Heap vs Google Analytics

Google Analytics and Heap are two well-known analytics tools on the market. They both help you track, collect, and analyze different metrics about your website and provide insights into your online presence. Even though they may look similar, they have some fundamental differences. While Google Analytics focuses on pageviews, Heap mainly tracks event-based data. Another difference is the information they provide about customers: Google Analytics tracks “who” while Heap tracks the “what” of the customers. Therefore, before making a decision between these two tools, you need to compare the metrics, features, integrations, etc. they offer and choose accordingly.

This article will help you make a better decision by comparing these tools side-by-side.

What is Heap?

Heap is a no-code web analytics tool founded in 2013 by Ravi Parikh and Matin Movassate. Heap aims to create a better and stronger online presence for its customers of all sizes and increase customer engagement. It tracks, collects, and analyzes data about your customers’ characteristics and habits. They started their journey with the motto of “capturing everything as Heap is a no-code tool that tracks every action.

Rather than only looking at the big picture, Heap focuses on tracking every action taken by your customers. This helps you collect data according to your needs and preferences and see the emerging patterns of your customers.

Another great advantage of Heap is that you don’t need to have coding knowledge to retroactively track data from day one. By automatically collecting data and organizing it into useful reports, Heap helps you strategize data-driven plans and speeds up the decision-making process.

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From Heap Blog

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a well-known web analytics platform offered by Google. It tracks and analyzes different marketing metrics (bounce rate, conversion rate, etc.) and provides you with valuable information about your product.

Google Analytics was released in November 2005, which the basis of the platform leaned on Urchin, a web analytics tool that was acquired by Google at the beginning of 2005. Google Analytics started its journey aiming to make web analytics accessible and convenient for its customers. Because it is one of the most comprehensive but free tools on the market, it quickly became a powerful player.

Google Analytics focuses on pageview-data, meaning it tracks specific routes and end-points your users are taking throughout their visit to your website. This feature allows you to see various sources of traffic attribution, specific information about your customers’ habits, and user journeys and helps you to make data-driven decisions for the future.

Google analytics always aims to provide you with useful information to optimize your online performance. Therefore, it collects and analyzes data in four different categories: the session level, event level, pageview level, and user level. Google Analytics combines these four into one and presents you with holistic reports.

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Differences between Heap and Google Analytics

Event Tracking

Google Analytics is a pageview-based tool, so it can only track metrics about page views. If you want to collect data about other user events, you need to custom implement them. Heap, on the other hand, is specifically created for retroactive automatic event tracking. With Heap, you can track and analyze every type of user event such as click, tap, swipe, etc.

Ryan M. (verified reviewer) who is a Marketing Operations Manager in a mid-sized company wrote:

“Some discrepancies in the number of page views might be due to the latest iOS and safari update or for users that have really heavy ad blocker running on their browsers.”

Amanda Z. (verified reviewer), a marketing manager in a small business, wrote:

“It can be quite complicated to get it all to work if you want more in-depth data. As soon as you start wanting more information, you’ll need tag manager and that’s a whole other beast.”

Social Analytics

Google Analytics can measure and analyze your social media presence with just a few clicks. Because it is a social platform, offering different Google integrations to track your social media accounts, you can easily get insights about your social presence and control your accounts. On the other hand, Heap does not focus on social media as much as Google Analytics does.

User Interface

Heap is a user-friendly tool, which you can easily set metrics and track them by a point-and-click user interface. You don’t need to know any coding to configure events and tags and execute conversions. However, it is not the easiest tool to learn: It has a steep learning curve, which can cause headaches for its users. Even though it is not hard to adapt to Google Analytics, it is more complex than Heap. You need to set some actions manually and do custom development.

An anonymous verified reviewer wrote about Google Analytics:

“Implementation can be tricky, it can take a lot of time and expertise to get a full, accurate picture of your metrics.

Francisco M., a verified user who used Heap for 6-12 months, wrote:

“I can’t say using and implementing heap is the easiest thing… It needs some training!”

User Tracking

Google Analytics gives an overview of your customer base and its patterns, but it doesn’t show the user journey of each of your customers However, Heap can display individual customers as well as an overview of your customer base. With Heap, you can see specific patterns of a specific type of users and their histories.

