actually help you make meaningful changes to your site.
StatCounter Features & Highlights
Time on Site Tracking?
Generous free plan
$5 - $399 per month
Conclusion: StatCounter has one saving grace: it’s free to use. Given that, it’s no surprise that it doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of premium solutions. Unfortunately, some of those bells and whistles are really important, which is why I can’t recommend this product.
Link: Learn more about StatCounter here.
W3Counter is another free web tracking solution and in contrast to StatCounter, it delights with a well designed and user friendly dashboard.
In just a few clicks, you can see visitor stats, view a map representing the countries and locations your visitors are coming from, explore your top entry and exit pages and more. Overall, I found the dashboard very easy to navigate and the information well presented. A notable feature is a "click overlay" that shows you where you're getting most of your clicks, directly on a representation of your website.
Unfortunately, there are also some downsides: the free version of W3Counter only works if you add a visible badge to your site, it's supported by advertising and the historical log of your traffic is severely limited.
There are premium levels available that remove the ads and restrictions and add some additional features, although the premium level of W3Counter cannot keep up with the stronger premium analytics solutions in this roundup.
W3Counter Features & Highlights
Time on Site Tracking?
$5 - $20 per month
Conclusion: my impression is that W3Counter is a solution aimed at beginners. If you are relatively new to this and unfamiliar with (or overwhelmed by) Google Analytics, W3Counter will give you the basic stats for your site in a free and easy package. You'll eventually want to graduate to a more performance-focused solution, though.
Link: take a look at W3Counter here.
Part 2: Real-Time Stats
Next, let's look at the real-time solutions. As you've seen above, most analytics solutions track in real time (even Google Analytics does that now), but for the following solutions, real-time isn't just a feature - it's the main focus.
One of the tag lines on the Chartbeat website reads "Analytics for Editors". With that, this service declares its purpose and target customer quite clearly. If your website is not a magazine or news style website with many pieces of content published daily, Chartbeat is probably not for you.
Chartbeat gives you a live view of your visitors and their actions on your site, as well as information about platforms they're using, where they're coming from etc.
In addition, you'll find features specifically built for ad-supported websites, video-based content and more. Chartbeat can give you detailed insights into where your visitors are clicking, the scroll-depth on pages (and how that affects ad impressions), video-playback statistics and more.
Another notable feature is what they call the "Heads-Up Display", which overlays information directly on a representation of your website.
Chartbeat can be a powerful tool for magazine and news sites that receive a high volume of traffic.
Chartbeat Features & Highlights
Time on Site Tracking?
Specialized features for news
Conclusion: if you operate a high-traffic (1M visitors/month and above) news or magazine site, Chartbeat is well worth a look.
Link: click here to see what Chartbeat is all about.
Gauges aims to provide the most important website data without any additional clutter.
In the Gauges dashboard, you can get an overview of one or several websites that you're tracking. You'll see a traffic trends overview for the past 12 hours and daily traffic for the past 2 weeks, plus the most visited content and top referrers.
You can also activate the "Air Traffic Live" view, which shows a global map which updates with live geolocations of your visitors. It's screen-filling and nice to look at, but the practical usefulness of the feature is limited.
Further, Gauges provides insights into traffic referrers, browsers and screen sizes of your visitors. All the basic data is there, but Gauges didn't manage to surprise me with particularly good or useful features.
Gauges Features & Highlights
Time on Site Tracking?
"Air Traffic Live" view with global
$6 - $48 per month
Conclusion: Gauges is nice to look at and provides all the basic features, but it needs to go one or two steps further to become a truly useful solution.
Link: find out more about Gagues here.
GoSquared started as an analytics solution, but has since progressed to also include a live chat feature and a CRM tool.
On the analytics side (which we'll focus on for this post), GoSquared presents a dashboard that is divided into three main categories: live stats, historical data and ecommerce data.
The live dashboard gives an at-a-glace view of the exact number of current visitors, top traffic sources, most popular content, geographic locations of visitors and a few other data points. The dashboard does a good job of providing an immediate overview of site activity.
There's also a "trends" dashboard where you can see daily, weekly and monthly comparisons of historical site data. This gives you a longer-term view of the most visited pages on your site, best traffic referrers and so on.
Finally, the ecommerce section reports trends in number of sales, sales revenue, average value per sale and the top traffic sources that your converting visitors came from.
GoSquared provides a lot of data and presents it in a way that's easy to understand. But you should keep in mind that, in contrast to something like Google Analytics, the emphasis in GoSquared is on identifying trends and getting a view of what's happening on your site right now.
GoSquared Features & Highlights
Time on Site Tracking?
Great live stats dashboard +
YES (for very low usage)
~$100 - $1,200 per month
Conclusion: like all of the real-time solutions, GoSquared only makes sense for high traffic sites. It has a less specialized, broader appeal than Chartbeat, but whether it makes sense for you depends a lot on your business model. The added live chat and CRM features could be an advantage for you, but it might not be what you need, if you're looking for a pure analytics solution.
Link: check out GoSquared here.
Part 3: Advanced Customer Analytics
Advanced customer analytics solutions are closely related to the kinds of services I've tested in this roundup. However, they are also a lot more complex and are built for a more specialized purpose and because of that, I have reviewed them in a separate post.
Some of the services from the original version of this review are no longer available. I'll keep them listed below, in case someone comes looking for updated information on them:
Mint was a very minimal, self-hosted analytics solution. It had a very less-is-more approach, which resulted in some seemingly basic features simply not being available. I'm not hugely surprised that Mint was discontinued, given how the competitive space around analytics has developed over the years.
