Jun 30, 2020 - Rob Browning

Choosing the Right Website Analytics Platform

Google Analytics (GA) is one of the most popular analytics platforms. It's free, easy to set up, and it can provide data-driven insights for businesses once goals, custom event tracking, and advanced features, like enhanced ecommerce, are enabled. 

The Benefits of Google Analytics

The free version of Google Analytics integrates with other Google products like Google Ads, Google Optimize, and Google Search Console. It also works well with Google Data Studio. Out of the box, it provides insights on website performance, including metrics about the audience, acquisition, behavior, and conversions. Google Analytics is also recommended for the following reasons:

  • Familiar user interface and popularity in the industry

  • Fast installation and easy setup

  • When integrated with Google Search Console, it provides unique, organic search data

  • When combined with Google Ads, it offers exclusive paid acquisition data 

  • Custom event tracking is possible with Google Tag Manager, expanding the out-of-the-box functionality

Google Analytics Limitations 

Google Analytics is comprehensive, but does come with some limitations. For example, free users are limited by the number of hits in one month and are also subject to data sampling. As your data needs grow, some of the functionalities, conversion attribution, and data sampling can start to feel limiting. 

Alternatives to GA

Other free platforms typically offer similar features; most of these are restricting. HubSpot, which is known for its CRM platform, can sometimes work better for user-level metrics for their platform.. Additionally, Facebook Analytics offers the ability to track impression-based conversions for paid ads, so that can be an attractive feature to websites that have a strong paid strategy.

Other free analytics platforms include:

  • Mixpanel

  • HubSpot 

  • Facebook Analytics

  • Shopify Analytics

If Google Analytics starts to outgrow business needs, expanding into a paid analytics platform might be a good step. Consider advanced setups like Adobe Analytics or Google Analytics 360. We reviewed Google Analytics 360 previously, so be sure to read about that here. 

Paid analytics platforms include:

  • Adobe Analytics

  • Google Analytics 360

There are additional analytics platforms that track other items Google Analytics does not. These should not be used as substitutes or replacements for Google Analytics; they should supplement the data that is already being collected. These platforms conduct heat mapping, click tracking, and scroll-mapping on sites, which can offer valuable UX data to supplement the existing website data. Knowing where users clicked can play a vital role in determining user experience enhancements for a website.

Supplemental analytics tools include:

  • CrazyEgg

  • HotJar

Still unsure if Google Analytics is the right platform for your needs? Reach out for a free consultation with the team at Third and Grove.

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