GoSquared: The Google Analytics Alternate You Need

Google Analytics is very much the Adobe Photoshop of web analytics. It’s extremely advanced with plenty of features but for many, it’s just overkill. Whilst powerful, it’s designed more for users wanting detailed statistics regarding advertising goals, conversions, and other buzzwords that make little sense to anyone outside of the social marketing arena.

GoSquared is an analytics service for the rest of us, providing the statistics and information that we expect, wrapped in a great web interface. I’ve been putting GoSquared through its paces to see if it could be an alternative to services such as Google’s behemoth.

The GoSquared Experience

Before continuing, it’s important to note that GoSquared isn’t for those wanting advanced marketing information such as conversion goals and ad metrics. It’s main purpose is to provide the statistics we’re all mainly interested in, such as page views.

GoSquared was recently put under the knife and their already-beautiful (albeit slightly buggy) interface has been revamped with a flatter interface and less clutter, perhaps driven by the recent shift in design with iOS 7.

Speaking of mobile, the website is fully responsive and looks great on any mobile device. In iOS, you can add it to your home screen where it’ll launch as a full-screen web app, negating the need for any app to install.

Multiple sites can be tracked and the information provided is split into two views: Now and Trends.

Now

You’re given a live status of current visitors on your site, where they’re located, what page they’re viewing and where they were referred from, search engine or link. Stats update in real time and you can also block visitors from contributing to your statistics, useful when you’re wanting to make sure your own visits don’t skew the numbers.

The Now panel displays all the information regarding current visitors and the content they're viewing.

The Now panel displays all the information regarding current visitors and the content they’re viewing.

GoSquared know that most people running a website just want to know how many people are currently on their website at any point. To do this, there’s a huge dial that displays the current visitor count, making sure you know this information as soon as you log in.

Along with the traffic count is a timeline displayed as a line graph, showing you the traffic over a period of time so you can see the busy times when you saw an increase of traffic. Another way that GoSquared show they understand website owners and bloggers especially is that you can add an RSS feed to the timeline. What this does is plot a data point every time a new post is published, letting you easily see how much traffic each post generated. When a new post is published, its title is listed in the Notifications box, along with when it was published.

You can add an RSS feed to the timeline, plotting blog posts to coincide with spikes in traffic.

You can add an RSS feed to the timeline, plotting blog posts to coincide with spikes in traffic.

I’ve been using GoSquared for some months now and the service has been regularly updated though I do still find that some of the tracking information “sticks”. I find pages listed under content when there are no visitors viewing those pages or they remain displayed even if there is no-one currently on the site. In each case, a quick email to their support team resolves this, but it does seem to happen every so often. Not enough to annoy me, but it can be a little frustrating.

Trends

You’ll find all your historical statistics under this section, including a running total of hits and traffic sources over time. Referrals from sites, search engines and social networks all appear here and you can even see who tweeted links to any of your site’s pages or posts.

Trends provides access to all your historical data, showing you what content was popular and detailed visitor statistics.

Trends provides access to all your historical data, showing you what content was popular and detailed visitor statistics.

A further breakdown of visitors includes their browser of choice, platform, location, language and even screen size. Whilst you might initially think of screen size as not being entirely relevant, this can aid in future site development if you’re finding most of the people visiting your site are doing so from a mobile device running at lower resolutions.

A new feature that was launched in mid-August is Engagement tracking, seeing how long people spent on your site before moving on.

For most users, all of the information you’d possibly need is located here, with all historical data accessible at any time.

Globetrotting

Some experimental features are occasionally included as part of the GoSquared Labs, one of which is the Globe. Provided your browser supports WebGL, you can view visitors as points of light on the earth, showing you where it’s day and night. Whilst not particularly useful, it’s a great thing to see when your visitors are coming from all over the world.

The Globe provides a very visual way of seeing your visitors from around the world.

The Globe provides a very visual way of seeing your visitors from around the world.

Conclusion

GoSquared isn’t free and, depending on how many page views your sites receive, it may sounds somewhat expensive. Standard plans start from $24 per month and run up to $99 per month. There are personal plans running for just $9 per month for accounts with up to 3 sites and 150,000 page views a month.

When compared to Google Analytics, paying any sort of price would seem illogical at first glance. After all, Google Analytics is completely free to use. I’d argue that the ease of use, the user experience and the quality of information more than justifies the monthly fee for anyone considering it — especially if you’re wanting to move away from Google anyhow.

If you want to see how it works, you can view their GoSquared Demo and they even offer a 14-day free trial that doesn’t require a credit card, allowing you to test it out for yourself before committing.


Summary

A great analytics service wrapped in a beautiful-looking web interface. It may be a little on the pricey side but its features and experience make it well worth it.

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