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10 min read
Matomo (formerly known as Piwik) is a downloadable, open source web analytics platform. It is designed to provide detailed reports about traffic to a website. It has many features which could prove very useful for marketing organizations.
While Matomo provides analysis of weblogs showing unique visits, page views, access media, location and the normal range of data one would expect from an analytics tool, it also boasts a number of features that are typically not standard. For instance, unlike Google Analytics, Matomo does not sample data or cap the number of results – the data being represented is real and comprehensive. From the perspective of a direct marketing company, this could be especially useful for spotting small patterns that might have been missed by sampling.
Depending on one’s perspective, the ability to download and install the software for free independently on a server provides a great deal of flexibility. This can be particularly appealing for organizations that might harbor some concerns about consumer privacy – any and all data (if handled this way) can be protected, and is not necessarily shared with larger networks (though this does not necessarily apply for their cloud-based service).
Beyond this, Matomo boasts a wide array of features that make it a very appealing tool for use in direct marketing operations.
What sets Matomo out from other tools of this nature is that it is particularly helpful for analyzing real-time data. Matomo boasts a host of different metrics which can identify where activity is occurring on a website at any given time. From a direct marketing perspective, this makes it an ideal tool for identifying both the effectiveness of marketing campaigns as well as how well a site can convert contacts to customers.
Some of the most useful features that Matomo offers that could be of the highest value are not part of the free download, but are available either through their cloud service or as a purchasable third-party plugin. Below are some of these features:
Matomo allows visualizing data about each individual visitor, including id, operating system, browser, summary of time spent, details about their activity and more. One can also track actual activity for a user.
This can be helpful for tracking pre-converted users who may have visited your site multiple times, and can also be used to identify possible pitfalls to improve conversion rates.
If you are doing any sort of usability testing, the heatmap feature in Matomo can be useful for identifying exactly how your customers are actually interacting with your landing pages. Heatmaps are visual representations on where people click on a page, which can help you see where people click on a page, whether they scroll, and more. Instead of relying on anecdotal evidence of individual users, heatmaps can be used to identify real patterns of behavior. They are configurable to different device types and sizes.
Matomo offers a helpful feature which will allow you to turn on recording of individual sessions to track individual users and observe their entire action throughout a website, including mouse behavior, scrolling, and maintaining a record of all pages on a specific visit.
In many marketing campaigns you may have a set of expected steps that you would like users to follow. Matomo allows you to create pre-defined flows with a set of short goals, such as a process from clicking on a promotional ad, through a shopping cart; defined by number of steps. Within funnels you can create markers for each step, so it can be very easy to track behavior through a marketing campaign. This can, for example, make it possible to observe user behavior patterns within these funnels to be able to identify when a user might drop off during a process and at which points they may be confused, etc.
Tools which make it easier to compare user behavior across two different pages. These can be viewed side by side and can help identify which version had the best effects within a conversion funnel
One of the more challenging aspects of managing eCommerce flows on a website is how to handle forms. In order to get key information about your customers or users, typically you need them to provide it for you. However, forms can introduce many usability obstacles for users. Being able to track how people use them can help provide the information which can make or break a marketing campaign.
Matomo’s form analytics can track user progress through a form, including showing those who bounced from a site during the completion process, the percent of those who completed the form, time spent completing the form, and can even keep a record of waits/hesitations made by users prior to submitting. Data can be either viewed granularly at an individual level, or users can be broken into groups (e.g. starters, submitters, or converters).
If running a marketing campaign online, having solid analytics software is absolutely crucial for any site, particularly if eCommerce is a factor. Matomo provides most of the features one might expect from this sort of software and many more. The ability to watch statistics can be a real benefit to many campaigns, and the ability to drill down into individual cases can be helpful. While many of the features seem best suited for designers and those interested in usability, this can easily be applied to many of the features of direct marketing
The official forum is fairly busy, the general questions and support categories average about 30 questions/month. Responses seem regular.
Matomo (and Piwik) has a strong ecosystem driven by its APIs. To get a better idea of its usage, see the Integrations section below
If using the cloud, getting started is as simple as a few clicks. You are provided with code snippets to place in each page. Downloading and installing it requires a little bit of understanding of how to configure it on a server, but overall very simple. That said, as with many projects there are often tweaks that may be necessary to get everything to work properly.
Using the tool is very straightforward and is designed for ease of use.
Matomo is a valuable web analytics platform, and has a great deal of functionality that most direct marketers would want to analyze web traffic, campaigns, and user behavior on their websites For those organizations that want to maintain strict control over their own data, Matomo, particularly as an installation, has some advantages over its main competitor (Google Analytics).
Being open source gives a good deal more flexibility in modifying Matomo for one’s needs, but as is also common with such publishing models, this modification will require a significant amount of human capital.
Matomo is particularly strong in the area of real-time analytics, making it possible to track live activity on a site during a marketing campaign. However, the best value that Matomo appears to offer requires the use of their cloud hosting or purchasing the plugins that handle this functionality. The conversion optimization features, including heatmaps, form analytics, and funnels can be valuable for many direct marketing organizations who wish to get a clear vision of how well individual campaigns are working when the user gets to the actual point of sale.
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