Analytics Tools for Web Applications
This article focuses on free analytics tools and website analytic software, including some information on the “best” analytics tools for websites. Statistics are collected by a variety of methods and experimental methods, which is widely applied in different industry. The new development of web applications analytics can be conducted by the following methods: Web user behavior tracking; Website traffic statistics; Conversion rate optimization; Consumer analysis of existing products or services.
This article tested a dozen data collection services, and analyzed their results for accuracy and consistency with Google Analytics. If you want the easy way to measure your analytics, send me an email at [email protected] and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Luckily, there are plenty of tools out there that can turn all of that collected information into an easy-to-understand report that gives you much-needed insight into your unique Web visitors. When you are armed with this knowledge, you get to see how effective your website is and what changes you need to make in order to make it even better.
Web analytics tools are incredibly valuable for any company that has a web presence. They give insight into where visitors to your site come from, how long they stay on your site, how they move through your website, and more. The best free website analytics tools provide a wealth of information about how your visitors are interacting with your site.
What web analytics tools do
Web analytics tools collect data to show you how visitors arrive at your website and what they do once they’re there. These tools let you compare data over time to see patterns. This data also lets you measure performance against benchmarks and goals to see how your website is performing, where performance can be improved, and the effects of the actions you take to improve it.
Some of the things that website analytics tools can tell you include:
- How do people find your site? What do they do after they get there?
- Which content on your site do people engage with? When and how are they engaging with it?
- Why do some people buy and others don’t? How can you get more of them to take action?
Some analytics programs also include data from social media and mobile apps, overlapping with the broader category of digital analytics.
1. Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is one of the best free tools that any website owner can use to track and analyze data about Web traffic. You get to see what keywords are bringing the most visitors to your pages and what aspects of your designs are turning them off. This tool will generate a report for your website that includes information about visitors, traffic sources, goals, content and e-commerce. The downside of Google Analytics is that it can take time to update. (The real-time version is still in beta testing.) There are other tools that offer real-time updates of your data now.
2. Spring Metrics.
Spring Metrics has taken the analytics tool and made it simpler. You don’t have to be a professional data-miner to get the answers to your questions. You get real-time conversion analytics, top converting sources, keyword analytics, landing-page analysis, e-mail performance reports and simple point-and-click configuration. Unlike Google Analytics, Spring Metrics tracks a visitor’s path through your website from the time he landed to the time he left. All of this is included in Spring Metrics’ Standard Plan for $49 a month. When you first sign up, you get to try it free for 14 days. The simplicity of this tool has a lot of website owners switching over from Google Analytics.
Woopra is another tool that offers real-time analytics tracking, whereas Google Analytics can take hours to update. It is a desktop application that feeds you live visitor stats, including where they live, what pages they are on now, where they’ve been on your site and their Web browser. You also have the ability to chat live with individual site visitors. This can be a great feature for your e-commerce site to interact with customers. Woopra offers a limited freebie plan as well as several paid options.
Clicky also offers a free service if you have only one website and a Pro account for a monthly fee. You get real-time analytics, including Spy View, which lets you observe what current visitors are doing on your site. Clicky’s dashboard is simple to use and presents all the information you want to see clearly. They also have a mobile version that makes it easy for you to check your stats anywhere.
Mint is an analytics tool that is self-hosted and costs $30 per website. You get the benefit of real-time stats, which you don’t get with the free Google Analytics. You can track site visitors, where they are coming from and what pages they are viewing. And Peppermill, a part of Mint, lets you make any adjustments to make it more compatible for your use with tons of free add-ons.
Chartbeat lets users get the most from their data with instant information. They keep constant watch on your visitors and what they are doing on your website. This gives you the information you need in order to make the adjustments necessary to your content or design. You get a free month when you sign up and after that plans start at $9.95 per month.
Kissmetrics is another analytics tool that allows clients to track the movements of individual visitors throughout their websites. You can see how behaviors change over time, identify patterns and see the most typical and recent referrers, among other stats. It offers a “Timeline View” of visitor activity in an easy-to-understand visual format. You can try this service free for 30 days. Plans start at $149 a month, depending on how many events are tracked.
