Analytics Platform – Matomo https://matomo.org/ Tue, 08 Nov 2022 02:38:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://matomo.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/cropped-DefaultIcon-32x32.png Analytics Platform – Matomo https://matomo.org/ 32 32 Is Google Analytics Accurate? 6 Important Caveats  https://matomo.org/blog/2022/11/is-google-analytics-accurate/ Tue, 08 Nov 2022 02:38:23 +0000 https://matomo.org/?p=59543 Read More

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It’s no secret that accurate website analytics is crucial for growing your online business — and Google Analytics is often the go-to source for insights. 

But is Google Analytics data accurate? Can you fully trust the provided numbers? Here’s a detailed explainer.

How Accurate is Google Analytics? A Data-Backed Answer 

When properly configured, Google Analytics (Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4) is moderately accurate for global traffic collection. That said: Google Analytics doesn’t accurately report European traffic. 

According to GDPR provisions, sites using GA products must display a cookie consent banner. This consent is required to collect third-party cookies — a tracking mechanism for identifying users across web properties.

Google Analytics (GA) cannot process data about the user’s visit if they rejected cookies. In such cases, your analytics reports will be incomplete.

Cookie rejection refers to visitors declining or blocking cookies from ever being collected by a specific website (or within their browser). It immediately affects the accuracy of all metrics in Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is not accurate in locations where cookie consent to tracking is legally required. Most consumers don’t like disruptive cookie banners or harbour concerns about their privacy — and chose to reject tracking. 

This leaves businesses with incomplete data, which, in turn, results in: 

  • Lower traffic counts as you’re not collecting 100% of the visitor data. 
  • Loss of website optimisation capabilities. You can’t make data-backed decisions due to inconsistent reporting

For the above reasons, many companies now consider cookieless website tracking apps that don’t require consent screen displays. 

Why is Google Analytics Not Accurate? 6 Causes and Solutions 

A high rejection rate of cookie banners is the main reason for inaccurate Google Analytics reporting. In addition, your account settings can also hinder Google Analytics’ accuracy.

If your analytics data looks wonky, check for these six Google Analytics accuracy problems. 

You Need to Secure Consent to Cookies Collection 

To be GDPR-compliant, you must display a cookie consent screen to all European users. Likewise, other jurisdictions and industries require similar measures for user data collection. 

This is a nuisance for many businesses since cookie rejection undermines their remarketing capabilities. Hence, some try to maximise cookie acceptance rates with dark patterns. For example: hide the option to decline tracking or make the texts too small. 

Cookie consent banner examples
Banner on the left doesn’t provide an evident option to reject all cookies and nudges the user to accept tracking. Banner on the right does a better job explaining the purpose of data collection and offers a straightforward yes/no selection

Sadly, not everyone’s treating users with respect. A joint study by German and American researchers found that only 11% of US websites (from a sample of 5,000+) use GDPR-compliant cookie banners.

As a result, many users aren’t aware of the background data collection to which they have (or have not) given consent. Another analysis of 200,000 cookies discovered that 70% of third-party marketing cookies transfer user data outside of the EU — a practice in breach of GDPR.

Naturally, data regulators and activities are after this issue. In April 2022, Google was pressured to introduce a ‘reject all’ cookies button to all of its products (a €150 million compliance fine likely helped with that).  Whereas, noyb has lodged over 220 complaints against individual websites with deceptive cookie consent banners.

The takeaway? Messing up with the cookie consent mechanism can get you in legal trouble. Don’t use sneaky banners as there are better ways to collect website traffic statistics. 

Solution: Try Matomo GDPR-Friendly Analytics 

Fill in the gaps in your traffic analytics with Matomo – a fully GDPR-compliant product that doesn’t rely on third-party cookies for tracking web visitors. Because of how it is designed, the French data protection authority (CNIL) confirmed that Matomo can be used to collect data without tracking consent.

With Matomo, you can track website users without asking for cookie consent. And when you do, we supply you with a compact, compliant, non-disruptive cookie banner design. 

Your Google Tag Isn’t Embedded Correctly 

Google Tag (gtag.js) is a web tracking script that sends data to your Google Analytics, Google Ads and Google Marketing Platform.

A corrupted gtag.js installation can create two accuracy issues: 

  • Duplicate page tracking 
  • Missing script installation 

Is there a way to tell if you’re affected?

