Open Web Analytics review

(In progress – will be updated as I get more experience)
Open Web Analytics is a piece of free, open source website analytics software that lets you see what users are doing on your website. This review highlights the my personal pros and cons about this software. 

I would like to start this review/test by stating one good and one bad thing about Open Web Analytics:

The good one is the fact that with Open Web Analytics (OWA) you take ownership of your data. It stores data in your database and you decide who to share it with and for how long time you want to store it. In other words, you keep Google or any other company with potential interest in user behaviour on your site away from your website analytics data.

The bad one: You keep Google away from your data, but you will miss a lot of the good features that e.g. Google Analytics provides. Open Web Analytics is nowhere near Google Analytics in feature set and slice-and-dice functionality.

For this review I tested OWA with the WordPress blog system used on this blog and here are some cons and pros.

Features, that I like in Open Web Analytics:

  • you have 100% control of your own code, your own server setup and your own data (for newbies in web analytics this might be a disadvantage)
  • much faster interface than Google Analytics, which is extremely slow at least with big sites
  • didn’t try it yet but it contains ecommerce tracking which is a crucial feature for ecommerce sites/webshops.
  • for 95% of all web analytics users, the Open Web Analytics is more than sufficient.
  • session recordings and click heatmaps like clicktale (didn’t work for me, but I guess that tells me more about my technical skills than the application)
  • very easy to install on WordPress blogs and nicely integrated into your existing WordPress backend

Features, that I miss in Open Web Analytics:

  • no filter e.g. miss the option of excluding my own IP
  • no advanced segments
  • no data export from user interface. Data can of course be exported from your database but for non-savyy database user as myself, this is way to0 complicated.
  • I indeed miss the possibility to combine different numbers (cross segmenting) from different reports. E.g. I’m not able to see what search terms were used to find a specific page. This is important for SEO-purposes.

Søren Holm

  • Simon Tremblay

    Any review of Piwik?

  • iklan online

    Great post, but now alot more analytic offer by some top company like semrush, dmoz, and others. But I stick with free one..thanks!

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