At the start of July 2023, Universal Analytics (UA) users had to say goodbye to their preferred web analytics tool as Google discontinued it. While some find Google Analytics 4 (GA4) can do what they need, many GA4 users are starting to realise GA4 doesn’t meet all the needs UA once fulfilled. Consequently, they are actively seeking another web analytics tool to complement GA4 and address those unmet requirements effectively.
In this article, we’ll break down five of the top web analytics tools on the market. You’ll find details about their core capabilities, pricing structures and some noteworthy pros and cons to help you decide which tool is the right fit for you. We’ve also included some key features a good web analytics tool should have to give you a baseline for comparison.
Whether you’re a marketing manager focused on ROI of campaigns, a web analyst focused on conversions or simply interested in learning more about web analytics, there’s something for you on this list.
What is a web analytics tool?
Web analytics tools collect and analyse information about your website’s visitors, their behaviour and the technical performance of your site. A web analytics tool compiles, measures and analyses website data to give you the information you need to improve site performance, boost conversions and increase your ROI.
What makes a web analytics tool good?
Before we get into tool specifics, let’s go over some of the core features you can expect from a web analytics tool.
For a web analytics tool to be worth your time (and money), it needs to cover the basics. For example:
- Visitor reports: The number of visitors, whether they were unique or repeat visitors, the source of traffic (where they found your website), device information (if they’re using a desktop or mobile device) and demographic information like geographic location
- Behaviour reports: What your visitors did while on your site, conversion rates (e.g., if they signed up for or purchased something), the pages they entered and exited from, average session duration, total time spent on a page and bounce rates (if they left without interacting with anything)
- Technical information: Page loading speed and event tracking — where users are clicking, what they’re downloading or sharing from your site, if they’re engaging with the media on it and how far down the page they’re scrolling
- Marketing campaign information: Breakdowns of ad campaigns by provider, showing if ads resulted in traffic to your site and lead to an eventual sale or conversion
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) information: Which keywords on which pages are driving traffic to your site, and what search engines are they coming from
- Real-time data tracking: Visitor, behaviour and technical information available in real-time, or close to it — allowing you to address to issues as they occur
- Data visualisation: Charts and graphs illustrating the above information in an easily-readable format — helping identify opportunities and providing valuable insights you can leverage to improve site performance, conversion rates and the amount of time visitors spend on a page
- Custom reporting: Create custom reports detailing the desired metrics and time frame you’re interested in
- Security: User access controls and management tools to limit who can see and interact with user data
- Resources: Official user guides, technical documentation, troubleshooting materials, customer support and community forums
Pros and Cons of Google Analytics 4
Despite many users’ dissatisfaction, GA4 isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s still a powerful tool with all the standard features you’d expect. It’s the most popular choice for web analytics for a few other reasons, too, including:
- It’s free to use
- It’s easy to set up
- It has a convenient mobile app
- It has a wealth of user documentation and technical resources online
- Its machine-learning capabilities help predict user behaviour and offer insights on how to grow your site
- It integrates easily with other Google tools, like Google Search Console, Google Ads and Google Cloud
That said, it comes with some serious drawbacks. Many users accustomed to UA have reported being unhappy with the differences between it and GA4. Their reasons range from changes to the user interface and bounce rate calculations, as well as Google’s switch from pageview-focused metrics to event-based ones.
Let’s take a look at some of the other cons:
- Lack of privacy, as Google uses data from Google Analytics for advertising purposes.
- Cookie consent banners can frustrate visitors, and with 40-60% of web visitors rejecting consent, relying on them can lead to inaccurate data and an incomplete view of your web traffic and campaign outcomes.
- Can’t import data from UA to GA4
- Missing features like heatmaps and session recording
- Google Analytics 360, the GA for enterprises, costs $150,000/year
Now that you know GA4’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to explore other tools that can help fill in GA4’s gaps.
Top 5 web analytics tools (that aren’t Google)
Below is a list of popular web analytics tools that, unless otherwise stated, have all the features a good tool should have.
Adobe is a trusted name in software, with tools that have shaped the technological landscape for decades, like Photoshop and Illustrator. With web design and UX tools Dreamweaver and XD, it makes sense that they’d offer a web analytics platform as well.
Adobe Analytics provides not just web analytics but marketing analytics that tell you about customer acquisition and retention, ROI and ad campaign performance metrics. Its machine learning (ML) and AI-powered analytics predict future customer behaviour based on previously collected data.
- Multichannel data collection that covers computers, mobile devices and IoT devices
- Adobe Sensei (AI/ML) for marketing attribution and anomaly detection
- Tag management through Adobe Experience Platform Launch simplifies the tag creation and maintenance process to help you track how users interact with your site
- User-friendly and simple to learn with a drag-and-drop interface
- When integrated with other Adobe software, it becomes a powerful solution for enterprises
- Saves your team a lot of time with the recommendations and insights automatically generated by Adobe’s AI/ML
- No free version
- Adobe Sensei and tag manager limited to premium version
- Expensive, especially when combined with the company’s other software
- Steep learning curve for both setup and use
Mobile app: Yes
Integrations: Integrates with Adobe Experience Manager Sites, the company’s CMS. Adobe Target, a CRO tool and part of the Adobe Marketing Cloud subscription, integrates with Analytics.
Pricing: Available upon request
Matomo is the leading open-source web analytics solution designed to help you make more informed decisions and enhance your customer experience while ensuring GDPR compliance and user privacy. With Matomo Cloud, your data is stored in Europe, while Matomo On-Premise allows you to host your data on your own servers.
