Finding the Right Alternatives to FullStory
What is FullStory?
FullStory is a digital analytics platform designed to give teams the information they need to optimize their channels, increase engagement, and drive more revenue. FullStory customers gain real-time access to actionable insights delivered via robust visualizations, most prominently through session replays and intelligent heatmaps. Upon install, the platform — which is best suited to consumer apps and B2C brands — delivers historical analytics without any coding or instrumentation required, making it a nice choice for average business users.
If you’ve used FullStory, you’re no doubt familiar with how the platform uses machine learning to suggest what teams can do to improve the user experience. While FullStory does a good job of noticing and tracking changes to digital properties, the platform has its fair share of shortcomings. Chief among them are the lack of support for custom event tracking and limited governance features, both of which prevents teams from being able to track every single event they might want to. Since no two businesses are the same and different metrics matter more to different companies, this is a major red flag for many teams.
Since you’re reading this, you’re thinking about whether FullStory is the right solution for your team. Before we explore eight popular alternatives to FullStory, let’s take a step back and shine a light on some of the other ways that FullStory falls short.
The shortcomings of FullStory
Here are some of the reasons teams move away from FullStory or opt to use a different platform altogether:
Good for qualitative analysis; not strong on quantitative
Built for the average business—not yours
It can be hard to find the signal in the noise
Limited governance features
Confusing user experience
Great for qualitative analysis; not strong on quantitative
FullStory built itself as a session replay tool, and it’s still very strong there. If you’re looking for qualitative analysis - seeing how individual users interact with your site - FullStory does well. More recently it’s added a suite of quantitative tools built to show you in aggregate how many users take each action on your site. (FullStory calls this “Product Analytics.”) These are far less baked, and far less usable. In general, teams use quantitative analysis to locate problem areas (moments in the funnel that demonstrate major dropoff), then use qualitative analysis to see what exactly the problem is. (Session replay can show you that users can’t find a certain button, for example.) FullStory is still a great qualitative tool, but as an all-in-one solution it struggles.
Built for average businesses — not always yours
While FullStory does a good job of tracking changes to apps and websites, it doesn’t support custom event tracking. The app only integrates with Segment and Tealium events, meaning users are simply not able to track every event they might want to track. Whereas other platforms allow for more customization — thereby allowing teams to build the perfect tool for the job — FullStory lacks the flexibility many organizations need to capture the specific data they need to collect. For this reason, many FullStory users also end up investing in additional analytics tools.
It can be hard to find the signal in the noise
While premium FullStory users can capture large swaths of data, some users say that it’s difficult to find the exact information you’re looking for, while others report that the tool doesn’t always collect details about every single session. Add it all up, and it can be difficult for some teams to use FullStory effectively.
Limited governance features
Related to the previous shortcoming is the fact that especially in its quantitative features (Product Analytics), FullStory collects a ton of data, but hasn’t yet built the governance features that help teams keep that data clean and ordered, so it can be shared and consistent across users. This may happen in the next few years, but for now teams with more than one or two users might find it difficult, or a ton of extra work, to keep their FullStory data clean.
Confusing user interface
Read enough reviews about FullStory, and you’ll notice a recurring trend: Many users feel as though the tool’s interface is overly complex. Unless you use the tool on a regular basis, you may struggle to navigate the platform effectively. If your team isn’t exceptionally technical, you may be better off looking for a more user-friendly platform.
If you plan on using FullStory, make sure you close as many other apps and browser tabs as you can. Some FullStory users say that the platform struggles with performance and loads slowly. Others report slow performance when you’re analyzing large volumes of data. If your use case is complicated, you may be better off looking for a solution that delivers high-performance analytics at scale.
Now that you have a better idea of some of the areas where FullStory might fall short, let’s turn our attention to some of the more popular alternative analytics platforms on the market.
