Web Analytics

Do you know where your web analytics data is?

If like millions of other website owners you use Google Analytics, your answer to that question might be, “Everywhere”.

Cloud-based analytics solutions like Google Analytics pass traffic data to data centers in locations across the world.  This is both good and bad:  on the one hand, this secures data against disasters and serves up your data to you, quickly, wherever you are.  On the other hand, you may or may not be able to discover where your data actually lives by asking your analytics solution provider.  And while all good analytics solutions use secure data centers, the data still may be subject to government surveillance or be shared with the analytics provider itself  (check your terms of service to find out what kinds of exceptions to your data privacy your analytics solution provider has made).

For some businesses, not having total control over the location and management of analytics data is not an option.  Companies with very strong security and privacy policies or those required to comply with specific legal standards often cannot use cloud-based services.  The solution in these cases is to choose an on-premise analytics solution and to warehouse data themselves.  This first requires investment in secure infrastructure that can handle the demands of resource-intensive analytics software, if your company does not already have it.  But it will allow your business to definitively answer questions about where your data is housed, who has access to it, and how it is managed.  In other words, it gives you total control over your web analytics data.

If self-hosted web analytics seem like the best option for your business, there are a range of options to chose from, from basic tools to advanced enterprise packages.  Here is a list of the solutions you might consider  (in alphabetical order):

  • IBM Unica NetInsight is a powerful enterprise-level on-premise analytics solution, pricing unavailable. [UPDATE January 13, 2015: IBM Insight is no longer available]
  • Mint is a minimal, good-looking platform but is missing some key standard analytics features (for example, bounce rate), for  $30/website.
  • Open Web Analytics is a free, open source analytics tool that closely imitates Google Analytics’ features and interface.
  • Piwik is a free, open source, and well-maintained self-hosted analytics platform.
  • Piwik Enterprise offers enterprise-level implementations of Piwik, from 4500€/year.
  • Webtrends offers an on-premise enterprise service as well as cloud-hosted service, pricing unavailable. [UPDATE January 13, 2015: Webtrends on-premise is no longer available]
  • Angelfish offers on-premise digital analytics from $1,295/year [UPDATED January 13, 2015]