Gauges

Real-Time Analytics for the Soul

March 24, 2016

Real-Time Analytics

Every time we write a blog post, we watch people all over the world read it. It may seem silly to stare at your analytics software right after you post an article or launch a feature, but let me show you why it’s a great idea.

In this world of pushing text around on computers, we’ve lost actually seeing people interact with the things we make. This feedback loop is essential for making good products, but even more so for happiness. It is invigorating to see people using your work, to be reminded that you are helping real people, not just numbers.

At Gauges, what we like most about real-time analytics is that it shows you the invisible in a way you can relate to. Seeing a dot spring onto a map let’s you know someone in Alberta is reading about the analytics API. Or someone in Johannesburg just read about AirTraffic. Seeing these actions as they happen gives you a feeling that you can’t get by reviewing the numbers from yesterday.

Feeling down today? Open up your analytics software and remind yourself just how many people care about what you’re working on.

Not a customer yet? Try out Gauges free for a week and see how it makes you feel.

Is Gauges a good alternative to Google Analytics?

January 09, 2016

Google Analytics Alternative

Yes! Here’s why (and why not) Gauges is an awesome Google Analytics alternative:

Why Gauges

  • Gauges is simple. Really simple. You don’t need to be a marketing expert. We just give you the stats you care most about.
  • Gauges is real time. Unlike Google Analytics, which is normally delayed several hours, in Gauges all your stats will be automatically updated in mere seconds without needing to hit the refresh button.
  • Gauges is fast. No more staring at your computer for five seconds waiting for a Google Analytics report to run.
  • Gauges isn’t owned by Google. Many people think Google has enough data about you and your website.

Why not Gauges

  • Gauges is simple. If you ARE a marketing expert, you’ll probably miss advanced features like: ecommerce tracking, campaign tracking, funnel analysis, and custom variables. The Gauges marketing team uses Google Analytics in addition to Gauges,because we want those features in our own marketing.
  • Gauges costs money. Not a lot, but it’s not free. We’re a small business and running a major website analytics service with high reliability isn’t free. Gotta pay for all those servers!

Multiple Trackers

In general, it’s good to have multiple website trackers. It lets you compare statistics and enjoy the best features from each one. Note: don’t expect the two tools to provide identical statistics, there will always be some variance.

Free No-Credit-Card Trial

Gauges website analytics offers a free 7-day trial with no-credit card required. There’s zero risk in giving us a try. We think you’ll like Gauges better than Google Analytics!

Top Multi-Site Web Analytics APIs

January 05, 2016

Almost all web analytics services provide an API for downloading reports and data, but not all allow for the dynamic creation and management of websites to track. Many marketing agencies, web designers, and web hosts need to automatically track visits and pageviews across many of their client sites.

All of these applications have APIs that let you easily add and remove new websites:

Gauges

Gauges was built from the ground up to be a web analytics API. The entire application is built on top of the same RESTful API that is exposed to you as a customer. If you’re looking for real-time metrics like visits and pageviews, look no further. Pricing: Starts at $12/mo

Piwik

Piwik is one of the most popular open source analytics solutions. In addition to basic metrics, Piwik offers goals, ecommerce tracking, and custom variables. Think of it (for better, or for worse) as a replacement for Google Analytics, with an open source licensed version available for those who want to host their own. Pricing: Starts at $49/mo, or self-install the open source version for free

GoSquared

GoSquared is a powerful commercial web analytics service. Beyond just website analytics, GoSquared provides trend analysis and detailed user reporting. The service is well-designed and easy to use. It can also import data in from many third-party systems, such as MailChimp and Shopify. Pricing: Starts at $18/mo, or $68/mo with user reporting

Clicky

Clicky provides a well-rounded analytics tool that provides advanced features, without Google Analytics overwhelming interface. That said, the design of Clicky’s interface lacks polish. Standard Clicky accounts do not allow for API site management, but Clicky White Label allows full API management. Pricing: Starts at $49/mo for white label

Feature Upgrade: Mobile & Tablet Support for All Devices

December 11, 2015

Responsive Design Screenshot

We’ve taken the same responsive design we’ve long given iPhone users and expanded that to include all mobile and tablet devices. Everything you love about the Gauges real-time website tracking is available wherever you are. The only exception is the AirTraffic map, which is still desktop-only for now.