When I was working on the first version of this roundup, Reinvigorate was a new analytics solution on the market. It looked promising, but things went wrong and at this point, Reinvigorate is no more.
More Analytics = More Vanity Metrics?
The danger with any analytics program is that we get lost in vanity metrics. Everybody likes to see that there’s more traffic this week than last week or that the bounce rate is lower this month than last month. But on its own, this kind of data is useless. In fact, any kind of data is useless, until you make a change based on it. No matter which solution you choose, don’t abuse web stats as an emotional roller-coaster ride with no further purpose.
Some solutions do a good job of encouraging an action-oriented use of analytics, while other provide little more than vanity metrics. Whatever you end up choosing for your website, make sure to look past fancy dashboards and ask yourself: what data will actually help my business?
Watch this short video to discover a simple and effective way to combat the vanity metrics issue.
My Personal Preferences
For a long time, Clicky was my number one analytics solution. It has a good, hassle-free interface, all the basic features I needed and it's easy to get it set up and reporting on numbers that matter to an online business. Thanks to Clicky, I didn't log in to Google Analytics for months at a time.
I still highly recommend it as a solution for anyone who's looking for an affordable and less overwhelming alternative to GA.
I originally planned on using either Piwik or Open Web Analytics, mainly due to the attractive price tag of $0. However, I didn't like how resource-intensive they were. Be warned: if you have sites with a fair amount of traffic, the self-hosted analytics solutions can become real resource gluttons. In practice, that means huge database tables, slow loading times and exceeded limits/higher pricing for your hosting.
The most impressive new addition to the roundup is Heap Analytics. It doesn't replace Google Analytics, but it's a great solution for a business with a few different conversion aspects and paths to it (such as a site that generates leads and sells one or more products).
When I first did all this testing and wrote this post, my goal was to replace Google Analytics and never have to deal with it again. I have since come to a grudging truce with GA. For many businesses, it pays off to get acquainted with the intricacies of the tool and wrestle it into some semblance of usefulness. I've even started using Google Tag Manager, which is another layer of "potentially useful but complicated and annoying".
For many businesses and new websites, it makes a lot of sense to use a simpler alternative like Clicky, Heap or one of the other candidates here. Even if they technically don't do much that Google Analytics can't do, there is enormous value in having a tool that's easy to work with and gives you immediate data you can take action on.
Although I'd like to, I can't fully recommend any of the free solutions in the roundup. While some of them are quite good I also have to be honest and say that I no longer use any of them for my own sites.
What do you use for analysing your website visitors? And how do you make use of the data you get? Let me know in the comments below!
Wow…what an eye-opener. I didn’t even know there were alternatives to GA. Thanks for the education and I will definitely be looking at these tools.
As usual, you always bring terrific value to your readers.
Glad I could help. :)
Great insight Shane,
Thanks for the informative blog.
Thanks for your reply, Giorgio.
Nice article, I myself use woopra on websites that do not have adsense. Google analytics + adsense gives you so much additional information… Besides, those websites are already linked by my adsense ID anyway.
But, woopra is great for elsewhere :)
Yeah, that’s a good point. With AdSense on the site, there’s no escaping Google anyway and linking it up to GA has many benefits. I think this approach is best (GA for AdSense sites, different solution for all others).
I’ve not received the opt in email yet. I do hope it is coming as I want your report.
Thanks for the overview and alternatives. What I’d really like to see is your opinion as to what is best if you take the possibility of a slap out of the equation. Whether you use GA or not, Google still has a pretty good handle on what you’re doing. Taking everything into account, if you’re totally white hat you don’t have “too much” to worry about. Integration and ease of moving between Analytics, AdSense, AdWords, Webmaster Tools, Reader, and all the other Google products makes for a pretty compelling argument for using GA, not to mention WordPress plugins that integrate with all of Google’s services. But if/when the day comes when you do get slapped, having alternatives is a nice insurance policy.
Google Analytics is a good system, no doubt. It isn’t my favourite, though. So even if you don’t want to hide your data from Google, I think alternatives are worth looking at. Some analytics tools are more performance oriented than GA, for example. The best example of this is probably KISSmetrics, which I didn’t include here since they are apparently in the “we don’t talk about the price” price-range.
Woopra is another good example of a system that is very different from GA and might suit your personal needs better. So it’s not only about keeping your data away from the big G.
I just started a new website and am currently using GA. Like you, I am not a huge fan of it. We will most likely be using AdSense / Adwords in the near future. Is it worth upgrading to a software like Woopra? Will Woopra or any others still compliment these Google products? I’m not so worried about “getting slapped” as I am having the best/ most useful tools and analytics in front of me.
In terms of features, Google Analytics isn’t really lacking. I think the user interface is not the greatest and the way it sets up and tracks goals is pretty stupid, IMO. But it’s functional and comes with everything you need.
Something like Woopra won’t necessarily provide you with better information or tell you things about your site that you could not find out, using GA. However, in my opinion, it will be easier to use and navigate. That’s the main reason I ultimately went with Clicky as my preferred alternative to GA: I just find it easier and more pleasant to use.
Like Olivia, I didn’t know there was an alternative. This information certainly gives me food for thought.
Superb post Shane.
I’m pretty weak on tracking combined with being google phobic so this post is exactly what I need. I quite like the sound of piwik but it’s a script and needs installing UGH and reinvigorate has a heat map and is a plugin – sounds superb.
Concerning Piwik: It’s a really easy installer. I had to contact Hostgator support to help me out with one of the steps, but it was a very quick and easy fix. If I can install it, it must be simple. :)
Having said that, reinvigorate is an even easier option.
