The most useful analytics tools

Analytics tools are key to today’s marketing success, and of all the choices out there, 10 stand above the rest as particularly useful for content strategists. Let’s take a look.

Bitly may be best known as a free link shortener, but its features do more than just save space. Once you’ve shortened links—and possibly even added a vanity URL shortener—Bitly gives you the tools to efficiently share those links and analyze their performances. For example, Bitly reports how many clicks each link generated and when people clicked, down to the hour. The report will also include which platforms people used to share the link so you know if most of your traffic is coming from Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on.

Open Web Analytics (OWA) is open-source software. Similarly, there is no limit on the amount of data you can store or the number of websites you can measure through the program. OWA provides information much like the kind you’ll see on its competitors’ platforms, such as views, unique visits, referral sites, and visitor location. Additionally, OWA can measure the click-stream of each visitor, pinpointing exactly where they click on your page.

SimilarWeb lets you plug in any website or mobile app, receive insights about traffic and rankings, and compare the data against competing sites. After entering a URL, you can see the website’s global rank, country rank, category rank (such as Books and Literature, Shopping, and Marketing and Advertising), and traffic by country. You’re also treated to an overview of total desktop and mobile visits from the past six months, which are broken down by time on site, pages per visit, and bounce rate.

Google Analytics is the go-to platform for many marketers, in large part because it’s totally free, chock-full of features, and comes with the clout of the Google brand name. After you enter the Google Analytics code into your website’s HTML, the service will measure certain goals for you, including which pages a visitor clicks on, how long they stay, and the actions they take.