Matomo is used on over 1 million websites, in over 190 countries, and in over 50 languages. Additionally, Matomo is an all-in-one solution, with traditional web analytics (visits, acquisition, etc.) alongside behavioural analytics (heatmaps, session recordings and more), plus a tag manager. No more inefficiently jumping back and forth between tabs in a huge tech stack. It’s all in Matomo, for one consistent, seamless and efficient experience.
- Heatmaps and session recording to display what users are clicking on and how individual users interacted with your site
- A/B testing to compare different versions of the same content and see which gets better results
- Robust API that lets you get insights by connecting your data to other platforms, like data visualisation or business intelligence tools
- Open-source, reviewed by experts to ensure that it’s secure
- Offers On-Premise or Cloud-hosted options
- Fully compliant with GDPR, so you can be data-driven without worrying.
- Option to run without cookies, meaning in most countries you can use Matomo without annoying cookie consent banners and while getting more accurate data
- You retain complete ownership of your data, with no third parties using it for advertising or unspecified “own purposes”
- On-Premise is free, but that means an additional cost for advanced features (A/B testing, heatmaps, etc.) that are included by default on Matomo Cloud
- Matomo On-Premise requires servers and technical expertise to setup and manage
Integrations: Matomo integrates easily with many other tools and platforms, including WordPress, Looker Studio, Magento, Jira, Drupal, Joomla and Cloudflare.
- Varies based on monthly hits
- Matomo On-Premise: free
- Matomo Cloud: starting at €19/month
Mixpanel’s features are heavily geared toward e-commerce companies. From the moment a visitor lands on your website to the moment they enter their payment details and complete a transaction, Mixpanel tracks these events.
Similar to GA4, Mixpanel is an event-focused analytics platform. While you can still track pageviews with Mixpanel, its main focus is on the specific actions users take that lead them to purchases. Putting your attention on this information allows you to find out which events on your site are going through the sales funnel.
They’re currently developing a Warehouse Events feature to simplify the process of importing data lakes and data warehouses.
- Custom alerts and anomaly detection
- Boards, which allow you to share multiple reports and insights with your team in a range of visual styles
- Detailed segmentation reporting that lets you break down your data to the individual user, specific event or geographic level
- Boards allow for emojis, gifs, images and videos to make collaboration fun
- Powerful mobile analytics for iOS and Android apps
- Free promotional credits for eligible startups
- Limited features in free plan
- Best features limited to the Enterprise-tier subscription
- Complicated set up
- Steep learning curve
Mobile app: No
Integrations: Mixpanel has a load of integrations, including Figma, Google Cloud, Slack, HappyFox, Snowflake, Microsoft Azure, Optimizely, Mailchimp and Tenjin. They also have a WordPress plugin.
- Starter: free plan available
- Growth: $20/month
- Enterprise $833/month
HubSpot is a customer relationship management (CRM) platform with marketing, sales, customer service, content management system (CMS) and operations tools. This greater ecosystem of HubSpot software allows you to practically run your entire business in one place.
Even though HubSpot Marketing isn’t a dedicated web analytics tool, it provides comparable standard metrics as the other tools on this list, albeit without the more advanced analytical metrics they offer. If you’re already using HubSpot to host your website, it’s definitely worth consideration.
- Customer Journey Analytics presents the steps your customers went through in the sales process, step-by-step, in a visual way
- Dashboards for your reports, including both fully customisable options for power users and pre-made templates for new users
- Integration with other HubSpot tools, like HubSpot CRM’s free live chat widget
- User-friendly interface with many features being drag-and-drop, like the report dashboard
- 24/7 customer support
- Can get expensive with upgrades and other HubSpot tool add ons
- Not a dedicated web analytics tool, so it’s missing some of the features other tools have, like heatmaps
- Not really worth it as a standalone tool
- Some users report customer support is unhelpful
Mobile app: Yes
Integrations: The larger HubSpot CRM platform can connect with nearly 1,500 other apps through the HubSpot App Marketplace. These include Slack, Microsoft Teams, Salesforce, Make, WordPress, SurveyMonkey, Shopify, monday.com, Stripe, WooCommerce and hundreds of others.
- Starter: $20/month ($18/month with annual plan)
- Professional: $890/month ($800/month with annual plan)
- Enterprise: $3,600/month ($43,200 billed annually)
Kissmetrics is a web analytics tool that is marketed toward SaaS and ecommerce companies. They label themselves as “person-based” because they combine event-based tracking with detailed user profiles of the visitors to your site, which allows you to gain insights into customer behaviour.
With user profiles, you can drill down to see how many times someone has visited your site, if they’ve purchased from you and the steps they took before completing a sale. This allows you to cater more to these users and drive growth.
- Person Profiles that give granular information about individual users and their activities on your site
- Campaigns, an engagement messenger application, allows you to set up email automations that are triggered by specific events
- Detailed reporting tools
- No third-party cookies
- No data sampling
- Difficult installation
- Strongest reporting features only available in the most expensive plan
- Reports can be slow to generate
- Doesn’t track demographic data, bounce rate, exits, session length or time on page
Mobile app: No
Integrations: Kissmetrics integrates with HubSpot, Appcues, Slack, Mailchimp, Shopify, WooCommerce, Recurly and a dozen others. There is also a Kissmetrics WordPress plugin.
- Silver: $299/month (small businesses)
- Gold: $499/month (medium)
- Platinum: custom pricing (enterprises)
In this article, you learned about popular tools for web analytics to better inform you of your options. Despite all of GA4’s shortcomings, by complementing it with another web analytics tool, teams can gain a more comprehensive understanding of their website traffic and enhance their overall analytics capabilities.
If you want an option that delivers powerful insights while keeping privacy, security and compliance at the forefront, you should try Matomo.
Try Matomo alongside Google Analytics now to see how it compares.
Start your 21-day free trial now – no credit card required.