I’ve never used GA as I know what sort of footprint it leaves and have a distrust of Google having a lot of knowledge of all my sites.
If you use the same GA id for all your sites, it makes it quite easy for anyone to identify all of the sites you own.
On my WordPress sites, I find that the basic wordpress.com stats plugin provides me with enough basics and awstats/webalizer is useful for some more details.
It’s very easy to get bogged down with detail and over analyse web statistics (been there before), however, I don’t deny that you do need to look at them to get an idea of what’s working well and what isn’t.
Good point with the footprints! I hadn’t even thought of that, but it’s an important factor if you want to keep your good niches to yourself.
I agree that one has to be careful not to fall into analysis paralysis with all of these stats and this data. Analytics are only as useful as the actions you take based on the data. That would (and perhaps should) be an article all of it’s own.
“Analytics are only as useful as the actions you take based on the data. That would (and perhaps should) be an article all of it’s own.”
Analytics and testing could be a complete course. Surprised no one has come out with one yet.
I have an inkling about why no one’s made a product about this yet: It’s not very marketable. Using analytics properly isn’t particuarly sexy, if you know what I mean.
At least to the “typical” IM crowd, this would be a tough sell.
Wow! Thank you so much for this Shane.
Even when you’re not promoting anything, you sound totally honest too. Erm ya.
I have used Piwik on a site. But the visitor number seems to differ greatly (as much as 60%) with the unique visitors at Awstats.
Thanks again for this analytics review. May this page get indexed for thousands of keywords and your blog will be more well known. :)
I have never used Google Analytics as:
1) I don’t like Google collecting, compiling and using data about my stuff;
(I don’t use Google for Search now either, I use https://startpage.com/ – secure and does not collect Ip addresses etc);
2) Google Analytics can dramatically slow webpage loading. I am FREQUENTLY waiting, sometimes for minutes, for other people’s webpages to load and meanwhile Firefox is telling me “waiting for Google Analytics”,and sometimes “waiting for Doubleclick” (Google). I have never heard anyone else mention this, maybe it is just here in Australia that these delays occur?;
3) It is a thirdparty service. Thirdparty services are unreliable. I need complete control of my business. (I already had a problem with this after [against my better judgement] I used a thirdparty URL-shortening service. It was a great service but it changed ownership and became useless due to monetization strategies of the new owners. I lost hundreds of my links. Now I use my own free self-hosted URL-shortening service and whilst it’s almost as good as the service I used to use [and easier to use] it is in my control and the links point to my website, not someones else’s :-)) (Have you noticed that Google has downgraded the External Keyword Tool recently? Maybe it’s just here in Australia, but the export keywords function has been removed. [Which makes it dramatically less useful.])
I do not dislike Google but I do not trust them and there is no way I will allow myself to be dependent on them.
I have no intention of ever doing anything I need to hide from Google but there is no way I would use Google Analytics when there is a free open-source self-hosted alternative like Piwik, which I found very easy to install.
P.S. I am looking for a good self-hosted split-testing script.
If you or any of your readers have any experience with those Shane I’d love to hear about it.
There’s one that you might want to add to the list, Open Web Analytics (OWA). It looks similar to Google Analytics, but it’s open source.
I hadn’t heard of Open Web Analytics, I will install it and check it out.
Great resource! I have been using GA and StatCounter but didn’t aware of the alternatives. I will definitely take a look at them all. I noticed that both GA and StatCounter don’t seem to give accurate counts – like I can take a look at StatPress WP plugin and they are showing visitors; but both GA and StatCounter showed little to no visitors! Very confusing. I guess I may have to use the hosting log to verify…
Also, you might want to mention that GA does not have real time results – they always a day behind. So people might want to check out the alternatives if wishing to get immediate view of traffic in real time.
Thanks again for the great resource.
I use GA on my AdSense sites and Piwik on all of them as well. I like Piwik – easy to install and update, easy to use and it is unlimited free solution with enough data to track your site’s performance.
I have to use WordPress.com Stats plugin on mu WP sites but found it not so good as the other one – StatSurfer plugin that I use now on all of my WP sites. StatSurfer is derived from StatPress plugin but is much better in my opinion. I think StatSurfer is the best solution for WordPress websites now.
As always Shane…right on the ball…this is great info and I think I will test a couple of these myself…anything free is good so PIWIK is probably first cab off the rank.
Piwik is definitely a good choice. It’s becoming my personal favourite and it doesn’t hurt that it’s free, either. :)
Great Info Shane!
These are really amazing tools.
This was a subject I knew almost nothing about until I read your post.
As I only have sites with adsense on them, I am not sure about changing from analytics – although I don’t like the fact that G knows more about my online efforts than I do! However I also have the free version of statcounter as I like the interface, visitor paths information and exit link information that is easily accessible.
Regarding Statcounter, I would just like to mention that it does give you ‘phantom’ adsense clicks – which nearly gave me a heart attack the first time I noticed that whilst editing a post there were a couple of google adsense clicks showing as having been made by me.
Statcounter investigated, these ‘clicks’ are apparently caused by just mousing over an ad or hovering over it for a fraction too long. This has never been resolved by statcounter, these are NEVER in my adsense analysis so the phenomenon could possibly make someone new to using statcounter and adsense think that somehow G was doing them out of earned money from clicks on their site ads.
I did not know there are alternative to Google Analytics; thanks for the comprehensive review here.
From your review, and another reader’s, Piwik seems cool and especially so because of its price point ($0) – i’m gonna check it out.
Oops! Just checking on REINVIGORATE and they have a free 14 day trial before progressing to charge you $10, $20 or $100 per month.
Shame I’m looking for a free alternative to GA and I liked the heat map.
