Digital Insights

The Top Website Tracking Alternatives to Google Analytics

Published: October 8, 2014

Behind every successful website is an analytic tracking platform that measures the day to day performance metrics that help keep the site aligned with the webmaster’s goals. A good analytics platform uncovers opportunities as well as pinpoints any problems that may hinder the digital marketer’s efforts in maximizing return on investment.

Data about everything from the quantity and source of inbound visitor traffic to the most effective and most-read individual web pages can be collected on a daily basis. This invaluable information can be used to improve the focus and quality of web page content, increase the rate of visitor to customer conversions, and gauge the effectiveness of ongoing search engine optimization campaigns.

The Problem with Google Analytics
The Google Analytics platform is one of the most popular and well-known analytics packages on the market for two compelling reasons: it’s a good product in many respects, and it’s free to download and use for websites that get less than 10 million page views per month.

The downside is that Google Analytics has a number of problems that you can either decide to live with or start searching for an alternative.

  • If a web page is missing the Google Analytics tracking code it won’t get analyzed. While it’s a simple matter to manually check a 7 page website for the presence of Google’s JavaScript tag, it’s another matter entirely if your site contains hundreds of pages.
  • If a web page contains any errors in the JavaScript, Google Analytics won’t include that page.
  • If the visitor’s browser has JavaScript disabled or doesn’t accept cookies, Google Analytics won’t work.
  • Google Analytics has a pretty steep learning curve.
  • Google Analytics doesn’t operate in real time.
  • If you have a large website with a lot of activity, Google might not report using all of your data – only a representative sampling.

Free and Paid Tracking Alternatives
Clicky – Similar in many respects to Google Analytics, Clicky provides a full suite of website metric measuring capabilities, along with some high-powered features such as heat maps visibility, Twitter monitoring, and the ability to link to split tests. Unlike Google Analytics, Clicky has a very easy learning curve which requires all of 15 minutes to get the basics down. A free version is available for up to 3,000 daily page views, with paid plans ranging from $9.99 to $19.99 per month.

Kissmetrics – This is an enterprise-level analytics tool with a price tag to match: plans run from $150 to $500 per month, billed annually. Sticker shock aside, if your goal is to make serious money through digital marketing, this is the tool that can help get you there. Kissmetrics provides actionable insights into the mind of your website visitors and includes features like A/B split testing, real time data monitoring, testing and staging sandboxes and more.

Piwik – Piwik is a free, open-source analytics alternative available as a self-hosted program. Easy to install and navigate, Piwik can be integrated with any WordPress-based site with the WP-Piwik plug-in. Piwik provides all of the customary user statistics, real-time tracking of all data, plus a choice of mobile apps for both Android and iOS.