Often you want to compare the data from different web analytics tools together, for example comparing Matomo reports with Google Analytics reports and find whether they are similar or whether one is tracking more or less data than the other.
When you compare compare Google Analytics reports and metrics to the equivalent in Matomo, you should expect both Matomo and Google Analytics reports to be very similar and no more than 5% or 10% different for numbers of visits/sessions, pageviews, etc. (Except if your Google Analytics reports are sampled while Matomo is always accurate and does not sample data).
When you compare Matomo reports to another web analytics tool, there are several aspects to consider that could explain why numbers are different between the different analytics solutions. Please find the list below:
- Higher “Direct Entry” visits in Matomo When tracking the acquisition source of visitors, Google Analytics stores and uses campaign data for up to 6 months and attributes subsequent direct entry visits to the original campaign acquisition source. (So Google Analytics will report a higher number of visits attributed to “Campaigns” because these visits used a campaign in the previous 6 months.)
Whereas Matomo tracks any new “Direct Entry” visits as direct entries and does not attribute these new “Direct Entry” visits to their original acquisition source. With Matomo’s Multi Channel Conversion Attribution plugin, you can apply different attribution models to your goal conversions.
- Tracking method: Other softwares which are using server logs) for data analytics (such as AWStats, Webalizer, Analog, or any custom server-side data collection script) would record all traffic, including search bots or spam bots. When your Matomo numbers are much smaller than your other tool, check that you are comparing Matomo with a similar web analytics tool which can also exclude all bots and spam traffic like Matomo does.
- IP addresses exclusions: when you have configured Matomo (or Google Analytics) to ignore users with specific IP addresses, make sure to setup the same IP exclusion rules across both tools.
- Matomo does not sample the data: so you get to see 100% of the visits that were tracked in the reports. Other tools like Google Analytics will sometimes sample reports including segments.
- Matomo prevented tracking spam: With our Tracking Spam Prevention plugin, Matomo can be configured to automatically ban IPs after tracking a specified number of actions in a visit. It can also be configured to block or only allow requests from certain countries, block Cloud IPs, Headless browsers or server side libraries. If you have this configured on your Matomo instance, it will cause the reports to differ.
- Matomo tracks site searches automatically: As explained in our guide for setting up Site Search tracking, Matomo can automatically track internal site searches for your websites. This can result in some differences in the Pageviews between GA and Matomo as Site Searches are tracked as a unique action in Matomo and do no contribute to the total “Pageview” count.
- Incorrectly configured web server: If the web server used for the Matomo application is incorrectly configured or is configured with very restrictive settings, this can lead to some tracking requests not being recorded by Matomo. For example, HTTP 414 (URI Too Long) or HTTP 413 (Request Entity Too Large) can both be encountered if the web server is too restrictive in its configuration. Checking the web server error logs or access logs for any responses other than HTTP 200 (Ok) and HTTP 204 (No Content) for the
piwik.phpendpoint can help identify this issue.
Conservative counting is definitely best – it makes your statistics more realistic on what you are trying to measure. Most analytics packages are used to measure relative upswings, we recommend using the same tool for all measurements and relative comparisons.
See also the FAQs:
- Matomo tracks fewer visits than other web analytics tools, but tracks the same number of pageviews.
- Visits and clicks data provided by search engines or affiliates do not match the acquisition reports in Matomo?
If you migrate from Google Analytics to using Matomo, you can import your historical Google Analytics data and reports, see our Import Google Analytics data user guide to get started.