Piwik PRO

Clearcode Builds Piwik PRO, Raises $2 Million Series-A Round

This is the story of how Clearcode took an open-source analytics tool called Piwik and created a multi-million dollar busines, Piwik PRO, used by medium-sized business, large enterprises, and governments all over the world.

Piwik Web Analytics

Piwik Web Analytics was founded in 2007 with the aim of being the open-source alternative to Google Analytics. Piwik is self-hosted and focuses on user privacy, security, and data ownership.

Prior to founding Clearcode in 2009, Maciej Zawadziński joined the Piwik core team as a developer in 2008 and started contributing and providing consultancy services for Piwik to various businesses.

Piwik PRO has been a pleasure to work with. They’re quick to reply, easy to work with, and get the job done. The analytics in Piwik far surpass our previous solution,and give ourselves and our clients much better insight into our work.

Paul Miller, Software Designer

As the number of features and functions, new releases, and awards increased, so did the number of users – both individuals and corporate clients. Both Maciej and Piwik’s founder, Matthieu Aubry, noticed the growth in demand for consulting services and enterprise support.

So, in September 2013, Maciej and Matthieu founded Piwik PRO.

2014: The Introduction of Premium Features

We noticed early on that many Piwik users, mainly large corporations and governments, were requesting specific features that were not available with the self-hosted version of Piwik.

In response, we developed a number of premium features in 2014 for both the cloud and on-premises versions to provide our clients with advanced reporting, admin, and customization capabilities.

2014 also saw the opening of our dedicated US sales office in New York, which would allow us to scale our operations in North America.

The premium features we developed include

Click Path

Enables Piwik PRO users to understand how their users converted to Goals by showing which ‘paths’ on their website visitors followed before a Goal Conversion. Especially useful for ecommerce sites.

White Label

Allows users to customize the look and feel of their Piwik PRO instance by personalizing the color scheme and fonts, inserting their business’s logo, and replacing all mentions of Piwik PRO with their business’ name.

User Groups

Simplifies the process of managing user access and admin permissions. User Groups saves time when assigning and revoking view and user permissions. Recommended for organizations with a large number of users and websites.

Comparison Dashboard

Enables Piwik PRO users to view and compare the most important data from up to three different segments all in one place, which helps them gain deeper insights to attract more traffic and increase conversions.

Password Policy

Adds another layer of protection and forces all users of a Piwik PRO instance to change their passwords regularly, which keeps data even more secure.

Concurrent Visits

Allows users to see how many visits their website records over a short period of time, enabling them to choose the best moment to add new content or products in order to increase their exposure.

Metasites

Metasites shows aggregated data from any number of web properties. It gathers analytics information from hundreds of websites and displays everything together in one dashboard.

Piwik PRO eröffnet Büro in Deutschland (Piwik PRO Opens Office in Germany)

Due to Piwik’s strong user-privacy features and commitment to providing 100% data ownership, it is a very popular analytics solution in Germany (Piwik has about a 16% market share of websites using .de domains), where privacy and data ownership regulations are quite strict. However, there were many companies in Germany that required solutions not offered with the self-hosted version of Piwik.

In order to meet this demand for additional services, support, and consultation in Germany, we set up an office in Cologne.

Piwik PRO Company Figures for 2015

As a business, we experienced consistent growth through 2013, 2014, and 2015, and as a result, became a validated business with a yearly turnover of more than $1 million.

Clients

57

On-premises

217

Cloud

Finances

~$100k

monthly recurring revenue (MRR)

Number Of Team Members

20+

2016: The Year of the Marketer

Up until this point, we had been focusing a lot on our intranet analytics side of the business, but we noticed a rise in demand for marketing analytics tools and features.

To meet this demand, we developed a number of features and integrations to help marketers improve the performance of their campaigns and optimize their websites and mobile apps.

In 2016, we built and released a number of key marketing analytics features:

Piwik PRO Tag Manager

We built a tag-management system (TMS) and released it on an open-source license under the name 7tag in August 2015. In July 2016, we rebranded 7tag to Piwik PRO Tag Manager and made it proprietary software.