8 alternatives to FullStory
Robust product analytics across all your products
All event data captured automatically
Ability to export to your data warehouse via Heap Connect
Conversion rate optimization across channels
Ensure positive experiences right away to make your products sticky
Increase engagement by leveraging user data to build stronger products
Improve retention across all stages of the customer lifecycle
Like FullStory, Heap enables you to measure user behavior across the customer journey. But while FullStory only integrates with Segment and Tealium events, Heap automatically measures all user events — including how different user segments interact with your products, with sites and channels drive the most traffic your way, and what behaviors are most closely linked to conversion, among other things.
While both Heap and FullStory can help B2C brands, Heap is also well-suited for both SaaS companies and financial services organizations. What’s more, Heap also offers an event visualizer that enables you to easily track down and organize events, governance tools that ensure teams stay on the same page, and security features that keep data protected and help you achieve regulatory compliance. Beyond that, Heap also offers more than 20 integrations with tools like Shopify and Salesforce, giving teams even more granular insights into the customer journey.
Final word: Heap is a great solution for teams interested in capturing all aspects of the user journey without any heavy coding required. Its plug-and-play simplicity makes it the ideal choice for teams looking to understand their users on a deeper level and lack the time and resources needed to configure a system manually.
Amplitude is a product analytics platform that enables you to track user behaviors and events as they navigate your digital properties. Unlike FullStory and Heap, Amplitude requires a nontrivial amount of manual configuration to get the platform up and running. The platform also forces users to tag events manually, which drains precious team resources.
Customizable data structure
Improve the user experience
Increase engagement and conversions
Understand the onboarding flow
While Amplitude can be configured to capture all your data, that will require a lot of engineering work. If you don’t pick the right events to track up front, you may miss out on capturing critical data. Though Amplitude does offer strong analytics capabilities, some users say that it’s a difficult platform to learn your way around when you’re just starting out.
Further, while Amplitude offers integrations with popular data warehouses like Snowflake, Redshift, and Fivetran those integrations are limited in scope. Also worth noting is the lack of integration with BigQuery.
Final word: Amplitude can be a fine choice for engineering teams that are willing to manually configure and track events. Teams that prefer automatic event tracking with minimal setup should look elsewhere.
Interested in a deeper examination of Amplitude? Read our guide here.
3. Google Analytics
GA4 is coming! Learn about it in our complete guide.
Since this is a Google product, it comes as no surprise that Google Analytics is a popular platform for tracking user behavior across websites and other digital products. While GA can be helpful when it comes to determining the route that takes your users to your properties, the platform doesn’t offer much help beyond that. You’ll be able to tell how many people interacted with pages and for how long, but you won’t get granular insights into user behavior. Due to this lack of sophistication, it’s difficult at best to track users across devices and sessions.
Comprehensive web acquisition metrics
High-level insights into performance
Real-time user session data
Identifying popular traffic sources
Determining top-performing content
Beyond these basic use cases, Google Analytics leaves much to be desired. Assuming you want to track more “advanced” metrics — like clicks, form submissions, video plays, and asset downloads — you’ll need to invest a good chunk of time in setting up custom events via Google Tag Manager.
If you’ve ever tried to engage with Google support for free products, chances are you weren’t too thrilled by your experience. If your circumstances require additional enterprise features — like advanced reporting tools, an SLA, and fewer data limitations — you can upgrade to the premium offering, GA 360. But in most cases, you’ll be able to find more powerful tools at better price points.
Final word: Google Analytics might be perfectly fine for certain businesses — like publishers and local businesses — it’s the first rung on the ladder for most modern organizations. If you’re serious about analytics, GA is best thought of as a tool that can augment other more feature-rich analytics platforms instead of something that you should lean on heavily.
Want to learn more about alternatives to Google Analytics? Check out our complete guide.
Mixpanel is yet another analytics platform that helps you measure and track user behavior across devices. While Mixpanel offers the ability to track specific events, teams will have to manually configure those events similarly to the way Amplitude operates. If you’re willing to devote expensive engineering resources to maximize your investment in Mixpanel, it can be a good alternative — particularly for massive organizations that have high volumes of transactions.
Understand how users navigate your digital properties
Increase engagement, signups, and conversions
Analyze lots of microtransactions
If you’re launching a new app and want to measure what you expect to be a massive amount of in-app purchases, Mixpanel can be a good option. That said, the platform tends to be lacking when it comes to visualization and customization capabilities.