UserTesting.com is a unique way to gather information about site users. You are paying for a group of participants of your choosing to perform a set of tasks on your site. The user and his activity will be recorded on video. In about an hour, you will have your feedback. You get to hear the actual thoughts of users in your target demographic. The cost is $39 per participant you choose. You may choose anywhere from 1 to 100 testers.
9. Crazy Egg.
Crazy Egg uses the power of Heatmap technology to give you a visual picture of what site visitors are doing on your Web pages. It shows you where people are moving their mouse on the page and where they click. There is a link between where people put the mouse and where they are moving their eyes. So, this kind of tracking helps you see what areas are catching the most attention and interaction from users. There is a free one-month trial with this service, and prices start at $9 month for 10 Heatmaps.
Mouseflow is somewhat of a combination of UserTesting and Crazy Egg. You can see video of users interacting with your website, including every mouse click and movement, scrolling and keystrokes. You also get to view heat maps from different time periods so that you can see the effect of changes that you make on your page. Pricing varies depending on how many sites you want to cover and how many sessions you want. For a single site and up to 100 recorded sessions, there is no cost. Over that, prices start at $13 a month.
For a simple, easy to use web statistics tool that offers convenience in how you track site visitor activities, then you may want to earmark FireStats. When we say straightforward and easy to use, we mean once the installation process is complete. The actual installation is quite tricky, unfortunately, and requires some knowledge of script installation protocols as well as access to your server. And unless you have a dedicated server, or at the very least an unmanaged virtual private server (VPS), your web hosting company isn’t going to allow you to do so.
But if you have coding and script installation experience, and have either a dedicated server or VPS, then FireStats is one of the best alternatives to Google Analytics. In fact, if you have multiple sites hosted on your server, you only need one FireStats installation to monitor them all. The tool supports a vast array of languages, and you’ll also be able to download raw data logs.
Of course, FireStats works with real time data; otherwise, it wouldn’t be on our list at all. Furthermore, you’ll also get reports on the search engine queries and referral links that led visitors to your site. At the same time, you can also see which of your pages are the most popular. Together with the other data offered by FireStats, you’ll be able to discover why these pages work and others don’t.
If you’re worried about bots and spammers, FireStats filters them out based on IP, user agent, and URL. FireStats is free for non-commercial use, and a commercial license only costs $25.
FoxMetrics is a web analytics tool that allows you to customize the metrics according to your business requirements.
There are four main features that FoxMetrics boasts: funnels, profiles, segments, and triggers.
- The funnels allow you to identify where your visitors are dropping an action, for example, an online purchase. This gives you the power to improve the interface so you can maximize your profits as well as return customers.
- FoxMetrics automatically builds user profiles and creates a customer life cycle that tracks each visitor, so you know how often someone views your site content over time. This feature allows you to plan marketing and promotions to target regular users by offering a reward for their loyalty.
- The segmentation feature is found in many of the other web analytics tools we’ve mentioned (and will still be listing). This segregates your website traffic into relevant categories, adding to the information gathered about how users are interacting with your site as well as how they access it.
- Finally, triggers are actions that you can use to base the setup of reactions. For example, if a visitor clicks on a particular section of your site, you can assign an appropriate action, such as a pop-up.
FoxMetrics allows you to access your analytics via your phone. You’ll also be able to track software installations and newsletter views, which most web analytics tools fail to do. And if you have any third-party applications you want to use alongside FoxMetrics, the tool allows for easy integration.
Some of the features are only available on the premium packages, priced at $499 a month.
To this same effect, Gauges also focuses mainly on the very basics of web analytics. The tool competently tracks how much traffic your site is generating, as well as where these views are coming from. This feature allows you to keep track of the way your placement on SERPs is affecting traffic, as well as telling you which referrals (backlinks from other sites) are more successful than other. Furthermore, Gauges will also show you where visitors to your site are navigating afterwards—whether they’re moving on to other pages on your site, following an external link you’ve included in your content, or if they’re heading back to the search engine to try again.