Yes. You may have duplicate scripts installed if you have a very low bounce rate on most website pages (below 15% – 20%). The above can happen if you’re using a WordPress GA plugin and additionally embed gtag.js straight in your website code. 

A tell-tale sign of a missing script on some pages is low/no traffic stats. Google alerts you about this with a banner: 

Google Analytics alerts

Solution: Use Available Troubleshooting Tools 

Use Google Analytics Debugger extension to analyse pages with low bounce rates. Use the search bar to locate duplicate code-tracking elements. 

Alternatively, you can use Google Tag Assistant for diagnosing snippet install and troubleshooting issues on individual pages.  

If the above didn’t work, re-install your analytics script

Machine Learning and Blended Data Are Applied

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) relies a lot on machine learning and algorithmic predictions.

By applying Google’s advanced machine learning models, the new Analytics can automatically alert you to significant trends in your data. [...] For example, it calculates churn probability so you can more efficiently invest in retaining customers.

On the surface, the above sounds exciting. In practice, Google’s application of predictive algorithms means you’re not seeing actual data. 

To offer a variation of cookieless tracking, Google algorithms close the gaps in reporting by creating models (i.e., data-backed predictions) instead of reporting on actual user behaviours. Therefore, your GA4 numbers may not be accurate.

For bigger web properties (think websites with 1+ million users), Google also relies on data sampling — a practice of extrapolating data analytics, based on a data subset, rather than the entire dataset. Once again, this can lead to inconsistencies in reporting with some numbers (e.g., average conversion rates) being inflated or downplayed. 

Solution: Try an Alternative Website Analytics App 

Unlike GA4, Matomo reports consist of 100% unsampled data. All the aggregated reporting you see is based on real user data (not guesstimation). 

Moreover, you can migrate from Universal Analytics (UA) to Matomo without losing access to your historical records. GA4 doesn’t yet have any backward compatibility.

Spam and Bot Traffic Isn’t Filtered Out 

Surprise! 42% of all Internet traffic is generated by bots, of which 27.7% are bad ones.

Good bots (aka crawlers) do essential web “housekeeping” tasks like indexing web pages. Bad bots distribute malware, spam contact forms, hack user accounts and do other nasty stuff.  

A lot of such spam bots are designed specifically for web analytics apps. The goal? Flood your dashboard with bogus data in hopes of getting some return action from your side. 

Types of Google Analytics Spam:

  • Referral spam. Spambots hijack the referrer, displayed in your GA referral traffic report to indicate a page visit from some random website (which didn’t actually occur). 
  • Event spam. Bots generate fake events with free language entries enticing you to visit their website. 
  • Ghost traffic spam. Malicious parties can also inject fake pageviews, containing URLs that they want you to click. 

Obviously, such spammy entities distort the real website analytics numbers. 

Solution: Set Up Bot/Spam Filters 

Google Analytics 4 has automatic filtering of bot traffic enabled for all tracked Web and App properties. 

But if you’re using Universal Analytics, you’ll have to manually configure spam filtering. First, create a new view and then set up a custom filter. Program it to exclude:

  • Filter Field: Request URI
  • Filter Pattern: Bot traffic URL

Once you’ve configured everything, validate the results using Verify this filter feature. Then repeat the process for other fishy URLs, hostnames and IP addresses. 

You Don’t Filter Internal Traffic 

Your team(s) spend a lot of time on your website — and their sporadic behaviours can impair your traffic counts and other website metrics.

To keep your data “employee-free”, exclude traffic from: 

  • Your corporate IPs addresses 
  • Known personal IPs of employees (for remote workers) 

If you also have a separate stage version of your website, you should also filter out all traffic coming from it. Your developers, contractors and marketing people spend a lot of time fiddling with your website. This can cause a big discrepancy in average time on page and engagement rates. 

Solution: Set Internal Traffic Filters 

Google provides instructions for excluding internal traffic from your reports using IPv4/IPv6 address filters. 

Google Analytics IP filters

Session Timeouts After 30 Minutes 

After 30 minutes of inactivity, Google Analytics tracking sessions start over. Inactivity means no recorded interaction hits during this time. 

Session timeouts can be a problem for some websites as users often pin a tab to check it back later. Because of this, you can count the same user twice or more — and this leads to skewed reporting. 

