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Analytics Update: Do You Need a Second Analytics Package?

by Sharon Hurley Hall

The first time I used Clicky web analytics, back in 2007, I was blown away. My original review described it as “one of the most user friendly web stats packages I have come across.”

Seven years later, I’m still using it to provide an alternative to Google Analytics for tracking and analyzing web visitor data on all my sites. Over the years, the gap between Google Analytics and Clicky has narrowed, but it’s still useful to have both.

Read my original review here. Keep reading for my updated evaluation.

clicky placeit

Source: Placeit.net

Setting Up Clicky Analytics

Clicky is available for free for a single site with less than 3,000 daily page views, and there are pro plans which give you access to more features. This review is based on a modified Pro plan (10 sites and 10,000 daily page views) which I received as one of the earliest users of Clicky.

Setting up Clicky is similar to setting up other analytics packages. After creating an account you get an admin site key and a site key (a different one for each site being tracked. Then you can install code manually or use a plugin.

There are integrations for a huge number of web software packages (such as Tumblr, Squarespace, Vanilla Forums, Magento and Joomla!).

For WordPress site owners, there are two plugins. I use the one by WordPress SEO creator Yoast. This gives me access to Clicky stats in the WordPress dashboard. There are also a number of mobile and desktop apps and browser plugins so you can track analytics data without actually being on the Clicky site.

Clicky dashboard

Customizing Clicky

Clicky is dashboard and widget-based. You get a dashboard for your Clicky home page and each site also has its own dashboard. All dashboards are customizable.

Not only can you use drop down boxes to change what’s on display but you can use Clicky’s rich customization options to determine which widgets appear on each dashboard. Once you have a dashboard you like, it’s easy to copy it to another site with a couple of clicks.

Before going to the individual site dashboard, it’s worth checking out the preferences sub-menu (which appears as a link when on the site dashboard). This is where you can handle issues like:

  • Enabling or disabling the Ajax interface
  • Disabling automatic secure browsing (if the https protocol conflicts with your firewall)
  • Disabling analytics temporarily
  • Changing how your site appears in the main dashboard (for example, by giving it a friendly nickname)

Other preferences you can set include:

  • Showing or hiding ISPs in the reports
  • Setting up email reports (a feature I use to give a monthly overview of web traffic for a site I manage on a volunteer basis)
  • Creating widgets that you can embed on your site
  • Setting global filters
  • Subscribing to RSS feeds for analytics data.

The Site Dashboard

Clicky starts you off with some default widgets, which you can change. In this test, the widgets cover “the basics,” content, recent visitors, searches, links and engagement.

Although Clicky’s data is similar to that of other analytics programs, there are a few nifty features:

Clicky content

  • Each widget can be altered on the fly to show a different view of the data, which makes Clicky extremely easy to use, compared with navigating around other analytics programs. Clicking on the links in the widgets expands the data. For example, if you expand the visitor data you can see how many people looked at pages, how many downloaded items, how many followed outbound links, viewed media or triggered other events. You can also click on the tiny arrows to the right of each line to check on referrers, external links and more.
  • There is an automatic comparison with data for the previous period (shown via red or green percentage numbers to the right of each widget). That gives an instant assessment of how the metrics have changed.
  • You don’t have to switch to a different view to see title and URL information for your top content; these are presented together.
  • You can measure content events, such as people commenting on your posts or sharing them on social media.

The bounce rate metric is fantastic. For years, Clicky has differed from other analytics packages in measuring bounces.

Clicky’s view is that someone who spends 5 minutes looking at a single page is not a bounce, which is the way many other programs see it. For those measuring traffic on blogs, where someone may look at a single article and then go away, this makes sense.

Other Analytics Data

Clicking the links across the top allows you access to even more data. One of the changes since my last review is the ability to hone in on a particular visitor session and see heat map data (shown by a little icon to the right of lines lines on the report).

Please note, this isn’t as detailed as Crazy Egg’s heatmaps, which offers in-depth visual reports on user activity.

Clicky heatmap

In the content section, you can get the Clicky equivalent of Google’s visitor flow report, showing where people came from and where they went next.

The search interface shows Google rank for any of your top ranked pages.

Clicky also provides data from Sheer SEO for your top ranked searches on the main search engines. This could be useful for those mourning the loss of keyword data.

Clicky keywords

A good feature in the links interface is the “newest unique” links. This usually highlights a couple of links that I have not seen on other sources. While writing this review, it even found a link to my content on a page that hadn’t yet been published!

Clicky tracks URLs via bit.ly and its own URL shortener, and you can keep track of visitor technology via Platforms.

Clicky Web Analytics – Killer Features

One of Clicky’s killer features is that all data is real-time and up-to-date. You don’t just get a snapshot of what’s happening now (via the Spy interface) but the analytics metrics are immediately updated.

That means you always have a complete picture of what’s happening on your site and how the metrics are changing.

Clicky social media

Another interesting feature is that Clicky automatically tracks certain RSS events as campaigns. That includes CoSchedule posts, Buffer shares and email newsletter data. With these dynamic campaigns, there’s no setup required.

Clicky also supports dynamic goals and split testing.

