Analytics tracks the behavior of people using your website. For most businesses, this is essential information because it helps them understand and tailor their service to the needs of their users. We will compare some of the best tools for the job.
What are the analyzes used for?
Your business has a goal, and that goal convinces a user to buy your product, download your app, or just watch your content for a while, your website helps you reach that goal. Analytics help point you in the right direction, and good analytics are the backbone of many online businesses.
Analyzes are not magic, however – you will still need to interpret them correctly, otherwise they are just numbers and graphs with no direction. Your analytics should present you with information about how users interact with your business that you can use to make better business decisions. Sometimes this is as simple as modifying the design of your web page to channel more users to your goal.
For example, you may notice that users who scrolled down the page had a higher rate of leaving the site. This is probably due to a lack of interest and the design of your site arouses their interest. If you had a “Register” button in the center of your landing page, it could catch the attention of many people, but for those who are more skeptical, they will scroll down below the fold. By the time they’re there, they’ve probably forgotten the signup form, so to reduce that bounce rate, you may want to try and include another signup button under your main content.
Analytics allow you to do A / B testing, which is like the scientific method for websites. You present to user A the default (control) version of your website, you present to user B a variant of your website that you have modified (hypothesis) and you measure how they interact with him. Repeat this about a thousand times, and you have had your own experience. You may find that version B reaches its goal much more often than version A, and you can replace version A with the best page. Continue like this and you will come to a highly optimized website.
On the flip side, if you’re not a marketer and don’t care about optimization, something as simple as viewing pages and tracking sessions can help you understand how your site is is worn in the internet ocean, and at the very least is a useful tool to watch.
Google Analytics: page consultation and session tracking
Google Analytics is completely free to use and does a lot. Basically, it tracks page views and information about the users who view your pages. It classifies them into sessions, which represent the experience of a user interacting with your site.
The “Behavior Flow” page illustrates this experience well. On the left, users land on your site on a specific page, then abandon (bounce) or click on another page, repeated until they end up leaving. Rebounds is not entirely bad however, because users may have gotten the information they needed and left your site content.
Since it only collects data when the page is first loaded, Google Analytics will not show you much information about what users do on your website after they navigate, unless they are navigating to another page. (This includes different sections of single page web applications, as long as the route in the URL bar changes.)
The point of the behavior flow is about conversion, the number of users reaching your website goal. If your goal is to get people to open an account, you can track the number of new sessions leading to registrations. Although a user can often have multiple sessions on different days, this measurement is not entirely accurate, but it is a good start.
Although most traffic statistics are anonymized, their admin panel has a few tools for tracking actual users, such as the Audience tab, which includes information about your users’ demographics. It also includes the “Lifetime Value” page, which displays a useful metric: achievement goals per user and other lifetime measures such as income per user.
This tracks users over a 90-day period and across multiple sessions, which can answer a question like “Over the past 90 days, what percentage of people using my site have signed up for an account?”, Resolver the problem of multiple sessions per user.
Because Google Analytics is free, it doesn’t hurt to add it to your website, in addition to anything else on this list, even if it doesn’t entirely match your use case. More data is always better.
In general, most of the other tools on this list will also do what Google Analytics does, but will offer something more that could be worth your money.
Mixpanel: a focus on users
Mixpanel shifts attention from your site’s raw performance to the effect it has on your users, especially over longer periods of time. This type of report is much more useful for SaaS and app companies, since most of your revenue will come from premium users rather than direct page views.
For example, if your service offers a free trial before requiring payment, Mixpanel can track individual users throughout the trial. You can see how many people signed up for the free trial, how many completed the free trial, and how many ended up paying for a premium account.
You can then group these users according to their actions and send them targeted messages. For example, you could remind people who have completed the free trial but have not signed up that there is a special offer “10% discount for the first three months” just for them, and possibly convert more of users interested in premium subscribers.
Mixpanel offers a free level for companies with less than 5 million data points (the number of events triggered, depending on the number of follow-ups) and less than 1,000 users. Beyond that, you’ll have to pay $ 999 a year for 10 million data points and 50,000 users for your business.
Crazy egg interaction heat maps and A / B tests
Crazy egg does one thing very well: improve your website. It’s their slogan, but it’s true.
Their most attractive feature is their heat maps, which show the overall activity of users on your site. If you want to know which design elements attract users the most, a heat map can point you directly to it, without having to go through user sessions and behavior flows.
Crazy Egg also records how people use your site and can generate videos of an individual user’s session. Most analysis tools focus on aggregate statistics, but understanding personal experiences with your website can give you more information than many graphs.
These activity views are further enhanced with A / B testing, which allows you to test multiple variations of a site against a control to see which one achieves its goal most often.
Crazy egg comes pretty cheap, with their basic plan starting at just $ 24 per month for 30,000 page views tracked, up to $ 249 per month for 500,000 page views tracked.
Bunch – A bunch of data
Heap believes that analysis is a “data rooted problem, not visualization”, so they try to capture almost every action that a user performs on your website. All this is done automatically, so you won’t have to manually track events or even worry about what you should track, because Heap will track all of this.
Because there is nothing to configure on data collection, you will need to configure your events retroactively, what Heap calls “Virtual Events”. These help sort the raw data into meaningful interactions with your application. For example, you can create a virtual event to sort all the sessions in which a user clicked on a particular item on your page, or all the sessions in which a form was submitted.
Although it has great features, the amount of data captured by the heap can be difficult to filter without much configuration on your part, so it is certainly the most technical of this list.
Heap offers a free level which follows 5,000 sessions per month, with an unlimited number of events per session. After that, plans start at $ 499 per month for 20,000 sessions.