If you’ve been involved in managing and marketing a website you’ll probably already be aware Google Analytics is a very powerful tool that allows website owners and marketeers to track and analyse website metrics and that it can provide very valuable insights into website visitor traffic, user behaviour, and other important reporting metrics.
Given the search engine giant Google is behind it and that it also offers a suite of additional digital marketing tools for free, it has naturally become the default and industry recognised way to track, measure and report on website data for everyone from solo-entrepreneurs to large corporations.
However, with some recent bad press related to Google and its usages of personal data and GDPR issues, many people are becoming more aware of the shortcomings of the tech giant’s “free” software and are concerned about the implications of using Google’s products to track their website visitor data. They are rightfully worried that Google is tracking their visitors unethically and collecting data that could be used for targeted advertising or other unspecified purposes for its own gain.
Given Google’s dominance the concern is a very valid one, but fortunately there are plenty of privacy focused alternatives to Google Analytics out there that can provide similar website insights that allow a business to effectively measure its website without compromising user privacy.
Below we’ll cover 4 established and popular privacy focused Google Analytics alternatives so you can review and decide if one is the right solution to help you move away from an over reliance on Google’s products and begin to track website and usage data in a more ethical way.
One of the most popular privacy focused alternatives to Google Analytics is Matomo (formerly known as Piwik). Matomo is an open-source analytics platform that allows you to track website metrics without sharing data with third-party companies. With Matomo, you can analyse website traffic, user behaviour, and other important metrics such as conversion rates and bounce rates. Matomo also offers a wide range of customisation options, allowing you to tailor your analytics reports to meet your specific needs.
Whilst Matomo is an open-source platform this doesn’t mean it is completely free to use and whether there’s a cost involved depends on which version you decide to use. Matomo essentially has a self hosted option which requires technical knowledge to set up and store the data locally on a server you own or rent. The other option is using their paid cloud service to host the data which is easier to setup but comes with a monthly cost attached, however we feel a cost should be expected with most truly privacy focused solutions as they make their money from the software and service they provide rather than the personal data it harvests like Google’s free products.
Another great privacy focused analytics tool and one we personally recommend to our clients looking for a cost effective and easy to use Google Analytics alternative is Fathom Analytics.
If you’ve ever found Google Analytics overwhelming when trying to review and report on data then Fathom may be the website analytics tool for you. The dashboard is immediately understandable and it is simple enough for non digital marketeers to navigate and report on the data most businesses will ever need. It is also possible to setup and track events on things like form submissions and whilst there’s nothing like Tag Manager included with Fathom, the code to create and track an event is pretty simple to implement and once you’ve done it a few times it will become second nature and we’ve actually found it simpler than dealing with Analytics and Tag Manager.
Another important aspect and benefit of using Fathom Analytics is it’s also fully GDPR-compliant, meaning that it meets the requirements of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. So this makes Fathom a great privacy focused solution for businesses based in the UK like us or businesses further afield over in Europe.
Like Fathom Analytics it is also a fully GDPR compliant so a great solution for UK and European based businesses wanting to ensure they remain compliant with the latest privacy rules. Plausible is also made in Europe and all visitor data is stored and processed anonymously exclusively with servers owned and operated by European companies and it never leaves the EU.
Plausible Analytics is a great solution for less technical individuals or businesses as it is very easy to set up and start using straight away, making it a great choice for smaller business owners or individuals who don’t have a lot of technical knowledge or time to setup more complicated tools.
Finally, if you’re looking for a privacy focused analytics tool that’s designed specifically for WordPress websites, then WP Statistics might be the right choice for you. WP Statistics is a plugin for WordPress that allows you to track website metrics without sharing data with third-party companies. With WP Statistics, you can analyse website traffic, user behaviour, and other metrics directly from your WordPress dashboard.
As WP Statistics integrates with Wordpress as a plugin it is extremely easy to setup and start using within the Wordpress admin making it an easy self hosted analytics solution. One of the main benefits of WP Statistics being a self hosted solution is that it stores all data locally within WordPress, which is especially useful for complying with GDPR regulations as it eliminates the need to enter into a data processing agreement with a third-party company.
When it comes to pricing, WP Statistics offers a freemium model where the base plugin and feature set offered is free to download and use and then they offer a range of affordable paid add-ons that can extend the plugin’s core functionality depending on your requirements.
In conclusion, as we can see there are some very good whilst more importantly privacy focused and fully GDPR compliant alternatives to Google Analytics that are more than capable in providing the same valuable insights into website visitor metrics without compromising user privacy.
Whether you’re looking for an easy-to-use, GDPR compliant data tool like Fathom Analytics or you need a more powerful and customisable platform like Matomo, there will no doubt be a privacy focused analytics solution out there for everyone.
Given the subject matter of personal data, It’s more important than ever to carefully consider your options and choose a tool and company that aligns with your values and meets your specific needs. By using a privacy focused analytics tool, you can feel confident in protecting your website visitors’ privacy while still gaining valuable insights into your website’s performance to help grow your business.