Your analytics toolkit needs to fulfill 5 essential roles: web analytics, social tracking, call tracking, mobile tracking, and content tracking. If you fulfill these five functions, you can be assured that you’ve got a complete picture of your results and will have the information you need to fine-tune your efforts.
Apps For Web Analytics & Tracking
This is the most basic tool in your analytics arsenal. You need to be able to have a complete picture of your web traffic. You need to know where your traffic comes from, how people navigate your site, and how well you’re converting visitors into leads.
Google Analytics is a great, free, basic tool that integrates data of all types, including mobile traffic, social reports, and the behavior of visitors to your site. The Premium version adds even more tools designed to help you get past analysis paralysis to actionable insights but it comes at a steep starting price of $150,000 per year. Most businesses find that there is more than enough data in the free version.
Piwik is a similar analytics engine to Google Analytics, but requires installation on your own server. It’s a good alternative that has different tools and interface for people who are unhappy with Google’s offering. One of the biggest benefits of Piwik is that it gives you access to all of your data, unlike Google Analytics, which often samples the data. Many users also like the idea of not giving Google access to their data and since the analytics engine is hosted on their own server, nobody has access to any of that information except for them.
Kissmetrics offers some additional tools beyond the basics of Analytics, and it may allow you to do a better job of tracking individual users to gain human insight into the people visiting your site. While Google Analytics measures based on page views, Kissmetrics provides person-level analysis, providing insight into the individual person using your site. Visitors are tracked anonymously until they become a customer. As soon as they become a customer, Kissmetrics is able to go back through your data and tie that user to all of their previous activity. All future activity is tracked moving forward which gives analysts a lot of insight into how visitors interact with their sites.
Crazy Egg and ClickTale are ways to analyze how people are behaving on your website. You can see what on the page is drawing attention and what isn’t, and gain on-page understanding of how well each page is working individually. Both services have heatmap features that show where people are clicking the most and where on each page visitors are spending their time. This data can be used to optimize a page for usability. For example, if users are spending a lot of their time on the sidebar of your page, but not clicking a “Sign Up” button on the other side of the page, you might want to consider moving that button or making it more noticeable.
Apps For Social Media Measurement & Tracking
Once you start working your web analytics tool, you’ll probably find that it’s not doing a good job of tracking your social media interactions, and that you need a dedicated social media monitoring tool.
Facebook Insights, Twitalyzer, and Pinterest Analytics are dedicated tools for measuring your social media performance on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, respectively. Which is right for you depends on where your marketing efforts are concentrated. If you use any of these social networks, you absolutely need to be using these tools because they give you data that no other 3rd party service can provide.
Klout is an analytics tool that tracks your performance across Facebook, Twitter, G+, LinkedIn, and more. Once a social profile is connected to Klout, they can provide more information as to how other people are engaging with the content you share. Klout also has a scoring system, which can be useful in identifying influential users in your community who you should be building relationships with.
Hootsuite, Buffer, and SproutSocial are all publication dashboards designed to help businesses with numerous profiles to manage their posts across all platforms, but they have increasingly integrated analytics tools that can lead to better-performing social media operations. Both Hootsuite and SproutSocial collect data from Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to see how fans are interacting with your posts and to help identify the types of content that your fans enjoy the most. The main difference is that SproutSocial uses bit.ly for URL shortening, while HootSuite uses their proprietary ow.ly URL shortener. If you like to use Buffer to schedule Tweets, you can track how your account performs based on “favorites,” mentions, and clicks and you can dig into that data based on data ranges.
Apps for Call Tracking
Web tracking is all well and good, but you need to know when people stop to pick up their phone and call. Depending on your industry, phone calls may be your leading source of customers, and without proper call tracking, you’re operating more than half-blind.
CallRail, Marchex, and Mongoose Metrics are comprehensive call tracking services that are designed to track calls from multichannel marketing campaigns, including not just websites, but PPC campaigns, radio, TV, and more. One account allows tracking of numerous companies, locations, and campaigns. Call tracking services are useful for identifying which campaigns are successful at driving phone leads. Many business owners have no idea if their websites are sending phone calls without a call tracking service set up. It’s also useful for marketing agencies who need to prove that their efforts are resulting in conversions from more than the contact form on the website. And if you do any offline marketing, call tracking is a must.
Call tracking services typically provide caller details such as the name of the caller, their phone number, the date and time of the call, how long the call was, and where they found your business number. Some services even offer an audio recording of the call, which can be useful in strengthening the skills or identifying problems areas of your sales team.
Apps for Mobile Analytics & Tracking
Many web analytics platforms claim to monitor your performance on mobile devices. As with social media, though, you’re likely to find that it just doesn’t get the job done. As this segment of your reach continues to grow in importance, you need a dedicated tool to make sure you’re reaching customers on their mobile devices.
Delivr is based on the simple premise that many mobile phone interactions are inspired by real-world encounters with marketing material. This analytics tool seeks to bridge the gap between your physical advertising reach and the virtual interaction they inspire.
LivePerson is a mobile analytics engine that attempts to create profiles of individual customers to help you better target your marketing efforts in a human way. LivePerson allows real-time identification of mobile customers, allowing faster response times and a better user experience. Customer support can see statistics such as the type of mobile device the customer is using, their service carrier, the product page they are viewing, and their location.
Localytics is an app-first mobile analytics tool that provides real-time insights into mobile app performance. This allows users to continuously tweak marketing campaigns so they are always meeting their mobile customers’ needs. Their real-time analytics data provides metrics on what type of mobile device the customer is using, their operating system and their language. Other metrics include retention rates, impressions, sessions, and events.
Apps for Hot Content Tracking
Inbound marketing depends on a constant stream of fresh content, and in order to make sure that your content remains at the forefront, you need to know what’s going on out there. To make sure you’re getting the most applicable content, you need a personalized aggregator.
Google Feedburner is a primitive tool in this way, but it gets the job done, compiling your customized feed list into one solid stream of information.
feedly is an RSS feed reader that took over the market when Google Reader shut down in July 2013. It’s a more modern tool designed to be smartphone-friendly with a very simple interface and an appealing layout.
Flipboard bills itself as your personal news magazine. Customizing your feeds into sections allows you to easily browse through your interests, and the visually appealing interface not only collects your feeds, it prioritizes them according to your interests.
Drawing Your Flush
Just as you can have a straight flush in any suit and anywhere from a wheel to the Royal Flush, there are many different ways to put these tools together to make a winning combination. Finding the right mix of tools for your analytics toolkit will take some effort and experimentation, but when you find them, you will be delighted at the results.