No Training? No Problem! 4 easy-to-use Tools for Better Analytics
We appreciate the classics, and Google Analytics is definitely the most classic of choices when it comes to picking a web analytics tool. It offers a broad range of features that monitor all aspects of your site, with many other bells and whistles. However, Google Analytics is so all-encompassing that it doesn’t work as well if a company is focused on a few particular sets of information and doesn’t need to see the whole ‘big picture’ all the time. There’s many other tools out there that bring their own specialties and this pushed us to discover what else is helpful for specific analytics results, as broader doesn’t always mean better.
Here are four alternatives to Google that each offer a unique service to shake up your old ‘analytics thinking.’
1. Chartbeat: The Instant Informant
This one is all about real-time information. Chartbeat is separated into two dashboards; one for historical data and one solely dedicated to keeping you updated on what’s happening each moment. In a comparison with Google Analytics, the technology blog wholewhale.com writes, “ChartBeat ‘pings’ visitors every few seconds to determine where on the site they are. Google Analytics, however, simply looks at page views and assumes that users will spend 5 minutes per page.”
Chartbeat keeps a constant watch on each of your pages. It’s a great tool for sites that are constantly updated with fresh content, as it is able to immediately make accurate analysis of how the content’s doing. ChartBeat also tracks how social media posts and updates are faring. (This is useful if you’re sending rapid-fire tweets at an IR event, see our cheat sheet to live tweeting here). Along with a dedication to real-time information, Chartbeat also makes sure you’re immediately informed if something irregular occurs. AboutAnalytics.com’s review of ChartBeat states, “The dashboard, iPhone app, and email SMS alerts let you know the minute your traffic spikes, your servers crash, or your page slows to a crawl.”
2. CrazyEgg: The Heater
This one might be our favourite because it’s not only helpful for analytics, but also pretty fun to play with. CrazyEgg’s ‘thing’ is its heat-mapping technology which shows you exactly where on a page visitors click the most. Registering for CrazyEgg gives you a number of heat-maps that track the most engaging spots on your site. (You feel a bit like you’re wearing night-vision goggles when looking at your site’s usability stats.) The heat-mapping idea also extends to CrazyEgg’s scrolling technology feature. Scrolling technology tracks from hot orange to cool blue how far a user scans down a page before clicking away. With this information, you’re able to see where the cutoff point is, and can think about rearranging what content gets to be ‘above the fold.’ The scrolling feature also allows you to distinguish, when thinking of content/statistics/facts, which information is crucial for users and potential investors to see, versus what is more fluff.
3. Mint: The Freshmaker
The distinguishing feature here is given away in the name. This dashboard is clean and crisp and minty fresh. There are no confusing filters here, and unlike Google Analytics the wealth of information offered has many different forms of ‘tailorability’. Mint is all about adapting the dashboard/service for you. Mint also comes with ‘Peppermill,’ an extensive plugin library that offers additional goodies and opportunities for streamlining and personalization. Mint is a good option for those who just feel like cleaning house. Some companies may decide they want an investor-specific tool and can tailor Mint to show the stats they need.
4. Optimizely: The A/B Tester
The idea of A/B testing a website gets a lot less attention in the analytics world (many think the name relates to some sort of strange disease). Well, it’s actually an extremely useful tool for monitoring your users’ reactions to changes in the design and layout of your site. Optimizely’s primary focus is bringing A/B testing to ‘the people,’ as you don’t need programming or development experience to use this tool. Their motto is ‘A/B testing you’ll actually use.’ With Optimizely, two different versions of your site are created and shown to visitors at random. You’re able to compare click-rates and other stats that will pit the two versions against each other. To make it easier, Optimizely also informs you when one version is a ‘winner.’
Optimizely is also great for the extremely visual: if you think a testimonial that’s moved to the top of your IR site and situated in its own box might catch more eyeballs, Optimizely lets you easily drag content around in a staging area so you can see if that’s true. Optimizely’s website also pitches A/B testing when measuring the impact on “metrics such as sign-ups and downloads.” Think: where is the best spot to add a sign-up form for an email newsletter so people see it? (For more about email newsletters, see our blog here). Optimizely is all about promoting constant page testing and optimization in order to create the best possible way to present your company.
Conclusion: Why Refreshing Analytics Helps Your IR Site:
For all the naysayers out there who might be reading this blog and thinking that adding new analytics tools or reformatting an IR site won’t really matter for investors, here’s our challenge: why not? What is it about the Investor’s sections of a website that causes a stigma against redesign and new digital marketing strategies? As we’ve said in the past, investors are people too. You’re still sharing your company’s story with them, and who’s to say changing up your analytics game won’t make that story a little clearer?
What’s most important to remember is that when it comes to your analytics, you should constantly be making adjustments. Sure, Google Analytics can provide a wealth of info for you, but what good is that if you’re not utilizing it in the best way? Look at what information is most important to focus on, and see where you’re getting the most traffic and noise. Readjust from there, and constantly tweak until the most important aspects of your company are seen when users come to the page. There’s so many analytics tools out there that all specialize in different areas. Figure out which areas your company wants to focus on, and make the tools report to you.