Last updated Oct 09 2020

Top 20 web analytics tools from our survey of 2000+ experts

In our State of Web Analytics report, we asked 2000+ professionals to name the web analytics tools they currently rely on. Here’s a closer look at the results, including the:

Plus, we go one step further by introducing 3 new(ish) cookieless analytics options for you to consider.

Web Analytics Tools

Top 9 web analytics tools used by professionals

When the topic of analytics comes up, people might immediately think of the industry leader, Google Analytics; but that’s just the tip of a vast web analytics iceberg.

Here are the top nine web analytics tools used by over 2000 professionals, in order of popularity:

  1. Google Analytics
  2. Adobe Analytics
  3. Mixpanel
  4. Matomo
  5. StatCounter
  6. Yandex Metrica
  7. Amplitude
  8. Baidu Analytics
  9. HubSpot

1. Google Analytics

What it is: traffic analytics tool from Google

What it’s used for: analyzing website traffic, users, bounce rates, goal conversions, and real-time visitor count

Price: free

74% of the 2000+ analytics professionals we surveyed use Google Analytics (GA). This didn’t surprise us, since GA is by far the market leader in the web analytics space, used on at least 30 million websites according to BuiltWith. GA is free for everyone, but data sampling will occur at high volumes unless you pay for Google 360.

⏫ Power up: get more from your Google Analytics data by combining it with Hotjar’s heatmap, session recording, and feedback tools. Here are 5 ways to use Google Analytics and Hotjar together to grow your business.

2. Adobe Analytics

What it is: traffic analytics and multichannel data collection tool from Adobe

What it’s used for: an enterprise alternative to Google Analytics

Price: on request

4% of experts surveyed use Adobe Analytics. As an enterprise alternative to Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics is a specialist analytics tool, offering multichannel data collection spanning web, voice, OTT (over-the-top), and IoT (Internet of Things). The focus is on machine learning and predictive algorithms for advanced insights.

3. Mixpanel

What it is: advanced product and business analytics platform

What it’s used for: tracking customer behavior and KPIs across websites and mobile apps

Price: from free for 1,000 monthly tracked users

Another 4% of the analytics experts we surveyed use Mixpanel. Unlike traffic analytics tools, Mixpanel is designed to help SaaS and website owners get real-time data insights into how people interact with a product.

4. Matomo

What it is: free and open-source traffic analytics

What it’s used for: measuring website traffic and user behavior

Price: from free for self-hosted users

Used by 2% of polled experts, Matomo (formerly known as Piwik) is a privacy-focused free analytics platform. You can self-host Matomo on your own server or WordPress installation, or pay for a cloud account.

5. Statcounter

What it is: web traffic analytics

What it’s used for: tracking website traffic, sessions, pageviews, and real-time visitors

Price: from free for 500 pageviews

2% of analytics professionals in our survey use Statcounter. Data-points on the latest 500 pageviews are available for free, or users can upgrade to a premium account for more features, including landing page analysis and paid traffic tracking.

6. Yandex Metrica

What it is: free all-in-one website analytics from Russian search engine Yandex

What it’s used for: traffic metrics and user behavior data

Price: free

Another 2% of polled experts use Yandex Metrica as their web analytics tool of choice. Unlike GA, Yandex Metrica offers unsampled data, even at high traffic volumes. Yandex Metrica also includes behavior analytics tools, including session replays, click maps, and scroll heatmaps.

7. Amplitude

What it is: product intelligence.

What it’s used for: tracking product usage, user behavior, and funnel conversions

Price: from free for up to 10 million actions per month

1% of our polled analytics users chose Amplitude. Unlike GA, Amplitude is focused on tracking user experience and offers advanced features like behavior cohorting, and persona and user profile data.

8. Baidu Analytics

What it is: traffic analytics from Chinese search engine Baidu

What it’s used for: recording website visitors, traffic sources, and conversions

Price: from free

Another 1% of our 2000+ analytics experts use Baidu Analytics (also known as Baidu Tongji). Baidu Analytics offers standard traffic analytics data, integrates with Baidu’s PPC platform (Baidu Tuiguang) to provide ad performance metrics, and shows organic search keyword data from Baidu’s search engine.

9. HubSpot

What it is: marketing platform and sales analytics software

What it’s used for: measuring traffic, managing leads, email automation, and conversion rate optimization (CRO)

Price: from $40/month

Used by 1% of polled analytics professionals, Hubspot is an all-in-one customer lifecycle analytics tool. Hubspot has a lot of functionality, from landing page creation to social media mention tracking, email performance measurement, and lead nurturing.

🤓 Learn more: we teamed up with HubSpot to give you this free 30-minute lesson on how to speed up your website.

Top 4 free website analytics tools to use in 2021

Just getting started with web analytics? Then you’re probably looking to use a free tool while you figure things out and grow your site.