Similarities between Heap and Google Analytics

Features

Both tools offer similar amounts of features, which are also similar in actions. There is an extensive set of features according to the metrics you want to track or data you want to collect. Because both of the tools are heavy on features, sometimes it is hard to understand and learn the products.

Learning Curve

Even though the simplicity of their interfaces is quite different, both tools require a lot of time and effort to learn all the features and tools. This results in a steep learning curve, which is not ideal if you want to use the tool as soon as possible.

Reporting

Both tools offer a variety of visuals and graphs to support their reports, and the reports they provide are simple and convenient. It is easy to discern useful information, which will help you make plans for the future and assess your weaknesses and strengths. Similarly, the graphs on the reports help you to see different statistics easily and compare different metrics.

Pricing

Heap

Heap offers four different price plans according to the scale of your business: Free, Growth, Pro, and Premier. While the most basic plan is free, Heap also offers a free trial for Growth and Pro plans. Because each price plan is custom-made, you can contact a sales representative to tailor-made a plan just for your own needs.

From Heap

Google Analytics

Google Analytics only offers two price plans: Google Analytics and Google Analytics 360. Google Analytics offers a great variety of features and tools for free. On the other hand, Google Analytics 360, is a little bit more comprehensive than the free plan, and the costs start from $150,000/year, increasing as the scale of a business increases.

From Google Analytics

Comparison

Even though both platforms offer a free price plan, the free plan of Google Analytics is much more useful because there are more features and tools. On the other hand, because Heap offers four different price plans, you can find the best one according to your needs without spending a lot of money. Higher versions of both Heap and Google Analytics are custom-made, so you cannot access a predicted cost, which is a disadvantage for both of the tools. Because Google Analytics offers more without a cost, it is widely used by the market.

Integrations

For web analytics tools, it is very important to have an extensive and versatile list of integrations. Because integrations make both your and your customers’ lives easier, you can greatly benefit from integrations. Therefore, before deciding on Heap or Google Analytics, you need to carefully look at their integrations lists.

Heap

Heap provides many different integrations sectioned in different categories: Attribution platform, CRM, Customer Data Platform, Customer Success, Data Warehouses (Heap Connect), Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, Payments, Pipelines, Session Replay, SSO (Single Sign-On), Testing & Personalization, User Guides, and Other.

The most popular integrations:

  • Appcues
  • Shopify
  • Redshift
  • S3
  • Intercom
  • Salesforce

Other notable integrations:

  • Zendesk
  • Hubspot
  • Mailchimp
  • Marketo
  • Zapier
  • Stripe
  • Stitch
  • FullStory
  • Single Sign- On: Google Apps
  • Oracle Maxymiser

Google Analytics

One of the huge advantages of Google Analytics over its competitors is that it offers complete integration with almost all of the Google products and platforms. Other than providing integration with Google-based products, Google Analytics also has a comprehensive list of other integrations.

Powerful Google Analytics integrations:

  • Salesforce
  • CallRail
  • DoubleClick Campaign Manager
  • Shopify
  • Zendesk
  • Facebook
  • Marketo
  • WordPress
  • VWO
  • Hootsuite

Other notable integrations:

  • AddThis
  • Eventbrite
  • Magento
  • Mailchimp
  • Segment
  • Wix Zoho
  • Tableau
  • VimeoPro
  • ClassDojo

Comparison

Looking at both tools, you can see some similarities as well as some distinctive differences. Even though Heap offers some well-known and useful integrations, the integrations of Google Analytics are much more extensive and versatile. Google Analytics can integrate with many products from different fields and almost all the Google products, which can help you a lot according to your needs and preferences. If you are going to choose Heap, you need to be careful about whether the integrations you need are available or not.

Reviews

Heap

“If you’re starting a new product, go for it. If you’re switching from an existing analytics tool, definitely sit down and think about how your processes will change as a result.”

From g2

“Customizable overviews of metrics combined with comprehensive reports give our company a detailed overview of user data and usage in as broad or as defined of a scope as we needed according to our project goals.”

From g2

“We were able to use Heap to create retroactive analytics segments to find our target audience.”

From g2

Google Analytics

“You can track everything from gender and location to the keywords being used to find your page. I also love how easy it is to use.”

From g2

“If you know what you are doing, it’s a great tool. Otherwise, be prepared to learn.”

From g2

“We embed Google Analytics in clients’ websites before deploying them. It gives them a simple overview of the paid/organic/direct traffic.”

From g2

Top Factors to Consider Before Choosing One

Event Tracking

Before deciding on Heap or Google Analytics, you need to make sure that whether your product will get more benefits from a pageview-based tool or an event-based tool. If you want to track and collect specific details about your pageviews, you should consider Google Analytics. However, if you want to see certain actions, both significant and insignificant, your customers are taking, you can benefit from Heap. At the end of the day, you need to be certain of your needs and preferences.

Pricing

Both tools offer free and paid plans. While Google Analytics offers a great variety of features, metrics, and tools for in its free version, Heap’s free version is limited. You can do a lot of things with the free version of Google Analytics. However, if you are a middle-size company, you may need some extra features. If you choose Google Analytics 360, you may spend money on features you don’t need. Therefore, Heap is a better alternative in this situation.

Integrations

Google Analytics’s list of integrations gives a huge advantage over its competitors. It can integrate both with Google products and other platforms. On the other hand, even though the integration list of Heap is much shorter than Google Analytics, it has most of the common and useful integrations. Before deciding, you need to make sure that the integrations you need are available on any of the tools.

Product Metrics

If you are working at a SaaS company, then product engagement is integral for your company’s success. Heap is much better at product analytics than Google Analytics is, which helps you increase net dollar retention rate and decrease churn rate.

A Better Alternative: HockeyStack

What’s HockeyStack?

HockeyStack is an end-to-end analytics tool for SaaS companies. It unifies marketing, revenue, sales, and product data into one dashboard with no code so that you can understand what really drives revenue at your SaaS. It’s completely no code, and it doesn’t require any setup.

HockeyStack’s Features

HockeyStack offers these features with no code:

  • Step-by-step user journey
  • Custom dashboards
  • Funnels and goals
  • Insights
  • Surveys
  • Revenue analytics
  • Segments

and more

HockeyStack Pricing

HockeyStack has a free forever plan and 3 paid plans. Paid plans have a 14-day trial with a 30-day refund guarantee.

You can check out the pricing page here.

HockeyStack Integrations

  • Paddle
  • Stripe
  • Hubspot
  • Salesforce (coming soon)
  • Zapier (coming soon)

HockeyStack Pros and Cons

I might be biased, but this is an objective evaluation of HockeyStack’s pros and cons 🙂

HockeyStack Pros

The unique benefit of HockeyStack is its ability to unify your marketing, revenue, sales, and product data using no code. This allows you to uncover unique insights that you wouldn’t be able to by using multiple tools as they cause you to have fragmented data.

  1. You can integrate with Stripe, Paddle, and Hubspot and build every single dashboard that you can think of, using all sales, marketing, revenue, and product metrics.
  2. You can create funnels, goals, and surveys, which are rare to get with other tools on this list.
  3. You don’t need any developers, tracking is cookieless, and the script is small, so it doesn’t increase your site loading time.

HockeyStack Cons

HockeyStack generally lacks reporting features as it’s not focused on agencies and other reporting-based businesses.

  1. HockeyStack doesn’t have weekly e-mail reports
  2. The tool lacks some integrations, such as Salesforce, Mailchimp, and Zapier (which are on the roadmap).

Conclusion

Heap and Google Analytics are good web analytics tools to choose from. If you want to track events, Heap can be a better tool. On the other hand, if you want to focus on details about pageviews, Google Analytics is a stronger alternative. Choosing between those two can be a quite tiring process because their advantages and disadvantages are pretty similar. For a better alternative, you can check HockeyStack and try the free trial. At the end of the day, it is very important that you are considering your needs and preferences to choose the best web analytics tool because each of the tools is designed for specific aims to solve certain problems.

FAQ

Is Heap free?

Yes and no. It offers a free plan, which is the most basic version of Heap. However, if you want to access more features and tools, you need to buy one of three plans: Growth, Pro, and Premier. These plans offer different features according to your business’s scale and your preferences. Each of the plans is tailor-made specifically to your needs; therefore, there is no set price. You need to contact a sales representative for further information.

Where does Heap store data?

Heap stores data in its warehouses, which are managed by Heap Connect. You can easily and seamlessly bring user data into warehouses and manage them automatically. In addition, these warehouses collect and store data retroactively, meaning that you have access to any type of data from day one. This helps you to organize your past data and control your future data.