web analytics

5 Free Marketing Analytics Tools to Check Out in 2021

Marketers today can easily track the results of digital campaigns with their favorite marketing analytics tools. At a glance, content pros can see a range of metrics like page views, time spent on a page, and conversion rates at the bottom of the user acquisition funnel.

According to a recent GetApp study, the most effective martech tools among tech marketers are those that offer A/B testing (62%), web analytics (58%), CRM software (56%), multi-touch attribution (57%), social media marketing (56%), and content marketing (54%).

So with analytics taking such a high priority for marketing professionals, it’s important for newbie practitioners and veterans alike to get a firm grasp of the playing field. There are a great many paid options for marketing analytics floating around out there. But the reality is that the free ones will often yield better results while showing clearer ROI.  

Data is useful. But the real key is being able to sift through an ocean of information to find actionable insights and intel that can ultimately lead to better ROI. After figuring this out, marketers can iterate and experiment with new campaign ideas to test their theories.

So because it all starts with data, marketers can give the following free analytics tools a go to get started on the data-driven decision journey.

Google Analytics

If you’re not aware of how or why marketers use Google Analytics, chances are that you’re brand new to the game altogether, and you should probably study up a bit before proceeding.

When seeking ‘one app to rule them all,’ this is the go-to analytics platform for many marketers, especially those that deal with content publishing. It is free and comprehensive. This tool displays all website data and statistics, including page views, user geography, and user flow.

Advanced marketers can set up goals to track specific user actions like lead conversions and sales. The app can also track conversions that come from Google ads. Marketers can also view user behavior in real time with Google Analytics.

Now that we’ve included the obligatory mention of the granddaddy of all analytics apps, let’s take a look at some of the lesser-known ones.

Matomo

This company brands itself as the “ethical version” of Google Analytics.

Website owners who use Google Analytics must always request cookie consent from visitors because that’s how Google makes money. But this isn’t the case for Matomo, as the app doesn’t track visitor activities. Matomo argues that 5% to 10% of visitors steer away from websites that have consent banners.

The app claims to offer 100% data ownership and data protection. The team claims to be big on respecting users’ privacy.

Matomo comes with all features that a marketer would need for website analytics. The app can track user sessions, event tracking, real-time data, and visitor profiles.

This tool is free if you use just the essential functions and host it on your own server. There is additional pricing if you want advanced functions.

Open Web Analytics (OWA)

As the name implies, OWA is an open-sourced web analytics tool (which means it’s free). This app offers first-party data ownership to track all standard metrics like user visit duration, most popular pages, and more. Similar to Matomo, this means that you won’t need to ask for data consent from all visitors.

One exciting feature of this app is its ability to view aggregated user behavior. For example, marketers can find out how many users visit the site daily and their browsing behaviors. Another feature that we appreciate is heatmap, which tells you the users’ aggregated behavior on a specific page. This will tell you whether visitors can easily navigate your website, which is crucial for any marketer.

OWA runs on donations. You can support this project by getting the word out or by making a financial contribution.

Mixpanel

This analytics app claims to be so easy that virtually anyone can install and use it. Marketers can plug Mixpanel in for both websites and mobile apps. The tool’s focus on marketing analytics is interesting. It can show user conversion rates from one action to another on the dashboard (e.g. the number of users who open the app and eventually register an account).

Marketers can set specific user activities to be tracked inside Mixpanel. This can vary from the number of checkouts and payments (for e-commerce sites) or the number of posts created by visitors (on a social media app, for example). The tool’s visualization reporting feature is also helpful for discovering insights, such as the increase or decrease of retained active users each week.

Advanced users can also track which specific user activity converts best. For example, marketers can see how many of their active customers came from specific email campaigns. They can also track how many customers click specific buttons and track the results of A/B tests.

You can start with Mixpanel’s free tier, which offers tracking of 100,000 users monthly with unlimited data history and client seats. More functions such as enabling the app to automatically find unique user segments and email support comes with additional pricing.

Bitly

Known mostly as a URL shortener, Bitly can also function as a robust marketing analytics tool. Free users can create an unlimited number of generic short URLs via this platform. They can then track all link clicks inside Bitly’s dashboard and find information such as total clicks based on dates, click referrers (e.g. emails or social media), and click locations (e.g. the US or Canada).

Free Bitly users need to organize all data manually and input it on a spreadsheet. Premium users can create branded links and access Bitly’s analytics dashboard for a hassle-free experience. They can even use the app’s API to export data automatically into another app.

The QR code feature available in the premium package is also interesting, and could be useful for offline marketing campaigns.

Conclusion

Despite their free price tags, these marketing analytics tools are powerful. If used correctly, they can become the long-term backbone of your martech stack.

Google Analytics is the safest option to start with, as it comes with robust functions. If you’re big on privacy, though, you can consider either Matomo or OWA.

Bitly is great for those who prioritize simplicity above all else. More advanced marketers (and product managers) might be better off with Mixpanel.

Disclaimer: The author of this article is not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned above.

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Enricko Lukman

Enricko Lukman is the co-founder of ContentGrow, a freelance talent matching service and workflow app for global content teams. The app helps marketing teams create content at scale, directly sourced from project-appropriate freelance writers and journalists at preferred rates. He regularly writes marketing news and insights on ContentGrip.

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