Solution: Programme Custom Timeout Sessions

You can codify custom cookie timeout sessions with the following code snippets:  

Final Thoughts 

Thanks to its scale and longevity, Google Analytics has some strong sides, but its data accuracy isn’t 100% perfect.

The inability to capture analytics data from users who don’t consent to cookie tracking and data sampling applied to bigger web properties may be a deal-breaker for your business. 

If that’s the case, try Matomo — a GDPR-compliant, accurate web analytics solution. Start your 21-day free trial now. No credit card required.

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10 Matomo Features You Possibly Didn’t Know About https://matomo.org/blog/2022/10/matomo-features/ Fri, 28 Oct 2022 02:06:21 +0000 https://matomo.org/?p=59307 Read More

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Most users know Matomo as the privacy-focussed web analytics tool with data accuracy, superior to Google Analytics.  

And we’re thrilled to be that — and more! 

At Matomo, our underlying product vision is to provide a full stack of accurate, user-friendly and privacy-mindful online marketing tools. 

Over the years, we’ve expanded beyond baseline website statistics. Matomo Cloud users also get to benefit from additional powerful tools for audience segmentation, conversion optimisation, advanced event tracking and more. 

Here are the top 10 advanced Matomo features you wish you knew about earlier (but won’t stop using now!). 

Funnels

At first glance, most customer journeys look sporadic. But every marketer will tell you that there is a method to almost every users’ madness. Or more precisely — there’s a method you can use to guide users towards conversions. 

That’s called a customer journey — a schematic set of steps and actions people complete from developing awareness and interest in your solution to consideration and finally conversion.

On average, 8 touchpoints are required to turn a prospect into a customer. Though the number can be significantly bigger in B2B sales and smaller for B2C Ecommerce websites. 

With the Funnels feature, you can first map all the on-site touchpoints (desired actions) for different types of customers. Then examine the results you’re getting as prospects move through these checkbox steps.

Funnel reports provide:

  • High-level metrics such as  “Funnel conversion rate”, “Number of funnel conversions”, “Number of funnel entries”. 
  • Drilled-down reports for each funnel and each tracked action within it. This way you can track the success rates of each step and estimate their contribution to the cumulative effect.

Segmented funnel reports for specific user cohorts (with Matomo Segmentation enabled).

Funnels Report Matomo

What makes funnels so fun (pun intended)? The variety of use cases and configurations! 

You can build funnels to track conversion rates for:

  • Newsletter subscriptions
  • Job board applications 
  • Checkout or payment 
  • Product landing pages
  • Seasonal promo campaigns

…. And pretty much any other page where users must complete a meaningful action. So go test this out. 

Form Analytics

On-site forms are a 101 tactic for lead generation. For most service businesses,  a “contact request” or a “booking inquiry” submission means a new lead in your pipeline. 

That said: the average on-site form conversion rates across industries stand at below 50%: 

  • Property  – 37% 
  • Telecoms – 40%
  • Software — 46.83%

That’s not bad, but it could be better. If only you could figure out why people abandon your forms….

Oh wait, Matomo Form Analytics can supply you with answers. Form Analytics provide real-time information on key form metrics — total views, starter rate, submitter rate, conversions and more.

Separately the average form hesitation time is also provided (in other words, the time a user contemplates if filling in a form is worth the effort). Plus, Matomo also tracks the time spent on form submission.

You can review: 

  • Top drop-off fields – to understand where you are losing prospects. These fields should either be removed or simplified (e.g., with a dropdown menu) to increase conversions.
  • Most corrected-field – this will provide a clear indication of where your prospects are struggling with a form. Providing help text can simplify the process and increase conversions.  
  • Unesserary fields – with this metric, you’ll know which optional fields your leads aren’t interested in filling in and can remove them to help drive conversions. 

With Form Analytics, you’ll be able to boost conversions and create a better on-site experience with accurate user data. 

A/B testing

Marketing is both an art and a science. A/B testing (or split testing) helps you statistically verify which creative ideas perform better. 

A good conversion rate optimisation (CRO) practice is to test different elements and to do so often to find your top contenders.

What can you split test? Loads of things:

  • Page slogans and call-to-actions 
  • Button or submission form placements
  • Different landing page designs and layouts
  • Seasonal promo offers and banners
  • Pricing information 
  • Customer testimonial placements 

More times than not, those small changes in page design or copy can lead to a double-digit lift in conversion rates. Accounting software Sage saw a 30% traffic boost after changing the homepage layout, copy and CTAs based on split test data. Depositphotos, in turn, got a 9.32% increase in account registration rate (CR) after testing a timed pop-up registration form. 

