As a merchant, you should constantly measure the performance of your website to determine whether you’re meeting your marketing goals or not. This will help you appreciate how your efforts are impacting your bottom line.
However, before you can determine how your website is performing, you first need to acquire the right web analytics tools to help you keep tabs on the flow of traffic to your website.
Below is a list of some of the best website analytics tools suitable to measure important metrics on your online store.
Google Analytics is a free tracking tool that is useful in tracking your web traffic or how your visitors interact with your site.
It’s easy to use and comes with great features that enable site owners to generate detailed statistics about the gross quantity of visitors or traffic quantum on a website, thus, helping you to know how your SEO strategies are faring after implementation.
Google Analytics is being used by 52.9% of all websites on the internet, more than 10 times the next most popular analytics tool.
How Google Analytics Works
Your first step if you want to launch Google Analytics is to create an Analytics account. This will enable you to sign up for analytics tracking, as well as choose what data you want to track.
However, make sure you don't have Google Analytics enabled already. Having your Google Analytics enabled more than once results in inaccurate data.
If you’re not sure whether you've enabled Google Analytics for your store before, then go to Online Store on your Shopify admin. From there, go to Preferences.
In your Google Analytics section, you’ll see a box. The box should either be empty or have the text Paste your code from Google here.
However, if you see a code beginning with UA-, it means you’ve enabled your Google Analytics already.
After creating your Google Analytics account, add a tracking code to your website. Don’t panic. The code is provided by Google.
Here is how it works to generate data on visitor behaviour on your site:
Any time a visitor lands on your site, Google Analytics drops a cookie on the visitor’s browser. Cookies are small files that contain your visitor activity information.
It’s these cookies that Google Analytics uses to track visitors' activities on your site and show them to you in various reports.
So once you arrive at your Google Analytics homepage, it will give you an overview of how your site is performing.
For instance, on your Google Analytics homepage, you’ll see the number of users, sessions, bounce rate and session duration.
From this report we can see statistics such as the following:
- Users: The number of visitors that visited your site in the past 7 days.
- Sessions: The number of interactions visitors make with your site in a time frame like clicking on a link, viewing a page or buying a product. This is usually captured in 30 minutes time intervals.
- Bounce Rate: The number of visitors who just exited your page without undertaking any interaction.
- Session Duration: The average time your visitors spend on your site.
On your extreme right too, you’ll see the number of active users currently on your site.
On your extreme left, you will see data capturing Real-time, Audience, Acquisition, Behaviour & Conversion. When you click on each of them, it will show you data depicting each option.
Realtime: this data helps you to understand real-time activity on your site including visitors on your site now.
There are other sub-options under Real time Report that tells the locations of your visitors, top-performing pages, events, conversion, etc.
Audience: the audience report also breaks your website traffic such as the age of visitors, the device your visitors are using, their interest, countries that drive the most traffic, etc.
Acquisition: This data tells you how the traffic reaches your website- whether it’s from organic traffic, referral, social media pages or your visitors typing your url directly on their browser.
Behavior: The behavior report tells you what your visitors are doing on your website. It has sub-sections like Overview, Behaviour Flow, Site Content, Site Speed, Site Search, Events and Publishers.
All these sub-sections have data about how your site is performing. For instance, under the Overview, you can know your Pageviews, Unique Pageviews, Average Time on Page, Bounce Rate and Percentage Exit.
Conversion: The conversion report gives you details about activities completed by visitors such as downloading a video, buying a product, or subscribing to your email newsletter, etc.
Let’s take the overview of two reports that might be useful to you, Goals and Ecommerce.
Under Goals, you can go to Overview and see the total goal completions on your website, like visitors purchasing a product as well as the location where goals are completed the most.
Apart from Google Analytics, there’s an array of analytics tools that you can fall on to understand how your visitors interact with your site.
Yandex.Metrica is also another free web analytics tool is that is perfectly built to track and report website traffic.
It gives site owners metrics on the number of visitors to their site, the visitors’ location, device, browser, and even ad blocker usage. Having a full discovery of your audience's behavior helps you to understand audience loyalty and analyze behavior trends and patterns.
Knowing how different user groups engage with your site and the intent behind the clicks will help you measure your marketing activities, your Cost Per Order (CPO) and your entire return on investment.
Yahoo Web Analytics is another real-time analytic tool that is useful in helping merchants to generate data about their audience.
Yahoo Web Analytics is a perfect tool for profiling, filtering, and customization for the purpose of determining how well your campaign is working. Knowing your audience’s raw and real-time data including demographics such as their genders, ages, interests, etc help develop good winnable strategies to grow your return of investment.