O well back to your list Shane!
Free and easy to install, where does that take me…
I think Piwik might fit the bill.
And Open Web Analytics (which I didn’t know about before I read about it in the comment above) might also be a good candidate. :)
Just had a good look at Piwik and I like it.
There’s also a plugin
So far so good…
Shane, here’s what I want to do next.
A site is making sales and I want to know which of several links is most effective, and which pages and posts are not pulling their weight.
I use an amazon tracking code so I know which site is working are these services like piwik able to drill down to the link level?
Yep, Piwik rocks. :)
I think the feature you are looking for is the “Goals” one. You can define clicks on outbound links (e.g. your affiliate links) as goals and Piwik will then show you which pages are getting the highest CTR and all that good stuff.
Google Analytics can do the same, by the way, but it’s far easier to set up in Piwik. :)
I use Piwik, and i’m really glad of it.
I don’t know Open Web Analytics, but i think the advantage of Piwik is the community, very active…
owa give you more tools, like heatmap for exemple… check it out
I am quite tempted to try Piwik and OWA. By the way, I haven’t read if it is possible to use more than two analytic tools for the same website. I don’t see why it should not be possible.
Yes, that’s possible. The only downside is that the more tracking scripts you load, the slower your site will become, so for the long-terms, it’s best to use just one. For testing purposes, you can be using several anlytics apps in parallel, though.
I’m really interested in Woopra & Reinvigorate. Shane, do you have any idea how well they interact with Google Adwords?
Btw, I love the site.
I have not tested any of these analytics solutions specifically with AdSense. I doubt that you’ll get the level of insight that AdSense + Google Analytics provides, from any of the non-Google solutions, though. I recommend signing up for a free trial (both Woopra and reinvigorate offer them) and maybe contacting support about this topic.
Thanks for the reply. I’m also trying out the trial with BuildMyRank.com through your aff. Always happy to support good content providers.
for any newbie who would like to start with tracking basics
and more, use a free wordpress plugin “Jetpack”
the stats are plain and understandable and shows traffic sources, most visited page, and more. Nothing explosive but effective plus other wordpress features.
landed here via “page load info”, time to get back there
Thanks for the great list. Our site has been destroyed by Panda and we’re trying to go Google-free to see whether it might help results. We used to use Mint, which was actually quite awesome how quick it is and how flexible. Unfortunately I didn’t see any good screen shots which would really help people evaluate! Might make for a good follow up article. Given the flexibility, we might choose open web analytics since it seems to now be the most popular of all the alternatives.
I’m just now learning about web analytics. Do any of these offer the ability to track the IP address of each visitor?
Great review article and exactly what I was looking for. I have been flying blind for too long, and it is time to get serious and see what is happening and, in some cases, what is not happening.
I was leaning towards either Piwik or OWA right up until the very last where you mentioned the resource requirements. However, my sites are under 10,000 visitors per month, so I will probably give one of them a try. You say “sites with a fair amount of traffic” – what is your definition/range of “fair amount”? Cheers!
I am testing the metriclytics analytics, in addition to tracking website analytics and tracking becomes personal email marketing http://www.metriclytics.com puden hopefully test it as much as they like me.
I have to add that Stat Counter does not do a very good job of filtering out bots in their numbers. I have a site that has a drastic difference in visitors between GA and Stat Counter. From 11-13k in Stat Counter to 4-4.2k visitors. This could be due to other issues as well. I don’t know.
I would love to hear from anybody about the accuracy of Woopra or Clicky compared to GA. Anyone ever compare stats?
I’m not aware of such differences, but haven’t done a side-by-side comparison of the numbers on the same site.
One thing worth mentioning is to make sure to compare the same numbers, since some tools show visits, others unique visits and others pageviews as the standard traffic-counter.
Nice article. I am using piwik and owa. The goodness of them are, they can’t be block unless no-script is using, ghostery can’t detect piwik, if a custom js (renamed .js) is using, and can view the ip of users, which is pretty handy.
Very helpful wrap up of GA alternatives. Seems there are growing reasons to ditch GA… especially having just read “Search and Destroy”.
Shane, we have GA installed on 2000 client sites. We’re looking for an alternative and would be interested in engaging you to consult to us. Please contact me. ~ Steve
Thanks for your comment, Steve. I’ll get in touch.
I have been using Piwik on a site, and doing some research on that site on Google, I found that someone was using one of my images. I’m with Hostgator and am running the hotlink protection in cPanel. After contacting HG support, they informed me that “The site in question uses some sort of proxy to retrieve your image, which makes the request look like it is coming from your own site.”
They then suggested I add a condition (which they gave me) to .htaccess to deny the site access. I did and it didn’t work… they are still using the image.
After more research, Hostgator (which I like a lot) wrote back with this: “The requests are coming from a number of other IP addresses, so it seems that our initial diagnosis was incorrect. The common threads for the requests is that many (not all) come via google.com in some way (possibly the image search), and that they ALL come via your Piwik suite. The suite is password-protected, but it seems that there may be some back doors that we are unaware of, that are allowing access to this image. Would it be possible to put a limit for piwik access to a specific address or range of addresses, so you could still see your stats, but others can not exploit the back door?”
So far I haven’t found a way, but I thought this would be good info to pass along.
I appreciate the alternatives you’ve listed, and am definitely going to check them out.
Thanks for your comment!
That’s a bit worrying… hopefully, if there is an exploit here, it will be fixed in an update.
Nice article – we use an analytics package not on this list. It’s called A1WebStats and the website is A1WebStats.com.
We use this software as it helps us identify the company that visited along with useful information that will ultimately help us improve our website and get more sales.
