May 14, 2021

A smarter take on website analytics

After three years of intense work and a year-long beta, including sites from Digital Ocean, Shopify, and Flowplayer: Volument — “a privacy-friendly analytics for conversion optimization” is finally open for everyone. With 10k monthly sessions for free, we think it's the most powerful analytics for growing online.

The gist:

  1. Focus on traction, and how the visitors build awareness and interest, before taking action. Volument knows everything that happened prior the conversion, so you can start optimizing the causes. This is the main difference between Volument and others.
  2. Custom data-model and tracking engine to understand the unique characteristics of a website traffic and visitor behavior.
  3. Privacy-friendly: Volument is compliant with GDPR, PERC, and CCPA so you can ditch that annoying cookie banner from welcoming your visitors.
  4. Simple: you no longer need multiple tools to understand the bigger picture. Volument is designed for people without a data-science background.

Volument is totally familiar, but completely different

The problem

We built Volument primarily for ourselves to solve our frustration with growth hacking. We claimed to be “data-driven”, but honestly we were just staring at the basic traffic numbers, and doing some naive A/B tests with button colors. We were flooded with data, from multiple sources, but we had no good ideas on how to benefit from it. The notorious information overload was creeping in.

Turned out it's not just us, but there's a much bigger industry problem where marketers, developers, and designers are all suffering in their own ways.

First, there is Google Analytics.

In GA, conversion optimization boils down to goals and funnels. We never cashed with them. After all, they are just bar-charts, with a flow-like look and feel. It's impossible to see how visitors truly behave from a set of hand-picked events.

In fact, we never went back to the funnels we created. Like most people: we crawled ourselves through the 112 different views (yes) just to find the traffic data after distributing a link somewhere, like Hacker News.

Secondly, there were Optimizely, VWO, and Google Optimize.

Yes. We did the button test and, like most people, we were thrilled: that orange background color just doubled our sales. A/B testing is amazing!

Until you realize it's not.

After the initial rush, the reality kicks in. We saw that the flashy orange did not make any difference. In fact, you can run an A/B rest with two identical buttons and get the same result: the other variant pumps up the sales, but the curves settle after a few months. This is guaranteed to happen.

And yes: you literally need months to get statistically significant results even with decent traffic. Don't believe us? Just try it.

We think the current A/B testing methods are more or less bullshit. Admittedly, that's not necessarily the friendliest word, but it's the most accurate term we can think of. (We'll write a detailed study about this topic later on this blog.)

Thirdly, there are the event trackers like Mixpanel, Amplitude, and Heap. Their main utility for conversion optimization is the same as Google's: a bar-chart with a funnel-style design. Another source of data to the stack.

You can certainly see what's happening, but not why it's happening. You see the results, but not the causes. That is: you can observe, but not optimize.

Then you have these “privacy-friendly” analytics emerging to the market like Fathom, Plausible, and Simple Analytics. They are simple indeed, but far too simple for conversion optimization. For example, there's no difference between new and returning visitors. And they carry a legal risk: European visitors are secretly tracked without their permission.

Finally, there's Google Tag Manager that allows marketers to freely add JavaScript/HTML to the website. By shifting control from developers to marketers the number of tools, trackers, banners, and data has exploded into new heights. It's not unusual to see tens of different third-party JavaScript trackers on a website that is driven by the growth hackers and data-hungry marketers.

Eventually, you might be just another site suffering from the “website obesity crisis”. With too many tracking scripts in place, the pages become slow, they have ugly visual (FOOC) glitches, and scrolling starts to jam.

Probably the worst thing, however, is that annoying “Accept all cookies” overlay that, you must add to allow the analytics to run with full power.

Do we really want to treat our visitors this badly? Analytics should help us get more conversions, not less, right?

The solution

Here's where Volument comes to play. We've built a completely new kind of analytics service to solve the above issues in one shot. Here's what it is:

  • Powerful, yet simple. Volument focuses solely on conversion optimization. Instead of showing you every possible statistical detail from the traffic, Volument focuses on traction: how the visitors gradually build awareness and interest, before taking action. Volument particularly focuses on what happens prior the conversion, so you can optimize the causes. That's really the only way to do it.
  • Multipurpose. Marketing channels, campaigns, devices, locations, business periods, and A/B testing. With Volument, you no longer need multiple tools to understand the bigger picture.
  • Order of magnitude faster than traditional A/B testing. Volument reaches statistical significance much sooner by utilizing the huge mass of events occurring before the conversion. For every key conversion event (like sign-ups), there are thousands of leading indicators (like a 15-second stay rate) to learn from. You'll get results in days, not months.
  • Gentle to your site. Volument weights only 10kb, which is 400 times smaller than Optimizely (800kb) for example. It won't slow down your pages or hurt the user experience with annoying FOOC effects (Flash of Original Content) that commonly happens with traditional A/B testing.
  • Privacy-friendly Volument doesn’t collect any personal data so you can ditch that annoying cookie banner (outside Europe) from welcoming your visitors. Better user experience leads to more conversions.
  • Constantly evolving Volument is a fresh new take on website analytics and we're just getting started. Our public roadmap is packed with power-gems. We can think big because our custom-built analytics stack is extremely capable. Our ultimate goal is to change the way websites are optimized.

How it works:

Who is this good for

Developers can show marketers that performance matters: how faster page load times improve the first impression and cause more people to stay on the site.

Designers can show marketers that great design beats overselling. They can prove with data that focus on user experience is a better way forward than shooting visitors with oversized call-to-action buttons or fullscreen “join our mailing list” popovers.

Marketers can see/compare how their campaigns generate traction, and they can see what content works and what turns people away.

We suggest you try Volument. It's easy to set up and equally easy to remove. It's free for the majority of websites with less than 10k monthly visits. If you need more load and/or gems there's a professional plan available starting from $25 per month and with a 30- day free trial

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