Here’s How to Choose a Google Analytics Alternative

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted”- Albert Einstein, Physicist.

We all know the importance of web analytics; in case you didn’t know, web analytics gives you insights about how your website is performing (that’s an oversimplified explanation though). Whether you love it or not, Google is the undisputed king of providing free analytic software for website owners.

GA usage

Data Source: BuiltWith.com

For whatever reason you’d have, you might want to try out a few alternatives to Google Analytics- the analytic software provided by Google that webmasters use to track key metrics. In this article, I list out a few alternatives to Google analytics that you can try out. Hopefully, you’d find the right analytic solution for your requirements.

Important note: If you are trying to find a Google Analytics alternative to get organic keyword data from Google searches, you won’t have much success with any analytics software out there. Google encrypts the search results and does not pass the referral data to any analytics software. Now that’s clear, let’s go ahead and look at some alternatives.

11 Google Analytics Alternatives- What’s good and what’s bad?

various web analytics software

Google Analytics excluded. Data source: BuiltWith.com

Clicky

clicky dashboard

Clicky dashboard for one of the test websites.

Clicky is the good competitor for Google analytics. It helps you track page views, see real time traffic information, view traffic sources, find out keywords which send you traffic (from non-encrypted search results),and so on.

There are some additional features such as goal tracking, tracking downloads, funnel/path analysis, email repots, advanced segmentation, video analytics, and so on.

Having seen the way Google analytics evolve, Clicky does not have the raw power that Google Analytic has- neither is it free if you want important features like heat maps, goal tracking, or funnel analytics.

You’d see a lot of posts doing the rounds about Clicky because they incentivise users with affiliate commissions/free paid accounts for people who write reviews and link to them.

What’s good?

  • Free account with limited feature set. If you are ready to pay money, you can unlock a lot of useful features which are easier to implement and analyse compared to Google Analytics
  • SAAS based- you don’t have to install anything apart from the tracking code
  • White-label Clicky and sell it

What’s bad?

  • Less raw power compared to Google Analytics
  • If you need to do anything meaningful, you need a paid account
  • When I used Clicky, it slowed down my website. After I removed the Clicky code, my site speed went back to the usual
  • There are reports that Clicky does not play well with Jetpack- WordPress stats if you are using it. I don’t use Jetpack, so I did not face the issue

Mint
mint dashboard
Mint is a simple web analytics software you can use to replace you Google Analytics. It might not be as full featured as GA, but it packs almost all the features an average webmaster might need. It shows you everything you need to see at a glance.

What’s good?

  • Simple reporting. Does not over complicate things

What’s bad?

  • 30$ one-time fee
  • Self-hosted. You’ll have to take care of installing the whole mint software on your webserver. This might be a challenge for people who are not tech savvy or use shared hosting

Open Web Analytics
owa dashboard
Touted as the free and open source analytics to Google Analytics, open web analytics certainly lives up to the claim. It’s an easy to sue analytics software with no data collections limits and can track unlimited number of websites. You have complete control over your data.

What’s good?

  • No limits- unlimited everything
  • Free and open source
  • Advanced features such as “Mouse Movements (recording and playback)”, “DOM Click Tracking-Tracking of clicks on all DOM elements”, “Object Caching” and so on (most of them are yet not available on Google Analytics)

What’s bad?

  • Self-hosted. This can be a bit tricky for users who are on shared hosting providers. However, if your host provides you cpanel and has softaculous installed, you can install OWA with a single click. The path is usually softaculous>> Polls and Surveys >> Open Web Analytics

Piwik                                                                                        
piwik dashboard
Piwik is yet another open source alternative to Google Analytics, similar to open web analytics (OWA). Feature sets are very similar to OWA.

What’s good?

  • Free, open sources, and no limits
  • Great community behind Piwik
  • Larger userbase use Piwik- which means you’d have a bigger community and better access to experts who might be able to help you with your web analytics requirement
  • Provides mobile app for analytics on-the-go

What’s bad?

  • Self-hosted. You handle everything from installing the software on your own server to configuring analytics. However, if your web hosting provider comes with softaculous installed, you can install Piwik with a single click. This option can be found under softaculous>> Polls and Surveys >> Piwik

ChartBeat
chartbeat dashboard
Sometimes, even 1 day old data is stale data. In such cases, Google Analytics just doesn’t cut it. Even though it has a real time section, it’s not as evolved as other sections of Google Analytics. This is where analytic software like ChartBeat come into picture.

Chartbeat provides data in real-time, without needing to refresh. If you have marketing campaigns running which require real time monitoring to benefit from, it makes sense to use real time analytics software.

Clicky is a serious competitor to chartbeat (although clicky doesn’t have a very fancy user interface). Between the both, I’d go with clicky.

What’s good?