Spelling mistake in the article – ‘I an’t recomment’
Great run down, but ill probably just stick with GA, doesnt really bother me that they collect data, we are getting watched through every other avenue in our lives, its hardly surprising the internet isnt free from this.
I dont trust google but then again i dont have anything to hide from them and am working to try and increase my different traffic sources
Eventually i dont want to rely on google for traffic.
For a free tool GA is very in-depth, while it may not be super accurate, unfortunately not any tool is either
Very good post Shane… I was searching for something like this (a list of alternatives) recently and i couldn’t find the right one.
I am using the free from clicky but it seems changed from a few years ago when you could have visitors recorded. Or is the free version somehow limited?
Yes, the free version of Clicky has some limitations. It has a limit in terms of daily pageviews you can track and it doesn’t have what they call the “premium features” like goal tracking, twitter monitoring and so on.
In addition to GA and Statcounter, I have also used Awstats which is free on some hosting services. Awstats contains a lot of data, but I suspect it also slows down page loads. Any experience with Awstats or comments welcome.
AWStats is mainly for server techs rather than non-techie business owners looking to make strategic decisions based on the data. It sits on the server and makes visual representations of visitor log files. Whereas the data in AWstats is likely to be accurate, you’ll also notice that figures are elevated in comparison to other analytics tools because AWStats measures traffic from bots, which Analytics can’t do. Also, with AWStats your data sits on your server, rather than a remote third party server such as GA.
It won’t slow down page loads at all because the program simply reads from log files.
AWStats has a number of basic reports – these can be useful if you’re techie enough to make sense of it but for most people a more user friendly Analytics tool would be advisable.
High quality and very useful information as always – thank you!
Like many people I would love to get Google right out of the equation but, since they are the major player when it comes to organic search traffic, this is not always easy.
Where, for example, do we stand as far as Google Plus is concerned?
Many people believe that Google Plus, while still in its infancy today, will play a significant role in SERP results in the next few months. However, to take advantage of this webmasters will need to link their sites to a Google Plus account and, if you do that, you might just as well use Google Analytics.
What are your thoughts?
Hey Shane and all,
Justin Brooke has just started a web-hosted service (I only got the email from him about it this morning!) called PixelTrakk, which is a cut-down version of GA, especially designed for marketers. It doesn’t measure bounce rates, which, as you point out, are usually wrong anyway. There is a free version, which only tracks the four basic stats, and a premium version which also tracks your entire sales funnel, and does split-testing as well, which one of your readers asked about.
From what I have seen so far, the basic version would be enough for most website owners — as long as they take action to improve their stats, as you mention. The premium version is more for anal-retentives like you and me! :-)
I’ve been toying with the idea of using Clicky, too, as I’ve seen it within my Cloudflare Cpanel.
Have you tried Cloudflare? What are your thoughts on it as an overall website optimiser? http://www.cloudflare.com
Thanks again for putting all these tons of info together and for presenting them in such an aesthetically pleasing and quick to absorb way :)
I’m actually signed up to SECockpit – that’s how I got the idea of checking your blog out ;-)
Thanks for your comment!
I’ve mentioned cloudflare in this post about speed optimization. You need to do a before/after test with it, to make sure it really helps your site’s performance and to check that it doesn’t “break” anything on your site. But given that, it can be a very useful service.
I have been using Statcounter for a long time. I have for a long time worried about my high bounce rate. During your last Webinar, I learned the bounce rate GA and Statcounter provide is not accurate. I always understood the weakness but I didn’t know there was an alternative.
After the webinar, I went back to clicky and opened my account again. I prefer statcounter until I learned about the bounce rate. You can dig into statcounter a bit. Perhaps not enough. And what I have found they don’t make it easy to understand. It all starts with where you start digging. I’m still learning clicky but I understand I need better user engagement data than Statcounter can provide.
When I left Statcounter they asked me why and I told them, explained what Clicky has that Statcounter doesn’t. They only responded with we will try to provide that in the future. So that confirmed its not there hidden away.
I just signed up with Woopra, they do have a free trail now. But there is almost no chance they can keep me at $40 a month for a website. Are they crazy? haha So far its not working for me at all. When I try to look at live stats, I get a blank white page.
I’m having some issues adjusting from Statcounter to Clicky but I’m getting there.
Did you find a way to sort by pages with low engagement?
Oh, the reason I started this post…. haha
i suppose once we have our website in GA and Google Webmaster Tools, it wont do a lot of good to pull them out?
I recommend a wonderful yandex metrika.
Good post Shane… I have a mix of G/A and Statcounter… which I do like! But giving Clicky ago seems like a good idea. Lots of resources here I was not aware of… I look forward to reading more!!!
I think I should change GA to Clicky. Your advise is so helpful and to the point. Thanks
Great Review! What is your take on having your site in Google Webmaster Tools. One site I created a long while back and did only directory submissions for received a message about unnatural linking. Would keeping the site out of GWT had made a difference?
My suspicion is that GWT has nothing to do with the detection of unnatural linking and more to do with notification.
Unnatural linking is all about analysing inbound links from external sites, so it doesn’t make sense to me that a piece of code placed on your site can “betray you” in terms of unnatural linking detection.
Because of your review , I paid more attention to Clicky. I have to admin sounds interesting.
But what about Piwik ? I heard some good news about it. What’s your opinion on this.
thanks in advance :)
Piwik is also covered in this review. :)
Yes, you are right, thanks.
Thanks for all the info, Clicky looks great!
I ditched GA and Webmaster tools when my site fell because of Panda and Penguin. I’m now comparing clicky vs reinvigorate.
