Data – from analytics reporting traffic and conversion rates to engagement performance metrics – has become as much a part of a marketer’s job these days as working on actual marketing campaigns. But all this data is meaningless if you don’t know how it’s positioned in relation to your campaigns. Analytics tools are a handy way of getting to know that relationship. The most popular of these tools by far is Google Analytics. It helps you to really understand how your visitors are interacting with your site by looking at traffic, referrals, campaigns and more. But even though it provides great insights, GA can have a somewhat steep learning curve and, frankly, could do a much better job in creating easily-digestible visuals from your data. Depending on your preference and marketing goals, there are many other tools to use as an alternative or in conjunction with Google Analytics to optimize your strategy. Here are 6 tools that can help you gain insight into your data and help drive your content strategy to the next level.
Similar to Google Analytics, Piwik provides a digestible look at your website’s visitors, page views, ecommerce and SEO in real time, among many other key performance indicators, or KPIs. What sets Piwik apart from Google Analytics is its open source software that gives you full control over your data. It allows you to customize your own dashboard, create plugins and choose what reports are necessary. Another neat feature is the ability to automatically track downloads on your site, giving you an understanding of your most popular content. This information is especially useful when tracking conversions and creating content in hopes of enticing your audience to come back for more. Pricing: Free
Like most web analytics tools, KISSmetrics measures and tracks web traffic and trends on your site. Rather than simply telling you what is happening, the edge that KISSmetrics has over the other tools is its ability to tell you who is doing what on your site. It helps make data meaningful and personal by allowing you to focus on your visitors at an individual level. You can now get the full story from your audience even before they hit the sign-up button. KISSmetrics’ strong-suit lies in using their tracking to optimize your marketing funnel. Now you can get a detailed and personalized report of where your users might have opted out in the process. This information becomes essential in understanding how user behavior changes over time. In essence, KISSmetrics can help you create a better experience, ensuring people make it to the next step of your funnel. Pricing: Starter: $150/month Basic: $250/month Professional: $500/month
Knowing where your visitors are going on your site is one thing, but seeing how they interact within a specific page and across your site is much more powerful. CrazyEgg allows you to monitor all that. This tool creates heat maps, so you can track your visitors’ every click, scroll maps, and has a confetti tool that segments all the clicks on your site by referral source. There’s a good chance that your visitors’ mouse movement isn’t random and misguided, but directed towards intended action. Given this, the tracking CrazyEgg provides is a realistic measure of what areas are catching the most attention and why your visitors aren’t converting. These functionalities help identify what results are a direct effect of specific action, or lack thereof. Pricing: Basic: $9/month Standard: $19/month Plus: $49/month Pro: $99/month
If you’re looking for a tool that combines the two services described above, Clicky might be for you. It gives you up-to-the-minute analytics, insight on individual visitors and actions, access to heatmaps, and on-site monitoring that lets you know how many total visitors are on the page you’re currently viewing. Although its interface is not very user-friendly and lacks certain features like segmenting clicks on a page by referral, Clicky is a great entry point when trying to decide where you want your analytics to be accented. Pricing: Free Pro: $9.99/month Pro Plus: $14.99/month Pro Platinum: $19.99/month Custom: Varies
To make the most of a marketing campaign, you want your visitors to have the most engaging experience. Optimizely gives you the power to experiment with changes to your site without any coding experience. A/B testing is crucial in improving your site’s conversion rate because greeting your visitors with subpar or superior UI will make all the difference between a bounce and a conversion. The easy-to-use interface allows you to make any changes with a single click. Optimizely has an edge over other A/B testing tools because it can be integrated with CrazyEgg’s heatmap. This functionality allows you to track various experiments with snapshots that are assigned to your visitors. Always keeping your eye on the user’s experience, this integration adds another dimension of analytics to your site’s potential performance that can be the boost your strategy needs. Pricing: Bronze: $17/month Silver: $71/month Gold: $359/month Platinum: Request demo
Creating and curating content as part of your social strategy can be a difficult task, particularly when you don’t know how your content is behaving. Buffer helps you manage your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus accounts. From scheduling content to collaborating with team members, this is your one-stop shop to managing your company’s social media. Where Buffer truly excels, though, is in its reporting. The analytics tab breaks down your content’s performance by channel to show you how many likes, shares, retweets and clicks it’s garnered. Its latest update offers Google Analytics integration, which is useful when matching your social efforts to specific marketing campaigns. By tracking specific utm parameters, you can fine-tune the content you push out to improve the process of converting a visitor into a valued customer. Though easily overlooked, social media analytics can help redefine one’s approach to content strategy. Pricing: Buffer for Business Small: $50/month Medium: $100/month Large: $250/month Evaluating your analytics with regards to hits and conversion rates is great, but that’s just the beginning of how you should be using this information. Marketers must think on a grander scale, while maintaing sight of how it’s all made possible — the user. Think about your audience when you’re up to your elbows in metrics. How can you take this data and transform it into actionable items to engage your audience with your product? There is significant room for content strategy development when you use analytics to measure against results. Stephanie Castillo is a digital marketing specialist at Visually. She has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and History of Art and Visual Culture from University of California, Santa Cruz. Follow her on Twitter: @StephanieIvania.