Analytics track the behavior of people who use your website. For most companies, this is crucial information because it helps them understand their service and tailor it to the needs of their users. We'll compare some of the best tools for the job.
What is Analytics good for?
Your business has a goal and whether that goal convinces a user to buy your product, download your app or just watch your content for a while, your website will help you achieve this goal. Analytics help point you in the right direction, and good analytics are the backbone of many online businesses.
However, Analytics is not magic ̵
For example, you notice that users who scroll further down are more likely to leave the site. This is probably due to a lack of interest and the design of your site arouses their interest. If you press a 'Sign up' button in the middle of your landing page, it might catch the attention of many people, but for those who are more skeptical, they scroll further down below the fold. By the time they're down there, they've probably forgotten the sign up form, so to lower this bounce rate, try including another sign up button below your main content.
With Analytics you can do A / B tests, like the scientific method for websites. You present user A with the standard (control) version of your website, you present user B with a variant of your website that you have changed (hypothesis), and you measure how they handle it. Repeat that a thousand times or so, and you've run your own experiment. You may notice that version B achieves its purpose much more often than version A, and you can replace version A with the better page. Keep doing this and you will come to a highly optimized website.
On the other hand, if you're not a marketing person and don't care much about optimization, something as simple as page rendering and session tracking can help you understand how your site is doing in the ocean of the internet, and at the very least a useful tool to look at.
Google Analytics – Pageview and Session Tracking
Google Analytics is completely free to use and does quite a bit. It basically tracks page views and information about the users who view your pages. It sorts these into sessions, which represent the experience of a user interacting with your site.
On the page & # 39; Behavioral flow & # 39; this experience is beautifully displayed. On the left, users on your site end up on a specific page and then fall off (bounce) or click on another page, repeated until they finally leave. Bounces aren't entirely bad, however, as users may have just received the information they needed and left the content of your site.
Since it only collects data when loading the first page, Google Analytics will not show you much information about what users do on your website when they browse unless they navigate to another page. (This includes several sections of one-page web apps, as long as the route changes in the URL bar.)
The point of the behavioral flow is about conversion, how many users complete the purpose of your website. If your goal is to get people to sign up for an account, you can track how many new sessions lead to signups. Although one user can often have multiple sessions on different days, this metric is not quite accurate, but it is a good start.
While most traffic statistics are anonymized, their admin panel has a few tools to really track users, such as the Audience tab, which contains information about your users' demographics. It also includes the "Lifetime Value" page, which shows a useful metric: goals achieved per user and other lifetime statistics such as revenue per user.
This keeps users on a 90-day, multi-session course that can answer a question like "From the past 90 days, what percentage of people using my site have signed up for an account?" solved the problem of multiple sessions per user.  Since Google Analytics is free, it wouldn't hurt to add it to your website, in addition to everything else on this list, even if it doesn't quite match your usage scenario. More data is always better.
In general, most of the other tools on this list also do what Google Analytics does, but also offer something else that is worth your money.
Mix Panel – A Focus On Users
Mixpanel shifts the focus from your site's raw performance to the effect it has on your users, especially over longer periods of time. This type of reporting is much more useful for SaaS and app companies, since most of your earnings come from premium users rather than direct page views.
For example, if your service offers a free trial before payment is required, Mixpanel will allow individual users to complete the trial. You can see how many people signed up for the free trial, how many completed the free trial, and how many ended up paying for a premium account.
You can then group these users. based on their actions and send them targeted messages. For example, you can remind people who have completed the free trial, but have not signed up, that there is a special "10% discount for the first three months" just for them, and potentially convert more interested users into premium subscribers.  Mixpanel provides a free tier for businesses with less than 5 million data points (how many events are triggered depending on how much you track) and less than 1000 users. In addition, you must pay $ 999 per year for every 10 million data points and 50,000 users of your company.
Crazy Egg Interaction Heatmaps and A / B Testing
Crazy Egg does one thing very well: make your website better. What their slogan is, but it is true.
Their most attractive feature is their heat maps, which show the total user activity on your site. If you want to know which design elements attract users the most, a heatmap can point you directly to them, without digging through user sessions and behavioral flows.
Crazy Egg also records how people use your site and can generate videos of an individual user's session. Most analysis tools focus on general statistics, but understanding personal experiences with your website can give you more insight than many charts.
These activity views are made even better with A / B testing, which allows you to test multiple variants of a site against a check to see which one achieves its goal most often.
Crazy Egg is fairly inexpensive, with their basic plan ranging from just $ 24 per month for 30,000 page views, to $ 249 per month for 500,000 page views.
Heap – A Whole Lot of Data
Heap believes that analytics is a "problem rooted in data, not visualization," so she tries to capture almost every action a user takes on your website. This all happens automatically, so you don't have to manually track the events or even worry about what you should be following since Heap will track everything.
Since you don't need to configure anything about the data collection, you need this to retroactively configure your events, which is Heap & # 39; virtual events & # 39; calls. These help sort the raw data into meaningful interactions with your app. For example, you can create a virtual event to sort all sessions in which a user clicked on a particular element of your page, or all sessions for which a form was submitted.
While it has some great features, the amount of data Heap captures can be difficult to search without a lot of configuration on your part, so it's definitely the most technical on this list.
Heap offers a free tier that tracks 5k sessions per month, with an unlimited number of events per session. After that, plans start at $ 499 per month for 20,000 sessions.