Understanding the audience is the primary step to gearing yourself to the perennial success in digital marketing. As long as you know the user behavior, you can deliver everything up to their expectations. In case you have no clue how your audiences behave or what trends they follow, you will end up being broke no matter how hard you try.
Internet marketers use different tools to analyze the audience demographics and the trends. Google Analytics, having the massive fan following dominates over others when it comes to user analytics. Still, you are not the supreme authority of the data and they can use your audience details to improvise their own ad campaigns too. So, I looked all over the web for a completely self-hosted analytics platform and stumbled upon Piwik (They also have a cloud-hosted version of the software too).
Here, I am going to review the tool to find out whether it deserves to be used or not.
Piwik Cloud Review
You may be hearing the name Piwik for the first time, but it has been here since long, serving a million websites spread over 50 different countries. What made tens of thousands of people go for Piwik? Are you wondering what’s so special about them? Let’s break the ice!
Features of Piwik
Given your requirement of having a complete Google Analytics alternative, I had to go through all the features Piwik has to offer. The following are the ones you will find useful.
#1. Both Self-Hosted and Cloud Version
As stated earlier, Piwik has two different versions that need completely different installation approach. For the self-hosted variant, you should have your own server to host the software whereas the second one (Piwik Cloud) offers you secure cloud servers and avoids the technical process.
If you think your hands don’t get dirty by the technical process, you can go with the first option. Still, I recommend you opt for the Cloud version as it doesn’t come onboard with any difficulty to get the software up and functional. They will take care of everything right from installation and configuration, leaving only the analysis part for you.
#2. Easy Integration
Can you recall the first time you set out to integrating Google Analytics to your blog? You might have stuttered a bit to find the right process to go with.
Given Piwik may be new to you, the same starting trouble may happen in this case as well. That’s why the developers have created multiple plugins for different CMS (including Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Magento, etc.). WP-Piwik is used on more than 70,000+ WordPress servers and still counting.
Let me take the WordPress plugin as an example. Once you create an account and grab the tracking code, you can install the plugin on your blog. The only thing remains to be done for getting insight analytics is entering the Piwik URL and token, code will be automatically added to the website.
#3. Set up Funnels
Marketers use funnels for sending visitors to a series of steps with the end-goal to earn a sale. You can’t just plan the steps your visitors should take and sit back. Instead, the secret relies in planning what an ideal visitor should do at each step and what they shouldn’t do. You can even set different landing pages for each step, but definitely they should be connected to each other.
Why should you analyze your funnels? Well, you can understand where a visitor leaves your funnel or take the most time on. We can easily figure out something needs to be changed if the bounce rate goes higher at any step. That ‘something’ becomes specific on Piwik analytics reports as it clearly shows where your visitor drops of.
#4. Record Sessions
You can see what your visitor does on your site just with the help of Piwik like sneaking to their computer screen from behind. A visual of course is better than many graphs and reports, isn’t it?
Piwik allows you to set the frequency of the recording and you can check out each recorded page view whenever you want to have a fair understanding of the audience behavior.
The advanced options available on the dashboard ensure not every page view gets recorded.
#5. A/B Split Testing
There are times we cease to land on a definite choice and fiddle with multiple options. A/B split testing is the Swiss Army Knife of the internet marketers to find out which one performs the best out of a cluster.
Let us assume that you want to know a text ad or an image ad works better on your site (at any place). Then, you can create an A/B split testing experiment and run the same for a few days. If you do it with A/B Testing for Piwik, you will have a deep report on the performance of both at the end of the experiment. Definitely, it will help you understand which one works well and which one doesn’t.
Simply put, a heatmap is the representation of where your visitors engage the most on your site. An ideal heatmap tool helps you figure out the most noticed and ignored positions on your blog through different methods.
On Piwik, you can have three different types of heatmaps; click map, hover map, and scroll map. I am not going to explain about each as the names say everything about what they are used for.
#7. Search Engine Keywords Report
Almost all of us are mining for organic traffic due to the fact that the earning potential of it is more than any traffic from any other source (especially to earn from ads).
Piwik has a section to present the top performing keywords before you. In case you think only Google can track the search engine performance in detail, you can connect your webmaster account to Piwik and it will directly import the data and visualize the same on your screen.
- Free and premium available
- Real-time tracking
- A/B split testing
- Session recording
- Funnel configuration
- Easy integration
- 30 days trial period
- User interface could have been more engaging (it isn’t complicated, though).
As you read earlier here, the software is available for free too but you have to host it on your own servers. And, the setup process, which may feel tedious, should be done by yourself.
On the other hand, the cloud version requires you to pay a small amount and gives you with a ready-to-go analytics solution. There are three fixed priced plans and a custom package available.
Do you want a better Google Analytics alternative with the features like session recording, A/B testing, and sales funnels?
You got no choice but to sign up for Piwik. What if I am blindly recommending this to you? Well, you can use the trial period to understand whether I am being salesy or not.
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