If you want to make your site as good as it can be, you need to understand how your visitors experience your site. Google Analytics can get you part of the way there, but it doesn’t give you a full picture of what visitors are actually doing on your individual pages.
Without setting up complicated events that are beyond most users, Google Analytics won’t be able to tell you:
- Which elements your visitors are clicking on
- How your visitors interact with your forms, and which fields cause them to abandon your forms
- How deeply your visitors scroll and engage with your pages
(Really) Marvellous Metrics is a WordPress plugin that can help you collect all that information, and more.
It’s heatmaps, form tracking, scroll tracking, and more wrapped up into one WordPress-specific plugin.
The functionality is pretty deep for something that sits entirely on your own server. So check out my (Really) Marvellous Metrics review for a look at how you can use this plugin to learn more about your visitors’ experiences (and then put that data to work to actually improve your site!).
(Really) Marvellous Metrics Review: Everything The Plugin Does
If you’ve ever used a service like Hotjar, a lot of the features that I’m about to list should feel familiar. The major distinction is that, unlike Hotjar, there’s no need for a third-party service.
Everything happens on your own server and is stored in your own database.
This benefits you in two main ways:
- If you’re privacy conscious, you’ll like that none of your data is sitting on a third-party’s server.
- You’ll save money long-term because there’s no monthly fee, especially if you’re planning to use it on multiple sites.
So what are those features?
- View tracking
- Click tracking (both links and actual elements)
- Exit tracking
- Scroll depth tracking
- Form tracking
- Form submissions
- Form abandonment (the overall form abandonment rate)
- Form field abandonment (the specific abandoned fields)
- Device type
- Screen resolution
- Geographic data
All of this data is available in real-time. And it’s also accessible right from your WordPress dashboard.
The way (Really) Marvellous Metrics integrates into your dashboard is pretty slick, so let’s go hands-on now so that you can see how all of those features actually come together.
How (Really) Marvellous Metrics Works
When you set up (Really) Marvellous Metrics, there’s not really anything that you need to do to make it start working.
If you want to tinker, the plugin does include a Settings area where you can:
- Change how long a user is tracked (via cookie) before they become a “new” user again
- Set new mobile and tablet breakpoints (for classifying devices)
- Exclude IP addresses (so you don’t muddy your own data)
- Disable tracking for logged in users (again, so you don’t mess up your data)
- Choose which posts types tracking is enabled for. By default, this is all post types. But you can turn it off for certain post types if desired
You can also download the geo database here to enable geolocation tracking. The plugin uses the MaxMind GeoLite2 data.
Beyond disabling (Really) Marvellous Metrics on entire post types, you’ll also get a new meta box in the WordPress editor that allows you to control (Really) Marvellous Metrics on a per-post basis:
Exploring Really Marvellous Metric’s Reporting Interface
Ok, now that we’ve got the settings out of the way, let’s jump into the actual data.
After messing around on my test site for a little bit, I can confirm that Really Marvellous Metric’s tracking is indeed real-time. And also, more importantly, I can confirm that the data is accurate.
All the data showed up immediately – there was no delay between me clicking on stuff in an incognito tab and tracking data showing up in the dashboard.
Here’s what the main dashboard looks like:
The top gives you a quick overview for page views, clicks, scroll depth, device type, and city (if you install the geo database).
Below that, it breaks down page views, in-content clicks, scroll depth, and form submissions by:
- Individual piece of content
This dashboard is helpful for seeing a broad overview of how your site is performing, as well as where your visitors are clicking on things and submitting forms.
That’s not the coolest thing about this plugin, though…
If you want to view more detailed stats for a specific piece of content, you can click on any of those View Stats links in the main dashboard.
That will launch the front-end stats interface (I’m going to switch over to (Really) Marvellous Metrics’ demo site for these screenshots because they have more data to work with).
You can also access this interface from your posts/pages list by using the new Marvellous Metrics column:
(Really) Marvellous Metrics Reports For Individual Pieces Of Content
When you launch this interface, you get a sidebar on the left with different data and a live preview of the page on the right.
By switching between the tabs, you can view different data on the live preview of your site:
In the first tab (pictured above), you get a basic summary of all the data for this page.
If you click over to the next tab, you can see what people are clicking on. For example, you can see that people were clicking on the various form fields (as you’d expect):
The next tab shows information about how deeply people scroll on your site. In addition to color-coding, you can also hover over the live preview of your site to see lines for certain percentiles of scroll depth:
Notice how the color gets lighter as you go further down.
Finally, the fourth tab shows a summary of the forms on your page. What’s nice here is that you can see both overall form submissions/abandonments, as well as the specific fields that were abandoned (by hovering over the form):
Seeing what fields get abandoned is super helpful because it lets you find fields that get in the way of a user submitting your forms (which helps you boost your conversion rate).
*The fifth tab will feature a Suggestions feature that suggests improvements to your page. That feature doesn’t exist yet, though.
Does (Really) Marvellous Metrics Affect Performance?
I was interested in what effect, if any, (Really) Marvellous Metrics had on my site’s performance.
To test that, I uploaded it to a live demo site and ran it through GTmetrix.
You can see that (Really) Marvellous Metrics does have some lengthy requests, but most of these requests all occur after the onload time (the red line). That’s the point where all of your site’s resources have finished downloading:
Basically, it doesn’t seem like (Really) Marvellous Metrics will affect your page load times as a human experiences them.
You can read more about the difference between Onload and Fully Loaded page load times here.
How Much Does (Really) Marvellous Metrics Cost?
Here’s where (Really) Marvellous Metrics differentiates itself from the SaaS alternatives.
While the paid version of Hotjar starts at $29 per month, you can currently get (Really) Marvellous Metrics for just $99 (this is the early bird price – the regular price will be $199).
That includes use on unlimited websites plus one year of support and updates. Obviously, that works out a lot cheaper than a SaaS alternative, especially if you plan to use it on multiple sites.
Final Thoughts On (Really) Marvellous Metrics
I don’t know that (Really) Marvellous Metrics does anything analytics wise that SaaS tools can’t do. But here’s where it differentiates itself:
- It’s integrated into your WordPress dashboard, which plenty of people will prefer
- It’s going to end up a lot more affordable than SaaS tools, especially if you’re planning to use it on multiple sites (remember – the license supports use on unlimited sites)
- All the data is stored on your own server, which is a draw for privacy-conscious webmasters
So if you want this kind of tracking and those selling points strike a chord with you, you should definitely give (Really) Marvellous Metrics a look.