All of this information is important and can help you adjust your marketing and content strategies as well as better plan for future posts. The actionable data is made readily available in real time.
Gauges offer a free trial period, after which you can opt for one of the three great packages ranging from $6 to $48 per month.
If you’re looking for a web analytics tool that includes some basic SEO tools for your site, then look no further than GoingUp. While it doesn’t have all the features you might need for a truly extensive analysis, and the inbound marketing features aren’t as robust as other tools, GoingUp remains a very viable option for anyone looking to supplement another web analytics tool. It allows its users to track your visitors and sales, as well as your conversion rates. At the same time, the tool will also offer search strategies for you to implement. You can set up Actions and Goals for GoingUp to monitor.
All your traffic trends will be thoroughly analyzed, and the output report includes a heatmap so you can better understand how users are interacting with elements on your pages. Analysis of incoming traffic from SERPs includes the keywords used to generate that SERP, giving you a better understanding of which keywords work best.
To further aid in the above, GoingUp’s SEO tools include keyword position tracking and density. To improve your heat map results, there’s also a page optimization tool. It also helps you to keep track of and improve your Google PageRank and Alexa Rank. Integration with so many SEO features is what puts GoingUp ahead of the game when compared to other web analytics tools.
The best news of all? It’s free to use. Just sign up via email, confirm your email address, and set up your GoingUp account. There’s no limitation on how many websites you can add, which means you can also track your competitors at no extra cost.
Starting at $29 a month and ranging up to $249 depending on the number of data points, GoSquared promises to answer all your web analytics needs. By use of their Pinging tool, GoSquared tells you how long a visitor has been active on your site. When the visitor first accesses your content, a signal is sent to GoSquared and is repeated at intervals until they leave. This allows the tool to measure their time spent on your site more efficiently than what Google Analytics does.
The user-friendly interface is also highly customizable so that you can set GoSquared up the way you need it. Data is based on individual visitors, and as a collective, so you don’t have to worry that it’s using sample data the way Google Analytics does. The real-time analytics reporting also includes notifications and alerts for traffic spikes and social media trends, among others. One of the biggest ways GoSquared makes itself stand out from the other web analytics tool we’ve mentioned is a feature missing from all of them—live chat.
This integrated feature creates a widget on your site that visitors can use to open a live chat portal. You can use it to offer live support for your ecommerce shop, your online features, or to help new visitors navigate your site. It goes a long way to building long-lasting relationships with your clients, as it improves usability and the likelihood of a return visit.
We recommend using GoSquared alongside Google Analytics for one reason: once your data points are used up, you won’t be able to access your data until the following month. Google Analytics can help you gauge how many data points you’ll need so that you can adjust your account accordingly.
16. Grape Web Statistics.
If you’ve got some programming experience, Grape Web Statistics is an open source analytics tool that was designed primarily for web developers. The simple interface takes into consideration how overwhelming Google Analytics can be and offers the basic statistics with a high level of accuracy. This does mean Grape Web Statistics misses some of the more advanced features found in the other tools we’ve mentioned.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t use them. If you have experience with developing in PHP or are at least adept with HTML, you can customize Grape Web Statistics to make the software meet all your needs. And therein lies the tool’s charm. If you’re happy with the basics, you won’t get distracted by the more advanced options. On the other hand, if you want some of the advanced features but not certain others, you can add those you need. Because Grape Web Statistics is open source rather than merely another free-to-use tool, you can use it as a foundation on which to build the web analytics tool you want and need. The essential features that are already present include tracking unique and total visits.
17. Heap Analytics.
Heap Analytics is a tool with a focus on user friendliness. You’ll be able to set it up with ease, allowing you to track important activity on your site without requiring any technical experience. Other than installing the tracking code onto your site, Heap works entirely on a point-and-click interface rather than using menus and settings tabs. If you want to create custom events, you can just click directly on the buttons and forms on your site and tell Heap what it is you want the tool to track for those elements.
