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6 new analytics tools marketers can't live without

6 new analytics tools marketers can't live without Mark Hansen

If you're a marketer at an in-house organization or an agency, you're likely being pulled in a million directions. That's why you build an amazing team to support you, and use tried-and-true tools to streamline your work and meet deadlines.

Like your marketing campaigns, though, the tools you use are always changing, and new and better options are hitting the market. I've outlined some tools in this article that will make it easier to measure, analyze, and optimize your website and digital marketing strategies. Some are new tools, and others are exciting new features that have been incorporated into existing products.

I've broken the list down by category because there are a lot of activities that fall under the "analytics" umbrella, and there is no all-purpose tool.

Alternative to Google Analytics: Mixpanel

Mixpanel is an analytics platform for mobile and web. It's a great tool that promises it can do more analysis, at a faster pace, with less work than Google Analytics. Mixpanel is also known for having a significant edge in mobile analytics.

It's tough to go up against Google Analytics -- which is an excellent, stable product that enjoys huge marketshare and thousands of loyal fans (myself included). But MixPanel founder Suhail Doshi is incredibly passionate about analytics and has built Mixpanel into the hot product in the "alternative to Google Analytics" category. In the past year it's raised $65 million in venture capital to fund development of the product into new areas including predictive analysis and artificial intelligence.As web analytics has moved beyond simply tracking pageviews, visits, and sessions, Google Analytics has grown and added features -- to the point where some marketers find it unwieldy. One big complaint is that it's difficult to track leads and conversions (i.e., Goals), or activities, like watching a video or sharing content (i.e., Events), without getting help from web programmers.

Mixpanel was designed from the start to be event-centric, so it's easier to set up to track leads, conversions, video views, sharing, etc. And the company is building on this advantage by enabling users to tie customer notifications to events. For example, you can have Mixpanel automatically notify a trial user when their trial is about to expire and offer a discount.

What users like most
Mobile analytics, simplicity of setting up event tracking, customer engagement and retention features.

Alternatives in this category
Piwik, KISSmetrics, Woopra, Chartbeat, Adobe Analytics (Enterprise customers only)

Analytics reporting: Megalytic

My own company, Megalytic, is a tool for building digital marketing reports from web analytics data. If you create reports for your boss or clients each month, detailing the results of campaigns and other marketing efforts, then you know how much time it takes to manually export data from web analytics platforms, format it the way you want, export it into your report, and edit everything to look good enough to present to your audience.

Megalytic is integrated with Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools, and Google AdWords integration is expected soon. It automates the reporting process by pulling your data into documents, minimizing the time you spend editing, so that you can focus your energy on creating amazing campaigns.


Above is an image showing a snippet of a PDF report generated by Megalytic. Click here to download the full sample report.

What users like most
Professional look of reports, and time saved on reporting tasks.

Alternatives in this category
DashThis, RavenTools


Best new Google Analytics feature: Cohort Analysis

Google is always making improvements to its tools, and one of the latest new features, the Cohort Analytics Report, is extremely helpful.

What is cohort analysis? It is a statistical technique for dividing website or app users into groups (cohorts) and then comparing behavior across these groups. The new Google Report automatically creates cohorts based on the date range of their first visit. From there, you can track how likely they are to come back to your site, convert into a lead, make a purchase, etc.

This can be really powerful when combined with Segments to track the behavior over time of users who arrived via different campaigns or channels. For example, the Cohort Analysis Report, combined with Segments for Organic versus Paid Search can tell us which type of search is bringing in users that eventually come back and convert into paying customers.


For a more detailed description of the marketing insights that can be gleaned from the Cohort Analysis Report, see this case study.

What users like most
Easily see which campaigns or channels are bringing in users who convert.

Alternatives in this category

Custom analytics: Keen IO

Keen IO is a tool that helps to record event data from mobile apps, websites, billing systems, backend servers, etc. Based in San Francisco, Keen IO raised more than $11 million in July 2014 to fund marketing and additional development. For good reason: this tool is incredibly helpful if you need to build your analytics from scratch, like if you have a game, app, or website, and they all need to work together to track details about users.

Keen IO will excite your developers. As a fully managed cloud API, it enables developers to build complex, custom, large-scale analytics and data science features directly into their web and mobile applications.

Like MixPanel, Keen IO is event-centric. Everything is tracked as an event, from page views, to clicks, to signups, to purchases. Developers have infinite flexibility to build in the events that they want to track.

So, developers love it, but what benefit do digital marketers get from Keen IO? In one word -- data. Keen IO provides the volume and detail needed to bring real data science to your marketing analysis. Answer questions about which app and website features are being used and which are not, determine the user behaviors that are predictive of purchases, and much more.

What users like most
Programmers love the flexibility and power of the API to enable sophisticated tracking. Marketers get empowered to do real data science.

Alternatives in this category

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): Unbounce and Optimizely

Unbounce and Optimizely are tools that help you not just analyze, but design your websites and improve conversion. Both tools are grounded in the practice of A/B testing and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) to help designers understand how UI changes affect conversion, and each tool will help you to test and measure changes in your design to find optimal conversion paths.

The differences between these tools is primarily scope -- Unbounce is focused on landing page creation and optimization; while Optmizely looks at the entire app or website. Try Unbounce if you are looking to optimize landing pages for PPC or other campaigns. Look to Optimizely if you need to optimize pages that are core to your website.

What users like most
Users of both tools love the ability to create, test, and analyze pages without needing programming assistance.

Alternatives in this category

Customer experience analytics: ClickTale

Clicktale started as a heatmap tool, but the company has been beefing up the product as they attempt to define a whole new category of analysis: customer experience analytics. In fact, the company raised $35 million of new venture capital in January to finance continued development and growth.

Customer experience analytics encompasses a variety of tools for analyzing and optimizing usability and conversion rates on a website. While Clicktale still excels at heatmaps, users can now do much more.. For example, they can play back sessions of individual visitors and drill down on detailed conversion data to optimize sales funnels.

Above is an example of Clicktale's specialized "Attention Heatmap" showing the content that visitors focus on. Red to orange areas are capturing users' attention, while the cooler colors (blue to green) indicate content that is being skipped over.

What users like most
Tracking and playback of real user visits to identify drop-off points.

Alternatives in this category

Mark Hansen is the founder and president of Megalytic.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia at @iMediaTweet.

"Business person analyzing financial statistics displayed on the tablet screen" image via Shutterstock.

Mark Hansen is the Founder and CEO of Megalytic, the leading tool for building web analytics marketing reports. Megalytic is used by digital agencies, marketers and business owners for faster, more insightful and better...

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to leave comments.

Commenter: Mark Hansen

2015, April 30

Hey Paul - my pleasure!

Commenter: Paul Dumas

2015, April 29

Mark, thanks for posting DashThis as an alternative in the Analytics reporting category! Our team really appreciates the shout out and we're excited to stay in touch with "imedia connection" as time goes on and wish you all the best with your product.