For those interested in the technical details, we converted our existing design to use CSS flexbox. To help us decide if flexbox was a good idea, we reviewed our browser technology stats on Gauges.

Browser Technology Support

We hope this understanding your website’s traffic just a little bit easier, regardless of when and where you want to see your stats. Let us know what you think at @GaugesApp!

Feature Upgrade: Global State & Province Tracking

June 15, 2015

Expanded GeoLocation Regions

Users all over the globe need easy-to-understand analytics. To better support international customers, we’ve added region, state, and province tracking for most countries. We’ve always supported US states and Canada provinces, but this upgrade extends the deeper location visibility into other countries. This data can be easily accessed on your GeoLocation page or via the Locations API.

What Does Sharing Mean, Anyway?

December 03, 2014

Gauges is all about making web analytics easier to understand and easier to share with anyone. Let’s take a closer look at what happens when you share a gauge with a friend, coworker, or client!

First, you’ll select a gauge you want to share, and input the email address of the person you’re inviting.

Sharing a gauge

That user will receive an email informing them they’ve been invited to view a gauge:

Gauges invitation email

Once they’ve gotten their email invitation, they’ll be prompted to sign up for a free account, and will be able to sign into their dashboard at gaug.es. The gauge you’ve shared will automatically appear in the left side of their dashboard, and they’ll be able to view all data we collect for that gauge.

As long as you have a valid Gauges subscription, any shared gauges will be available to your invitees. Invited users do not have the same level of permissions as owners, however - they will not be able to change gauge settings, delete gauges, or share gauges with others.

How We Improved Positive Churn by Pointing Out Actual Usage

October 01, 2014

A few months back, we realized a large number of our users had outgrown their current plans. Some of them were several times over their plan limits - tracking well over a million page views per month on a plan that allowed for 100,000 views, for example! Naturally, we found this concerning. Not only were these users not paying for the extra views, but capacity planning was a lot more difficult with so many users sending way more data than their plans allowed.

The thing is, our users weren’t abusing Gauges by any means. Many of them had absolutely no idea they were so far over their plan limits - because we weren’t telling them. We just weren’t exposing how many of their monthly visits they were actually sending. It shouldn’t be up to our users to track their own usage. We have that information - it was simply a matter of making it available to our users.

It was hard for overage users to tell when they were over their limits, because we don’t have hard caps on web traffic. A lot of development shops use Gauges to provide easy to understand web analytics to their clients, and we didn’t want to simply stop tracking visits to their clients’ sites. On top of that, it’s often difficult to predict when you’re going to get a big traffic spike, and we don’t want to stop tracking your visitors when you’ve exceeded your limit for the month.

Still, we had to make a change. We weren’t exposing usage, and nothing out of the ordinary happened when a user reached his monthly limit. We want all of our users to be aware when they had exceeded their plan limits, and we wanted to move overage users to more appropriate plans. Our thinking was if we showed users who were over their plan just how far they were over their plan, and gently encouraged them to upgrade, we’d see more upgrades.

We started by identifying users who were at least 20% over their plan limits by making a new segment in Intercom:

Intercom segment

Now we just needed to figure out how to persuade overage users to move to the right plan for their actual use case. We quietly rolled out a notice that appeared on the dashboard of any user who was more than 20% over their plan:

Overage notification in Gauges

We noticed the impact of this update almost immediately.

First, we started hearing from long time users who were confused and thought we were going to shut down their accounts unless they upgraded their plans. This was never our intention - we don’t think any of our users were actively trying to abuse Gauges. We’d never exposed our user’s actual plan usage in this way before, making it harder than necessary for any of our users to remember if they were within their plan limits.

We also saw a spike in user cancellation. Shortly after we rolled out this notification, cancellations increased. Not as many as we thought we would see, but it happened. User churn was a bit higher than normal following this change, but quickly returned to normal levels.

