The subject of Google and their ever-growing suite of products comes up on a regular basis in tech and eCommerce blogs. And it’s no wonder! Their ability to track and collect data is massive, and having a net worth of about $1 Trillion means they have endless resources to develop those systems. But that doesn’t mean that Google is the only option. It may not even be the best option for you. There are Google Analytics alternatives that can help you collect and analyze meaningful data about your store.
Why Would I Use a Google Analytics Alternative?
You may be thinking, why reinvent the wheel? Google is obviously doing something right if they have such a massive net worth. They already have top developers and surely make things as easy to use as possible, right?
It’s true. Google has major power behind it. But while their focus is on ease-of-use on the “searcher” side of things, business owners can sometimes be left floundering. All that power comes with a ton of complexity. There are guides out there for the store owner, walking them through setting up accounts, profiles and products. But that walk can often seem like an uphill one.
The Google guides to setting up your tracking can be overwhelming for many users, often requiring developers or SEO experts to take the reigns.
Improper Account Settings
If you do decide to work your way through setting up your account yourself, you run the risk of missing a setting. If you don’t have everything just right, it can skew your data to the point of being unusable. You may as well not even have it set up at all.
Or worse, the data can be misleading, causing you to make business decisions based on the wrong information. Marketing budgets are tight enough as it is; if your UTM Campaign trackers are overlapping, for example, you can completely muddle your marketing campaign results and the data becomes useless.
Improperly configured settings and code may be responsible for around 10% of your data being lost or corrupted.
Some software like ad blockers, and built-in browser features (like a “do not track” setting) can skew your data by a pretty significant amount. Similar to the unintentional loss from improperly applied settings and code, you may face another 10% of intentionally lost data.
As the need for security and privacy increases, users are implementing their own protection from your tracking, with the use of blockers and VPNs. This helps keep the user protected, which is great. But it also means you may lose out valuable information.
Something a lot of people don’t realize when they get started with Google Analytics, is that you start from scratch. Google doesn’t have a backlog of information about your site, and doesn’t start paying attention until you set it up. So if you sign up for GA looking for data, you’ll be left with empty hands.
If you’re having your site migrated, an inexperienced developer or a press of a wrong button can be responsible for a massive loss in Google data. That essentially relates to flushing money down the toilet, as any data you’ve paid to track is gone forever.
What Are Some Google Analytics Alternatives?
There are plenty of third-party companies that can track, collect, and analyze your user data. They typically don’t offer the same super-wide scope of information that Google can, however the average store owner doesn’t use it all anyway. What they may lack in functionality, they tend to make up for in usability.
Simple interfaces, and a more basic coverage of statistics may help you navigate your reports easier. When it comes down to it, Google can offer all the data in the world down to the most minute detail, but if you don’t know how to access, interpret, or use it, it won’t help you.
While you do need to pay for these services, many of them integrate directly with your free Google account. That gives you a clearer access to your information without having to hire a translator. Take a look at a few examples of Google Analytics alternatives, read about their pricing and their services, and see if something makes sense for you.
Yes, your own imported customer orders. Your shoppers provide you with a wealth of information, more than just what they buy. If you take a closer look at your orders, you’ll be able to easily pick out data like:
- Geographic information (billing and shipping locations)
- Demographic information (gender, marital status if you ask for title)
- Average order size
- Coupon code usage
- Payment methods
Depending on how closely you pay attention to your orders, you’ll start to pick out trends that give you a great overview of how shoppers use your site.
Customer Service Interaction
You can gain more from speaking to your customers than you might think possible. While consumers do love the ease and convenience of online shopping, they also want to be able to speak to a real live person.
Posting your phone number prominently, and having a real person man the chat screen on your site will provide you with a ton of knowledge. Users aren’t shy about letting you know when something is too hard to find, a page doesn’t work, or they are otherwise having trouble. This is an excellent equivalent to Google stats like Bounce and Exit rates.
Similar to customer service interactions, people love giving their opinions. Beginning your survey with a couple quick and easy questions like gender, age, and how they found your site, will provide you with plenty of useful knowledge!
Running social media accounts for your business may not be your favorite thing, but there are unquestionable benefits. Social media can boost your sales, offer exposure for your sales and promotions, and give a voice to your brand. Choosing the right platforms for your clientele can make all the difference in how successful your efforts are.
Another great perk to social media is that it collects analytics for you! Having Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media accounts provides you with their own sets of user analytics, giving you insight into engagement, gender, age, and more.
Using Google from the other end (as a searcher) can give you insight into how shoppers find you. Try opening an “incognito” window (as it’s called in Google Chrome) and begin typing in search queries. You’ll start to find the auto-suggest from Google giving you clues as to what people search for, relating to your industry.
Furthermore, when you actually search for products you sell, and even your own business name, focus on how far down you are in the search results. Take a look at what shows above you. These can give you tips on what you need to focus on to improve your reach.
Do you send out newsletters? How about order confirmations and follow up emails? If you use an email marketing company like Sendlane, you have the ability to track your marketing campaigns, devices used, and activity after opening the emails (like clicking through to products and pages).
Why Should I Use Google Analytics At All?
While there are many instances where things can go wrong, there is still a huge benefit to taking advantage of Google Analytics. The setup is complicated, but the resulting data can be rich and abundant.
We recommend two things:
- Hire an expert. Making sure your Google Analytics account is properly set up and managed is half the battle. It provides such a massive amount of valuable information, that it doesn’t make sense not to use it, especially as a free service. Hiring an expert will ensure you are collecting the data you need. They can also walk you through the GA interface, to help you understand what you’re looking at.
- Explore Google Analytics Alternatives. Mix and match! You aren’t locked into just one method of data collection. That may mean a third-party application, or diving into some other data sources. Your own orders and customer service contact can be deep wells of knowledge.
You can collect a large amount of information by knowing what to look for when reviewing the resources already at your disposal. It has the added benefit of showing you the data in a more “human” way, as opposed to just stats and numbers. You get a better understanding of your complete customer profile, including intention and personality. That will make it easier for you to predict what will be successful in the future. Endless data is great, but nothing beats really knowing your customer base.
To get started with Google Analytics, or for some help managing your settings, reach out to our Google and SEO experts. We can guide you through the interface, provide reports, and beyond that, make recommendations about how to act on that data.