We took the most popular tools from our survey and created this list of the top four free website analytics tools to use in 2021:

  1. Google Analytics
  2. Hotjar
  3. Mixpanel
  4. Matomo

Why traditional web analytics tools are useful

Traditional web analytics tools help you understand who visits your website, and what user interaction is taking place. For example, you can collect data like:

  • Traffic: find out how many people view your website, where they are coming from, and whether they are new or returning users
  • Time on page: see how long visitors spend browsing your most important pages
  • Bounce rate: learn how many visitors leave your website after visiting a single page

With this information, you can start to optimize your website performance and make significant improvements.

But there is a caveat:

Eventually, you’ll reach the point where traditional analytics data won’t be enough to really understand how visitors are experiencing your website. And the majority of analytics professionals we polled for our survey agreed—Google Analytics and equivalent tools don’t help them understand why customers do what they do.

Which brings us to our next point…

What traditional web analytics data won’t tell you

Challenge-by-behavior-analytics-usage
The #1 challenge with traditional web analytics tools is that they don’t help people understand why customers do what they do.

Web analytics tools—like the ones we mentioned above—give you a useful and comprehensive log of what happens on your website, but there are some questions they cannot answer on their own, like:

  • What your visitors were looking for when they landed on your site
  • What they think and experience as they browse through its pages
  • What information is missing
  • Whether visitors left happy after finding what they needed—or frustrated after getting stuck somewhere

which is where complementary behavior analytics software can help you paint a clearer picture and understand how visitors experience your site.

With tools like heatmaps and session recordings (more on this later), behavior analytics tools add a qualitative dimension to the information you collect from tools like GA, so you can get answers to those magic wand questions that web analytics alone can’t answer.

open-ended

How to combine qualitative and quantitative analytics data

Instead of seeing traditional analytics and behavior analytics as giving you two distinct datasets (quantitative traffic data and qualitative UX data), you’ll get a lot more out of both if you learn how to combine them for greater effect. For example:

  • First, use quantitative data—like pageviews, bounce rate, or session duration—to identify problem pages and find your best-converting content
  • Then, add a behavior analytics tool to collect qualitative information, and to understand the user behavior behind the big numbers

Using both quantitative and qualitative data, you’ll know more about why users leave without converting and will be able to identify which changes and improvements to make to your site.

👉 Get started: find a page with a high exit rate in Google Analytics, place a Hotjar heatmap on it, and start reviewing what’s being clicked on or ignored, and see how far visitors are scrolling.

what-is-a-heatmap

For additional context, watch session recordings of people exiting the page, and observe their behavior: what do they do before they leave? Are they leaving in frustration (tip: look for rage clicks), or did they simply get what they needed?

use hotjar recordings for insights into user behavior

Top 8 behavior analytics tools used by experts in 2020 (and beyond)

Behavior analytics tools help you collect and analyze user behavior on your website by giving you visual cues about visitor clicks and browsing activity, and by allowing you to get direct feedback on the user experience (UX).

Here’s a list of the top 8 behavior analytics tools that came up in our web analytics survey, in order of popularity:

  1. Hotjar
  2. CrazyEgg
  3. VWO
  4. FullStory
  5. LuckyOrange
  6. Smartlook
  7. Clicktale
  8. Mouseflow

1. Hotjar

hotjar-web-anaytics-tool

What it is: behavior analytics software

What it’s used for: heatmap analysis, and collecting and analyzing session recordings and user feedback to improve UX

Price: from free for 2,000 pageviews/day

Hotjar (hi there! 👋) is behavior analytics and user feedback software that helps you:

  • Understand why your website visitors take certain actions on your site (or why they don’t)
  • Get voice of the customer (VoC) feedback from real users

through tools like heatmaps, session recordings, and surveys.

We’re proud to be the most popular behavior analytics tool on the market, used on over 550k websites in 180+ countries.

🤓 Learn more: Hotjar is built to add depth to the insights you get from traditional analytics tools like Google Analytics.

When you use Hotjar and GA together, you can answer questions about the behavior and needs of your users—questions you can’t answer by using GA alone. Here’s a quick write-up from our team about why and how we think you should use Hotjar and Google Analytics together.

2. Crazy Egg

What it is: website optimization tool

What it’s used for: heatmaps, recordings, and A/B testing

Price: from $24/month (annual billing required)

Crazy Egg started off as a design agency and then relaunched as a website optimization tool, with the goal of helping businesses track, evaluate, and improve their conversion rates.

3. VWO

What it is: A/B testing tool

What it’s used for: split testing, and funnel and form conversion analytics

Price: from $99/month

VWO is a popular A/B testing tool that makes it onto our behavior analytics list due to VWO Insights, their visitor behavior analytics toolset.

