Data. Numbers. Analytics – Keeping a track of it all can be one tedious, overwhelming process.
But thanks to Web Analytics tools, number-crunching and making sense of data has become quite simple!
What used to be the exclusive sidekick of Data Scientists has now become a friend of every digital marketer. Web Analytics is about figuring out what works and what does not. It helps figure out actionable tactics and aids in making informed decisions while planning the next move.
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Before I tell you anything about these tools, you need to know a few basics that might help you along the way.
How do you use Web Analytics effectively?
Assumptions don’t work.
Before you press the buttons for change on the basis of your assumptions, just wait for a second.
Maybe… a little longer than a second?
As a digital marketer, your decisions should involve qualitative and quantitative (yes, both!) analysis of your website’s data.
You already know that? Good. Then let’s get started and look at what you should be doing from 1 to 3.
Also, read when to use qualitative vs quantitative data
Step 1 – Set a goal
Don’t look for hits. I mean, don’t look ONLY for hits.
Focus on the goal.
Website visits should translate into conversions, so shift your focus from hits to conversions.
As a digital marketer, you need to constantly ask yourself questions like: What is the conversion rate? How many views are dripping through the funnel? Are there any bottlenecks?
Decide your goals based on what action you want your visitors to take:
- Should they be downloading your content?
- Do you want them to register for a course? *wink-wink*
- Or are you tempting them to purchase your product?
Set your goals based on the actions YOU want the visitor to take. And once that goal is set, it’s time for step 2.
Step 2 – Understand where the problem lies
“Why did you leave me?”Your Ex might not give you a proper answer to this question, but Web Analytics tools certainly will.
Look for pages with high exit rates. This will give you an insight into user behavior and help you optimize content.
Once you understand why people leave, you will know what puts them off – and you can figure out how to retain them.
It’s as simple as that. Now if only you could apply this to your personal life, wouldn’t things be easy?
Step 3 – Optimizing user experience
If your website isn’t user-friendly, congratulations! You’ve successfully pushed away millions of users already.
Terrified? No worries! Just avoid these 5 bad UX elements in your design and you’ll be well on your way to major improvement:
- Slow load time (the cardinal sin)
- Error 404 (Miss Links, Miss Users)
- Bad color combinations (the quickest way to turn someone off)
- No social sharing buttons (the biggest blunder in this digital age)
- Contact details not found (what’s the point of your website, then?)
Make a note of what you need to sort out, fix those problems, and then look at how it impacts your website data. You’ll be surprised!
What details you can get from Web Analytics tools?
Depending on how you plan to use the tools, you can get a lot of details from the data gathered by various Web Analytics tools. However, I’ve listed a few important details that you should have your eyes on.
1. What do users search for?
You can find out the keywords that people search for, which lead them to your website via search results.
This helps you to:
- Draw parallels between keyword sets
- Understand what clicks (literally) and what doesn’t
- Create content that interests users
In fact, the blog post you’re reading right now was written by drawing insights from keyword variations that marketers searched for, i.e., “Web Analytics Tools”.
2. Best and worst performing content
Analyze and redesign your strategy based on your content performance report.
You can, for instance:
- Update the content of your articles
- Repurpose Content by adding elements such as Infographics, Slideshares, and Case Studies
- Try different promotional methods
- Use paid promotions to get an extra boost
Maybe, a new and refined approach designed with the help of insights from Web Analytics tools will make your content work!
And even when it doesn’t, you’ll definitely know about it from analytics tools.
3. The reason why people abandon your website
When, where, and why does the user stop his/her journey on your website?
Knowing this is the best thing for an internet marketer.Instead of dismissing your entire strategy, just get rid of the element that isn’t working. Is it the price? An annoying payment procedure? Or a compulsory action that the user doesn’t want to take?
Identify that, redesign the experience thereon, and see the difference!
4. Campaigns that work
John Wannamaker, one of the pioneers of Marketing, once said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half.”
Well, you don’t have that problem! Measure the success and failure of your online campaigns, understand what works, and experiment with new things.
Set up UTM tags on various URLs to tag which of the articles/campaigns are working. I use this approach whenever I’m doing a guest post. This helps me to know whether that post resulted in driving traffic to my blog or not.
Here is a Step-by-Step guide on UTM tag Builders.
5. Location-based data
Websites are universal. But not all businesses are.
If your business is one that caters to just one country or city, your Web Analytics needs to reflect data based on your location.
There’s isn’t much of a point if the website of a local store in Ohio gets most of its traffic from Ho Chi Minh City, is there?
Here’s why location is so important:
- Your customers look for offers and discounts based on your region’s festive season or special occasions
- The language, tone, or topic dealt with in your content is relevant to the people of your place
- The sensibilities of your target audience differ from those of others
6. The device that is used to view content on your website
I know you’ve heard this before, and I’m sure you’ve read it everywhere, but I’ll say it again
Mobile is the present and the future. Do not ignore it.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you are reading this on your phone or tablet. There are millions of people using mobile to access the internet and complete tasks on a regular basis (almost 53% of mobile-users worldwide). In fact, in the next couple of years, there will be a 10% increase in the number of people accessing the internet on their mobile phones!
Now can you imagine the damage you’ve done to your business if your website is not tailored to meet this requirement?
Check what devices and browsers your audience is most on, and optimize accordingly.