  • Real time data
  • Great UI
  • Provides a good overview of what’s happening with your website
  • Not self-hosted. You simply have to install the JavaScript provided

What’s bad?

  • No historical data
  • 9.95$ a month for 1000 concurrents, 5 websites, and 2 logins

GoSquared
gosquared dashboard
Gosquared is another real-time focused web analytics software like chartbeat. The feature sets are similar and is less flexible that GA when it comes to segmentation and historical data.

What’s good?

  • Data- as real time as it gets
  • Nice UI
  • Real time overview coupled with ability to see trends over different time periods
  • Hosted service- just install JavaScript tracking code and you are good to go

What’s bad?

  • Major focus on real time. Won’t be much of a use if you want historical data
  • Plans starting at 24$ a month

Gaug.es
Gauges Dashboard
Gaug.es is a wonderfully designed analytics software for tracking real time data. It’s not that different to GoSquared, Clicky, or Chartbeat.

What’s good?

  • Simplified and easy to understand reports
  • Hosted service
  • Advanced features like which technology in HTML 5 does your audiences browser support?
  • Real time data

What’s bad?

  • Not as feature rich as GA
  • Plans starting at 6 $ a month
  • No advanced segmentation

Reinvigorate
reinvigorate dashboard
If you haven’t had enough of real time analytic software, here is one more- Reinvigorate. I tracks visitors in real time and also lets you give name tag to users so that you can identify users and understand specific user behavior.

What’s good?

  • Real time stats
  • Heat-maps- see where people are clicking (even non link clicks) and improvise
  • Identify and track individual visitors
  • Desktop stats- choose which alerts you want to receive

What’s bad?

  • Limited segmentation
  • Plans starting at $10 a month

Advanced Analytics Software

Till now, we talked about software that can provide simple metrics, real time data and so on. However, for businesses like SAAS, e commerce, etc. such metrics simply doesn’t cut it. You’d want to know who your visitor is, how much they are worth, how they are using your web application, and so on. That’s where Google Analytics can get really complicated and most of the times, even lacking.

By design, Google analytics is not built to measure and track users. It’s even against their TOS to use it for such purposes. So, if you need to track people and not page views, below are the apps that will help you do that.

I will not go in-depth into each of these applications- for the simple reason that, it’s very complex and would require your IT team to take a look at it. Most software would require API’s, set up events and tracking, and some other advanced stuff which is specific to your business- mostly with the help of your IT team. Also, most of the analytic software I list below are very similar in terms of the functionality they offer.

  • KISSmetrics- The most well-known analytics for SAAS and ecommerce websites. It’s really powerful and can help you understand a lot about your customer behaviour
  • Mixpanel- Relatively new entrant into the game. However, the features are on-par or even better than Kissmetrics. The UI is simply mind blowing and has the added functionality of emailing users of your application
  • Woopra- While it’s not as full-featured as KISSmetrics or Mixpanel, it does have enough to get you going. You also have access to real time data

How to Choose a Google Analytics Alternative?

While there are plenty of analytics software out there, it can be quite intimidating to figure out which analytics software is the right one for you. Below I’d list out some use cases and which analytics software to use for that particular case (assuming you’d still want to switch from Google Analytics).

Blog- Clicky or Mint or WordPress.com Stats

If you want to control your own data and is comfortable with installing software and configuring them on servers, give Piwik or Open Web Analytics a shot. One bonus analytic software you can use if you use WordPress for blogging is wordpress.com stats. Install jetpack plugin to get access to this free analytics package.

Small/Medium Business- Clicky or Mint

Piwik or Open Web Analytics are very close competitors. However, if your web host does not provide you softcaulous installer, or you do not have someone who can help you with installing Piwik or OWA, Clicky or mint can do a good job for you.

Startup- (Clicky/Mint/OWA/Piwik) + (Kissmetrics/Mixpanel/Woopra)

For a startup, especially a SAAS startup, you’d need basic analytics (provided by Clicky/Mint/OWA/Piwik) as well as app level analytics (provided by Kissmetrics/Mixpanel/Woopra)

Over to You

Google Analytics alternatives are dime-a-dozen. Which web analytics software do you currently use and what’s lacking in it? Would you really ditch Google Analytics for another software or would you use them in parallel? Let me know via the comments.

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Comments

  1. Rick says

    This is a great post. Few consider an alternative for Analytics but it’s good to go into SEO tools knowing all the opportunities that are available to you. Thanks!

  2. Serge says

    Wow!
    Awesome post!
    Really useful info. Usually we get to read only about google analytics, plus, everyone is talking only about it. Here I found a fresh insight on “alternatives” and I’m glad I did it. Though, some of them are not as convenient as GA, but still, being aware that there is something really worthy that is NOT Google is amazing=)
    Thank you for a great research!

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