There is no doubt that Google Analytics™ reigns supreme for tracking visitors to your website. It integrates with hundreds of third-party applications, supports tracking of your Google AdWords™ campaigns, and can manipulate your visitor data in a multitude of ways. And like many Google services, many of its core features are completely free.
That all said, Google Analytics robustness is near overkill for small-to-medium sized websites. This is especially true if you only check your analytics data sparingly. With the array of features and updates that Google Analytics offers its users, no one would blame you for forgetting how to create a custom report.
On the other hand, if you need more from Google Analytics — such as additional goal tracking, training, or support — it will cost you $150,000 annually to upgrade to Google Analytics Premium. Feel free to be startled by the lack of middle ground between Google Analytics’ free and premium offerings.
Thankfully, there are many analytics solutions that may better serve your needs without breaking the bank or your brain.
Before Google Analytics kept track of visitors in real-time, Clicky was ahead of the game with their Spy feature. Spy instantaneously tracks every visitor currently on your website. You can even attach usernames and email addresses to visitors you know. Once a visitor leaves your site, Clicky will let you review all their actions taken on the site. This feature is so good it is almost creepy.
Plans with Clicky start off free with a daily pageview limit of 3,000. To up your pageview limit and take advantage of every feature that Clicky offers, consider signing up for the Pro Plus for $14.99 a month or $119.99 annually.
Chartbeat is a real-time analytics program built specifically for content creators and advertisers. Its goal is to help you “create, capture, and capitalize” on the attention economy.
Chartbeat offers real-time analytics similar to Clicky’s Spy feature. But Chartbeat’s most notable feature is its dashboard. Upon logging in, you are given a brief overview of your major stats with the number of visitors on your site. From the dashboard, you can drill down to specific pages. If you like to keep your social stats close at hand, Chartbeat can also keep track of your followers and shares on Facebook and Twitter.
Plans for Chartbeat start at $9.95 a month. If you are looking for more robust features, Chartbeat offers tailor-made analytics solutions for publications and advertising agencies. To learn more about their industry-specific analytics solutions, contact them for a quote and a demo.
Maybe your reason for wanting to avoid using Google Analytics is you feel the need to own your data. Still, you are not quite ready to give up on its extensive feature set. That is understandable. With a little technical know-how, Piwik may very well be the solution to your problem.
In short, Piwik is a free and open-source analytics program you install on your server. With Piwik, you get real-time visitor updates, a customizable dashboard, e-commerce support, and other necessary features you would expect from a full-fledged analytics solution. Piwik’s Tracking API also supports mobile app analytics.
While installing an analytics program on your server may sound arduous, Piwik gives you solid documentation to work from, which they claim will let you install Piwik in five minutes. If you are proficient with uploading files on a server and have a basic understanding of MySQL databases, then this is an accurate statement. If you are unfamiliar with databases and servers, consider setting aside an hour or two to install Piwik on your server or find someone to help you out.
If the thought of installing an analytics program on your server is a daunting prospect or your server does not support such installations, you can sign up for one of Piwik’s Cloud plans starting at $29 per month. Piwik guarantees that you still retain ownership over your data even with their Cloud plan.
GoSquare calls itself the analytics solution for the people. Like other analytics solutions, GoSquared can track and display customer interactions with your site. This includes measuring e-commerce transactions, sign-ups, trends, and anomalies in traffic to your site.
One of GoSquared’s most unique features is its unlimited team sharing features. With its well-designed Now, E-commerce, and Trends dashboards, GoSquared assures users that they can learn to use its analytics solution in hours, not days — a welcome relief for Google Analytics converts.
GoSquared also puts your website’s past metrics to good use instead of letting them sit idle. By using Smart Predictions, GoSquared will estimate your bounce rate, pageviews, and visitors up to a month in advance.
GoSquared offers a free tier of their service that will give you access to their Now, Trends, and E-commerce analytics dashboards. For additional features, plans start at $18 a month. GoSquared also offers Enterprise solutions.
Now that you know the lay of the analytics land, you can start making informed decisions on which analytics service works best for you and your website. Even if you do not move away from Google Analytics, it’s good be aware of your options.