Heap vs. Google Analytics – 3 Months In

I’ve been using Heap for about 3 months now, mostly as an easy way to pull data about traffic, clicks, and to do some basic cohort analysis. While I’ve been an occasional user of Google Analytics for quite a while, I was never a “power user” and often found myself rediscovering how to do things due to infrequent use of specific functions.

What I found with Heap was that I never had to discover how to do anything-everything was simple, made sense, and there was no digging around. This is the beauty of a truly clean and intuitive interface, a far cry from the jam-packed monstrosity that GA has evolved into.

The best part is Heap tracks ALL the interactions on your page, you don’t have to define anything ahead of time.  After the fact you can pull out the interactions you’re interested in, or find new combinations you’d like ton analyze, all on a whim. A far cry from the complicated triggers you’d need to setup in GA.

Obviously GA is incredibly powerful, well integrated, and the industry standard-however it’s functions have faced an evolution that has led to the current version being unrecognizable from the original. Not necessarily a bad thing, but you can feel the clunky compromises that have been made through that process. In development, throwing out the codebase and starting fresh is the equivalent to declaring bankruptcy, but the design of interface doesn’t have to have the same stigma. A redesign or a refresh is a chance to clean the slate, make decisions baed on how it works now, how people are using it now, not what people have always done.  Sure, you’ll piss off the power users for a time, but they’ll thank you when they can stop answering everyone else’s questions on how to even use the thing.

More and more, I open up Heap instead of GA to pull any kind of data. Not only is it easier, it returns faster. I had a query run for 30 seconds once (on millions of visits) and got an email from Heap apologizing, and another telling me that same query should take 6 seconds now.  I tried to contact Google the other day and they wanted $150/mo for support.

Even if you don’t make the switch like I did, try Heap on for size. You won’t regret it.



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