Best Web Analytics Tools 2021
A website is a great sales and marketing tool, but it’s only as good as the traffic it attracts and what those visitors do once they arrive on your site. Web analytics software can help you gather critical information about your website traffic and analyze this information to inform and improve your future marketing strategy and sales decisions. You can use web analytics to create and measure key performance indicators (KPI), benchmarks and business outcomes.
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What are web analytics tools?
Web analytics software encompasses a suite of reporting, analytical and even predictive tools that can help you assess your website. Web analytics can tell you who is visiting your site and what actions they take while they’re on the site. For example, you can learn how many people are visiting your site, the pages they viewed and how long they stayed. It can show what forms they filled out and links they clicked on and whether they are unique (first-time) site visitors, and whether they are organic traffic from a search engine or direct traffic from a link.
Website analytics can help you determine conversion rates or the number of visitors who purchase or subscribe, as well as the bounce rate, which is the number of people who leave quickly without interacting. The information web analytics tools provide is offered as raw data but also as charts and graphs. Not only can you view this data, but many web analytics tools also leverage AI, predictive algorithms and email automation to help you analyze and make future decisions about your marketing information.
Why do you need a web analytics tool?
In today’s complex and costly sales and marketing environments, it is critical to understand precisely what works and what doesn’t. A web analytics tool can provide you with the information you need to adapt your site to help generate consumer interest and conversions. You can identify what is working and what needs to be adjusted.
Web analytics platforms will provide you with the information you need to optimize your site, but they will also give you insight into your competitors’ sites. And in addition to helping you improve your site, web analytics can inform your marketing spend by telling you which channels drive the most traffic to your site and optimize your search results by analyzing your SEO impact. Whether your goal is to increase readership or to increase revenue, web analytics tools offer something you can use.
What can web analytics tools track?
Web analytics can track a wide variety of metrics depending on the tool you choose. They should provide both quantitative and qualitative measurements of your website traffic and the effectiveness of your site and its content.
Here are a few of the key metrics that web analytics tools can track:
- Bounce Rate
- Page Views
- Conversion Rates
- Engagement (including average page and session times, returning website visitors, number of shares, and comments)
- Visitor Data (demographics, geo-location, point of origin)
- BackLinks (Identifies those who link to your site and the value provided by the backlinks you use in your content).
- Acquisition Information (Direct, organic or paid sessions)
- Device Information (Mobile, PC, Mac etc.)
- Site Speed
Top 5 Rated Accounting Software
Best for ease of use
Hubspot’s web analytics dashboard is not a standalone product but is part of the company’s popular marketing hub. Introduced in 2017, it’s available on all basic, professional and enterprise marketing portals. It’s a powerful tool that works well in conjunction with other tools such as Google Analytics. Here are some of its stand-out features:
Integration with Hubspot CRM
Full integration allows the leads produced by the analytics tool to populate the free Hubspot CRM automatically. Most website analytics tools produce reports with anonymous contacts. Via the CRM, you can see what converted your leads and which pages of your site they visited so your team can service that lead better and attract new ones.
Hubspot allows you to import data from any of the many integrated apps via the Hubspot App Marketplace. You can then use the data from these integrations, such as contracts from the CRM, to produce customizable reports to analyze this data using any metrics you choose.
Leverage reports within Hubspot Website Analytics to get a quick view of how your marketing spend is converting to revenue. You can also close the loop on your marketing efforts by quickly pulling, combining and analyzing data from Hubspot’s Marketing, Sales and CRM tools.
Hubspot offers plenty of free marketing and sales tools. However, the web analytics dashboard is in the Hubspot Marketing Hub, which has a Starter option for $50/month, Professional for $890/month and Enterprise starting at $3200/month. The main difference is in the number of features each offer.
Best for Small and Medium Sized enterprises
Google Analytics stands out for its robust free version that offers most of the tools you will ever need to analyze your website traffic. However, it also provides a premium version that can integrate with SalesForce, among other things. This popular option is used by over 50% of the top 10,000 websites and by over 28 million websites in total. Googles stand-out features include:
This three-pronged feature includes proactive insights and AI-driven modelling on user interactions and conversions to inform future marketing decisions. It also boasts a unique in-product opportunity to ask questions about your data.
Available only with Google’s premium Analytics 360 version, you can receive updated insights as quickly as every 10 minutes. This is a handy tool to gauge what your users are doing at any particular time and how changes you make to your site and content additions affect their experience.
Smart Goals Feature
This unique feature uses machine learning to examine your website data to score your website sessions. This data is then transformed into smart goals which can help you organize bids and ads and leverage your website to maximize conversions. You also get a Smart Goals report which you can use to predict the performance and potential benefit of your Smart Goals or examine their performance after implementation.
Google Analytics is completely free. There is a premium version called Analytics 360, tailored to large enterprises. Google does not publish the cost of this paid version of its tool.
Best for Ecommerce
In 2006, Crazy Egg created one of the first heatmap technologies that showed how people interacted with websites. Today Crazy Egg offers a complete web analytics suite used by thousands of companies and marketers worldwide.
