Heap vs Pendo: Which is the Superior Product Analytics Tool?
Whether looking for an alternative to your existing tool or setting up product analytics at your organization, we’re here to help.
In this article, we look at each product’s key features, use cases, strengths, and limitations. We also look at Userpilot as an alternative to these two tools.
Let’s jump right into it!
- Heap is a digital insights platform that allows product teams to track user behavior in mobile and web-based applications.
- Pendo is a digital adoption platform with robust analytics functionality. It also supports both mobile and web apps.
- Userpilot is another product adoption tool with solid analytics, user sentiment tools, and an engagement layer that come at the fraction of the price of the alternative products.
- With Heap’s Journeys, you can identify and map all the paths that customers take within the product. This helps uncover friction points and optimize paths to maximize conversions. Pendo’s Paths offer similar functionality. Userpilot is currently working on similar functionality.
- In Heap, you can segment users based on their demographics and event completion, while in Pendo you can also use mobile-specific data, like the OS version. Userpilot segmentation is the most advanced of the three products.
- Heap offers Auto-capture which collects all the data about user interactions with the product. In Pendo, the information about Track Events is also recorded programmatically without the need for tagging. In Userpilot, you need to create events and tag features manually.
- Both Pendo and Heap support funnel analysis which allows product managers to identify friction points and optimize the product to help users experience value in less time.
- While Userpilot is developing funnel analysis functionality, you can achieve the same results by tagging and tracking Goals.
- In contrast to Pendo, both Heap and Userpilot display data in real-time, but only Userpilot has the engagement layer necessary to trigger contextual in-app experiences.
- Want to see how you can leverage analytics to drive product adoption with Userpilot? Book the demo!
What to look for in a product analytics tool?
Modern analytics tools come with tons of fancy features. If all of them are essential is another story, though. To enable you to make informed product decisions, the analytics tool of your choice needs to offer:
- custom event and goal tracking
- user behavior analytics
- product engagement tracking
- user segmentation
- user journey mapping and tracking
- product usage analytics
- data-based filtering
- custom dashboard and funnels for data visualization
- integrations with 3rd party tools
Heap for product analytics
Heap is a digital insights platform that enables product teams to track user behavior across all touchpoints along their journey in the product. It supports both mobile and web-based applications. The majority of Heap’s clients are large enterprises, like Uber or Salesforce.
Heap analytics features
Heap claims to be the only analytics tool that enables product managers to collect complete data about their users’ interactions with the product. This is thanks to a wide range of analytics features that it offers:
- Session replays – for detailed tracking of user engagement with the UI
- Illuminate – to uncover friction points
- Custom dashboards and charts for data visualization
- Integrations with other tools like WalkMe or AWS Redshift
The three that we’d like to have a closer look at are:
Heap journey map
Heap’s Journey functionality allows you to create maps of all the paths that users take within the product. All maps include completion and conversion figures for every step of the path.
Product managers can use the feature to:
- compare conversion rates for various paths to activation
- identify the happy path to activation within the product
- test the impact of features on conversion rates
- analyze all actions taken by the user leading up to or following a step in the journey to identify alternative paths to activation
- identify drop-off points in user journeys
- event completion – frequency, number, time-frame
User segmentation enables you to:
- better understand the behavior of specific user groups
- if combined with an adoption tool, you can target users with personalized communications and onboarding experiences
Auto-capture enables you to track all user actions without tagging them first. This means that you can build a more complete picture of your user behavior in-app.
How does it work? You need to install a snippet of tracking code at the top of your site and Heap does the rest. It automatically records every page view, button click, swipe, or form fill that your users make. Or pretty much everything else they do.
The benefits of the auto-capture functionality include:
- no need to manually select what you want to track
- it captures data about all user actions before you even know you need it
Basically, once you install the snippet, Heap collects the data which you can then access at any time for in-depth analysis with Event Visualizer.
Pros and cons of Heap
What are the strengths and limitations of Heap? Let’s check out the key ones.
Pros of Heap
- Easy to set up without technical skills
- Thanks to auto-capture, you don’t have to define events you want to track
- Real-time reports
Cons of Heap
- Heap is a fairly complex tool, so may not be suitable for beginners
- It creates a lot of data which may be expensive to store and difficult to retrieve
What do users say about Heap?
