A new generation of product analytics tools are making product management more data-driven than ever, giving PM’s the ability to make more objective decisions that move past politics. The best tools come from companies who have taken techniques from PM’s at major companies like Facebook and Google, turned them in to software solutions, and made them available for other companies. This cheat sheet offers product analytics tools to add to your arsenal of product management tools, so you can move your product past politics and make more objective decisions.
General Marketing Analytics
These products provide basic insights into product usage and customer behavior, but focus more on marketing data such as acquisition channels, conversion rates, and bounce rates.
Google Analytics, the most popular analytics platform, was a product originally targeted at digital marketing teams, but Google has been rapidly adding features for product managers.
Pros: Google analytics has a large community of users making it easy to get support and learn how to use the features. The mature platform is easy to set up and has all of the bugs worked out of it. As a Google product, it is easy to integrate with other Google products such as AdWords, the Search Console, and Google Data Console.
Cons: It only tracks individual users in a basic way and its event tracking also lacks sophistication. By serving so many market segments, Google Analytics suffers from product bloat; it’s a bit cumbersome Your data might not be as secure as other platforms, so read the Privacy Terms carefully if you have sensitive data.
Cost: Google Analytics is free until you get for that 5,000,000 impressions per month. They have a premium program for large businesses and enterprise that runs $150,000 per year for licensing.
Kissmetrics is another platform for general marketing analytics. The event-driven platform’s reports offer insight into individual and group behavior from their first anonymous visit to a website.
Pros: They have added notifications so users can send out emails to engage with customers. Kissmetrics works great for midsize companies; it’s easy to set up and deploy. The data visualization tools are easy to read and prioritize the most important daily metrics. Users can change Funnel Analysis on the fly in contrast to Google Analytics, where funnels must be defined ahead of time.
Cons: The various reports have a bit of a learning curve, and they are not easily customizeable. Set-up is time-consuming. Kissmetrics does not track or provide demographic or location data by default. The platform does not handle single-page apps well.
Cost: Kissmetrics does not offer pricing on their website, but you can try out a free demo and contact them for a quote.
These are the leaders in a new generation of product management tools that focus on product analytics.
Amplitude gets the “Best of Breed” award for tools that focus on Product Analytics. As the newest rising star, they are growing quickly with continued investment. The platform is one of the best for understanding feature adoption, tracing funnels, and understanding user behaviors, and it is highly geared towards product managers.
Pros: Amplitude has a generous free plan that comes with unlimited user seats. It was designed to facilitate sharing so it has great collaboration tools. It targets experts and is a great platform with SQL Data Access for PMs that can use SQL.
Cons: The platform takes time to set up and get started; it’s very complex, but you can get things the way you want them. Some of their best features like Compass, SQL integration, and predictive analytics require a paid subscription.
Cost: Amplitude has a free plan, but most midsize or larger businesses will want access to the premium plan. Contact Amplitude for pricing on the premium plans.
Mixpanel is an event-focused analytics platform where the user must define actions and events sent by your companies app or website. Once focused on marketing, Mixpanel has recently pivoted to product management offering several useful features after you configure the platform.
Pros: Mixpanel is the maturest product analytics platform for tracking core user metrics such as user conversion, retention, and feature usage. You can also send emails, SMS messages, push notifications, and in-app messages to customers. Its pricing is flexible. Users like the simple drag and drop tools for performance measurement.
Cons: Its free plan is not as generous as some competitors and it takes some time for set up; and, the paid plan is pricier than some of the other products on the market. The UI is older and not very strong on visualizations; also, the UI is not as user-friendly as other platforms. Mixpanel only provides email support.
Cost: Mixpanel offers a free plan for small businesses, but startups and enterprises will need to purchase their upgraded plans. The Startup plan is $999 per year and you need to contact Mixpanel for Enterprise pricing.
Woopra is a product analytics platform that focuses on the entire “The customer journey refers to the entirety of experiences that customers go through when interacting with a brand or company.....” The platform offers you multiple ways to visualize and analyze customer data so you can understand your customers better and make truly data-driven decisions. The platform tracks usage across all touchpoints and offers advanced analytics. Woopra offers powerful features for B2B companies focusing on high value users and offers a powerful suite of plug-and-play integrations.
Pros: Installation is easy and intuitive; integrations, many of which are one-touch, are fairly simple, and Woopra has more integrations than almost anybody. The application is user-friendly with a small learning curve. Woopra’s customer profiles show stats for all site visitors including the technology their using, where they are located, and whatever events you customize. Other solutions only provide aggregate data from samples of users, making Woopra superior in this aspect. Product managers can track product and feature usage by revenue, not just clicks, providing differentiation between low-value users and high-value users.
Cons: Woopra is focused on high value low transaction volume markets as opposed to mass consumer products. The product team is more mature than other players, so don’t expect a new feature every week, but then again, that can be a good thing in the most needed features for its market are well developed.
Cost: Woopra offers their Core Plan for free, but most business will need the Pro Plan at $999 per month. Enterprise pricing is available upon request.
Heap offers businesses a unique approach to product analytics by automatically capturing data that you can use to learn about your customers. Users create virtual events, which are changeable, to use in funnels, cohorts, or other types of analysis. Like Mixpanel, Heap has a codeless mobile SDK and they consolidate all of their user data into user profiles.