User upgrades also became more frequent. Previously we’d seen upgrades from Solo to Small plans most often, for users who wanted to share web traffic stats with other users. Now we began seeing upgrades based on how much of a plan a user was using.

Finally, we heard from a number of users who thought this was a great idea, and were happy to upgrade their plans. Users in this camp tended to be longtime fans of Gauges, likeminded companies, and other passionate users.

What did we learn from this experiment?

We absolutely had a messaging problem around the rollout of this feature. We could have mitigated this by announcing the feature update, or making it absolutely clear we weren’t going to cancel anyone’s plan. We’re still using the same integration to expose overage, and this could be made more useful. We could switch to a running total that resets monthly, for example, rather than simply notifying users when they’ve exceeded their plan limits. We’re still seeing a number of users with overage, but this number has been steadily decreasing since we implemented this change.

We also got a better understanding of how much our users like Gauges - businesses that rely on us to track their web traffic stats were more than happy to upgrade, and more casual users simply canceled their plans.

We hate seeing cancellations - anyone who runs a SaaS business knows that your business lives or dies based on user churn. But while we did see a spike in user cancellations, this trend didn’t continue and quickly returned to normal levels. By contrast, users are more likely to upgrade once they’ve hit their monthly limit, and overall we consider this experiment to be a success.

Could we have handled this more elegantly? Absolutely. But we’ve learned a lot - about how our users actually use Gauges, and whether we could actually see a revenue bump from our active user base.

Google, search terms, and (not provided)

September 09, 2014

“Why can’t I see my search terms?”

This is a question we hear pretty frequently at Gauges support. It’s a reasonable question - as a marketer, you want to know which keywords your organic visitors use to reach your site, and you want your web analytics tool to tell you these things. The answer to this question is slightly complicated, so we thought it would be a good topic for a blog post.

Google made a big change to its privacy policy back in October, 2011. Basically, if someone is logged into any product owned by Google (gmail, AdWords, YouTube, etc) any search he or she makes on Google will be performed over SSL, and the keyword data will be masked. That is to say, we can’t actually get the organic search terms that bring visitors to your site, if they’re logged into their Google account and using Google to find you. Google simply does not make this information public.

Google doesn’t even reveal this type of organic search term data to its own users in Google Analytics, substituting “(not provided)” for the actual terms used. We don’t think “(not provided)” is very useful, so we simply disregard any searches made over SSL. We’ll only show you search terms we can actually see, which means a smaller, more actionable set of keywords exposed to you in your dashboard.

Not Provided Count has been charting the rise of “not provided” over time. By their estimate, Google will be masking all searches by the end of 2015.

Google's Not Provided count over time Graph of “Not Provided” search results over time

We are still able to provide some keyword data from Google, provided the person performing that search is not logged into a Google product, or visited your site using Google’s paid search. We can still track organic data from other search engines, such as Yahoo, Bing, and DuckDuckGo.

Here’s what a breakdown of search engine traffic with keyword data looked like for us in August. We’re seeing fewer and fewer visits from search engines providing us keyword data these days:

Search engine visits in Gauges

Bing and Yahoo account for slightly less than half of our average search traffic. We get a small amount of traffic from visitors using other search engines, like DuckDuckGo and search.com, but Google is still the biggest player in the field. The keyword information Gauges is able to provide is dramatically smaller than before Google made its privacy policy change in 2011.

Internet marketers, SEOs and business owners have been forced to adapt in the nearly 3 years since this change. However, keyword data is just one aspect of modern marketing, and smart marketers know there’s more to understanding visitor behavior than the search terms they use. Even without full organic keyword data from Google, Gauges will be there to track your most popular content, display your visitors in real time with AirTraffic, and share your traffic data with your entire team.

Better Resolution on Traffic Data

August 26, 2014

We just deployed better resolution for your Referring Sites and Top Content! You can now see your referring sites and most popular content grouped by the month. Here’s how this looks in your dashboard:

Monthly resolution on Referring Sites and Top Content

Better resolution on Referring Sites and Top Content has been a highly requested feature, and we’re really excited to deliver this today.

