11 Best Web Analytics Tools
Every company, regardless of size, requires multiple tools to understand the performance of its website, happiness of its customers and gain key context from competitors. Here are 11 tools to help you gather that important data.
When considering the different web analytics tools that your business requires, the plethora of available options can be overwhelming for businesses that may not understand how to use them. And that’s where hiring someone to really dig into all of the reports can be vital.
The rule that is often referenced in this regard is the 90/10 rule, so if you have $100 to spend on analytics, spend $10 on reports and data, and $90 on paying someone to filter through all of that information. Because without a proper understanding of the information these services will provide you with, it remains just raw data.
“Investing in people and the tools that those people need to be successful is key,” notes Bryan Eisenberg, author and marketing consultant. “But it’s the people who can understand that data that really matter.”
You obviously won’t use all of these tools all of the time, but it’s beneficial to know about some of the top options and how they fit into your overall web strategy. And using multiple tools only gives you further levels of insight into your customers and your success rate.
According to Avinash Kaushik, author of Web Analytics 2.0 and Web Analytics: An Hour A Day, “the quest for a single tool/source to answer all your questions will ensure that your business will end up in a ditch, and additionally ensure that your career (from the Analyst to the web CMO) will be short-lived.” So in short, it’s of extreme importance to focus on multiplicity.
For larger businesses, the more robust analytics tools can be great to really dig in, but for small and mid-sized companies, there are many free or relatively cheap offerings to help you understand this information.
We interviewed Eisenberg, Christopher Penn of Blue Sky Factory, Caleb Whitmore of Analytics Pros, June Dershewitz of Semphonic, Eric Peterson of Web Analytics Demystified, Linda Bustos of Elastic Path Software, Jamie Steven, Rand Fishkin and Joanna Lord of SEOMoz.org, Trevor Peters of Critical Mass and Justin Levy of New Marketing Labs. These experts know the tools inside and out and this guide contains their recommendations on the best services for you to use.
11 Best Web Analytics Tools: What is Web Analytics?
But before digging in to the tools themselves, let’s start with exactly what web analytics is? As Kaushik states in his book with the same title, Web Analytics 2.0 is defined as:
1. The analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from your website and the competition
2. To drive a continual improvement of the online experience of your customers and prospects
3. Which translates into your desired outcomes (online and offline)
Web analytics 2.0 is a three-tiered data delivery and analysis service for small and big businesses. The first is the data itself, as it measures the traffic, page views, clicks and more for both your website and for your direct competition. The second is what you do with that data, or how you are able to take the information gathered via these services and apply it to your customers, whether new or existing, to make their experience meaningful and better. And the final tier is how it all circles back together to meet your overarching business objectives, not just online but offline as well. Data by itself is a great way to see how you are performing, but without applying what you’ve learned, it has little use.
11 Best Web Analytics Tools: Clickstream Analysis Tools
A completely free service that generates detailed statistics about visitors to your website, Google Analytics is the simplest and most robust web analytics offering. Currently used by over 50% of the top 10,000 websites in the world, according to the site’s usage statistics, you can find out where your visitors are coming from, what they’re doing while on your site and how often they come back, among many other things. As you get more involved in the site’s analytics, you can receive more detailed reports, but it’s that ease of use that makes it one of the most popular services.
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