And now that you’ve understood what Web Analytics Tools can do for you, let’s take a look at some of the best ones.
And here’s why:
- It helps you track your ROI
- The internal split testing feature is really cool
- It’s got an awesome conversion tracking software
- Data integration with AdSense is a unique characteristic
- Report generation is simple and relevant
Besides this, I’ve listed 10 Web Analytics tools in two sections: Free and Paid.
5 best free web analytics tools and their features
The best thing about Clicky is its simplified dashboard which makes it very convenient to check statistics and take quick actions. Plus, it offers:
- Real time data
- Twitter Search tracking
- Cost: Free. Pro version for $9.99/Month onwards
I particularly love their “Spy” feature, similar to the online feature on Google Analytics. It’s easy on the eye and offers a detailed view of what users are doing on your site, from where they were referred, the country they are in, and the browser and platform they are using to access your content. All of it, in real time.
Ramsay Taplin gives a solid review of Clicky and goes to the extent of saying that it’s better than Goggle Analytics! Blasphemy, is what it is!
2. Open Web Analytics (OWA)
- Open source
- Heatmaps and mouse tracking
- Funnel Analytics
- Cost: Free
And what makes it absolutely irresistible is that it’s fast. You can see that special care has been taken to make information visually appealing and easier to read.
Here’s what Piwik’s features are:
- Self-hosted (PHP, MySQL)
- Privacy and data ownership
- Customized dashboard, with adjustable widgets for displaying stats
- Faster interface and quicker insights
- Community support in 53 different languages
- Cost: Free; the Piwik pro starts at $65 per month
Piwik, apart from giving you complete control over data, is really helpful if you intend to create your own plugins. This is basically because it’s a plugin-based tool.
These features of Woopra make it worth trying:
- Ability to have a live chat with visitors
- Its “Appconnect” feature
- Customized dashboard for each user
- Cost: Free (till 30000 visitors), Pay $80-$1200+ per month to get more.
What I found the most interesting was its “Appconnect” feature. With it, you can utilize the services and features of 3rd party applications through Woopra. This can also include analyzing user behavior and triggering third party applications. For example, triggering a live chat based on a certain user behavior.
Trey Ratcliff reviews Woopra in a quickvideo which you can check for a detailed review.
Here’s what impressed me about Heap Analytics:
- User-friendly, with point-and-click interfaces
- Define custom events to use the Event Visualizer
- Cost: Free; Pro version starts $59-$399
This is a tool that efficiently tracks everything – video play, file downloads, form submissions, and literally anything you can place a tracking code on to! Heap records all bits of data and this helps you answer any question you have later.
And now we move on to paid tools – the ones that bring out every marketer’s deepest apprehensions. But trust me, the ones I’ll be listing out will be worth every buck.
Martin Bryant explains how Heap Analytics brings a clever approach to tracking interactions on your website.
5 best paid web analytics tools and their features
So why should you pay for Mint?
- Self-hosted and downloadable analytics program
- Real-time stats
- Customizable, with a special feature called “Peppermill”
- Separate view for traffic generated from images
- Cost: One time cost of $30!
Mint enables you to have more control over your site’s analytics and the ease of its extremely user-friendly dashboard is a huge plus. It’s quite refreshing! (No wonder they call it “Mint”!) It also uses native web charts instead of flash.
A few features of Kissmetrics:
- Analyzes changes in user behavior
- Timeline view of visitors
- Easy-to-understand visual format
- Track URLS by adding parameters
- Cost: $149/month with a 30-day free trial!
One of the most important features is “Path Report,” which will help you analyze the pattern of user interaction with your site. A few features, which are essential to Google Analytics, like “Traffic Data” are missing in Kissmetrics.
Leslie Poston tells you How to combine Kissmetrics with Google Analytics.
Here’ are a few features from MouseFlow:
- Mouse-tracking, Click, Movement, and Scroll heatmaps
- Form and Funnel Analytics
- Performance and usability testing
- Cost: $19 per month
The scroll heat-map feature is the best, because it tells you how far your users scroll down through your content, with the complete mouse trail of a user. Besides, there are attention, geo, movement, and click heatmaps as well.
4. Crazy Egg
Why Crazy Egg?
- Its “Scrollmap” tells you where visitors abandon the page and where you need to add elements to keep them interested
- Feature called “Confetti”: Distinguish clicks based on categories like referral sources and search terms
- SEO update tracking
- Chart intelligence – Google analytics overlay listing published Google updates.
- Cost: $9-$99 per month (based on unique pages)
You can read the in-depth review of Crazy Egg by SeriouslySimpleMarketing.
Features which make Clicktale click
- Visual guide to user interactions, just like Crazy Egg
- Mouse move and click heatmaps
- JS errors tool and bounce report
- Form analytics
- Cost: Between $99-$790
I love their form analytics the most – it shows which fields the users have filled, and which ones they leave out. This becomes highly significant when it comes to analyzing exit rates.
SeoChat reviewed Clicktale, and this is what they had to say about the tool.
You can check out detailed reviews of these tools before you invest in one. However, to make your life easier, here’s a checklist that provides a comparison of all the above mentioned Web Analytics tools (there are 10 of them) for your easy reference.
Never ignore web analytics – it’s often what makes the difference between an ordinary marketer and a powerful, savvy digital marketer!
If you have any suggestions to make or points to add, comment away!
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