If you own a website, there’s a good chance you are using Google Analytics to keep track of your visitors, or you are considering using it. Google Analytics is an excellent product, and given the fact it’s free makes it a very viable and attractive solution to many website owners.
But it has its flaws and imperfections, some of which are:
They already know so much about you, should they know your web site stats too?
Google Analytics does have a feature to view real-time stats, but it could use some improvement so it can be more than just a fancy counter.
Time spent on page
Google Analytics can’t really keep track of time spent by a visitor unless he or she moves forward to the next page. This means, according to Google Analytics, if a user closes the browser tab, the visit length counts as 0.
In Europe there’s a new sheriff in town, conveniently called the “Cookie law”. It describes in detail how you must inform your visitors of cookies being used, including the ones Google Analytics uses. Legislation is still being drawn, but there are still countries (mine for example) where it’s still unsure if you have to throw in an ugly cookie notice when using Google Analytics, even after anonymizing IPs. This unfortunately applies also to most Google Analytics alternatives.
Lag between data collection and analysis
Google Analytics is regularly updating throughout the day, but is always a few hours behind. There is a lag between the real time data collection, and the actual viewing afterwards. All the alternatives listed below offer you up-to-the-minute data.
In part two we will discuss a couple of alternative to Google Analytics.