Pros: You don’t have to spend time configuring things upfront because a single tag collects everything. It’s a great choice if you are trying to minimize the work by engineering and a great choice for small companies that want to track everything. Heap’s data model is far more flexible than its competitors. Non-technical users can set up Heap and you can adapt your analytics on the fly.
Cons: Heap puts more work on the product manager to set up tracking and charts; but once that task is complete, you can track almost anything. The free plan is more limited than others, but Heap’s premium plans cost less than many similar products.
Cost: Heap offers three-tiered pricing including their Free Plan, Lite Plan for $299 per month, and their Enterprise plan with pricing available upon request. All plans offer a 14-day free test drive.
Mobile App Product Analytics
If your business relies on mobile users, these product analytic tools focus on mobile applications.
Flurry (currently owned by Verizon, formerly owned by Yahoo!)
Flurry, which is still part of the Yahoo! Developer Network after the Verizon acquisition, is a free platform used to measure and analyze customer activity across your app portfolio to better understand customer behavior.
Pros: Flurry offers mobile app analytics for all major platforms including iOS, Android, and Windows, so all of your mobile analytics can be in one system. It’s 100% free and easy to set up. You can use Flurry for push notifications and save money. Flurry has well-written documentation with examples to aid new users.
Cons: Flurry has limited options compared to competitors. The platform isn’t flexible enough to look at multiple app metrics at the same time. Some users complain that Flurry runs slowly at times.
Cost: Flurry Analytics is currently FREE, making it a great option for new businesses trying to save money.
Boston-based Localytics is a comprehensive marketing and analytics platform for mobile devices and web apps. They feature personalized messaging, premium push notifications, and user analytics to optimize your app and make data-driven decisions.
Pros: The platform has a simple, easy-to-use interface. Once implemented, non-technical users can easily learn how to use Localytics. Visualization capabilities are good. Localytics helps prompt conversions and foster engagement with new users.
Cons: Localytics offers limited amounts of correlation. It’s not easy to move data to Excel. Automatic scheduled reporting needs expansion and improvement. Customers have to face several push notifications, which might prompt them to block the app. It’s not easily integrated with other programs.
Cost: Localytics runs $1200 per month for startups and growing apps. You will need to contact them directly to get enterprise pricing.
Appsee moves beyond basic quantitative data by providing mobile teams with a wide array of visualization tools. Features include user recordings and touch heatmaps that help you determine UX optimization points and troubleshoot when necessary.
Pros: The platforms user session recordings and touch heatmaps are distinctive to this platform. The UI insights dashboard offers a lot of information in a quick glance. The SDK is easy to use and integrate.
Cons: The look and feel of the dashboard could be updated. Occasionally the platform has some performance issues with the dashboard. The quality of screen recording needs to be improved.
Cost: Appsee has three pricing plans: free, premium, and enterprise, but they do not provide specific pricing on their website. When you sign up for their 14-day free trial, they will provide you with a quote.
Although many of the tools on this list have enterprise options, the stability, maturity, and evolved capabilities of Adobe Analytics make it a favorite for the Enterprise Market.
Adobe Analytics (formerly Omniture)
Omniture pioneered user analytics when it was released in 1996. Now Adobe Analytics remains one of the leading web analytics platforms. The platform is particularly good for combining web data with other digital marketing features such as audience management and data management. Adobe Analytics also offers powerful predictive marketing data to understand customer behavior.
Pros: The platform allows for channel customization, tracking, and insights for multiple aspects. Adobe Analytics has report builder that allows you to work with large data sets and export them to Excel. It gives detailed user data. The dashboards are easy to set up.
Cons: The user experience is weak and not very friendly compared to competitors. Sharing email campaigns is difficult. It’s not easy to integrate with other programs such as AdWords. Adobe Analytics offers no traffic or cost data. Page reporting is difficult.
Cost: Adobe Analytics has three pricing plans for the enterprise market, but you need to contact them directly for a demo and quote.
Analytics API & Platform
Commitment issues? With so many user analytics tools for marketing, products, engineering, and CS, Segment brings them all together so you don’t have to commit to one. This is a great solution when your organization needs multiple, best-of-breed tools for different departments.
Segment comes at the end of this list because it’s such a powerful tool. It’s primary purpose is to make your life easier if you have chosen to use several product management and products analytics tools. You can integrate numerous tools that rely on the same event data and monitor them at the same time on one dashboard.
Pros: You can track your data once and send it to dozens of tools; Segment is extremely flexible. The platform also makes it easy to switch tools without rewriting code. Unlike platforms like Google Analytics, you can warehouse your own event data and other types of data such as Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, etc. Segment makes it easy to install tracking codes across all sites and apps.
Cons: In some cases the sources need to richer because Segment’s integration isn’t fully developed. They need better documentation of examples for how to set up event tracking. While their integration library is large, they don’t always include smaller solutions that are not as popular.
Ross Reynolds works a product manager in brand protection and media. He currently is VP of Product & Marketing for Marketly, a startup in Silicon Valley. He likes building products and helping new ventures grow.