Heap also automatically tracks monitors activity on your website (or websites if you have more than one!), analyzing it and generating a list of the most frequent events. This flexibility allows you to label and classify the activity as you wish. Heap will even do so retroactively—so if you decide to start tracking a new event, the tool will also give you statistics for that type of activity dating back to the moment the tracking code was installed.
The web analytics tool is remarkably easy to setup and use, no matter your level of expertise. It’s the exact opposite of Google Analytics regarding usability, cutting out the overwhelming stream of endless statistics and multiple screens. Heap has been designed in such a way as to actively encourage you to set up tracking and reports that will be genuinely useful based on your requirements. The Basic package is free to use and is an excellent way to start off if your site is still small and you want to test to the tool. For larger sites (or when your small site grows), you can upgrade to the Premium package. Pricing is customized according to your specific needs. The Premium package also comes with a 14-day free trial.
Another fantastic web analytics tool that rivals Google Analytics is Histats. The tool can give you statistics on what pages are being visited, as well as the referral process that led them there—whether they found your site on a SERP or followed a backlink. All statistics are offered in real time, of course.
Histats uses an Invisible/Visible GIF/Flash based counter to gather metrics for up to 10 million hits a day. You won’t be limited to using the tool on only one website either—you have the freedom to manage as many as three hundred, allowing you to keep track of how your competitors are performing too. Histats also provides logs, which webmasters and site owners can use in comparing campaign statistics.
Unlike most other free (and even some of the premium) web analytics tools on the market, Histats allows you to retain your amalgamated data for an unlimited period. Most tools have a limit set, usually for a year or two at best. With Histats, your analytics information can still be accessed 10+ years later.
Because Histats provides real time statistics, the tool promises to be fast and is built on a reliable network. The developers guarantee 99.99% uptimes, and more than 1,500,000,000 hits are tracked on a monthly basis for free. The analytics offered include a breakdown of recent visitors, your most active visitors, popular pages, referrers, and geolocations.
Histats also includes the browser your visitors are using to view your site, as well as what toolbars and hardware are being used. If your site is multilingual, Histats will even segregate the statistics according to the language of your visitors.
For an online marketing analysis service with a focus on your social media and other marketing platforms, Hubspot is one of the best. The web analytics tool relates your marketing to leads, Return on Investment (ROI), and search queries. This means that when you analyze your site using Hubspot, you’re getting a full breakdown of the site’s performance on every level.
Hubspot allows you to use a drag and drop method for polishing your website pages and email templates, and all the templates provided are immediately responsive. With a well-planned nod toward SEO tool integration, the analytics platform also allows you to monitor and adjust your optimization and sharing in real time, helping you get your content exposed to the right people at the right time. You’ll also be able to push your key landing pages by integrating the design of calls-to-action that bring your site visitors’ attention to these sections.
The design integration capabilities of Hubspot also allow you to polish your landing pages to maximize your traffic to sales conversion. You can also set up “drip” campaigns that help you turn leads into customers with smart email marketing. Hubspot doesn’t offer these at the expense of traditional analytics though. You’ll still receive data on how every visitor to your site interacts with your content, regardless of whether they’re browsing your e-commerce platform or reading through the blog section. All this information is, of course, applicable for integration into your marketing schemes.
You can start off with their free package, but as your business grows you’ll certainly want to upgrade to the premium package starting at $200 per month.
20. IBM Unica NetInsight.
Early we mentioned CoreMetrics and how the tool became known as IBM Digital Analytics after IBM bought the company. Now, we want to introduce you to IBM Unica NetInsight. Unica NetInsight is IBM’s primary web analytics tool and is geared toward enabling users to collect every piece of data necessary for a full understanding of their website traffic. The goal is to present this information in as simple a manner as possible. Unica NetInsight is still considered a very advanced tool, however, and allows you to perform analysis on internal products behind your firewalls as well.