If you pull GA & GWM out then how can G know and then factor your site. So leaving them in would be VALID ?
I added to a Test site two things that help with the One Page Bounce Views.
1) A Java Timeout to get pushed to internal pages that users typically click on anyway.
2) A Rollover image that if they go back to the address bar – it triggers to a new page.
I did a test and it seemed to get the bounce rate down a lot. It went on my test site from 45% down to 22%.
So if you dont use GA / GWMT – how do they sense what is occuring ????
Do any of these track mobile users?
Most of them automatically track what platform incoming visitors are using, including mobile browsers.
Great review Shane, I’ll will start testing some of these this week :)
Shane you mention you don’t use GA on this site yet you have the code? Looks like your using Woopra, GA and Clicky. Why? You running a test or something. Don’t see any avantage in using 3 different analytics.
Yes, I’m testing all three at the same time, at the moment. For the article, I was testing up to five at the same time. But I do this only for testing purposes, of course. No point otherwise. :)
Shane, do you know of a good online seminar on Analytic interpretation, data comparison(between tool) and what data to follow closely?
I will appreciate your guidance.
Sorry, I don’t know anything like that, that I could recommend.
I can not find the thread you created to submit to you suggestions for topics.
So I am posting it here, hope you don’t mind. :)
Can you suggest some recent data or create a post on how to get a site back from the Google Slap due to the most recent Penguin Update. I am getting many inquiries from business owners needing help getting their site back.
Getting a site back is not something I have really had to do (I have ideas on what to do) but it would be great to have other viewpoints especially from those who have done it.
Nice post, Shane.
All the problems being encountered surrounding the lack of Accuracy with Analytics tools and services, is something that will not go away anytime soon.
In may simply be better to use a number of tools, then make as close an estimate as possible, by relying on the most accurate features of each individual tool.
For me personally, considering Google Analytics was way off with it’s data, I tend to balance the Google Analytics numbers with around five or so, other tools.
I have noticed that certain site data tools do tend to match up quite closely with certain other tools results, only they return the data in different time frames.
So, if we are willing to wait a little, we can see the data that matches from these tools, beginning to overlap…
Hi Shane, great post.
There are some analytics that track affiliate sales as a goad directly in the interface?
EX: whit pixel to put in the vendor thank you page?
My goal is to have all my stats (keyword, affiliate sales, etc)in one interface
thanks in advice
I’ve been able to set Analytics up to track Clickbank affiliate sales, but that’s only because Clickbank have integrated sales reporting enabled:- http://www.clickbank.com/help/account-help/account-tools/integrated-sales-reporting/
Basically, it’s impossible to track affiliate sales through to conversion unless the affiliate network (in this case Clickbank) or the merchant of the product you’re promoting allow you to either add a pixel on the thank you page or have some integrated sales reporting such as Clickbank.
Awesome post, thanks! I have 2 questions.
1/ like most people here i don’t trust google and don’t want them knowing everything about my sites, however i do use adsense on most of my sites. Do google get the same info from adsense as they do from GA?
2/ I used to use statpress reloaded but had lots of problems with my host (hostgator – shared hosting) frequently placing temp blocks on my account due to “overuse of resources” which they said was due to statpress. So, which of your recommended GA alternatives are NOT (or “less”) resource intensive and most suitable for shared hosting?
Hey Shane. Any thoughts on Flurry?
Looks like that’s made for mobile apps rather than web analytics.
I see that you have a huge experience with web analytics tools. What do you think about http://www.foretaster.com ?
“It’s like Statcounter’s visitor path converted into stylish and easy to understand template.”
Where’s W3Counter in this list? It’s older than Google Analytics, all its reports are real-time, and it’s more used than some of the services you did list.
It’s October 2012 and this is still being read and considered. Thanks!
I liked your article because I use getClicky for spying my visitors and GA for comparing everyday’s charts
Awesome Post Shane!
I landed on this blog searching for more information on Mixpanel. Can you maybe do a post on Mixpanel and KissMetrics ? I am looking for an analytics product for a SaaS product http://www.agencyplatform.com . Do you know of any other great analytics product for SaaS products?
Statcounter now offers Time on site tracking – just a heads up!
Still relevant today, but have your preferences changed? I really hate GA, since it seems to skew my data a lot. I really need a free alternative solution.
Thanks a lot.
Do any of these services measure search terms used to find the page?
Thanks! My preferences haven’t changed. I’m still using Clicky as my main solution and I’m thinking of cancelling my Woopra account, because it’s just not quite what I’m looking for.
All of the services look for incoming search terms.
Very nicely done article. Just what I was looking for. Thanks so much!
Excellent comparison… Another tool that I have been using is http://www.ovalbricks.com. This also gives information on who clicked ads on your web site. May be interesting for content publishers with ads on the site
Just a heads up to you and your readers, I just discovered the hard way that Piwik does not allow you to transfer your data to a new server. I recently moved several sites to a new host and lost all of my old Piwik data.
Piwik support says they will be happy to add the feature if someone wants to sponsor it, but as of now, it is not an available option.
Too bad, because I really liked the program.
Thank you for the heads-up! I did not know about this, either.
After going back and forth with the Piwik developers I thought I would drop back by and add a few clarifying remarks.
The developers seem to want to play with semantics and insist an import feature is not needed by “most people”. One can only presume that they assume that “most people” will never move their sites!
The fact is, there is no Piwik database import feature. You can not import, merge, or add Piwik data from one Piwik installation into another one that has existing data in it. Therefore, if you want to move a site to another location that is already using Piwik, say as an addon domain, you will lose all of your Piwik data associated with the domain you’re moving.
