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    Analytics Battle Royale: Google Analytics, Zoom Analytics or Piwik?

    January 30, 2014

January 30, 2014

Analytics Battle Royale: Google Analytics, Zoom Analytics or Piwik?

Running a website can be a challenging and time consuming past time. The modern webmaster has plenty to do, even when using a Content Management System like WordPress or Drupal that make having a website a relatively painless process.

Analytics are Important, right?

Thankfully, there are plenty of tools in the webmasters’ arsenal.  Agreeably, the most important tool is good Analytics installed on your website. If you don’t currently have analytics installed on your website you’re missing out! Having a powerful analytics platform allows you to make critical decisions about your website, its content, your users and learn insight into loads of other factors that help to manage your time by putting it into the right direction.

Have you ever tried to drive a car, while blindfolded? Well without analytics you’re missing out on a lot of information that could derail the path of growth your website is on and how your users use your website as well. This could mean lower sales or conversion rates, little account creations or other scenarios you want to avoid! Just like how seeing keeps you and the car on the road, having good analytics will help you navigate the road-map that is the internet and it’s traffic.

A Battle Royale!

We know that our website must have analytics and that it’s really important because it will help us make critical webmaster decisions but, which platform should we pick? With quite a bit of choice out there, we have picked our top 3 favourite platforms used regularly either on our own in-house websites or deployed for our clients and will go through a blow-by-blow comparison to see which is the ultimate platform to use for your WordPress website.

[tooltip icon=”yes” color=”dark” tip=”Click the plus/minus sign to open and close the content below. “][/tooltip][reveal title=”Contender One: Google Analytics” open=”true” color=”blue”]

Google Analytics

The largest internet company on the planet offers a free to use Analytics platform. It’s one of the most used platforms and sets the standard for online analytics. Although you’re handing over your website and user traffic data to Google to share with advertising but, in doing so, you gain a powerful analytics system that syncs well with other Google internet products and services like Webmaster, Adwords and Adsense. All three of which are powerful tools for a webmaster if utilized properly. Webmaster, Adwords and Adsense can easily be topics of their own so we will focus on the Analytics service, its features, pitfalls and how it stacks up compared to our other two analytics systems under the spotlight.

Overview

[list style=”arrow” color=”blue-lite”]

  • Cost: Free!
  • Installation Difficulty: Easy
  • Hosting Required: No
  • Mobile App: iOS & Android
  • Setup Time: 10 Minutes (or less)
      [/list]
Pros

[list style=”check” color=”green”]

  • Cost: Free
  • Installation Difficulty: Easy
  • Free Mobile App: iOS & Android
  • Quick Setup Time
  • Syncs with Google Services
  • Flow Visualization Breakdown
  • Giving up website information and data to Google*
      [/list]
Cons

[list style=”cross” color=”red”]

  • Can be overwhelming if looking for something simple
  • Giving up website information and data to Google*
  • No Branding Available
  • Requires a Google Account (or Google Apps Account) for use
      [/list]

Breakdown

Google Analytics is a powerful platform which is heavily used by webmasters all over the world, amateur, professional and corporate alike. Because of this popularity, its ease of use when it comes to your WordPress website is quite high. With a wide selection of free community plugins to pick from; installing the Analytics Code and pulling in Data to see your info right inside WordPress can easily be taken care of with a single plugin: the Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin.

The system itself expands to provide many areas of analysis for your website:

With so many features. You can rest assured knowing that all angles are covered when using Google Analytics.

[/reveal]

[reveal title=”Contender Two: Zoom Analytics” open=”false” color=”blue”]

Zoom Analytics

This analytics platform isn’t one to be taken lightly. Boasting some very impressive features, Zoom Analytics is a great and intuitive platform for companies or business that want an edge over the competition with their online presence. With a large focus on conversion, Zoom Analytics cuts through the charts and graphics to give you important data with their unique Business Insights section to help you make the right decisions like, which squeeze page is converting best or ways to curb a high bounce rate on a focused page.

Overview

[list style=”arrow” color=”blue-lite”]

  • Costs:
    • Free Trial – 30 Days
    • $23/mo – $235/mo
  • Installation Difficulty: Easy
  • Hosting Required: No
  • Mobile App: Under Development
  • Setup Time: 1+ Hour (or more)
      [/list]
Pros

[list style=”check” color=”green”]

  • Trial: 30-Day risk free trial of any account level
  • Installation Difficulty: Easy
  • Helps give “plain  English” analysis from your Data
  • Interesting Focus on Conversion Rates
  • Daily Business Intelligence Analysis and Insights
  • Campaign tracking
  • Unlimited use of ClickWizard
  • Smart Filter with all graphs
      [/list]
Cons

[list style=”cross” color=”red”]

  • Can be overwhelming if looking for something quick
  • Giving up website information and data to Zoom Analytics*
  • No Mobile App (yet)
  • No Branding Available
      [/list]

Breakdown

Zoom Analytics might not boast eye catching charts and graphs but one of the best features you won’t find anywhere else is: Insights.

