Choosing a web visitor behavior tracking tool can be a bit overwhelming these days. The field is filled, many tools are confusing, and trying to get a bang for your buck can be tricky. As an assist, we trawled for 5 kick-butt solutions to set you on the path towards better customer experience management.
Google Analytics (Free!)
Most of you probably like free best, so we'll start with Google Analytics. The enterprise-oriented service provides extensive insight into website traffic and marketing effectiveness at no cost. It is currently utilized by 57% of the 10,000 most popular sites on the web, making it the most widely used statistics service currently available.
Big G’s approach is of the dashboard variety, which powers visual data targeted towards both the casual and seasoned user. A technique called funnel visualization, for instance, can reveal leaks by displaying which pages result in lost opportunities and where your would-be customers go:
Meanwhile, In-Page Analytics reports from the Content section of Google Analytics enables you to see visitor behavior (click) and goal data superimposed on your website, as you browse:
Google's latest update to the platform (see our article: Google Updates Analytics: 3 Power User Tips) got even more dashboard friendly by making it widget-based and fully customizable.
Widgets include: Simple Metrics, Pie Charts, Timelines, and Tables. This revamp gives you the ability to choose your preferred activity snapshots, with customization supported via filters and easy-peasy drag-and-drop.
The integration of Webmaster tools was another big step, as it creates a set of reports using organic search data including query information, clicks, impressions, clickthrough rate, and average position.
The platform can also perform the usual tricks, like tracking visitors from all referrers, including search engines, display advertising, pay-per-click networks, and e-mail marketing. And, because it’s integrated with Google AdWords, you can also review online campaigns by tracking landing page quality and goals such as sales, lead generation, viewing a specific page, or downloading a particular file.
“There’s really only one tool for small businesses need and that’s Google Analytics,” said Christopher Penn of Blue Sky Factory. “It's so incredibly robust in terms of what it offers and if someone tells you that Google Analytics isn't enough for a small business, then frankly they have no idea how to use it properly.”
ClickTale (Free to $990/month)
In addition to traditional conversation analytics, ClickTale uses meta statistics to create visual heatmaps and reports on customer behavior. For instance, it turns out website visitors tend to hover over the text they’re actually reading. ClickTale’s Mouse Move Heatmap displays these statistics like so, allowing you to see how different page layouts affect behavior:
“One of the things that Google Analytics doesn't do particularly well is tell you what visitors are paying attention to on a page and highlighting where those visitors are getting stuck during their visit,” said Eric Peterson of Web Analytics Demystified. “Clicktale is essentially a video recorder for web site visits and provides great detail about mouse movement, scrolling, and dozens of other critical visitor behaviors.”
KISSmetrics ($29 to $699/month)
KISSmetrics offers both traditional and fresh features, such as its own version of the funnel technique (pictured below). However, the platform also aims to differentiate itself by spreading the love with a people-centric approach rather than going the pageview route.
“We don’t rely on cookies alone,” claims the company. “We consolidate all of a person’s anonymous activities on your website and tie them to their email address once they become a customer. You get a holistic view of each customers’ interactions with your business.”
Once the KISSmetrics code is on your site you'll be able to see your data immediately. And you don’t need to pre-define which reports you want -- just track the significant actions on your site and the platform automatically populate your reports with data as you create them.
Clicky (Free to $150/month)
Often used alongside Google Analytics, Clicky is designed to make sense of all the madness with clean, real time data presentations. The platform's dashboard is fairly simple, and immediately displays your most recent statistics (today/yesterday):
One of the platforms cool factors is the "Spy" feature, which lets you see the visitors that are currently on your site so that you can monitor trends as they occur. For example, lets say another website links to yours. If you're looking at the spy page in Clicky, you'll see this increase in traffic. With that information, you might want to go reach out to the site linked to you.
If you decide to commit to the Pro version (US$ 60 per year) you'll be offered the option to monitor 5 keywords on Twitter view breakdowns of Tweets in types, links, positive tone, questions, retweets, replies, and negative tone. You can also keep track of senders, recipients and tags.
CrazyEgg ($9 to $99/month)
Like ClickTale, CrazyEgg also offers heat maps for tracking your visitors' clicks. These maps accompany tips on how to improve your site's SEO, user trends, and were you need design improvements. One of the features we like is what they call a Scrollmap. Their scrollmaps show you just how far down the page your visitors are willing to explore.
Another nice CrazyEgg feature is the ability to visualize behavior by referring source. So, for example, you can see activity for all those hyperactive Twitter people.
Primary features include:
- Heatmap Report
- Scrollmap Report
- Confetti Report
- Overlay Report
- List Report
- Multiple domain tracking
As an added bonus, the only difference between the least expensive plan and the most expensive plan is the number of pages covered and the number of visitors tracked. If you over- or under-estimate the number of visitors you expected, or if you want to track more pages, you can upgrade at any time. The service also includes a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test drive for a month without financial risk. A credit card is required to kick-off your trial (boo!).