This is a long-standing issue. If you Google it, you can find a hack created by some smart guys that is supposed to get around the problem. But it is not an easy solution, especially for the technically challenged.
Thanks Shane! I was already leaning toward Clicky. I love how your article gave some key points to consider from an SEO’s prospective that I hadn’t thought about (like proper bounce rate detection), but really needed to!
Now, do you have any insights about some of the heatmapping tools? I’ve even found some that offer very attractive free plans, like:
Would love to hear if
1. You think these are useful to optimize pages for visitors, or for any other reason.
2. Which tools you like/don’t like from your experience.
I’ve been thinking about doing a comparison of heatmapping tools. I’ve had a go with ClickTale and CrazyEgg. Ended up not using either of them, because the basic heatmaps in Visual Website Optimizer (which I already use) do the trick, for me.
I might do a roundup of tools sometime in the future, though.
i use piwik for all of my sites at my vserver and i am happy with it
Excellent article! and as usual a very interesting and informative reading
Thank you, Nuria!
Shane, a really informative post. I currently use GA, but due to not wanting to rely too much on Google products thought I would look around at other services. The only one I have heard of in your list above is Piwik, which to begin with I thought was great, however, no matter what I did, I could not get it installed and working on my site. I used the plugin, put in the relevant code, tried the forum for help, all to no avail, so I went back to GA. I will be looking at some of the ones you have listed above, so again, thanks for that.
Thank you for leaving a comment, Alan!
That’s one of the downsides of the self-hosted solutions: you’re left to your own devices. As a not-very-technical person myself, I often struggle with that a bit, as well.
What do you recommend for a platform where you can best trigger email campaigns from actions on the site.
My thoughts so far.. Woopra and Kissmetrics?
You can try Adobe (formerly Omniture).
There’s a new product called Angelfish which should be on this list, especially since it can process the __utm.gif generated by Google Analytics.
You have done such a great job with these articles, I really appreciate it.
I am in need of someone who can install the code for clicky on every page on my web site. I am not a technic savyy and I don’t know how to do it.
Can you recommend anyone. I use joomla and it is a directory.
I thank you and keep up the good work.
I have used Piwik before but the other ones ddid I knot know about, gonna try them! thanks.
You have missed another great analytic platform crazyegg.com. They are great too. Others are better than GA but, their free version lacks of more page views :(.
Shane, you’ve fast become an essential guide to online marketing and product making.
You’re trustworthy, thorough and smart.
My only real issue with Google Analytics is the growing number of “(not Provided)” in the Organic Search Traffic report.
So what I am looking for is a tool that would show the search phrases of the visitors from Google – all of them.
Could you recommend one please?
This is not something an analytics solution can do anything about. Google is not passing on those keywords, so whether it’s Google Analytics or a different tool “listening”, you won’t be able to see them.
As another (not featured in the list) provider of the ever-increasing number of analytics solutions out there, just wanting to back up Shane’s comment about the ‘not provided’ keywords with some additional thoughts based on what our users do/have thought of …
1. Websites that have been well set up will have numerous pages that are each optimised for certain types of keyword traffic. So, although ‘not provided’ may be an issue, if you can see that X people landed on a certain website page, then you can take an educated guess of the types of phrases people may have typed (based on those keywords landing on that page that you CAN identify).
2. It’s easy to get hung up on identifying keywords. Most analytics providers would say “focus instead on the numbers of people landing on certain pages and how they then interact with that page and additional pages within the website”.
3. If there’s too much focus on ‘not provided’ keywords, while the website has little traffic via social media, other websites etc. then it’s probably time to think a bit differently about what drives traffic to the website.
Finally, you can expect that analytics systems will start to react to the ‘not provided’ issue by providing some indications of what the keyword phrases MAY have been like, based on previous visits. For example, if a landing page about widgets has had historical (identified) keyword phrases of ‘red widgets’ and ‘metal widgets’ then it could be suggested that the phrases used MAY have included similar to those.
Hope this is useful.
Shane – thanks for the thoughtful analysis of so many tools. When did you write this up? The blog post date is April 6, 2013 but the comments started in March 2011. Did you update this review recently?
Thanks! Yes, the post date shows the last time I completely updated the post and made sure everything is up to date. This post has been polished up and updated about three times, now. :)
I think the “old style” server side analytics were best, like Urchin and Webtrends. The relied on the server logs and didn’t share the data or slow the server down. I’m not at all happy with GA. Do you know of any packages like that that are still available? Google bought Urchin and shut it down.
Allmost all hosters run either AWSats, Webalizer or both on their servers. Typically you can see the stats on YOUR_URL/webstat or YOUR_URL/webstats or YOUR_URL/stat or YOUR_URL/stats or something like that.
However, these old style stats scripts are subject to all kinds of criticism. But since they are free and already there most of the times, it’s nice to check them out once in a while.
Great job Shane! I’m storming through articles about GA alternatives, because I’m writing about it myself and I have to say that yours is the best I have found on the web. Keep up the good work!
We have been using Google Analytics for years but would like to try something different that is not so “snoopy”. We are going to try Clicky on a new site and will let you know how it works out.
Great round up!
As others have stated, I steer clear of GA on my new sites. I do it for two reasons:
1) G-paranoia – I don’t like them keeping their little dossier on me and my entire business.
2) Diversification – I am already over-reliant (most of us are) on Google through search. I don’t need to compound the issue by depending on them for analytics too.
That’s a superbly detailed expose of the alternatives to GA. The whole bounce rate issue is a real pain especially as they probably feed that in to the quality score, skewing it negatively for the site owner that’s doing PPC. You mentioned a hack somewhere in the article and I can’t see where it is now; but does this refer to a hack that I have seen mentioned, about GA, where you can alter something in the GA settings to reflect a more accurate bounce rate. This is just a vague memory and may be off track, but I’m sure I have come across something along those lines somewhere.