G2 reviewers give Heap an average score of 4.3, which is a pretty solid result. Customers praise Heap mostly for its easy and code-free set-up and intuitive user interface.
For example, James, a Senior Product Manager, writes:
Heap is great for getting answers quickly on user behaviors without needing to spend engineering effort. It’s easy to do, you get data from the last few weeks (depending on your plan), and you can make decisions quicker.
His is not an isolated opinion. Another reviewer echos that:
I have been able to use Heap to analyze the usage of my product features. I like that you can tag events any time, and you don’t need a developer’s involvement as you do with some other tools. The UI is pretty easy to use, and the charts are interactive. We get results right away.
The company offers four pricing plans:
Unfortunately, to learn how much each plan costs, you need to contact their sales team.
Apart from the free plan, it also offers demos and a free trial to potential users to showcase features that are relevant to their use cases. This is a common strategy in complex products which users might struggle to work out on their own.
Pendo for product analytics
Pendo is a product adoption platform catering to enterprise clients.
Pendo product analytics features
The product offers a plethora of analytics features:
- Funnel analysis
- User segmentation
- Event tracking
- Paths – allow you to map out every imaginable sequence of user actions leading up to or following an event
- Reports – they include page views, feature clicks, track events, guide views
- NPS tracking and analytics (available in the Growth and Portfolio plans only)
- Product Engagement Score (PES) tracking and analysis (Pendo’s proprietary metric)
Let’s look at the first 3 in more detail.
Pendo funnel analysis
Pendo allows you to customize funnels by:
- Funnel steps
- Data range
- Time out period
A Pendo funnel looks like this.
The funnel chart is interactive. When you click on each of the bars, you get a detailed list of users who fall into this category.
This is great for targeted communication with users. For example, you can try to reengage the users that have dropped off and push them back on the happy path or ask them for more detailed insights to better understand their experience.
With Pendo segmentation you can group your users by a range of criteria:
- Product usage and user behavior data, including tagged feature clicks, tagged page views, guide views, poll responses, or resource center views
- Visitor and account data, like demographic and systems data to name just a couple
- Mobile-specific data, for example, the OS version
How can you use user segmentation to drive product adoption?
You can leverage it to:
- Personalize the user experiences
- Target them with more relevant communications
- Customize in-app guidance (called Pendo Guides) to their use cases
Pendo Track Events
Track Events enables you to collect information about all actions completed by your users. The important thing is that the information about the events is sent to Pendo programmatically. This means you don’t need to tag them like features or pages.
What events can you track?
These could be either server-side, for example, an email being sent, or client-side, like completing a download.
You can analyze them on the Track Events dashboard, which also enables you to edit the details of the event, for example by changing the Group of the Track Event.
You can use Track Events also to create custom user segments.
Pros and cons of Pendo
Here are the key advantages and disadvantages of Pendo analytics.
Pros of Pendo
- Supports both mobile apps and web apps
- In-depth analytics
- Easy to set up and use
Cons of Pendo
- User behavior data is displayed with a 1-hour delay
- As a result, you can’t trigger contextual in-app messages or guidance in response to what users do
- Anecdotally, the more advanced plans are really pricey
What do users say about Pendo?
Pendo scores on average 4.4. in G2 reviews, which is not too shabby at all. G2 reviewers praise Pendo for its in-depth analytics features which allow you to easily track user behavior and feature usage and create custom dashboards for data visualization.
There are so many analytics and it’s so easy for us to track different groups of users and usage on very specific features on our website. The ability to customize a dashboard and create very specific page rules is helpful.
According to reviewers, Pendo is also very easy to set up and the Paths functionality is great for finding friction:
Pendo is easy to install in your app and easy to set up for a wealth of information at your fingertips. I love how I can see exactly what paths users take throughout our application and have that broken down by user types. It helps me to find bottlenecks or poor usability areas where we can do better. The ability to easily plug NPS into an app is also huge. Setting up Guides to walk new users through the app is a HUGE benefit, as well.
If you look at what’s included in Pendo’s free plan, you’ll quickly see it won’t take you far. To access the more advanced analytics features, like NPS and PES, you will pay through the nose for the higher plans. How much?
