Tracking web analytics is essential for almost any business endeavor. But when you start looking into the costs, things can get confusing quickly.
This is the fourth and last article in our Intro to Web Analytics series. The links to the other articles are at the bottom of the page.
You’ll find options ranging from completely free all the way up to six figures per month. But never fear — figuring out what you actually need is pretty straightforward.
How Much Does Web Analytics Cost?
Prices range from completely free all the way up to hundreds of thousands of dollars per month. But most small and medium-sized businesses should expect to spend at least a few hundred dollars per month on web analytics tools.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, though. Different companies will need different tools, or suites of tools, based on the specifics of their business and on the internal resources they already have.
For example, if your company has a data team, you may focus on tools that make collecting data easy and accurate so that your team can spend more time on analysis.
On the other hand, if you don’t have analysts, you’ll probably want a tool that automates data analysis and visualization.
The number of users who’ll need access to the tool and the amount of web traffic your site generates are also important to keep in mind. While many analytics tools charge a flat monthly fee, some charge or add surcharges based on user headcount or traffic volume.
Finally, it’s important to consider that the true cost of a tool may end up being more than what you see on the pricing page. Many analytics tools track similar metrics, but how similar is the user experience?
A tool with a good UX saves your team time. A tool with a bad UX wastes time.
Setup costs and learning curves are also important to consider. Will a tool require engineering effort to implement? Will it take your marketing team two months to figure out? It’s easy for the “cheaper” tool to end up costing much more in the long run if these factors are overlooked.
How Good Are Free Analytics Tools?
Free analytics tools such as Google Analytics can be a great option for hobby sites, personal projects, and startups that are still in the early stages of bootstrapping. For most companies, though, these free tools have some major shortcomings.
We’ll focus here on the shortcomings of Google Analytics for businesses, since that is the most widely-used free web analytics tool. From a business perspective, there are two really big drawbacks to Google Analytics.
The first is session-based tracking. GA tracks sessions, not individual users. This model works well if you’re operating something like a blog and are only concerned with traffic volume, traffic sources, etc. But it’s not a great fit for most businesses.
In some industries, it may be months or years between when a user first visits a site and when they convert. With session-based tracking, following that kind of user journey is very difficult.
To understand customer journeys, businesses need event-based tracking. Event-based tracking tracks user events, or, in other words, the things users do, such as read articles, click buttons, make purchases, file tickets, etc.
This is used to provide a fuller picture of how they’re engaging with your product.
The second downside of Google Analytics is simply its limited feature set.
It tracks all of the most common, popular web metrics, and not much else. Broadly, Google Analytics is good for telling you what has happened: Did traffic go up or down? Is the page’s bounce rate high or low?
What it’s not so good at is helping you figure out why things have happened, because it’s not easy to do things like segment users based on specific behaviors or analyze the effectiveness of a page by looking at a heatmap of user interactions.
With that said, there’s nothing wrong with free tools, and it’s certainly not a bad idea to start with free options! Many paid tools, including Woopra, Mixpanel, and Amplitude, offer free options.
Woopra, for example, allows you to track core analytics and 500,000 actions per month for free. And unlike Google Analytics, tools like Woopra offer customer support even for their free-tier users, which can make getting up and running with a new tool easier.
Who Needs to Pay for Web Analytics vs. Just Use It for Free?
Here’s a good quick-and-dirty rule: if your marketing team has three or more people, you should be paying for analytics.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t also be using a free tool such as Google Analytics. Businesses that spend thousands per month on analytics tools often still track some basic site metrics using GA.
But once your business has reached that level, spending money on good analytics tools will save you money in the long run. Good tools save your team time and help them find insights and answer questions they might not otherwise be able to.
Moreover, by the time you’ve got a marketing team of three-plus people, it’s very likely you’re going to have some specific-to-your-business data questions that free tools such as Google Analytics just can’t answer.
For example, Google Analytics can tell you that a particular page has a high bounce rate. But why is the bounce rate high? To answer that, you may need something more specific, such as a heatmapping tool that maps out how users are interacting with your page.
How Web Analytics Tools Are Priced
Different web analytics tools are priced differently, and frustratingly, some tools don’t make their pricing public!
Here’s a table that compares how some of the most popular web analytics tools compare in terms of pricing:
Web Analytics Tools Pricing Compared
|Custom code injection
|Free version available?
|Premium package start price
Comparing competing analytics tools on price alone is difficult because their feature sets vary pretty significantly. Thankfully, all of the above tools offer free versions.
Many of these tools also offer free trials of their higher-tier offerings, so you can be sure the tools work for your business before you commit your budget. For example, Woopra offers 14-day free trials of its “Startup” and “Pro” offerings.
How Much Does Woopra Cost?
Woopra offers its analytics product in four tiers: Core, Startup, Pro, and Enterprise.
The Core plan is completely free.
It allows you to track 500,000 actions per month, retain your historical data for 90 days, and take full advantage of the 30+ integrations Woopra supports with other popular tools from marketing platforms like Mailchimp to databases like Postgres.
The Core plan also offers basic web analytics, tracking, and reporting.
The Startup plan, which costs $349 per month, tracks up to one million actions per month and offers tracking and reporting of more analytics metrics. Data is retained for two years, and you also get features like drill-down reporting, segmentation, dynamic journey mapping, and more.
The Pro plan costs $999 per month, tracks up to five million monthly actions, and includes all the features of the Startup tier. It also comes with Pro-only features designed to help customize and automate your data, including a data loader, triggers, scheduled batching, and more.
The Enterprise plan is quote-only and allows for tracking more than 50 million actions per month. It comes with all of the features of the Pro plan, but also includes support for custom objects, dedicated support, and features such as data warehouse sync.
Read the other articles in our Intro to Web Analytics series: