Heap vs. Google Analytics

Heap automates tagging, providing a significantly different experience than Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the most popular analytics product in the world for many reasons – it's free, backed by one of the largest companies in the world, and does a number of things very well. However there are several differences between Heap and Google Analytics, and different types of websites for which one or the other might be a better fit.

"People are conditioned by incumbents to want these big metrics like page summary, but those aren't actionable. We want to spend as little time as possible on these high-level, feel-good numbers and more time on the specific things that create value day-to-day. Heap is the only tool I’ve encountered that lets everyone instantly answer business questions."

— Alan D’Souza, Director of Product Analytics at Lending Club

Automatic Event Tracking

One of Heap's main features is its ability to track events on your website or mobile app automatically. On web, Heap tracks every pageview, click, form submission and more without any work on your part. On mobile, Heap tracks every touch, swipe, tap, and any other gesture event automatically. Google Analytics, on the other hand, can only track pageviews automatically. Using the Google Analytics sendEvent method, you can track other types of interactions, but this requires custom instrumentation on your part.

Event-Based, User-Centric Analytics

Heap is built for modern web and mobile applications, where a focus on customer experience, conversion, retention, and lifetime value is paramount. Google Analytics is built on a 20-year-old infrastructure optimized for a pageview-based, static website. Heap offers powerful behavioral cohorting features, multi-touch attribution, event-based conversion funnels, segmentation analysis, and more.

Event Visualizer

Heap provides a simple, point-and-click interface that allows people to tag their website or mobile app without knowing any code. Product managers, marketers, designers, data analysts, UX researchers, and others can setup tags, run conversion funnels, or do segmentation analysis in seconds. By contrast, Google Analytics requires custom development work and complex tag management that creates a constant burden for any data-driven organization.

Retroactive Analysis

All events defined in Heap are applied retroactively. If you've only defined a "Like Article" event today, but have had Heap installed for the past five months, then you'll view the past five months of data on this interaction instantly. This allows you the flexibility to define events and run queries whenever they're needed, rather than accounting for every possibility from the outset. Google Analytcs's tags only begin tracking data once you've written tracking code and deployed it live.

Sampling and Latency

Mid-size and large users of Google Analytics are presented with sampled data. Therefore reports in Google Analytics can vary in terms of accuracy. Google Analytics can also have up to 24 hours of latency in reports. In Heap, every report is real-time and 100% accurate.

Individual User Tracking

Heap offers the ability to drill down into individual users. Our List view offers individual user histories, which show a comprehensive picture of every single thing a given user has done, even if it's across separate devices and cookies. Google Analytics, on the other hand, has no ability to view individual users. All reports and metrics in Google Analytics are reported in aggregate only.

When Should I Use Google Analytics?

Google Analytics, GA Premium, or GA 360 is ideal for static, pageview-based websites that don't have a need for conversion funnels or user tracking. For example, a blog where you primarily want to track how many views each post is getting is a great candidate for Google Analytics.

When Should I Use Heap?

Any web or iOS apps that requires conversion funnels, detailed user interaction data, or segmentation analysis will get a lot out of Heap. The initial installation cost for Heap and Google Analytics is very low. However, in order to get the most out of Google Analytics, complex apps will require constant maintenance and significant custom work. Heap's automatic event tracking eliminates this hurdle.