Web analytics tools can provide your business with smart data insights that are actionable.
This is key to improving user experience, engagement, boosting conversions, as well as ROI. It’s also foundational to questions like “Should we get a new website design?” or “Which website improvement project should we prioritize?”
In addition to A/B testing and capturing basic website metrics such as bounce rate, conversion rate, traffic sources, visitor demographics, you can gather data on things like:
- Your website’s design and quality of navigation
- The effectiveness of your calls-to-action
- Which part of your sales funnel needs to be tweaked
- Which marketing campaigns are driving results
- Which campaigns drove sales and which were “window dressing”
Which Analytics Tool Is Best For My Business?
Which analytics tool is best for your business will depend on your purpose, how advanced your marketing is, and how many conversion points you have on your website.
For example, if you’re running retargeting, PPC, and display ads and call tracking in addition to basic social media ads and email marketing, you’ll want a comprehensive solution. That’s because you need to know which campaigns are truly delivering results.
However, if you’re just starting out with analytics, you’ll want to choose a user-friendly option like Hotjar.
Below we’ve recommended a handful of options to explore for those who want to move quickly on trying out and purchasing a tool.
If you need an analytics tool that:
- is fast to set up and easy to use: try Hotjar
- is comprehensive and provides powerful insights: try Amplitude, Adobe Analytics, or Google Analytics
- provides 100% data ownership: use Matomo or Piwik Pro
- simplifies decision-making: explore Fullstory or Monsido
Best Website Analytics Tools
To gather your website’s performance data and analyze it you’ll need the right tools. There are many on the market. Which one is right for you?
The best analytics tools are the ones that make it easy to capture and analyze data. The metrics that you need depend on your goals.
For example, if you have an e-commerce site, you will want to measure conversion rates and the impact of marketing campaigns like email and advertising.
If you run a blog, you may want to track how many visitors sign up for your email newsletter, webinars, push notifications, or download your free e-book.
In the following sections, we provide summaries of the top options available so that you can narrow down the list of products that fit your needs.
Google Analytics is a perennial favorite. It’s free to use and easy to set up on your website.
Signup requires just a few details about your website. Once you’ve signed up, Google provides you with a snippet of code you can embed onto your website.
With that, Google begins to track tracks thousands of data points. After a couple of hours, you’ll find all of your basic metrics available on the main dashboard: visitor counts, bounce rates, time spent viewing pages, and so on.
But it’s advisable to create your own dashboard with meaningful metrics based on your business objectives.
Crazy Egg is a specialized tool that helps you gather information about how your users interact with your website.
It creates visual reports for you including heat maps to show where users are clicking and scroll maps to see how far down a page they read.
It also provides session recordings (which track mouse usage, scrolling, and pages visited) so you can see exactly the path your users take through your website.
Kissmetrics is a data collection suite focusing on website analytics.
It can help you figure out where your visitors are coming from and track their activities on your website.
More importantly, it helps you synthesize your data so that you know what campaigns are working, which ones aren’t, and where you should reallocate your marketing spend.
All of your data is accessible from a single dashboard.
Optimizely is a platform dedicated to helping you set up experiments to see what impact changes to your website have on engagement, click-throughs, and conversions.
It is an enterprise-grade platform aimed at both product and engineering teams. With it, you can test all of your ideas, regardless of whether they’re small or large in scope.
Adobe Analytics is a product that competes head-to-head with Google Analytics.
Adobe boasts that its analytics includes ad hoc reporting, analyses using AI and machine learning, and segmentation features.
Furthermore, you can use Adobe to gather more than just website data; you can gather data across all channels you use to reach customers.
Piwik offers both cloud-based and on-premises web analytics solutions to those for whom data security is a major concern.
This software collects data across mobile channels, provides robust analytics tools, and allows you to get insight on various aspects of your digital business.
Heap is a data tool that automatically tracks all of your users’ interactions without you having to write a line of code. Unlike other tools, you do not have to manually set up different types of tracking.
You can also look at any data set retroactively since all possible actions are captured and stored automatically.
Hotjar is a user-friendly analytics suite that allows you to collect user data via heatmaps and session recordings. You can also analyze dropout rates at each step of the conversion funnel.
It also provides a charming and unique feedback tab for visitors. (Check it out on Hotjar’s homepage.) It also helps you gather information via polls and surveys.
Hotjar is GDPR-compliant.
Domo is an enterprise-grade suite that can integrate data from all sources, store and make your data easily findable, and provide the means to make sense of your data.
It comes with robust collaboration tools and AI tools to help you make predictions for the future.
You can extend the platform with both pre-built and custom apps.
Clicky is a real-time analytics tool that focuses on monitoring and analyzing website traffic.
This tool helps you segment your data, see information about individual visitors and their actions, block bot actions, and use heatmaps to record user activity.
Matomo is a cloud-based, all-in-one web analytics platform that promises that you retain 100% control ownership over your data. This is important for those who need to comply with governmental privacy laws.
Matomo comes with support for heatmaps, session recordings, funnel tracking, form analytics, and more.