Bonus! We’ve added yearly resolution to Views and People, allowing you to browse your web traffic stats over the years.

Yearly resolution on traffic data

Second bonus! We realized a giant blob of traffic data in your All Time section wasn’t very easy to understand, so we’ve broken this information down by year:

Web traffic stats for all time

This update makes it easier for you to see trends over time, track how well your content is performing, and see which sites are consistently sending you the most traffic.

We hope you guys are as excited about this as we are, and we’ve got a ton of other cool updates on the way.

Got something you’d love to see? Some feature that would make Gauges even better for your business? Leave us a comment or drop us a line - we’d love to talk to you!

Gauges Updated For Retina Displays

May 21, 2014

We’ve updated Gauges for Retina displays with sharper, higher resolution icons and images. Your web traffic data never looked so good!

Gauges has been updated for Retina displays

One little caveat - the map lines in your AirTraffic view have not been optimized for Retina display just yet. We’re working on fixing this, but it’s proving a bit trickier than we’d anticipated.

Yay, Retina!

Love,
Gauges Team

Daily Email Summaries

May 09, 2014

Did you know you can get a daily summary of traffic data for all your gauges, delivered right to your inbox? This is a great way to share web traffic stats with less technical people, or to keep an eye on all your sites without having to log into your dashboard.

Here’s a screenshot of our own daily email summary, showing what traffic to DocRaptor and Instrumental looks like.

Web traffic email summaries

Ready to try it out? Just head over to My Account, then Email Summaries.

Setting up daily email summaries in Gauges

We’ll send your most interesting traffic stats: how many people visited your site, who sent you the most traffic, and your most popular content. Best of all, you can get this information on as many gauges as you wish.

Love,
Gauges Team

Better Visitor Location Tracking

April 23, 2014

We’re providing better web traffic stats with the changes we’ve made to GeoLocation tracking! It turns out a lot of you guys want more accurate visitor location information, and we’re happy to deliver.

Geolocation tracking with Gauges

Our new and improved location database will ensure that we can be accurate up to the state and city level regarding where your visitors come from. Want to see it in action? Open up AirTraffic Live, sit back, and watch the traffic roll in to your site.

Love,
Gauges Team

Gauges iOS app - updated for iOS 7!

February 21, 2014

We recently pushed out an update for the Gauges iOS app. Yay!

Gauges iOS7 app screenshot

This update brought a lot of improvements to the app:

  • The iOS app has been updated and optimized for use with iOS 7
  • AirTraffic now works more reliably
  • AirTraffic can now display via TV-Out or Airplay Mirroring
  • All screens now support landscape view
  • Updated icons for Retina display
  • Many minor bug fixes, performance improvements

How does Air Traffic display on a television you ask? A little something like this:

Gauges AirTraffic displayed on a TV.

Please excuse the image quality. We promise the photo wasn’t taken with a potato.

If you’re on iOS 7, you shouldn’t have to do anything to get the updated version of the app.

We’ve got a lot of improvements coming soon, so keep an eye out!

Love,
Gauges Team

The One Where We Update Browser Detection

January 17, 2014

A handy feature in Gaug.es is knowing which browsers are visiting your site and which features those browsers support. As new browsers come out and old browsers are updated, they like to change how they identify themselves. It’s important that we stay on top of those updates so you’re getting accurate information, but that can be a bit tricky sometimes.

For example, here’s how Internet Explorer changes from version 10 to version 11.
Version 10: Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 10.0; Windows NT 6.2; Trident/6.0)
Version 11: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.3; Trident/7.0; rv:11.0) like Gecko

Notice that version 11 doesn’t even actually say it is Internet Explorer?

For comparison, here is is how Firefox reports:
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; Win64; x64; rv:25.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/25.0

Also notice that Internet Explorer and Firefox both say they’re “Mozilla” and “Gecko” and maybe also some other stuff? There are historical reasons for this, but suffice it to say that we can’t necessarily take what the browser tells us at face value.

We deployed the latest browser detection code for Internet Explorer 11 and we’ll continue to monitor all new and updated browsers.

Love,
Gauges Team