Very Great overview :-)
maybe you could add the version number/feature check date to the each description.
e.g. piwik did make a strong move with its new segment editor in v1.12
for the future an additional criteria maybe interesting: is there a mobile version of the tool?
I agree with Shane here, Clicky is worth every penny. Great tool.
That said we still typically run it alongside GA so we have a fallback and historical data.
Nice article, I will give piwik a try ;)
Piwik is fantastic to use. You may want to update this blog post as they have added lots of features and made lots of changes – its a great analytics tool! Free, open source, reliable, and full control over your own data. I use it for my website!
For a nice and making use of GA and StatCounter but do not conscious of the choices. I’m going to surely have a look at all of them.
Your article is really helpful, thanks for writing. I am looking forward to read more articles in future. Keep writing!!! cheers.
great post….learned alot…
Do you use something different for link tracking?
thanks in advance,
On this site, I’m using Pretty Link to track affiliate links. Apart from that, I mainly use campaign parameters to keep track of links.
Excellent article aboout google analytics and its very useful to know about the inner concepts of the process.
Great info – thanks a lot. I will for sure try to use some of the great marketings tools you recommend.
The article was truly inspiring . You have managed to cover all the main free webstats alternatives . The one that I’m using at the moment on my website is GoStats , and I’m more than pleased with their service.
Thanks Dragan, glad you liked the post.
A very useful article on Google Analytics alternatives. I wasn’t aware of the bounce rate issue that GA has, which has prompted me to do a little more research!
I’ve used Clicky in the past and was very happy with it’s simplicity and ease of use and would recommend it as an alternative to GA.
Glad that Clicky is working well for you too, Neil!
Hi I am so happy I found your web site, I really found you by error, while I was looking on Google for
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What do you use on your sites. Sorry if I missed this response in the long list of comments. would love to briefly chat with you on what you would recommend for us.
I’m mostly using Google Analytics and Clicky. Clicky is still my favorite in terms of getting the most important information and getting it quickly and easily.
I’ve also tried MixPanel, but haven’t been too happy with it.
I’m looking for analytics that will identify WHO has clicked on the back-link or email information of an advertiser. I need this because for some ads I will be charging a referral fee and need to record who has been in contact with each individual.
Also as much as I enjoy analytics I’m green, and need something user friendly, & visual without much of a learning curve so I can focus on work. Your recommendation?
It sounds like what you need is an affiliate tracking system, which is separate from your web analytics.
Thank you, sounds right.
I recieved an email from a user asking me if it would be a problem for my website if he was to use Ghostry.com
He did not like the fact that google was tracking his every move on the web, so he decided to use Ghostry on all webistes, but since I have a EU cookie warning on my sites, telling the users that cookies are essential, he asked me which parts of my website would stop working if he was blocking Google Analytics.
That got me to think.
Lately there has been a movement towards blocking google, and keeping privacy.
So I expect to see more users who use Ghostry to block Google Analytics.
And if that is the case, then your statistics is worthless.
With that in mind, do you have any thoughts on this new 2015 situation, where people cares about their privacy?
It’s difficult to estimate how many internet users block all tracking. Estimates I’ve found are all in the single digit percent, though. In other words: the vast majority of Internet users do not block tracking. This is in large part because if you do block all cookies and other tracking methods, the Internet becomes infinitely less convenient. As long as that’s the case, the privacy issue is one I’m not concerned about.
Also, in terms of ethics: tracking visitors an analytics tool isn’t really an invasion of anyone’s privacy, IMO. If you walk into a store, people in the store will be aware of your presence and they’ll be able to see where you go and what you do. They’ll probably even have surveillance video of you going through their store. I don’t see anyone complaining about the big privacy issue in their local supermarket. If you visit on online store, it’s basically the same thing: the owner of the store is aware of your presence and can see what you’re doing. That’s it. No one’s reading your private emails or anything like that (well, the government may be, but that’s a different issue).
Thanks for your suggestions, you really show the point!
Thanks for your comment!
I am looking for an open source software that would enable me to view the history of potential customers looking at my website before they actually register and when they do register it connects all of their past visits so that I can get a full view of their history on my website. I am looking for a website like Kissmetrics that connects all past visits to their new account so that I can get an overall view of their account history. Do you have any recommendations of open source software that may work with that description?
Does installing CLiky or Piwik affect GA tracking performance. I had installed Piwik and within a day GA started recording nealy 0 visits whereas Piwik was recording normal traffic.
I was wondering if I had done something wrong.
Great post as usual Shane! Very informative as all posts here always are…There’s a different take on analytics out there that not many people know about yet. I was fortunate to be able to try it early on and it goes beyond anything else I’ve ever dealt with. Like it so much I bought the agency license. I refrain from dropping their name or link as it’s not good etiquette. Shane if you want to check it out just drop me an email, I’ll send you the link to their homepage so you can read up on it. Among many great features it also has Landing Page Armor, super cool…
I’m using GA since last 1 year and now want to do something new and the list of alternative provided by you is really helpful. I really want to congratulate Shane that he is sharing very fruitful informations which helps lots to those professionals buddies who working over Analystics.
You forgot to mention that clicky (the one you’ve used for years) includes buttons that get placed on user sites. No thanks.
Is this a change they made to the free version, perhaps? I’ve searched their site, but can’t find a reference to this.
Thanks for this list, will give it try
Love your Post! Thanks Shane! I am looking forward to see more of your posts!