There was a time, not too long ago, when online stats were just horrible. Really, if you can remember a time before Google Analytics, you remember the period of time where analytics data was clunky to obtain, difficult to parse, and the tools that were available were really meant for guys who were in the hosting business.
Sure, there were a few ways to get data – Urchin was one of the popular tools – but in my mind, web site analytics really began to come into its own with the public release of Google Analytics. Not incidentally, to get Google Analytics off the ground, Google purchased the company behind Urchin and that is what originally (and may still) lie at the core of the code for that product.
One of the really cool things about the UX field right now is that really amazing tools are coming out – or have been in development long enough that they are really starting to hit their stride.
Woopra is one of these tools. Woopra is an analytics tool, like Google Analytics, but its focus is completely different. With Google Analytics – the program is all about looking at how people have used your website. It gives great information on how many people came to the website, how many pages they looked at, what they looked at, how long they stayed on the website, where they came from, etc. This data, however, disassociates itself from the users. When we look at the numbers in Google Analytics we are almost always looking at aggregate traffic data. The data says more about HOW the website is used than WHO is using the website.
Looking at Stats in a Whole New Way
And they also show you in real time who is using your website and what they’re doing…
It’s this second bit that’s really powerful. While it’s true that Google Analytics now has some real time data tracking too, its the way that the information is presented that really makes things feel revolutionary.
Let’s be honest, at its heart, it’s an analytics program. It captures the same data that Google Analytics and others do. The beauty is in how the data is laid out.
What I Like
Woopra has an online app. You can login to their site and view your site’s traffic. But their apps for Mac, Windows, and mobile are what really shine. There’s one simple reason. They put a number on your dock that shows you in real time how many people are on your website. This is the equivalent to Facebook’s little red notification box. Every time you see the number move you’re likely to think “Ooh! I wonder what those people are doing on the website?” You’ll click over and observe. And this action alone will get you thinking better about your website.
I also really like how you can see actual traffic and page views versus the average traffic and page views for the day, by the hour.
And how you can look at your traffic on an hour-by-hour basis across a calendar month.
You can also see what visitors are doing on your site in real time.
I like the filters too. This is a way to parse the data to see how visitors are using your website from specific actions. For example, we have a filter for people who are interested in our podcast. This filter can be applied against many different types of data including visitors, systems, pages, referrers, searches, popular pages, landing pages, exit pages, outgoing links, and more.
What Needs Improvement
Notice how in the picture above it says “Visitor #4059”? That’s editable. You can see that this person has been to the site a total of 2 times. If I wanted to track him, I could give him a title. The problem is, there are limited tools to go back and see what this dude has been up to.
What is available are simple aggregate data about a visitor’s usage. But the navigation paths that I see when a person is on the live website are either not available or are hidden in such a way so that I haven’t found them yet. And that’s a bummer. Because I’d like to look at that stuff.
Call me a cheap bastard (cheap bastard!) but my butthole always starts to pucker when I look at how some of these tools are priced. Woopra, all things considered, isn’t too bad. Our site isn’t an ecommerce site so the Basic or Silver plan would be most appropriate for us. I can’t really justify $40/mo. for analytics data when our site isn’t a revenue-based website. But I can’t help being jealous of the additional filters and navigation paths that the Gold plan gets. That’s why I ultimately gave Woopra a 4 out 5 on cost: I’m jealous about the tools they have that I’m not willing to pay for. I want it in the cheaper plan!
Also, I think it’s fair to consider that we’d all benefit from running multiple analytics programs (Google Analytics, KISSmetrics, ClickTale, Woopra, etc.). But do we all have the $200/mo. necessary to make it happen? I don’t. So that’s why I advocate for the cheaper versions. So while I must note that arguably the most beneficial features of the program are available for a fee, their free plan is still awesome. You should 100% get up on that. Like, now.
The Bottom Line
To be fair, I should say that there are many features in Woopra that I didn’t even address. There’s a live chat feature that will blow your mind. They have notifications that you can set up based on certain triggers. And much more.
So run, don’t walk, to your nearest web browser and snatch up one of Woopra’s free plans. Have your mind blown. Get excited like Newman and I did. Then see how being able to see your data from this new perspective changes how you think about how your users are using your website.
You’re guaranteed good new insights.