With Crazy Egg, you can easily compare different versions of your website to see what works the best. The A/B tool lets you set goals and test versions with specific metrics.
Crazy Egg records the entire user session giving you a unique perspective on the whole customer journey. You can quickly identify customer frustration areas such as confusing navigation and glitches and see how your customers are interacting with your products in real-time.
Integration with eCommerce Stores
Crazy Egg offers simple integration with many eCommerce sites, including Shopify, Wix, WordPress and AWeber, among others. This allows you to set and measure sales goals and gain all of the data you require to make informed decisions.
Crazy Egg offers a 30-day free trial on all its products. The basic version is $24/month, the standard is $49/month, and the Plus version is $99/month. There is also a PRO version for $249/month, and Enterprise versions are available. These plans differ on the amount of support and storage available, and pricier plans offer additional features.
Best for SEO
SEMrush’s tagline is, “Data is good. Strategy is better.” This web analytics tool established in 2008 gives you both. It boasts an extensive database of 20 billion keywords, 310 million ads and 17 billion URLs and will analyze your data and provide instant recommendations for optimizing your web pages.
Back Link Audit and Analysis
These are handy tools that allow you to assess not just your website but all your competitors as well.
With backlink analysis, you can enter a domain name and view all the backlinks that lead back to that domain. You can also see the anchor text, domain distribution (.com, .org etc.) and IP addresses. Back Link Audit assesses the quality of your backlinks. You can quickly identify toxic, damaging or spam links and upload them to Google to disavow them.
This feature of Semrush will look for issues that might be affecting your search ranking. These issues can include slow loads, duplicates, missing headers and overusing keywords. It will also scan our website for SEO and provide tips for improvement, explaining exactly why you should take these steps.
Use SEMrush’s SEO tools to collect info on keyword rankings, backlinks, position tracking and errors. You can also use a unique tool to identify gaps in keywords and backlinks and compare both strengths and weaknesses.
Pro Plans are 11.95/month, Guru plans are $229.95/month, and Business plans are $449.95/month. Each offer differing numbers of projects, keywords and other features.
Best for Privacy
Formerly called Piwik, Matomo is a powerful website analytics tool that sets itself apart, focusing on ethical data collection and privacy. Created in 2005, the company’s name Matomo means honesty in Japanese.
Automate with HTTP API
You can automate almost anything with Matomo’s HTTP API. This allows you to sync to internal systems or use it to create websites in your CMS. More importantly, it allows you to track data about your users and their interactions from any medium (websites, mobile apps, custom apps and the IoT).
Open Source Advantages
Open source coding means that anyone has access to the coding that drives Matomo. This allows third parties to check for bugs and issues and allows for greater customization of the app. If you have on-staff developers or web gurus, there are few limits to how you can use this software.
Strong Privacy Options
Matomo differentiates itself by offering both cloud-hosted and self-hosted versions. The latter provides privacy and 100% ownership of data. Data collected about your customers can stay with you and will never be sold to a 3rd party.
The On-Premises version is free but it does require that you have substantial technical knowledge and a server. The Cloud-hosted version is $45/month. The On-Premises version offers more customization capability, and the Cloud-Hosted version offers more support.
Our Rating Process
There are many web analytics tools available, but to help you get started, we assessed each of the following software based on its ease of use, data gathering, reporting capabilities, and analytical features. We scored them each out of five points to help you with your decision process.
If you cannot figure out how to use a website analytics tool, it’s of little use, no matter how much data it can gather. Website analytics tools should be easy to use and save you time, not cost you time and more resources in existing staff or outside hires. Good website analytics tools should be both easy to use and simple to install. In our assessment, we looked for solid support options, easy customizations, and an intuitive UI and UX friendly dashboard.
Frequently Asked Questions
The most important web analytics to track really depend on your business and the purpose of your website. However, you should track data that helps you understand your visitors (e.g. where are they coming from, what do they like). These visitor metrics include traffic sources, bounce and conversion rates, and general demographics. Devices are also an important metric as these can help you optimize your pages for the right devices.
Web analytics provide an accurate, data-supported view of the performance of your website. This allows you to respond and deliver exactly what your customers want while eliminating problem areas that frustrate visitors, or worse, send your customers away from your site. Utilizing these analytics can help you increase your reach and improve your conversion rates.
Segmentation is the process of segregating your web analytics data to separate and highlight the areas that require action. You can split data according to acquisitions, goals and even channels and by geolocation, point of origin or any other characteristic. For example, you can assess the traffic you are getting via specific social platforms. This can help improve your social media strategy. If, for example, you’re getting most of your traffic from Instagram, you may want to increase the frequency of your posts to that site.
Sessions are a single visit to your website while page views represent each time a visitor opens an individual page. There is an essential distinction between sessions and page views. Page views are purposeful and usually indicate that a user is at least a little interested in what you have to offer. However, even if a user lands on your website and bounces a few seconds later, it will count as a single session. However, single sessions are helpful as an indication of your success in driving traffic to your site. Page views are a better indication of your success in keeping them there.
Data sampling is used by many, though not all, website analytics tools, including Google Analytics. It is essentially the practice of analyzing a smaller subset of data to draw conclusions about a larger data set.