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3 Free Alternatives to Google Analytics

Posted on 11.17.2013

:: By Vincent Clarke, USB Memory Direct ::


Are there alternatives to Google Analytics that won’t break the bank? Of course! They’re not only totally free to use, but also fairly easy to install. 

Don’t get me wrong. Google Analytics is by far one of the best Web analytics programs available today. Its combination of creative visualizations, diverse data sets, and extensive quantitative properties make it a powerful tool for any website. The fact that the entire platform is available absolutely for free is also an attractive feature as well. 

However, many business professionals often find themselves uneasy with the idea of one company controlling such a large portion of their online activity. Google also chooses to opt out a good amount of data from its analytics due to search engine updates and various terms of use that they’ve adopted in the last few years. The Google Penguin 2.0 update in particular removed much of the keyword related data on its Analytics in favor of long-tail search phrases. 

Sometimes it’s best just to get a second opinion. Have a secondary analytics program set in place to compare results and possibly gather additional useful data from. Although Google Analytics certainly offers quite a big list of features, it doesn’t offer everything and won’t suit everyone’s needs appropriately. 

The alternatives below offer additional features, distinctive graphical user interfaces, and above all, they’re completely free. Give them a try and be sure to tell us about your experience in the comments.  

Open Web Analytics 

Open Web Analytics is an open source platform that you install directly onto your server (or your Web host’s server). Although it will take some extra time to install, the program will insure that you keep all of your website’s analytics data. The primary benefit from using Open Web Analytics is it is entirely free to use, own and distribute among all of your Web domains under the General Public License Version 2. 

There are no data limits and you can use it on an unlimited number of websites. Mouse movement records, DOM click tracking, and multi-page click heatmaps are three features you will not get through Google Analytics. Open Web Analytics also tracks various conversion statistics, site usage numbers, visitor flow and referral events. 

In order to utilize this program you must install it onto your Web server by yourself. Open Web Analytics also supports WordPress and MediaWiki, and has additional installation instructions for these CMS platforms on their website. 

Piwik 

Just like OWA, the Piwik Analytics software is also an open source application that you host on your own server and is offered in more than 30 different languages. Although it is currently only available as a self-hosted program, there is a small possibility that the company will offer a hosted version sometime in the future. Through Piwik you get basic user statistics, real-time tracking, and mobile apps available for iOS and Android. You can also very easily set up your own conversion goals and then track them as well. 

If you’ve ever worked on the WordPress admin interface, you’ll notice that it’s very similar to the Piwik dashboard. As such many people take an instant liking to it and find it incredibly simple to maneuver. You can also add as many domains as you want without any restrictions. If you’re on a WordPress site, you can download the WP-Piwik Plugin to seamlessly combine Piwik analytics with your WordPress administrator dashboard. 

Clicky 

Clicky is completely free for up to 3,000 daily page views for an unlimited amount of time. If you happen to go over that amount per day however, you will need to upgrade to a premium account. The Clicky dashboard (free version) provides you with hourly traffic updates, a list of top referring domains, top pages viewed, and other useful information such as average time spent on site per user. The “spy” feature allows you to see what users are doing onsite in real time, in addition to a world map showing their current location. Other features such as download tracking, click heatmaps, and engagement reports are all available through a premium account. Clicky Pro is available starting at $10 per month. 


About the Author

Vincent Clarke is a senior copywriter and marketing analyst for USB Memory Direct. When he’s not surfing or reading, he’s constantly trying to find new ways to help people through his writing and research.

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