The reporting interface has been very well developed. Unica NetInsight is incredibly flexible on this front, offering customizable options for reporting formats. User path analysis is included, showing you the route your visitors have taken to arrive at your site and how they navigate through it.
The bigger your company, the more likely it is that you’ll have more than one staff member working on analytics. IBM understands this and allows you to not only add multiple users but to customize each dashboard according to their role or requirements.
Similar to FoxMetrics, Unica NetInsight also works with funnels to analyze and improve your conversions, as well as heat maps to give you a better understanding of how visitors are interacting with the elements of your pages. And if you use other customer relationship management (CRM) and Business Intelligence tools, you’ll be able to integrate them with Unica NetInsight because of the software’s open data architecture.
Inspectlet is not aimed at beginners. Let’s start off with that because although the web analytics tool is aimed specifically at usability, it can be quite difficult to use itself if you haven’t worked with analytics before. The reason it still makes the list of amazing web analytics tools that rival Google Analytics is because that’s exactly what it is. Despite being somewhat complicated, once you have the hang of it Inspectlet will give you a lot more than Google Analytics does.
As mentioned, Inspectlet has its focus on usability testing. The four main features are the heat maps, screen capture, personalized metrics, and—of course—real time analytics. It offers two types of heat maps: eye tracking and click. The former shows you where visitors are reading your content on the site by following their mouse movements. The latter, on the other hand, tells you how those visitors are interacting with the elements on your page by showing you where they click. A third heat map is also available, which monitors and reports on how far down your pages visitors are scrolling. Combined, these three functions tell you exactly what is happening on your site at all times. You’ll be able to identify your high points as well as your weak points.
Screen capture allows you to “record” a user’s session from start to finish so that you can see the data from the heat maps in action—again, in real time or retrospect. And of course, you can customize how all this data (and more) are displayed on your dashboard. In this way, Inspectlet promises to be exactly what you need, when and where you need it.
KISSmetrics make a bold claim when they promise to help you not only retain your existing customers and traffic but also boost these stats as well. Considering the web analytics tool is listed near the top on almost every single list of alternatives to Google Analytics, you can bet that they live up to their promise though.
The secret behind KISSmetrics’ substantiation of their claim lies in the type of data the tool offers. While most competitors track customer behavior on your site, and some will tell you how they got there, KISSmetrics goes the extra mile by showing you how users leave your site and how they behave immediately after. In this way, the developers have strived to take the role of the web analytics tool beyond the basic visitor statistics. They’ve succeeded in taking it one step ahead of many other advanced analysis report systems too.
KISSmetrics also offers a full-time report, which is automatically updated in real time to keep you aware of growing trends as they happen. The funnel feature zones in on weak points on your site that may be leading you to lose conversions, and you can opt to split the different test layouts and funnels to maximize the output. All this helps you to make informed decisions in changing and optimizing your landing pages to maximize your profits.
Setting KISSmetrics up is also rather simple, as the application programming interface (API) integration can be easily joined with your website or even your customer apps. The impressive revenue tracking function gives you an exact breakdown of your earnings and contributes to reporting how your clients are behaving online immediately after making a purchase on your site.
Which are the best web analytics tools for you?
As you can see, there are a lot of web analytics tools — and the information that each provides is very attractive. Who doesn’t want to know as much as they can about their customers?
But adding more tools isn’t always better. Tool fatigue can detract from their usefulness because each tool you add also adds a cost — in the form of time, money, and your attention.
Have you ever wondered which analytics tools you should use on your web application? You’re not alone. There are many different analytics platforms out there and it can be challenging to choose. I’ve built my fair share of web applications and tested a lot of analytics tools in the past. This has lead me to creating my own list, of go-to analytics tools for web applications
Web applications are becoming more and more popular. They offer some pretty cool functionalities but can be tricky to design and implement. One of the main challenges in web applications development is the conversion funnel optimization, and measuring your user behavior. There are tons of analytics tools that you can use to measure all traffic sources and user interactions on your app.