Final word: Mixpanel may be worth a look if you’re interested in campaign metrics. If you’re trying to solve the labor-intensive event tracking problem, you’ll need something else.
See our complete guide to Mixpanel alternatives to learn more.
Media companies and publishers that are interested in optimizing traffic and taking a data-driven approach to content creation would be wise to look at Chartbeat, an analytics platform designed for the news industry and content-driven sites. Chartbeat makes it easy to see which pieces of content are getting the most traffic and which stories are most important right now. Top features:
Real-time dashboards and reporting
Headline testing and content optimization
See how users come to your site
Learn which pieces of content are most popular (e.g., human interest features)
Increase engagement and newsletter signups
Optimize strategy with custom reports
If you’re focused on driving more traffic to your content site and keeping visitors there as long as possible, Chartbeat can be a good option. That said, while Chartbeat keeps pricing data hidden, reviewers say the platform starts at $7,000 per year. So, make sure there’s room in the budget before exploring this option further.
Final word: Media companies and publishers seeking to increase engagement, drive traffic, and otherwise optimize the user experience may find Chartbeat helpful. For everyone else, not so much.
6. Adobe Analytics
If you have a generous budget, a lot of developer resources to spare, and are already heavily invested in the Adobe ecosystem, Adobe Analytics can be an excellent solution for product analytics. It offers a wide mix of features, including website analytics, marketing analytics, attribution, and predictive analytics.
Unfortunately, Adobe doesn’t offer a free tier for this tool. Depending on your needs, you’ll have to navigate a complex web of prices to determine your potential cost.
Website analytics and attribution
360-degree customer experience
Optimizing customer acquisition costs
Real-time data-driven decision-making
While Adobe Analytics might be a good fit for some larger, deep-pocketed organizations, smaller teams are likely to be exhausted by the implementation process and the platform’s feature-heaviness. This is another platform that doesn’t solve the problematic manual event tracking process; setting up custom events is an arduous process.
Final word: If yours is a large, determined, Adobe-driven product team, this might be a great option. Just make sure you’re ready to invest the requisite resources required to unlock the platform’s full potential.
Interested in more alternatives to Adobe Analytics? See our complete guide.
Countly is an analytics platform designed to help teams measure and improve customer journeys across channels and devices. Like FullStory, it helps you understand more about how specific users are interacting with your websites and applications. Available as an on-prem solution or delivered via private cloud, Countly gives you complete control over your data.
Secure user analytics
Native integrations and community-built plugins
Consolidated dashboard for a single source of truth
Complete ownership of analytics
Keep software on-prem under your control
Extend the platform to meet unique requirements
If yours is a privacy-conscious organization that needs to meet the highest security and compliance requirements, Countly is a great option. As an open source solution, you’ll be able to get started for free. But if you want to make the most out of the platform, you’ll need to invest adequate dev resources into setting up the platform. And you’ll also need to be aware that non-technical users may struggle to find their way around it.
Final word: If your organization needs to meet the highest security requirements, Countly is worth a look. But unless you’re dealing with very sensitive information, other platforms may be more appealing.
Pendo is an analytics platform that helps product teams increase adoption of software solutions across web and mobile devices. While Pendo provides decent insights into employee and user onboarding, it lacks the robust analytical capabilities needed to really put your fingers on the pulse of user sentiment.
User feedback collection
Onboard new users
Increase user engagement
Reduce customer churn
Pendo is great at some things — like viewing retention graphs and conversion funnels. But it falls short when it comes to segmenting data on a user-by-user basis. This lack of deep visibility into user behavior makes it difficult to figure out the best way forward. While Pendo ships with some autocapture event tracking functionality, you’ll still have to tag events manually to capture the events that matter most to your organization.
Final word: For teams that have the capacity to manually tag events and don’t have other pressing projects, Pendo can deliver more value than FullStory. Teams that are looking to automate busywork will want to look at other solutions.
We hope this helps you find the right alternative to FullStory. For more information, we encourage you to look through our many other guides!
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