I have something of a stats fetish. When I started this blog about two years ago, one of the first things I looked for was a click counter. As a small website, a click counter was the only thing I paid any attention to. Fast forward to the present and any half decent statistic tracker has information about clicks, referrers, physical location, system specifications and much more. At any one time in the past year, I’ve used a combination of Statcounter, Google Analytics and, more recently, Reinvigorate beta. Each has features that the others lack. I prefer Statcounter for its ease and simplicity of use, Google Analytics is just plain powerful (but can be overkill as well) and Reinvigorate is awfully pretty.
So can Performancing’s relaunched pMetrics replace all of these? Based on the comparison with other popular stats trackers, pMetrics seems to have all bases covered. But there’s a danger in having oodles of features: can they be presented in a manner that doesn’t confuse and/or intimidate the user? Are the most useful/used features at the top of stack or does the user have to dig for them?
My first impression was positive. Even before trying out the demo, the screenshots gave me hope. The design is open, clean, and intuitive. The home page gives a nice overview of the most recent activity. It presents some of the most important pieces of information at first glance, such as the number of visitors, number of actions (clicks), visit duration, and top 10 activity lists for the day. Further navigation is presented at the top, in tab form.
Under visitors, you can (logically) see more detailed information about visitors, including location and system specifications. You’re also able to click through using the list of IP addresses to access user-specific information. I especially like this screen. You can view all the information about that specific user, but you can also easily go back one level and have all the recent visitors presented to you in a less information-heavy manner.
A very unique feature of pMetrics is it’s so called ‘Spy’ tracker. Visits and actions are tracked and updated instantly for your viewing pleasure. I’m not certain of its actual usefulness, but it’s (scarily, I might add) addictive to watch new people pop onto your site. It must be some sort of self-indulgence thing. As well, there are RSS feeds available for people who’d like the info to be available without having to go to the tracking site itself. I can imagine some creative uses of the RSS feeds; placing it on the site you’re tracking would allow visitors to see what’s popular and drive more traffic to areas they wouldn’t have seen.
PMetrics comes in two grades, the premium version, which costs $14.99 per year (up to 10 000 pageviews per day), and a free version for sites that get less than 1 000 pageviews per day. The free version loses features such as Spy and RSS, and stores statistics information for a shorter period of time. Finally text ads are placed above the stats with the free version – Performancing’s got to make money somehow! 😉 When you sign up, you automatically get 21 days of the premium service free, as a trial, after which the service is downgraded, assuming you don’t pay for the premium service.
I’ll admit, I initially signed up for pMetrics due to the 1 free year of premium service Performancing is giving out to the first 100 reviewers of the service. But as I use it, it’s becoming clear that this has the potential to cut down the number of stats trackers I use from 3 down to 1, pMetrics.