On July 1st, 2023, Google shut down Universal Analytics in favor of GA4 Analytics - a huge blow for marketers that have relied on the previous version for a long time.
The less-than-ideal experience with GA4 has led to a surge in interest in GA4 alternatives. If you've ever considered exploring alternatives to Google Analytics, this is the perfect opportunity to look at other options.
In this article, we compare Google Analytics to FullStory, a popular product-focused analytics tool that could be a good replacement for Google Analytics. We'll also introduce a third alternative.
- What is FullStory used for?
- How does it compare to Google Analytics?
- Pricing of FullStory
- Simple Analytics as an alternative for both
- What to look for in an analytics tool
- Final Thoughts
What is FullStory used for?
FullStory is primarily a product analytics tool with a heatmap feature baked into it. It is a hybrid tool, but FullStory likes to call it a Digital Experience Intelligence Platform (DXI), as you can use session replay and product analytics to get a deeper insight into product usage. Though it has a ton of features, FullStory isn’t a true DXI, as there is a lack of intelligence inside the product.
One of the critical benefits of FullStory is its user-friendly interface. So it is easy for users to navigate and get started with the tool. In addition, it has advanced search and filtering capabilities. It also allows users to find and analyze specific interactions or events.
How does it compare to Google Analytics?
GA4: The new version of Google Analytics focuses on event-based and user-level data collection with a lot of flexibility, tracking a wide set of engagements. Advanced features like "Enhanced measurement" comprehensively track users' activities. However, the data collection method, especially event tracking, may be a bit challenging for beginners to understand and implement.
FullStory: Offers session replays and heatmaps to record user interactions, focusing on user experience insights. It does not provide the same breadth of behavior analytics as Google Analytics. It's also less suitable for website analtyics.
GA4: It a complex analytics tool with a complex interface. It can be overwhelming even for users of predecessor versions.
FullStory: Offers a simple, intuitive interface designed for visual playback of user interactions.
GA4: It's a powerful, user-centric analytics platform that has a steep learning curve, especially for new users. You would probably require training in order to get used to it.
FullStory: Prioritizes user-friendliness, focusing on visualizing user behavior data, making it quick to understand but less extensive for detailed analysis.
Compliance with GDPR and HIPAA:
GA4: Aimed to be adaptable to cookie-less future, with mechanisms for GDPR compliance. However, various counties have banned the use of Google Analytics based on the data transfers to the U.S. Also GA4 indicated that is not compliant with HIPAA. We wrote about this in depth as well here.
FullStory: U.S. based cloud provider. Meaning it might violate GDPR in certain EU countries. It's designed with privacy in mind, allowing sessions to be anonymized. However, there's no specific mention of HIPAA compliance.
Pricing of FullStory
FullStory offers three pricing plans: Enterprise, Advanced, and Business. The enterprise plan is for those companies which require all-around clarity in their digital folio, and the advanced program caters to those requiring in-depth product pipeline analysis. Finally, the Business suite tends to the needs of those looking to discover trends to enhance their funnel.
Though their pricing isn’t public; however, according to a Capiche and this Twitter thread, the pricing can range in-between $247/month to $850/month based on requirements. They also have a startup program that reduces the price to ~ $1000/year.
Simple Analytics as an alternative for both
As the name goes, Simple Analytics is a simple and easy-to-use analytics tool. It's also one of the few analytics tools completely GDPR-compliant with EU-hosted servers.
Also, simple doesn’t refer to a lack of features here. It's a robust web analytics tool that doubles as a minimal product analytics tool too, with capabilities such as event and goal tracking.
Now let's review a few benefits of using Simple Analytics.
Pros of using Simple Analytics
- Simplified UI - Using tools that are easy to navigate around is always preferred over complex ones. Simple Analytics offers a straightforward user interface that makes analysis easier. Working with it is, therefore, a smooth activity.
- Affordable Pricing- Simple Analytics is exceptionally cost-effective. They offer both product and web analytics tools at a reasonable price. They have plans starting at $9/month. It packs the tools and features from the most expensive tools for a friendly price.
- Automated Event Collection- Another feature that makes Simple Analytics stand out in its product category is automated event collection. While you must manually set additional tags for other tools, Simple Analytics does the job for you. Once you link it to your website, it lets you track the metrics of all action buttons just by hovering over them.
- Mini Websites- As a business with an online presence, you often get featured in the conversation of your users. You might get a mention on Twitter or a feature on a website. While most tools let you know where you got a mention, they don’t deliver the specifics. Simple Analytics stands out here. It gives you the specifics of your feature and helps you track it through a mini website..
Cons of using Simple Analytics:
The user interface of Simple Analytics is made to look simple and easy to understand so everyone, be it the founder or marketing teams, can use it easily. A Product Manager may need a few more screens, but that is something that can be quickly built with goals.
Pricing of Simple Analytics:
Simple Analytics is one of the most cost-efficient tools available in its segment. The product is perfect for businesses. It caters to companies and has plans for individuals and businesses. Therefore it ensures that the best features are available at a very reasonable price.
The pricing of Simple Analytics starts at a low $9/month, making it a pocket-friendly tool for all businesses.
What to look for in an analytics tool
Selecting a tool for product analytics is a crucial decision. You might ask what could possibly go wrong when choosing one, yet you can miss out on a lot. Therefore, be sure to go through this checklist before making a choice. You're good to go if the tool provides these:
- Ease of Use: Regardless of your chosen product, it must be simple to use. You shouldn’t spend your precious time on a complex web analytics tool that takes time and experience to get familiar with.
- Accuracy: Getting an accurate picture of what’s happening on your website is important. Inaccurate data might lead to misjudged decisions that impact your business.
- Straightforward UI: Most of the time, you don’t need 75 custom dashboards (looking at you, Google). A straightforward overview of what’s happening on your website will give you the insights you need instantly. Look for a tool that gives you the insights you need without too many distracting bells and whistles.
- Lightweight: Your website is your storefront on the internet. Providing the best possible experience to your visitors matters. Installing an analytics script has an impact on your page speed. Choose an analytics tool that doesn’t slow your website down. This not only affects your visitors’ experience. Google will notice this as well.
- Privacy: The world is moving in a direction where privacy is becoming increasingly important. Google Analytics has been declared illegal in multiple EU countries. You don’t want to get caught up in this mess. Take privacy or compliance with regulation into account.
- Integration: To get a complete picture of your business, the tool should be able to integrate with other devices you use, such as your CRM or dashboarding tools.
- Pricing: Consider the tool's pricing and ensure it aligns with your budget. Take advantage of some companies' free trials or basic versions to ensure the product suits your needs before committing to a paying plan.
Although this checklist can assist you in getting started, there may be other factors for your organization that you need to consider.
If you want a tool that checks these boxes, then check out Simple Analytics. It provides the insights you need in a straightforward dashboard while being 100% GDPR compliant.
We believe the internet should be an independent place that is friendly to website visitors. By opting for Simple Analytics, you’ll be supporting us in our mission and protecting the privacy of your website visitors. If this resonates with you, feel free to give us a try.