Google Analytics Plugins for WordPress: Monster Insights vs GADWP

Google Analytics Plugins for WordPress

Google Analytics Plugins for WordPress: Monster Insights vs GADWP

I hadn’t intended to publish this post today but my ultimate guide to the Google Analytics dashboard wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to rush it out and it not be as useful to you that it could have been. Well now that’s out of the way lets get stuck in to today’s post – Google Analytics plugins for WordPress.

A lot of people use plugins to add their Google Analytics tracking ID to their blogs. This is because most WordPress users know how to install plugins and as long as you’ve got a Google Analytics account you’re away. Most GA plugins however, offer more than just a way to add your tracking code without getting elbows deep in code.

When it comes to Google Analytics plugins for WordPress, there are two that are head and shoulders above the rest. Google Analytics for WordPress by Monster Insights and Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress, so I thought I’d pitch them against each other to see how they compare. Exciting, eh?

 

Google Analytics for WordPress by Monster Insights

Lets get the stats out of the way first. If you read my post on my must have wordpress plugins for mum bloggers you’ll know I like to have a good look at a plugin’s numbers to help me decide whether or not to install and activate it. So here goes.

 

Stats

Active Installs: 1 million+

Last Updated: 4 weeks ago

Tested with WordPress version: 4.9.7

Star rating: 4*

It has a whopping 1 million+ active installs at the time of writing, and was last updated 4 weeks ago. So there’s social proof right there that it must be a decent plugin for more than 1 million people to be using it. I also like that it was updated 4 weeks ago, which shows that it’s still being maintained with performance and security updates. It’s also been tested with the latest version of wordpress and has a 4* rating, which are also good stats. So far everything is pointing towards it being one of the top Google Analytics plugins for WordPress.

 

The Good Stuff

You don’t actually need to have your tracking ID to hand to get Google Analytics set up, using this plugin. As long as you have your account details, or even better, are logged into your Google Analytics account Monster Insights will fetch it for you. For a quick guide on setting up Google Analytics for WordPress my Monster Insights check out my post from last week How to set up google analytics in 3 easy steps [Video].

Another really neat trick, and something that is a bit trickier to do when you use the file upload method, is that you can stop it tracking the visits of anyone logged into your site’s wordpress dashboard. Doing this means you’ll get true stats from your analytics account because it won’t include your own visits to your blog.

 

Viewing your data

To see your data you just click the reports option in the monster insights sub menu. With the free version of the plugin you’re limited to the amount of detail you’ll be shown. It shows graphs of sessions and page views, as well as avergae session duration, bounce rate, new vs returning visitors, device breakdown, top 10 countries and referrals.

So while it gives you a good overview, unless you’re going to put your hand in your pocket for the paid version, you’re better off analysing your data using the main google analytics dashboard. But if you’re the kind of person who feels overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information available in the GA dashboard, then the free version of this plugin is a really decent alternative option. What I will say is that if you’re serious about your blog and getting your message out there and even monetisation, there will come a point where you’ll need to start using the main GA dashboard because the stats presented to you by this plugin won’t be enough.

 

Viewing your data using the Monster Insights Plugin

 

Overall Opinion

All in all it’s a decent plugin, it must be for more than 1 million people to be using it. For me, the option to not record your own visits is a big plus. It means you get a true picture of how many people are visiting your blog and what they’re doing while they’re there.

Like I said before, it’s really easy to set up and the lack of data you can see within the plugin isn’t a problem if you decide to use the GA dashboard to look at your stats anyway.

 

Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress

Stats

Active Installs: 1 million+

Last Updated: 1 month ago

Tested with WordPress version: 4.9.7

Star rating: 4.5*

So this is another plugin with a big number of active installs at the time of writing, but it does have a slightly better star rating at 4.5 * than the monster insights plugin, but let’s be honest half a star is nothing to write home about. Again it’s being updated regularly which is all good.

 

The Good Stuff

This was the first Google Analytics plugin that I tried and it does what it says on the tin. It’s really easy to set up too.

To set it up you’ll need to go to Settings and click Authorize Plugin. You’ll then be asked to sign into your GA account and once you’re in you’ll be given an access code to copy, then you’ll need to go back to wordpress, paste the code and click Save Access Code. Once that’s done it’ll pick up your tracking code.

It’s slightly more fiddly to set up than the monster insights plugin, but still quite easy. Once you’ve done that you’re all set and you’re ready to go.

 

Google Analytics Plugins for WordPress

Click the Authorize Plugin button

 

Google Analhytics Plugins for WordPress

Click the Get Access Code link, which will open a new tab with a code for you to copy. Then paste it into the text box on screen and click the Save Access Code button.

 

Viewing your Data

So you know how to get Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress to start tracking your visitors and the pages they view, but how do you go about actually seeing that data?

You can view your stats in a few different places including the WordPress dashboard, as well as on the Posts page – where you can see the analytics for your individual posts. You get so much more information for free with this plugin than you do with the Monster Insights one.

On the Monster Insights free version of the plugin you can see information for a set period of time, whereas on GADWP you can see data from today up to 3 years ago. You can also check users, referrrers and even 404 errors and loads more here too.

 

Google Analytics Plugins for WordPress

Viewing your stats on the WordPress dashboard

 

Google Analytics Plugins for WordPress

Viewing stats for individual posts on the Post page.

Overall Opinion

Another really good plugin. It’s easy to see why it’s one of the top Google Analytics plugins for WordPress. I love the way stats are presented and especially that you can see data for your individual posts. The number of options you get to filter your stats is in a different league to the Monster Insights plugin.

That said, getting it set up in the first place might be a bit off-putting to users who aren’t very confident with tech.

Verdict

If you’re looking for a plugin to whack your GA tracking ID onto your site there isn’t much to choose between them. The Monster Insights plugin is slightly less fiddly and you get the option to make sure your own views to your site aren’t included in your overall stats.

BUT, if you’re looking for something that’s going to give you a bit more detail and that will let you analyse your stats a bit more then I’d definitely say go with GADWP. I can’t say for the paid version of the Monster Insights plugin but, you get so much more information and options to help you make sense of it all with GADWP. And you can view stats for single posts as well, rather than just overall views.

Personally, I’d go with Monster Insights, only because I prefer to look at my stats on the Google Analytics dashboard. There’s so much over there in terms of being able to filter your stats and even set up custom reports. I have a report that shows me how many views come from search engines and which posts they’re landing on.

 

 

 

You may also enjoy:

How to set up google analytics in 3 easy steps [Video]

The 3 Best Cookie Consent Plugins for WordPress

7 Essential WordPress Plugins for Mum Bloggers

 

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