For just under a month, I’ve been looking at two real-time analytics services, looking to move my analytics requirements away from Google Analytics – fed up with the fact that Google can not give us a real-time display of what is happening on our websites.
Enter the two contenders:
I have to admit, when I first signed up for the two services and logged in, I was initially underwhelmed by the user interface on Clicky, and equally overwhelmed with the one provided by GoSquared. One has gone for an exceptionally simple, clean, functional design (Clicky), and the other has gone for an amazing Web 2.0 style dashboard, complete with the movable / customisable panels etc.
Some quick pros and cons of each, in my opinion:
Really simple UI; Really simple presentation of information
It has a simple API ( more on this in a bit )
Using Flash graphs
Restrictive Goal provisioning (funnels are too restrictive)
Very low number of sub user accounts
Also has an API, but you really have to dig for it
Absolutely beautiful Dashboard overview of your website
UI doesn't fit comfortably on smaller / half widescreen browser sizes.
Unintuitive user interface. You really have to stop and think when using it to find anything but the realtime information.
As you can see, I struggle to actually find anything really unique, defining functional differences between the two – apart from the UI, there is really no difference.
For me to use products, and I’m sure many other people feel the same way, they should be quick, react well when I am using them, and not mislead me. If I have to stop and think, or read a help file, or go Google to get back to their site (but on the right page!), something has failed. Out of these two products, the only one that fell into the “I’d use it” category, was Clicky. No matter how much I loved looking at the GoSquarded Dashboard, it just wasn’t what I wanted. I want something usable. Yes, the graphs are perfect. Yes the information is all there. BUT it takes too long to get there.
Now, why am I making such a big thing about these services providing API’s? It’s all well and good having web applications, but seriously, we are all chained to PC’s most of the working day in this game, and we want to keep an eye on things. Having an API to a real-time analytics site lets you pull down information – pretty much whatever you want – and feed it into any of your business applications, or in my case, a small local dashboard that sits on my PC
If you too are looking to make the leap from the old-school boring “wait a day” analytics, to something more real-time and don’t want to take a backward step in functionality I would suggest that you do as I did: Sign up for a trial account with BOTH Clicky and Go Squared, and give them a shot. What suits me might not suit you!
As it happens, I’m now a paid member on Clicky, and will probably be releasing our internal dashboard application soon.
What would I like these guys to do next? Get support for the Silverlight Application Analytics Framework