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21 Comments

Analytics suck

I've been trying to find a reliable analytics library that gives me the data that I'm looking for and I'm hoping someone here has a better experience with a service they can recommend.

I've always used the default Google analytics just because that's just what you use, which is fine and free(if you ignore that you are paying in other ways), but it can be very overwhelming sometimes, but also I want to see exactly what my customers are doing on my site. I also implemented Google tags, but that doesn't really give me a clear picture.

I recently tried out Hotjar, but it's lacking in that I still want to see some of the basic data that Google provides.

I think what I'm looking for is a simple service with a free plan. That shows some basic data as well as tracks the user as they interact with the site(scrolling, events, clicks). Also, I don't want to decrease my page speed by having to use multiple services to get the data I want. I'm kinda thinking about rolling my own basic system, but that would be a huge undertaking and not within the scope of this project.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  1. 5

    Maybe my post on privacy-oriented (open/managed) analytics could be a good start?

    I am using Plausible (hosted) which you can run yourself for free.

    1. 2

      Maybe add Countly as well, it's also open-source has a good amount of features and integrations/sdks.

      1. 2

        I will add it, thanks.

  2. 4

    If you are a dev, you can probably use rrweb!
    It's REALLY powerful, but needs some configurations.

    https://www.rrweb.io/

    But yeah, you won't be able to get analytics data too, you'll need to implement GA as well

  3. 3

    Hey Matthew!
    I am currently build something that should solve that pain!
    I think splitbee.io could help you out with most of that requirements.
    We don't do click / mouse capturing currently.
    Let me know if you have any questions :)

    1. 2

      I have been iterating on two PPC funnels in the last few months and flabbergasted why there wasn't a more clear funnel analytics + a/b testing platform out there. Mixpanel, Amplitude, Heap, etc all overcomplicate the hell out of things.

      Splitbee looks amazing, installing on one funnel this week. Let me know if you want feedback from a new user.

    2. 1

      Does splitbee only track clicks and form submissions? What about scrolling/hovering? I guess I could do the hover on the javascript side then trigger the event.

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        With html attributes only this yes.
        We also automatically track page views like GA.

        And with JS you can send custom event's on hover etc.

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          Can we pass data through an event? I'm thinking that I could probably use the addEventListener 'scroll' and trigger an event that way, but can I also pass the scroll position?
          https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/Document/scroll_event

          1. 2

            Yes you can pass custom data but better don't trigger analytics events on scroll. Not sure what you're trying to archive with that. Splitbee seems to be the wrong tool for that then. HotJar or rrweb custom solution will be better

            1. 1

              That's fair. Thanks for answering my questions. I'm going to give it a try.

  4. 2

    I just started really using Google Analytics in the past month and it's amazing how powerful it can be.

    I worked at a company with $150 million annual revenue and they also used Google Analytics, but as power users with many more goals, tags, and segments.

    The challenge is figuring out what you can learn from the data.
    Take action on those lessons to make improvements and measure how those changes influence user engagement.

    Two tips that have helped me:

    TIP 1 — Differentiate MACRO goals from MICRO goals

    • Macro goals deliver monetary value. These are the actions that generate income.
    • Micro goals add value, but not necessarily revenue. E.g collection email addresses

    Action: set a monetary value to goals as $10 for macro goals and $2 for micro goals. The dollar sign is arbitrary but it helps weight the "conversion" as reported in the dashboard.

    TIP 2 — Use destination goals

    • Goals for duration or page view can be misleading.
    • Someone may spend a long time on a page because they are confused.
    • Jeff Sauer, the Google Analytics guru, says 90% of his goals are destination goals.
    • E.g. ThankYou.html is shown to a use who converts (email signup, purchase, etc).

    Action: set very clear Calls to Action with landing pages (e.g. try a blue button, then a green button, then an emoji).

    I hope that's helpful!

    PS - Google uses data from Google Analytics to weigh your site, so if you are converting well, they will send more traffic there. Further encouragement to get the most from the tool!

  5. 2

    I'm very happy with Clicky (not free though)

  6. 2

    Just found out about Plausible, it's maybe exactly what you are looking for. Here is a Live Demo.

  7. 2

    I first used Matoma but then found Count.ly, it's also open-source and can be self hosted(own your data) and is currently my way to go.

  8. 2

    Hi Matt!

    We've created https://getinsights.io/ for this exact problem. You own all the data that you create. We are also the only privacy analytics service that can track how the user interacts with your page, as far as I know. Insights is free for most small projects (less than 100 visitors a day).

    Henrique

  9. 2

    I'm currently working on Engageful.app

    The idea is not to only act on the analytics and usage data you get, but to also act on it and drive outcomes.

    Let me know if you find it interesting, we can work something out.

  10. 2

    Hi Matthew!

    Have you looked at GoSquared? There's a free analytics plan that might be what you're looking for. It's super fast and light, and there are options to add on other things (for free too, on the starter plan) like Live Chat so you don't have to add 2928457 different tools to get everything you need on there.

    If not, we actually posted an analytics tool comparison post a few weeks ago on the blog which has more details and a bunch of other options depending on need and price.

  11. 2

    We found some good success with using heatmaps, gave us some idea of where users are stumbling upon.

  12. 1

    If you want to know exactly what your users are doing, I'd highly recommend Matomo.

    It's free to use if you self host. The event tracking stuff is really easy to implement if you use Google Tag Manager.

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