Like craft beer, deciding which web analytics tool works best for you is a matter of personal taste. Here's the guide to finding your fave.
Craft beers like Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo Extra IPA are like Adobe Analytics (formerly Omniture SiteCatalyst) — there is so much power to the software, unless you are totally versed in it, you will get drunk quickly and not be able to navigate. If you don’t have the budget to hire a master brewer to teach you how to drink the former, or a web analytics team to interpret the latter, here are some beers (simpler tools) to help you get a snapshot of how well your website is working for your business, each with its own strengths.
Blue Moon Belgian White a.k.a. Google Analytics
The most popular web analytics tool is Google Analytics or “GA” as it is affectionately called. Also could be known as Blue Moon Belgian White. One of the most common, it is ‘malty’ with less bitterness from the hops so at first it can appear simple, but the aftertaste is very complex.
While GA can give you detailed information about visitors to your website including what keywords brought them there, where they clicked, where they came from, it does take some familiarity to use it well or customize your reports.
For more money and basically the same tools, you can opt for GA Premium. Just like Sam Adams Utopia (60 proof), GA Premium (additional $100K/year) might break the bank, but at least your data won’t be sampled.
Related Article: Mobile Marketing Analytics: Which Metrics Measure Success?
If you want to slice and dice data to look at social engagement and traffic to your content by author, tag, or type, Simplereach is where it’s at. Like Avery’s The Reverend, it is simple as in the name, but bursts with a variety of flavors depending on what you are eating. It’s also becoming a more common analytics tool for content marketers.
One of the first to market with its debut in 1993, Webtrends Analytics has custom mobile and social features, heat maps and unlimited custom metrics. Just like the Anchor Brewing Company’s Steam Beer (making beer since the 1890s), its current version is a modern crafted platform and the company itself has released a number of SaaS solutions since its inception.
Mint a.k.a. Stella Artois is a web analytics tool that functions much like Google Analytics but with a visual layout that is easier to understand. For a one-time fee of $30, Mint is a good bargain for someone who just wants to see the numbers, please.
Related Article: Google Analytics Tips to Optimize Your Marketing Efforts
KISSmetrics provides data on individual user activity on websites where they have to sign in, like e-commerce sites. This member-only beer club aka MobCraft beer, is targeted at the individual members so you can really market to them in a unique way. You can try it out free for 14 days but after that the cost starts at $179 a month.
Clicky or Mixpanel
If you are looking for immediate gratification (real-time data) with lower cost (no custom integration), Clicky or Mixpanel may be your best bet. Just like Stone’s IPA where it grabs you by the tongue and swings you around with a real-time buzz without all the headaches, Clicky is free for lower-trafficked sites. Mixpanel is also free for low data amounts and starts at $150 per month for increasing traffic levels. Did I mention it also measures individual site user activity like KISSmetrics?
One pretty cool feature that some of these tools provide is a “heat map” or visualization of where each visitor to your site clicks and scrolls. You can see what areas of your site are “hot” and which ones are essentially dead space. Crazy Egg starts at $9 a month.
There seem to be as many web analytics tools as there are creative geniuses who know how to read them. Like a fine craft beer, deciding on which one works best for you is a matter of personal taste.