Produced by the Zoom Analytics engine daily, the engine looks for hidden connections between your website goals and users’ actions and properties. Goals and actions can be defined using the JavaScript API, by the ClickWizard, or from the settings page (when you are signed in). The Insight Engine looks for insights regarding your data to help you make informed decisions about your website. For example, you have an e-commerce site you might find that there is a connection between the amount spent and number of previous visits.

The power that Insights provides is one of the features that sets Zoom Analytics apart from the rest but the Campaign feature is the highlight of the system in our personal opinion. Campaigns, in a nutshell, allow you to target specific visitor segments just before they leave your website. When its determined that user is about to leave the website (based on on-site behavior) a check is done to see if the visitor matches the rules of a campaign. If so, an overlay popup (non-blocking) campaign is shown. These popups grab the user’s attention and have relatively high click-through-rate.
Creating a campaign takes no more than a few minutes. You can use one of the ready-made templates or provide your own design. Defining the rules for a campaign is very simple – just choose the rules (visit duration, entry time, geo-location etc.) and set the values (e.g. visitors coming from Canada, entering the website between 15:00-16:00, and visit duration is between 2-5 minutes). To decide on the exact rules for a campaign you can use the BI engine (mentioned above). It produces insights on your goals.

Following are just a few examples of things you could do with a targeted real-time campaign on Zoom Analytics:

Lead generation

– Offer your free e-book
– Subscribe to your newsletter
– Let users directly leave their email or phone number

Registration to service

Implement your registration form in the popup.

Offer discount

Provide the user a discount coupon.

‘Contact us’ form

Let your users send a message easily from within the popup, if they have not reached a specific goal. Maybe they had a problem.

Bring the user to a page she hasn’t visited yet

When user leaves your website without converting and without visiting one of your better-converting pages, suggest she visit that page before leaving. Clicking on the popup button will redirect to the page.

Promote a product

Launching a new product or service? easily promote it to all your visitors. Just define the campaign to be active on all pages for all users who have not seen the product page yet.

Poles

Implement a short pole inside the popup, or just ask if user is willing to participate, and if so then redirect to another page.

With so much power inside such a packed analytics package its no surprise it made it onto our small battle list. Anyone obsessed with conversion rates and e-commerce  growth, this is one worth checking out.

[/reveal]

[reveal title=”Contender Three: Piwik Analytics” open=”false” color=”red”]

Piwik Analytics

Much can be said for the open source community; with the benefits of industry professionals creating an powerful free software in their spare time comes our last analytics platform: Piwik. With open source comes security and no one takes that more seriously than Piwik. By giving you the platform to host on your own servers you can keep all your information, data and analytics to yourself. Safe and secure. Intranet websites hosted on an internal network generally have important security and privacy requirements, as is the case with governments, enterprise portals or universities intranets. They often require that the statistics software be hosted within the company or institution own infrastructure. Piwik is the ideal choice for intranet analytics; for WordPress its light footprint is ideal for performance thinking users too.

Overview

[list style=”arrow” color=”blue-lite”]

  • Cost: Free!
  • Installation Difficulty: Beginner
  • Hosting Required: Yes
  • Mobile App: iOS & Android
  • Setup Time: 5 Minutes (or less)
      [/list]
Pros

[list style=”check” color=”green”]

  • Cost: Free
  • Installation Difficulty: Beginner (Same as WordPress)
  • Free Mobile App: iOS & Android
  • Quick Setup Time
  • Constant security checks to codebase
  • Keeps your Data private
  • Expandable via Widget Marketplace
  • Fully  Theme-able
  • WordPress Plugin Install
  • One Install can track multiple websites
      [/list]
Cons

[list style=”cross” color=”red”]

  • Can feel a bit simple if looking for something robust
  • Requires your own hosting
  • Lacks some complex visualization tracking features
    [/list]

Breakdown

Piwik excels at delivering lightweight, branded analytics with all the data you need to make proper insights into your website. The mobile apps for both iOS and Android is just icing on the cake for the platform. With its focus on security and data retention, having Piwik installed on your own servers or inside your own internal eco-system you get full control over the platform. From a simple logo replacement to a full blown custom theme you can change or alter any aspect of the analytics platform to suit your needs. From moving widgets around on the dashboard using drag and drop or coding your own theme the options are up to you!

[/reveal]

Conclusion

So with all three platforms offering some pretty unique features, data  visualizations and different levels of complexity; which platform best helps the WordPress website owner?

[button title=”PIWIK ANALYTICS” type=”linkbutton” color=”red” align=”aligncenter” url=”http://piwik.org/what-is-piwik/” target=”_blank” el_class=”big-text”]

With its focus on security, scalability, and free mobile apps its clear that Piwik should be your platform of choice. From the options of free analytics platforms it has everything you need to optimize, tweak and get the most out of your WordPress website. Even a free plugin for easy WordPress installation!

However, if you want a bit of guidance and feel that a more customized analytics (not design) approach for your business is required you owe it to yourself (and maybe your boss) to check out Zoom Analytics’ Free Trial.

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