I’ve been using both Chartbeat and Google Analytics for a couple of years now. I basically used Chartbeat for elegant and cleanly displayed realtime metrics, and Google Analytics for the drilldown data.
Google Analytics released their Realtime view a long time ago actually, but it simply didn’t provide the kind of data I wanted to see.
But with Google now releasing Google Analytis for iOS—as a real application—I’ve decided to drop Chartbeat. Here are few of the reasons for doing so:
- Speed. Chartbeat creates a number of requests from every webpage it is on, and not just on initial load. It’s a constant ping, and it’s annoying to me as a web performance purist.
- Elegance. I dramatically prefer having one analytics solution over two.
- More Data. Google Analytics simply has more data in every possible respect, and having it available from a single console is overwhelmingly compelling.
- Accuracy. I trust Google Analytics data more than I do Chartbeat data. Chartbeat’s explanation for why they continue to count traffic when the tab is open is good, but it still inflates the numbers in my mind. The platforms also differ significantly on how they report mobile vs. desktop traffc, phones vs. tablets, etc. In fact, Chartbeat doesn’t even make the distinction between phone and tablet, whereas Google does.
- Data vs. Fun. Chartbeat is addictive to stare at. I’d rather focus on what I’m doing about the data rather than how it feels to look at it. Google’s full ability to pivot around in the data makes it more of a tool that I should load up occasionally rather than something to monitor.
I enjoyed Chartbeat, and I will miss its elegant visualization of traffic. I simply think Google Analytics is more accurate and more data rich, and the opportunity to centralize on a single platform while lowering my site’s load footprint has become too attractive to pass up.