Heat Map Software Alternatives to Google Analytics
October 02, 2016
I wanted to share some thoughts on Google's in-page analytics feature via email. In my experience, in-page analytics has always been super buggy, and I've never been able to get a lot of value out of it. That said, I'm definitely a fan of heat map analysis, and even more so, session recording services.
There are two very affordable alternatives that are recommended over Google's in-page analytics. They're significantly more stable, and provide way more value.
FullStory (fullstory.com), which has a free 14-day trial, lets you easily record, replay, search, and analyze each user's actual experience with your website. They accurately sell it as a "super-searchable DVR for all customer interactions." Since it records every single interaction that happens on every page without having to add any additional event tracking code (similar to how Heap Analytics and Mixpanel's new Autotrack features work), you can search through every user recording and isolate specific recordings based on a user's action. For example... you could say you only wanted to review session recordings where someone downloaded a specific PDF file, played a specific video, or filled out a specific form. Then you could watch those recordings and see how those people came to your site to begin with (from search, email, referral, direct, etc.) and watch how they eventually performed the event you're interested in. When it comes to answering questions about user experience, it's super helpful to be able to watch people's actual sessions vs. looking at aggregate data in Google Analytics and then attempting to infer behavior.
HotJar (hotjar.com) is another super affordable service that provides user session recording in addition to heat maps, form analytics, funnel reporting, etc. Its session recording features aren't quite as powerful as FullStory (not as easy to search through the recordings based on specific events), but it gives you the other features mentioned above that FullStory does not. They offer a 15-day free trial, and have a plan that costs $89/mo for up to 2,000,000 pageviews per day, more than enough for most marketers.