Analytics Comparison – Most Popular Web Analytics Tools in 2021
To ensure that your website is as successful as possible, you'll need to understand who your visitors are, how they found your page, what sort of content appeals to them, and how often they visit your site. Still, data alone isn't everything: To get the most out of your site's metrics, you'll want to view them in a meaningful and comprehensible manner.
Analytics tools assist in better understanding your website, presenting a variety of data in a user-friendly way. With these insights, it becomes possible to set concrete goals and continually improve how your page performs, all the while being able to measure growth over time.
But which analytic tools are the best? To help you decide, we've taken a look at which solutions are the most popular.
Statistics - The Most Popular Analytics Tools in 2021
We assessed the 5 million most visited websites in the world, checking which web analytics tools they use. Below, we've listed the six most popular, letting you know what each has to offer.
The undisputed number one in analytic solutions is Google Analytics. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise: After all, who can better help to optimize your website than the company many look to as the bar when it comes to measuring digital popularity and the like?
Google Analytics is free and easy to configure. Most people already have the Google account needed to get the tool, and if not, setting one up takes little more than a few clicks. After that, you'll only have to insert a few lines of code into your website, and that's it. Dedicated plug-ins are offered for most content management systems (CMSs), like WordPress.
Google Analytics is by far the most-used analytics solution.
Compounding its ease of use is, of course, the wealth of information that Google Analytics provides. This includes not only the number of page views and visits but also insight into your site's visitors. This allows you to determine who is visiting your site, where they come from, and how often they've visited in the past.
Quick to set up
Offers comprehensive analytic options
Can be overwhelming for beginners
Maintaining conformity to data protection regulations can be difficult
Hotjar should be seen as less of an alternative to Google Analytics than as its sidekick. This is because Hotjar makes it possible to easily visualize visitor flows and gather a variety of information about visitors not offered by other solutions. Among these features is a heatmap showing which areas of your site receive the most attention and are most clicked.
Hotjar allows site owners to see which areas of their website are clicked on most.
A free version of Hotjar is offered, but this is only practical for smaller projects since it has limited functionality. Setting up is as easy as Google, with plenty of support and plug-ins for CMSs like WordPress or Drupal.
Another advantage is that as a European company, Hotjar does a better job of helping users adhere to European privacy guidelines, however, you'll still have to configure these to ensure total conformity. For most projects, Hotjar might be too complex.
Free version that's capable of handling small projects
Offers comprehensive visualizations, including a cursor heatmap
Free version has a number of limitations
You might be more familiar with Matomo Analytics under its earlier name, Piwik. While Hotjar is great as a complement to Google Analytics, Matomo seeks to set itself apart as an alternative to the Internet behemoth. You can use Matomo to follow Google Ads' campaigns, but the service differs from Google in a number of ways, not least of which is that it is open-source.
Unlike Google Analytics, Matomo Analytics is open-source.
Matomo also offers more independence than Google Analytics: The program can be downloaded for free and run off your own server. This doesn't only allow you to manage your site's data, but also makes it possible to waive tracking consent under certain conditions, which isn't possible with Google.
In addition to offering a free version, you can also purchase extras, such as an analytics tool for WooCommerce. Fees can also arise if you decide against using your own server for the program. This is also the main disadvantage of the tool, particularly as small website owners will likely want a straightforward and convenient solution. Matomo offers this, but at cost.
Doesn't require cookies or tracking tools
Free version available
Some basic features are limited to paying subscribers
Requires some technical know-how
Put simply, Yandex is the Russian version of Google, and Yandex Metrica, is its analytical component. In most ways, Yandex Metrica works like Google's software, offering similar settings and parameters.
Like Google Analytics, Yandex Metrica is free, however, in some areas, it offers users more, such as greater insight into user behavior. For example, some of the features that Hotjar offers are provided by Yandex Metrica.
Yandex is Russia's Google, with Metrica offering similar functionality to Google Metrics.
For anyone catering to the Russian market, there isn't much getting around Yandex, since the service eclipses Google there. This does create some issues in terms of privacy: All data is saved in Russia and accessible to Russian authorities.
This is not too different from Google, except that the latter cooperates with US authorities. Still, according to reports, Yandex is subject to increasing pressure from the Kremlin, which could create problems in conforming with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Offers more detailed data insight than Google Analytics
Might be difficult to maintain conformity with GDPR
New Relic focuses on software, rather than user flow analysis. The program offers Application Performance Management (APM), for quickly identifying problems and preventing software interruptions.
New Relic One's goal is to consolidate all relevant software data in a single place and make it more readily analyzable. As with the web analytic solutions above, this includes page or program requests, but also the system's stability and reliability. This "system health" can then be combined with end-user behavior and performance to provide a more complete picture.
Thanks to the integration of visual elements, the newly developed New Relic Navigator should make evaluating your site as easy as possible.
New Relic One helps site owners monitor their "system health".
One significant advantage of the tool is that it is available for a variety of different platforms. New Relic also relies on open-source software, making it relatively easy to adapt it to additional systems.
All the same, the large number of features also means that you'll be provided with a considerable amount of data, which can be tedious or difficult to analyze. A free version is offered, but the limitations of this quickly become clear even for smaller projects. For professional users, there aren't many ways around a paid subscription.
Available for a number of platforms
Provides a large amount of data which can be complicated to evaluate
Very limited free version
TrackJS also monitors your network and displays errors encountered when loading a script or an API. These list the URL, the method, the status code, and the request time. TrackJS's agent even logs mistakes from your browser console, including their entire history, even if they are attributable to third parties.
One significant advantage is that mistakes aren't only displayed and localized, suggestions are also provided for how best to correct them.
Provides suggestions and recommendations for fixing errors
Offers extensive network monitoring
No free version offered
The table below shows what percentage of the 5 million websites we analyzed used each analytic tool and in which direction trends are currently developing. These include programs for web analysis as well as checking software:
Our Top 6 web analysis tools can be divided into two groups: Google Analytics, Matomo, Hotjar, and Yandex monitor visitor flows, while TrackJS and New Relic analyze your site's technologies, helping to identify and rectify errors as quickly as possible.
Google Analytics is by far the most popular solution, and not without reason: The software offers plenty of analytical options and is (essentially) free. Google Analytics is often augmented with Hotjar, which provides additional information as well as a practical heatmap that visualizes visitor cursor movements.
For larger companies or businesses, Matomo Analytics (previously known as Piwik) offers an interesting alternative. The open-source software is free, so long as you run it off your own server. On top of that, it's less problematic in terms of privacy than the other solutions.
Should you want to improve your website's stability and "system health", solutions like New Relic One or TrackJS are available, however, to use them, you will need some knowledge of programming.
What is the most popular analytic solution?
Google Analytics is by far the most popular analytic tool, and beloved by small businesses and individuals (but not only) for being free and easy to configure. The second most popular is Hotjar, which serves as a nice companion to Google Analytics. The first true alternative to Google Analytics is Matomo Analytics, an open-source tool, and number three in our ranking.
Which analytic solution is the best for me?
This depends on your goals and what it is that you want to achieve. Should you be interested in monitoring visitors to your site, you can do so for free with Google Analytics. For larger businesses, more flexible solutions like Matomo Analytics, which is open-source, are often better. On the other hand, if you want to analyze your site's software, programs like New Relic are necessary.
How can I find out which analytic tool a website uses?
With the EXPERTE.com Technology Check, you can easily find out all tools and technology a website is using, including analytic solutions. Analytic tools will be listed as such under "Category".