Even more, it offers better access control options and a simpler approach to multi-site analytics, and customized options.
iPerceptions, previously 4Q is an analytic tool designed to measure your site visitors' satisfaction on your website. In simple terms, it allows you to fully understand your site’s insight from your customer's actual experiences on your site.
iPerceptions is a 100% free tool and allows you to analyze framework to answer 4 questions:
- What are the visitors on my website doing?
- Are they completing what they set out to do?
- If not, why not?
- How satisfied are my visitors?
So essentially, iPerceptions gives you the opportunity to assess if your marketing strategies are working, and if they are, to what extent.
Ever wished you could spy on your competitors’ top-performing keywords? SEMrush is a research and competitive marketing analytics tool carefully designed to help you know which keywords are sending your competitors' traffic.
Spying competitors’ top-performing keyword should be one secret strategy on how to boost traffic to your store. Knowing that will help you discover which keywords to incorporate in your keyword strategy to help you rank.
Apart from getting to know which keywords are driving traffic to your competitors' store, SEMrush also helps you find new keywords of your own, regardless of what your competitors are doing.
In addition, SEMrush comes with standard SEO and PPC-tracking functionality that gives you insight into how your SEO efforts and your paid campaigns are faring.
SEMrush is a paid tool and users can pay between $99.95 up to $399.95 per month depending on the package you opt for.
Matomo is the next free and open-source web analytics tool that is a more private alternative to Google Analytics.
Like Google Analytics, it enables site owners to track the performance of their site by giving users reports about their website visitors and their interactions.
Matomo, formerly known as Piwik places the majority of its focus on data ownership, so your data has to be 100% yours and the privacy of your users is always protected.
Matomo is highly customizable and is absolutely free. Regardless, users who want more features will have to pay to enjoy some of these 70 plugins in its library.
Mixpanel is an analytics platform similar to Google Analytics that helps site owners to track all the actions taken by visitors to their sites, such as uploading images, sharing posts, and streaming videos.
The tool can be deployed on both web and mobile and comes with user-friendly features that give site owners insight about visitors' interactions with their site.
Mixpanel allows users to specify events they want to track without having to code those events by hand. Because of its flexibility to use, users can generate real data for targeted communication.
This tool is absolutely free but users who want unlimited functionality have to pay more with prices starting at $999 per year, according to third-party sources.
Kissmetrics is also another web analytic tool perfectly designed to track the conversion process to help marketers retarget marketing strategies that are not yielding the needed results.
The tool tries to let you understand the buying behavior of customers by tracking individuals through multiple visits to your site (something Google Analytics doesn’t do), which helps you understand their pattern of behavior or how and why they make purchasing decisions.
In addition, Kissmetrics has email marketing functionality built-in that allows users to send automated emails to leads based on how they behave on their site.
Kissmetrics, however, is not a free tool - users have to pay before they can use it.
9. Crazy Egg
Crazy Egg is a user-friendly web analytics tool that gives users real-time data about how visitors navigate through their site.
This tool allows users to generate heatmaps and scroll maps which enable users to have deep insight about the visitors navigating through their site and the pages they find more useful or interesting.
This feedback is relevant as it allows users to track the performance of their site and troubleshoot areas that are not performing well to increase conversion.
The good part is that Crazy Egg allows users to run A/B tests on their sites and also has a 30-day money-back guarantee on all accounts.
Clicky is also a web analytics tool reputed for tracking real-time visitors including how many visitors you have, what they’re doing, and when they’re leaving.
It has an easy-to-use interface and allows users to generate all relevant data about their site allowing you to seize any opportunities that trickle into your site on a real-time basis.
Clicky also has a Twitter analytics feature that enables users to track mentions of their business on Twitter.
Even though Clicky has a free version, users have to upgrade to a paid version to enjoy packages with unlimited features.
Another brilliant analytic tool on the market is Chartbeat. It’s designed to help users track metrics including audience loyalty and engagement with content on their site.
So the tool helps users to make decisions about the type of content to publish to drive enough traffic to their site. Chartbeat might be an ideal way to gather all your data into one place.
Chartbeat doesn’t disclose its prices on its website but might come at a favorably moderate price starting at $7000 per year, according to third-party sources.
Optimizely is a tool built to help users run bold experiments to help them make data-driven decisions and grow faster.
The tool also provides A/B testing and multivariate testing tools. A/B tests are usually performed to determine the better of two content variations while multivariate testing uses multiple variables to find the ideal combination.
As a merchant, it’s best to test your marketing strategies before you commit money into them. Optimizely is therefore built to help you avoid error-ridden experiments by allowing you to run timely and accurate testing of your site.
Even though Optimizely doesn’t publish prices on its site, third-party sources estimate that its prices start around $36,000 per year.
In sum, you should know how to track the performance of your website to determine how your effort is yielding results. Doing so, you should know the types of metrics to measure and the right analytics tools to help you track your performance. The tools listed above are good enough to keep you going.
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