And it can track some of the data on your Twitter account, a feature that was around long before Twitter rolled out its own analytics. While I don’t believe the Clicky data matches the actual activity on my Twitter account, it’s nice to have.

Clicky Twitter

Stats nerds will enjoy the global visitors’ map, updated in real time to show where the highest concentration of visitors is. You can also see location pins for the last 100, 500 or 1000 visitors and zoom in to focus on particular localities.

Other cool features include:

  • Individual user tracking – This feature, which is a new Universal Analytics feature, has been part of Clicky for a while. You can add user names and email addresses to visitors so that you can track the people you know and marry that up with your customer database or your social media fans and followers.
  • Action based alerts
  • Video analytics tracking
  • An on-site widget (visible only to the site owner) giving you real time visitor and heatmap information.

This review barely scratches the surface of what Clicky can do, especially if you upgrade to a paid plan, but if you’re wondering whether you really need a second analytics package, check out Clicky’s own comparison of where it’s better than Google.

For me, there’s no question that I’ll keep using Clicky web analytics. I love the user interface, the ease of accessing rich data and the constant improvement of the product. Have you used Clicky? What do you think?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sharon Hurley Hall.

17 Comments

DON’T MISS OUT

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Sharon Hurley Hall

Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional freelance writer and blogger. Her career has spanned more than 20 years, including stints as a journalist, academic writer, university lecturer and ghost writer. Connect with Sharon on her website.

17 COMMENTS

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  1. Andy Kuiper says:
    September 10, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Nice review – thanks Sharon 🙂

    • Sharon Hurley Hall says:
      September 11, 2015 at 7:15 am

      Glad you enjoyed it, Andy.

  2. Kristine says:
    September 3, 2015 at 1:57 am

    Is that okay if I use them both (Clicky & Google Analytics) at the same time?

    I’m using Clicky since 4 years ago, but currently I need some GA functions that Clicky doesn’t have.

    Thanks

    • Sharon Hurley Hall says:
      September 8, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      I use them both on my sites, Kristine.

  3. YUry says:
    August 31, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    We were using Clicky solely as Google Analytics replacement for couple of years as GA felt very inconvenient. It also did not provide IP address data.

    However as all the google searches now are labeled [secure search] it is really losing a lot of purpose.

    The solution would be to use GA with Clicky and try to match Adwords/GA data to the visits showing in Clicky and analyze from there what went right and wrong during the visit.

    It is inconvinient to go back and force but it gives answers not to only what the user did on the site but also how he get there. (At least for PPC users).

    • Sharon Hurley Hall says:
      September 2, 2015 at 8:11 am

      Yes, you often need more than one source to get a full picture. I still find Clicky useful.

  4. Onur says:
    July 3, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Is it possible to follow IP adress of users which Google Analytics does not have due to Privacy Policy?

  5. Trinar says:
    May 18, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    I agree. Clicky rocks. One reason why I like it most is because it filters spam and bot traffic so much better than Google Analytics. And it just shows you the valuable information right away without much costomization.

    • Sharon Hurley Hall says:
      May 19, 2015 at 10:30 am

      Glad to hear you are also a Clicky fan, Trinar. I’ve been using it for a long time and it’s still great!

  6. Troy says:
    January 20, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Great article Sharon!

    • Sharon Hurley Hall says:
      January 21, 2015 at 9:59 am

      Thanks, Troy. Glad you found it useful.

  7. Paul says:
    December 19, 2014 at 3:10 am

    I am using clicky for a while and have to say it is really a good tool if you want a fast overview of what is going on on your Websites. As you write it has a nice user interface.

    However, if you use it every day or if you want some more detailed Information about your traffic in order to optimize your site, it lacks some features in my opinion. For example the Information about a single page is not very helpful and quite limited. It mainly compares visitors who looked at this page compared to all visitors. But if you want to improve your pages, you want to know how many visitors visited the page, what was the average time users spent on this page and compared this to yesterday or the average etc, where did the visitors come from, where do the visitors go to. Also are you interested to split this up into desktop/mobile devices.. Without this key Information it is hard to improve your Website.

    Clicky uses hourly graphs and each graph looks at the end like a stock market crash, because it also considers the visitors of the current hour.

    If you have several websites, then you get an overview on the start page. However, for the visitors only the number of visitors is shown and a comparision in percentage to previous day at same hour is missing. This means: The global overview does not help a lot for a quick sight, you have to click on each single website to get exactly this data.
    Naturally this matters only if you have several websites and are using it intensively. If you have 1-2 sites and check once in a while, I guess clicky is good choice.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      December 19, 2014 at 9:57 am

      Nice review. Thanks, Paul.

    • Sharon Hurley Hall says:
      December 19, 2014 at 9:59 am

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Paul. It’s useful to know how Clicky works for people managing multiple sites.

    • Samantha Lee says:
      April 15, 2015 at 10:58 pm

      What is it that you suggest as an alternative to clicky?

      • Sharon Hurley Hall says:
        April 16, 2015 at 6:59 am

        I’m suggesting Clicky as an alternative to Google Analytics, Samantha, but if you want another analytics package, check out these alternatives .

        • Samantha Lee says:
          October 30, 2015 at 12:34 pm

          Thanks so much!

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