AdWords Integration

As AdWords is one of the main channels used by online marketers, we built a feature that allows marketers to link their AdWords account with their Piwik PRO account. This integration allows them to gain additional metrics, create dedicated segments for their AdWords visitors, set AdWords campaign goals, and measure ROI.

Funnel Analytics

Customer funnels are a critical part of sales and marketing strategies, so we built a feature, known as Funnel Analytics, to help marketers and sales teams gain clearer insights into their customers’ journeys. Funnel Analytics allows them to gain clear visual representation of their funnels, view KPIs that show overall funnel performance, create and compare different customer segments, and identify and fix bottlenecks and areas where customers drop off (i.e. leave the funnel).

A/B Testing

Marketers now use a number of tools to test and optimize all areas of their website, so we developed an A/B Testing feature that provides them with a range of valuable metrics about their split tests from popular optimization tools, including Optimizely and VWO.

One key to the success of the A/B Testing feature was the use of synchronous tags. By using synchronous tags, we were able to eliminate the flash of original content (FOOC) issue, which is caused by asynchronous tags and results in the control (test A) briefly being shown before the variation (test B). Apart from delivering a poor user experience, FOOC also produces inaccurate analytics reports.

App Store Analytics

Apps are an important marketing tool for companies, so to help marketers gain insights into their apps, we built a feature known as App Store Analytics. This feature provides information about traffic sources, top referrals, and conversion rates for both Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Conversion Attribution

Piwik PRO’s Conversion Attribution modeling helps companies answer the most important questions about how their marketing channels work together to bring about conversions. They can discover what role website referrals, searches, and ads played in conversions and how to attribute conversions to marketing channels.

Piwik PRO Company Figures for 2016

Clients

84

On-premises

364

Cloud

Finances

up over 75%

YOY MRR

Number Of Team Members

40+

2017 and Beyond

In March 2017, Piwik PRO raised a $2 million dollar Series A investment round led by Warsaw Equity Group and included a private investment from Tim Schumacher, co-founder and former CEO of Sedo.com and Chairman of Eyeo, the company behind Adblock Plus.

The next steps for Piwik PRO in 2017 are to further develop intranet and marketing analytics offerings. As part of the marketing analytics side of the business, we will be integrating a data-management platform (DMP) and a content personalization engine with Piwik PRO’s existing tools (the tag manager and analytics platform).

The DMP and content personalization engine were part of 7suite – a data-management stack that was designed and developed by Clearcode as a way to help our clients speed up their time to market and cut down on development costs.

Below are the solutions we implemented to overcome the challenge of handling and processing large amounts of requests:

  • High availability: We set up a redundant machine to avoid losing traffic in the event of hardware failure.
  • Load balancing: To avoid performance issues in the event of a server going down, we set up multiple machines to handle tracking requests. It’s important to note that load balancing has to be implemented on both frontend machines as well as on MySQL databases. Although it sounds similar, the implementation is completely different.
  • Made use of queue systems: We took advantage of queue systems that utilize RabbitMQ and Redis in order to handle traffic peaks and improve response times.
  • Implemented multithreaded background data processing: This allows us to aggregate raw data and use the hardware’s power to its full potential.
  • Tweaked the databases’ configuration: In order to utilize all available resources, we tweaked the settings in our databases, e.g. enabled compression.

The Keys to Our Success

1. Our experience in analytics and AdTech & MarTech development

Building advertising and marketing software and analytics tools requires a specific set of skills and first-hand industry experience. As we’ve been building software for the online and advertising industries and been providing custom development services based on Piwik since 2009, we were not only able to produce a clear scope of the project, but also avoid the steep learning curve that comes with building advertising, marketing, and analytics software.

2. Our incremental and agile approach to software development

Over the years, we’ve come to realize that there is one common theme with every project we’ve worked on – change is always inevitable. Every project has its own obstacles and unexpected issues that arise along the way, but the key to avoiding project failure is to adopt an agile and incremental approach to software development.

We applied our incremental and agile software development approach when designing and developing Piwik PRO’s features and integrations, which allowed us to built the features our clients really needed and make immediate changes based on their feedback.

Key Clients

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