9 alternatives to Google Analytics for charity websites
When it comes to the critical task of tracking website visitors and on-page actions, developers normally recommend Google Analytics (GA) first. After all, it's a free service and is simple to integrate with any website.
However, Google Analytics isn't the only analytics software out there; neither is it the best (although it does perform some functions like conversion tracking extremely well).
We researched a few Google alternatives and looked at what additional functions they provide (and whether these might be worth investing in). We've left out high end options such as Google Analytics 360 and Adobe Analytics as these are beyond the reach of most small and medium charities.
9 alternatives to Google Analytics
Chartbeat combines the features of a standard analytics service with behavioural analytics (e.g. scroll mapping). Its interface is very user-friendly but pricing could be a problem for smaller charities. You will have to contact the company for a quote but don't expect to pay less than £450 per month.
Crazy Egg & Hotjar
These are two examples of behavioural analytics solutions. They are very useful for tracking individual and collective user behaviours using features such as heat maps and scroll mapping.
With its lead-in offer working out at less than £20 per month (compared to around £70 for Hotjar), Crazy Egg is probably the one worth investing in.
Gaug.es is a fast, real-time alternative to Google Analytics with an attractive and intuitive dashboard.
The pricing is very reasonable, starting at less than £5 a month for up to 100,000 page views. If you find GA too complex, this is well worth a look.
Created by online marketing expert Neil Patel, Kissmetrics takes a user-centric approach to analytics and can help you to drill down into the reasons behind trends and anomalies in data. This can appeal to charities which like to deal with people rather than stats.
However, as with Chartbeat, Kissmetrics doesn't advertise its prices online and review sites suggest a steep lead-in price of over £350 per month. If you are interested, request a free demo first.
If you are looking to completely own your analytics with no restrictions on traffic volumes and no ties to a third party (Google or otherwise), the free, self-hosted version of Matomo is almost a no-brainer.
The only drawback is that Matomo needs to be installed in its own database on the server hosting your website. Unless you have a tech whizz in your team, you will need to pay for a developer to do the initial set up for you.
Mention is different to your usual analytics solutions as it specifically tracks mentions on blogs and websites, comments on directories and social media shout outs.
This is very useful for charities looking to monitor their reach and engagement and is free for up to 250 mentions (although you only get a single alert). Using Mention alongside GA would seem a sensible option. One downside is that Facebook is only included in the very expensive Enterprise edition.
SE Ranking is a good choice for charities that produce a lot of content focused around specific keyword terms. Its clean interface provides a simple way to track the performance of your content and to monitor other charities and businesses operating in a similar niche.
SE Ranking allows you to monitor up to 250 keywords for £23 per month so could be worth exploring if that is within your budget.
Woopra provides similar data to Google Analytics but, unlike GA, it provides data in real time data and even enables website owners to initiate chats with their customers.
Since Woopra is free for tracking up to 500,000 actions, it's well worth trialling, especially if you have an e-commerce store.
A note on page load time
It is well-known that page load time has a significant effect on visitor numbers and SEO.
Since the vast majority of analytics solutions require the addition of a snippet of code to the host website, the potential slowing down effect has been a cause of concern for website owners.
This issue has now been largely solved with the creation of asynchronous tracking codes. These load in parallel to the rest of your page content so shouldn't ever affect the speed at which your pages load. All analytics solutions in this review use asynchronous tracking codes (as does GA) with the exception of Mention (this isn't integrated at all with your website).
Nevertheless, it is always advisable to periodically test your page load times just in case there are unintended issues caused by tracking codes.
Google Analytics is easy to implement, free and integrates tightly with Google Ads. It also performs some tasks extremely well. Its not hard to see why it is the leader.
However, many of our client teams find it overly technical and some users are rightly concerned about the use of customer data for advertising purposes.
If you are dissatisfied with the GA experience or are looking to supplement the data provided by GA, these alternatives above are well worth a look.
Topic: Google Analytics