Only the Starter plan comes with a price tag. For the other plans, pricing is custom.
- Starter: $7000/year
Userpilot for product analytics: A better alternative to Heap and Pendo
In addition, it allows them to gather user feedback and design personalized onboarding experiences to drive product adoption. All of this is possible without coding.
Why is Userpilot a better alternative to Pendo or Heap?
- Its lowest price plan gives you access to all analytics features, which is not the case with Pendo or Heap.
- It allows you to act on your data in real time. Heap also gives you access to data without any waiting but has no engagement layer so you need to pair it up with different tools to drive user engagement, while Pendo has a 1-hour delay.
Userpilot product analytics features
Userpilot is not a dedicated analytics tool. However, it offers a comprehensive suite of analytics features. These include:
- Integrated NPS score analytics
- Quantitative survey analytics
- Heatmap analytics
- Custom event analytics
- Checklist and resource center analytics
- Goal tracking for user journey analysis
- Advanced user segmentation
- Feature tagging and analytics
Userpilot goal tracking
While Userpilot is still working on funnel analytics functionality, their users can already achieve this with Goal tracking.
To track them in Userpilot, you simply set them up based on different user attributes and events, without having to code.
Once you have the data, you can analyze it through the newly-overhauled Goals dashboard. You can filter it by segment, company, and time period, and the dashboard gives you insights into:
- Unique users
- Unique companies
- Linked content
Thanks to user segmentation, you can develop and trigger personalized experiences to help specific user groups achieve their objectives.
Userpilot allows you to segment your users based on:
- User attributes, like the plan, web sessions, or signup date
- Company data
- Tagged features they have engaged with
- Custom events completed
- In-app experiences engaged with, for example, flows or checklists
- User feedback – both quantitative, like NPS scores, and qualitative, like NPS responses.
Userpilot feature tagging
With Userpilor, you can tag features and analyze every user interaction with each of them.
Feature tagging is very straightforward. Just like Goal setting, you do it from the Chrome extension. On top of clicks, you can track form fills and hovers for a more granular picture of user engagement with your product.
Feature tagging is great for feature audits because it enables you to:
- Identify underutilized features that are relevant for a specific user segment
- Decide which features you should prioritize for further development
- Identify which features you need to sunset because they don’t get used enough
Pros and cons of Userpilot
What makes Userpilot stand out from the competition and what still needs improvement?
Pros of Userpilot
- An easy-to-use Chrome Extension
- Heatmaps for user engagement tracking
- Integrations with other product analytics platforms (Amplitude, Heap, Mixpanel, Segment, Google Analytics)
- Built-in A/B testing for in-app experiences you build
- Security (SOC 2 Type II Certification)
Cons of Userpilot
- Supports only web apps, not mobile apps
- Not affordable for really small startups
- Funnels and Paths are not available yet
What do users say about Userpilot?
With an average rating of 4.7 on G2, Userpilot outcompetes both Heap and Pendo. Reviewers value Userpilot for its features, ease of use, intuitive user interface, and outstanding customer support. And its analytics functionality, of course.
For example, Nevzat, a Product Marketing Manager, writes:
I like “Features & Events” to track user actions for insights.
I also like that it offers:
– Numerous options to implement onboarding experiences to engage new users.
– Great insights in terms of growth and user sentiment.
Another glowing review reads:
The product is incredibly versatile. It includes all of the features I was looking for to improve my user onboarding experience (e.g., a resource center, checklists, flows, NPS, high-level analytics/insights). It was very easy to set up, and the support team is phenomenal.
In contrast to the other products, Userpilot doesn’t offer a free plan. There’s a 14-day free trial, after which you can choose from 3 main pricing plans:
- Traction – from $249/month (includes all the analytics and user engagement features as the higher plans)
- Growth – $499/month
- Enterprise – $1000/month
Whether you choose Heap vs Pendo will very much depend on whether you’re after a dedicated product analytics tool or an adoption platform that enables you to act on the data to drive product adoption.
If you’re after the latter, consider Userpilot as a more affordable and more capable alternative.
To find out more about how Userpilot can help you make data-driven decisions, book the demo!