Your company likely requires some degree of web analytics to ensure that customers engage with your website. While the urge to spend as little money on web analytics as possible sounds tempting, this semi-obscure measurement system should remain within top priorities to ensure your company maintains relevance in an increasingly online world.
So, while using Google Analytics may be tempting for its ubiquity, does that make it necessarily the best? Not necessarily; while having one of the largest companies in the world run your analytics may sound like an excellent idea, some issues with its interface and pricing mean that at least some analytics companies offer services that are better than Google Analytics.
This article attempts to use some of the shortfalls of Google Analytics to indicate what a good analytics company can do for you.
One of the great things about Google Analytics is the price; for its standard package, Google Analytics is $0.00. Naturally, this is an attractive price point, especially for a smaller business that doesn’t have much in the way of web traffic.
However, as it is free, its offerings are limited; with only 20 variables, it will track the free software, a cap of 10,000,000 hits per month, and reports that only happen once every 24 hours. Standard Google Analytics may not be an option for a growing company.
Naturally, they offer a paid version with significant upgrades; a 500,000,000 hit limit per month, a higher refresh rate for data, attribution modeling to specify what metrics are most important to you, and access to Google BigQuery, their data warehouse.
And naturally, this comes with a hefty price tag; if you want Google Analytics Premium, you will pay a flat $150,000 annually. While a large company may foot this bill, a smaller company will not be able to afford such a cost.
Rather than an all-or-less structure, a modern analytics company will instead offer multiple price points and customizable packages, often far less than the $150,000 asking price for Google Analytics. Since Google is such a big company, they can’t offer quite as much price customization as a company that focuses explicitly on analytics.
Google Analytics Premium offers specialized customer support. While the standard package provides some help as well, said support is not quite as robust.
Customer support for the standard package has been indicated as lacking, with “it’s not part of the core services” often being an answer. A complex method can be employed to start a Google AdWords account to get analytics help, but this requires more leg work than necessary to get decent customer service.
A modern analytics company will make customer service one of its most essential hallmarks. Through training (Google Analytics does offer free tutorials, but so do most other smaller companies), one-on-one interactions, and specialized support, vital customer service from an analytics company should be expected.
If you’re willing to put in the effort, you can determine the most critical metrics. Not every company requires the same tracking as yours does. One of the problems with a one-size-fits-all method like Google Analytics boils down to lack of customization. While 20 data points may seem like a reasonably wide berth, your company may be interested in far more than that down the line.
A modern analytics company will allow the customer to dictate what they need most, rather than offering a catch-all model and hoping that this will be enough to satisfy the customer’s needs. A larger company simply does not possess that level of flexibility that a smaller company focused only on analytics can offer.
That is not to say that Google Analytics is necessarily a bad option. Having a competent analytics program is better than having no analytics at all for your website. But you must ask yourself: do you need limited information, all the information possible, or something in between?
If your answer is the third, you may wish to consider a company that offers a more nuanced approach than Google.