There are many important purposes that your business/personal websites provide your visitors. A place to be found, information, buying options, but the most important purpose is one that your visitors provide to you... data & analytics. Data has become invaluable for businesses of all sizes regardless of your industry. Website data will help you gauge performance, learn what type of audience you are attracting, how much traffic is coming to your site, and ultimately anything you need to improve upon. That’s why it’s important to track and record all of this data.
There are hundreds of useful website analytics tools that will help you do just that and then some. Some are free and some are very expensive. We’ve listed some of our favorites to help you pick the right tool, or tools, for you and your business.
Google Analytics: Google Analytics (GA) is the most widely used and referred to analytics tool out there. This is for a reason... well, many reasons. The first being that it is free. Some services will charge a subscription, as mentioned above some can be pricey, but GA is 100% free. GA is also very easy to use and syncs with tools you may already be using. To add GA to your website you have to paste a piece of code, provided from Google, on to your site’s backend. And if your website is hosted by Shopify, Wordpress, WIX, or any other big commercial company it’s a very simple task. GA will also be able to directly work with your Google Adwords account. The actual reporting feature is also very user-friendly. GA allows you to create custom reports so you don't have to scroll through a forest of KPIs. In addition, GA can provide detailed demographics such as age, gender, location, and even what device people on your site are using.
Facebook Pixel: Another powerful analytics tool, that is also free, is the Facebook Pixel. It not only offers great data tracking but powerful marketing capabilities as well. Just like GA, the Facebook Pixel is installed with a copy and pasted piece of code provided by Facebook. However, you do need to have an account on Facebook’s business manager in order to install your pixel on your website. The Pixel offers a full suite of KPI’s and tracks “events” automatically like “PageView’, “ViewContent”, “InitateCheckout”, and “Purchase”. Some unique features are the custom website events you can create as well as the Facebook-specific insights your Pixel offers. Custom events make it easy to create tracking for any event you wish to track. A Custome event can be a specific button click or reaching a certain page. Since Facebook has such a gigantic user base, and all of your data, Facebook can show you which Facebook interests and demographics are the most common based on your Pixel data. This offers great insights but also is what makes the Facebook Pixel a super-powerful marketing tool. Check out some of those capabilities in a previous blog post of ours. If your business is geared more towards social media or you’re looking for a new way to market a product or service, the Facebook Pixel is your best choice.
Visual Website Optimizer: VWO, offers very unique analytics solutions. You can A/B test different website creatives and content and even record live visitor sessions on your website! In addition to A/B testing creatives, you can also do the same with URL destinations to see what links from your website perform better. This is perfect for providing customer insight for e-commerce businesses or any website looking to transact. Our favorite capability of VWO is the ability to watch live visitor sessions. VWO not only offers user session videos but they also use the data they collect to show you website heat maps and a complete funnel breakdown of your customer’s journey. VWO, unlike GA and Facebook’s Pixel, is not free. They do offer a free trial before you must contact for a pricing plan. While VWO may not be free, it is a powerful tool that can be used in combination with GA or Facebook’s Pixel for e-commerce businesses.
PaveAI: All of these tools listed above are great for tracking all analytical data points on your website. That being said, PaveAI adds a very unique service that when used in addition to Google Analytics generates the most accurate data. And just like GA the PaveAI service is free. PaveAI simply removes fake web traffic from your data reporting numbers. You would be surprised by how much spam traffic can hit any and all websites. Bots can create false web traffic as well as referrer data. None of that is a danger to your website or your analytics but PaveAI will remove all fake data to give you the most transparent reports.
SimilarWeb: SimilarWeb us unlike any of the other tools we’ve written about. Rather than reporting analytics from your own website, SimilarWeb will give you analytics from your competitor’s websites. We know what your thinking and the answer is no, it is not illegal. SimilarWeb is a data collection company and has many data scientists that use various data points to collect all legally attainable information. SimilarWeb won’t just give you data on competitors’ website data but also their marketing and sales data. They offer a free limited plan and a paid plan you must contact them directly for.
If you currently don’t have analytics reporting for your website or are looking for a way to improve your current reporting, check out the tools above. Each offers its own unique capability that can be used in many different ways. A lot of businesses will have a few different analytics reporting tools for different reasons. It’s common to see a company use Google Analytics for website data as well as the Facebook Pixel for marketing purposes. It’s not uncommon to see discrepancies in analytics from different tools as attribution metrics can contradict one another, but it is always good to have multiple data sets to make more informed decisions.
We hope you will use these tools to your advantage as we have been for a while!