Best Google Analytics Alternatives – Why You Should Use Them

There are many technologies available to digital media teams nowadays. While classic platforms like Google Analytics are still the main tools used by everyone in the digital world, Google Analytics alternatives become more and more popular. Below you may find the main reasons why you should consider a third-party solution for your content analytics.

Reason #1  Google Analytics alternatives are more accurate

It is quite common for Google Analytics reports to decrease their accuracy, especially when drilling down to a primary or secondary dimension. For example: generating a breakdown of traffic sources often involves a technique that’s called “Sampling.” Sampling turns your report into an estimation that’s based on just a portion of your traffic.

This means that the audience patterns present in a small amount of data will be scaled to all your data. The reliability of these reports decreases as you collect more data. Low quality data often leads to making a decision based on the numbers that are far from the truth.

Google Analytics sampling example
Heavy sampling applied to Google Analytics reports

Almost every breakdown (drilldown) report will show different summary numbers. For example, your total pageviews for the article may increase or decrease by a certain amount. This may confuse you, as the user, and sometimes even turn you away from data forever.

Most of Google Analytics alternatives (like IO Technologies) never sample data and always display the correct traffic and engagement metrics. Regardless of the number of filters applied (audience loyalty, traffic source, article sections, etc.), your data is 100% accurate.

Reason #2  –  Increased data freshness

Both free and 360 versions of Google Analytics have certain limitations when it comes to data freshness.

Google Analytics 360 data freshness
Google Analytics 360 processing time

Long processing time severely limits the editor’s abilities to quickly react to traffic spikes and monitor current day performance.

Delayed data pipeline forces the newsroom to use only limited instant metrics during the day (Active users). Behavior data is often available the next day, blocking the newsrooms from making timely decisions regarding content placement and optimization. Making correct edits to the article content or adjusting headlines / images becomes impossible due to lack of data.

Many Google Analytics alternatives focus on providing content engagement data with minimum delay. Data pipeline developed by IO Technologies allows the newsroom to evaluate article performance almost instantly after publishing. Changes in engagement metrics can be monitored in real-time after the stories are edited. Fast data pipeline is a must-have in a fast-paced and ever-changing digital media environment.

Reason #3 – Only necessary data is provided

With specific KPIs set to digital team, editors are often overwhelmed by the amount of data present in Google Analytics.

Content engagement visualization example
Customized content engagement dashboard

Data that’s used within the newsroom is scattered across Behaviour, Acquisition and Real-time reports in Google Analytics. Teams are forced to build and maintain custom Data Studio reports which further decreases data freshness.

IO Technologies, one of the most popular Google Analytics alternatives for content, has combined the best practices of integrating data into hundreds of newsrooms. Every publisher gets access to an optimized and de-cluttered real-time view of their website stats. This is achieved with absolutely no sacrifices to your data quality and freshness.

Reason #4  –  Proper engagement calculation

Engagement time and Bounce Rate are industry standards that allow editors to understand user behaviour and make weighted decisions. Due to the way engagement is calculated in Google Analytics (time between two consecutive hits), these numbers may not reflect what readers actually do on your articles. Here’s why:

  1. Periods of inactivity. Time spent on other browser tabs or with the browser in background may twist and increase average time metrics and hide potentially un-engaging stories from sight.
  2. Engagement data isn’t provided by bounced users at all. Since there is no consecutive hit to measure the time between, the average time spent by these users is taken out of the equation completely. This is a serious issue, as articles with high bounce rate may still exhibit pretty normal average time, leaving the editors uncertain whether the article should be edited or not.

Conclusion: Best Google Analytics alternatives

Google Analytics alternatives have plenty of advantages. Focusing on one niche allows to provide you with the best user experience and data processing times. Make sure to check out the following tools:
IO Technologies: https://www.public.iotechnologies.com/
Chartbeat: https://chartbeat.com/
Parse.ly: https://www.parse.ly/