SimilarWeb provides tools to help businesses figure out the best SEO/content strategies for their websites, understand their users’ journeys through their websites, monitor their websites, and more.
Its goal isn’t just to provide website analytics, but to gather all of the data one would need to grow their business digitally.
FullStory’s digital intelligence platform helps you troubleshoot things like “poor product engagement, underperforming web pages, or broken checkout flows.”
You can analyze digital interactions without requiring instrumentation, log events, find old events, and run analyses on your logs with ease.
Mixpanel focuses on product and behavior analytics across all your websites or apps. You view and analyze user behavior using a single dashboard.
Mixpanel also includes experimentation and testing features so if you change your sites and apps, you can rerun tests to make sure that you’re making the correct decisions and heading in the right direction.
Heap and Mixpanel are direct competitors.
Monsido is an all-in-one platform whose tools help you figure out what you need to do to optimize your presence of the internet.
It helps with things like determining your level of web accessibility, set content policies, run QA checks for things like broken links and misspellings, and more.
As its name implies, Outlier gathers data, helps you identify the outliers, and makes data-based decision-making easier.
Furthermore, Outlier strives to simplify the analytics process for you by presenting you with only 4-5 changes each day.
This is unlike other tools, where you’re responsible for reviewing and identifying trends to which you should pay attention.
Outlier integrates with a variety of other data analytics tools so that you can gather information from all of your channels.
Rather than churning out endless data and reports, Oribi wants to help you get answers to your data questions as quickly and as easily as possible.
Oribi gathers your data and highlights only what you need to pay attention to.
You can set up event tracking without developer assistance (your website is tracked automatically), and its optimization tool helps you identify where in your sales funnel you are losing customers.
You can gather multi-channel data and create shareable reports (even automatically).
Amplitude helps businesses understand their users.
Though the focus of this product is on product improvement, you can certainly use it to understand, analyze, and make corrections to your websites and apps.
Website Speed and Performance
The following four tools are speed and performance-related. Page load speeds are one of the biggest factors in determining whether a visitor sticks with your website or bounces.
With the following tools, you can gather information on how your website is doing and whether you need to make any performance-related optimizations.
Pingdom is a monitoring suite that measures availability and performance. Some of the things it does include: uptime monitoring, user intelligence gathering, synthetic transactions (so you know if something like a signup form or a checkout process is broken), and page speed monitoring.
If there are any issues, Pingdom can send you alerts and assist with identifying the root cause of the problem.
Because page speed is a factor in search engine rankings, Google provides PageSpeed Insights (free) to tell you how fast your website loads.
It’s a quick test that is free and easy-to-use. You’ll get a score for mobile and a score for desktop followed by specific actions to take to improve your site loading speed.
WebPageTest.org is an internet-based tool that makes it easy for you to test a website’s performance quickly. All you have to do is provide a website URL and select the test location.
Selecting a location is helpful to see how well your website performs for visitors located in different parts of the world.
This is a comprehensive, detailed test that is good to use after you’ve followed up on Google Page Speed Insights’ recommendations.
You can also choose the browser used by the test to see if there are any differences based on this user choice, set caching (cached sites are going to be faster than first loads), and more.
SpeedCurve allows you to test your website, find any problems that might be present, and fix them.
While there are free options that can help with these tasks, SpeedCurve’s paid plans enable you to benchmark your site against competing websites. This presents a valuable opportunity to beat your competition on speed.
You can also correlate web performance with user experience, measure the speeds of individual page components, test your site continually, and more.
Here are some common questions we receive about website analytics. Feel free to share your questions in the comments below this article. We’d love to assist by providing an answer.
How do I measure traffic to my website?
You can measure traffic to your website by using Google Analytics, a free, easy-to-use tool.
By installing a simple bit of code on your website, you’ll be able to capture many traffic metrics, including total visitors, unique visitors, loyal (repeat) visitors, and which source is sending you the most traffic, whether it be organic or paid.
How do I install Google Analytics?
To install Google Analytics (GA) on a website or landing page you’ll need to first have a GA account. Signing up is free and simple. Once you’ve signed up, create a “property” for each website that you want to track. Then, under Admin > Account > Property > Tracking Info > Tracking Code, find your tracking ID.
The tracking ID code needs to be added to the opening <head> tag on each page. Many website platforms allow you to add the code once, and then the site software automatically populates it to your other pages. Consult the instructions for your particular website platform.
What is tagging in web analytics?
A tag is a small snippet of code that can either enable custom tracking of interactions on your website or can enable third-party software — such as marketing automation software — to interact with your website.
Some applications of the latter include serving personalized content to individual visitors based on their prior behavior, then tracking the results.
How do you measure the success of a website?
The success of a website needs to be measured by its purpose. Ask “Why do we have a website?” and “What do we want it to do?”
Once you have alignment between your website’s purpose and your business goals, you can create metrics to measure your success.
Data is king. While there are many tools available for collecting data, the gathering process is just the first step. You’ll need to analyze the data, determine what’s actionable (and what’s not), and plan for the future.