4. FullStory

What it is: digital experience analytics tool

What it’s used for: conversion analysis, funnel visualizations, and page speed metrics

Price: from free for 1,000 sessions/month

FullStory describes their software as an easy-to-use digital intelligence platform that helps companies solve problems, find answers, and fine-tune their customer experience.

5. Lucky Orange

What it is: traffic and user behavior analytics

What it’s used for: viewing traffic data, conversion funnels, and visitor replays

Price: from $10/month.

Lucky Orange is a real-time analytics tool that helps online businesses identify issues and give usability support directly to individual users.

6. Smartlook

What it is: user recording and heatmap analytics

What it’s used for: visitor journey tracking, and event and funnel reporting for websites and mobile apps

Price: from free for 1,500 sessions/month

Smartlook is a behavior analytics tool that records user behavior on websites and mobile apps.

7. Clicktale

What it is: customer behavior analytics tool

What it’s used for: analyzing user behavior patterns on web and mobile apps with heatmaps and session replays

Price: on request

Clicktale describes their software as digital experience analytics and customer behavior analysis, with the goal of transforming digital interactions into insights and visualizations.

8. Mouseflow

What it is: behavior analytics tool

What it’s used for: tracking user behavior with heatmaps, session replays, funnels, and forms

Price: from free for 500 recordings/month

Mouseflow is a behavior analytics tool that allows users to replay the full visitor experience and identify pain points, boost conversions, and optimize websites.

BONUS: 3 new(ish) cookieless analytics tools to try

Privacy-focused analytics is a relatively new category that addresses two customer concerns that came up during our survey: privacy, and feature bloat.

When we asked 2000+ experts about their biggest challenges with traditional website analytics, their second most common issue was that the volume of data and options were overwhelming. Privacy concerns also popped in the ‘other (please specify)’ field, so we think both are worth addressing here.

Here are three simple, cookieless, and privacy-focused analytics tools to try:

  1. Plausible
  2. Fathom
  3. Simple Analytics

1. Plausible

plausible-cookieless-web-analytics-tool

What it is: Plausible is a lightweight, open-source, cookieless website analytics tool

What it’s used for: collecting simple website traffic data like pageviews, bounce rate, and visit duration

Price: from $6/month for 10,000 pageviews

2. Fathom

fathom-cookieless-web-analytics-tool

What it is: Fathom is a simple, light-weight, privacy-focused analytics tool

What it’s used for: tracking basic website analytics data like unique visitors, bounce rate, and goal completions

Price: from $14/month for 100,000 pageviews

3. Simple Analytics

simple-analytics-cookieless-web-analytics-tool

What it is: Simple Analytics is a basic, cookieless analytics tool

What it’s used for: tracking top-level traffic metrics like referral source, top pages, and visitor country

Price: from $19/month for 100,000 views.

Web analytics tools FAQs

Web analytics tools are tools designed to track, measure, and report on website activity including site traffic, visitor source, and user clicks.

Using web analytics tools helps you understand what’s happening on your website and get insights on what’s working (and what’s not). In turn, you can use this insight to optimize the experience and drive more engagement and conversions.

There are two main types of web analytics tools depending on how data is collected:

  • On-site/hosted: code installed on your site will generate analytics unique to you, e.g. Google Analytics or Clicky
  • Third-party/off-site: data collected from third-party sources (like search engines and toolbars) generates analytics data about multiple websites. Ideal for competitive analysis, e.g. SimilarWeb

Within these groups, web analytics tools fall into five categories:

  • Traditional analytics tools: quantitative website traffic data, like bounce rate and pageviews, e.g. Google Analytics or Open Web Analytics
  • Behavior analytics tools: individual or aggregate user website behavior data, like heatmaps or session recordings, e.g. Hotjar
  • Customer journey analytics tools: customer touchpoint data across multiple channels, e.g. Kissmetrics or Woopra
  • Content analytics tools: editorial analytics to measure website content performance, e.g. Chartbeat

SEO analytics tools: data on keyword performance, backlinks, search traffic, and competitors, e.g. SEMrush or Ahrefs

The best website analytics tools, based on popularity in our survey of 2000+ analytics users, are

  • Google Analytics for tracking and website traffic reports, and
  • Hotjar for user clicks and browsing insights from heatmaps and session recordings

Most on-site analytics tools track your website by adding a snippet of JavaScript code to each page. Some analytics tools install browser cookies (small text files), which allow data to be collected from entire sessions across multiple domains until the third-party cookie is deleted.

Cookieless analytics tools still use JavaScript, but can only track the individual user session as no cookies are stored.

Off-site analytics tools, like SimilarWeb or Alexa, track websites externally by collecting data from browser toolbars and crawling website links and search engine results pages (SERPs).

The best web analytics tools for beginners are Google Analytics and Hotjar: they have free plans, are easy to set up, and will give you insight very quickly. GA and Hotjar are also two of the most popular analytics tools, so there are plenty of free tutorials and guides to browse if you get stuck.