The wrinkle? A/B testing software isn’t exactly affordable, with tools averaging $119 – $1,995 per month. Plus, you then have to integrate a third-party tool with your website analytics for proper attribution — and this can get messy.

Matomo saves you the hassle in both cases. An A/B testing tool is part of your Cloud subscription and plays nicely with other features — goal tracking, heatmaps, historic visitor profiles and more. 

You can run split tests with Matomo on your websites or mobile apps — and find out if version A, B, C or D is the top performer. 

Conversions Report Matomo

Advertising Conversion Exports

A well-executed search marketing or banner remarketing campaign can drive heaps of traffic to your website. But the big question is: How much of it will convert?

The AdTech industry has a major problem with proper attribution and, because of it, with ad fraud. 

Globally, digital ad fraud will cost advertisers a hefty $8 billion by the end of 2022. That’s when another $74 million in ad budgets get wasted per quarter.  

The reasons for ad budget waste may vary, but they often have a common denominator: lack of reliable conversion tracking data.

Matomo helps you get a better sense of how you spend your cents with Advertising Conversion Reports. Unlike other MarTech analytics tools, you don’t need to embed any third-party advertising network trackers into your website or compromise user privacy.

Instead, you can easily export accurate conversion data from Matomo (either manually via a CSV file or automated with an HTTPS link) into your Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising or Yandex Ads for cross-validation. This way you can get an objective view of the performance of different campaigns and optimise your budget allocations accordingly. 

Find out more about tracking ad campaigns with Matomo.

Matomo Tag Manager

The marketing technology landscape is close to crossing 10,000 different solutions. Cross-platform advertising trackers and all sorts of customer data management tools comprise the bulk of that growing stack. 

Remember: Each new tool embed adds extra “weight” to your web page. More tracking scripts equal slower page loading speed — and more frustration for your users. Likewise, extra embeds often means dialling up the developer (which takes time). Or tinkering with the site code yourself (which can result in errors and still raise the need to call a developer). 

With Tag Manager, you can easily generate tags for:

  • Custom analytics reports 
  • Newsletter signups
  • Affiliates 
  • Form submission tracking 
  • Exit popups and surveys
  • Ads and more

With Matomo Tag Manager, you can monitor, update or delete everything from one convenient interface. Finally, you can programme custom triggers — conditions when the tag gets activated — and specify data points (variables) it should collect.  The latter is a great choice for staying privacy-focused and excluding any sensitive user information from processing. 

With our tag management system (TMS), no rogue tags will mess up your analytics or conversion tracking. 

Session recordings

User experience (UX) plays a pivotal role in your conversion rates. 

A five-year McKinsey study of 300 publicly listed companies found that companies with strong design practices have 32 percentage points higher revenue growth than their peers. 

But what makes up a great website design and browsing experience? Veteran UX designers name seven qualities:

To figure out if your website meets all these criteria, you can use Session Recording — a tool for recording how users interact with your website. 

By observing clicks, mouse moves, scrolls and form interactions you can determine problematic website design areas such as poor header navigation, subpar button placements or “boring” blocks of text. 

Such observational studies are a huge part of the UX research process because they provide unbiased data on interaction. Or as Nielsen Norman Group puts it:

“The way to get user data boils down to the basic rules of usability:

  • Watch what people actually do.
  • Do not believe what people say they do.
  • Definitely don’t believe what people predict they may do in the future.” 

Most user behaviour analytics tools sell such functionality for a fee. With Matomo Cloud, this feature is included in your subscription.  

Heatmaps

While Session Replays provide qualitative insights, Heatmaps supply you with first-hand qualitative insights. Instead of individual user browsing sessions, you get consolidated data on where they click and how they scroll through your website. 

Heatmaps Matomo

Heatmaps are another favourite among UX designers and their CRO peers because you can:

  • Validate earlier design decisions around information architecture, page layout, button placements and so on. 
  • Develop new design hypotheses based on stats and then translate them into website design improvements. 
  • Identify distractive no-click elements that confuse users and remove them to improve conversions. 
  • Locate problematic user interface (UI) areas on specific devices or operating systems and improve them for a seamless experience.

To get even more granular results, you can apply up to 100 Matomo segments to drill down on specific user groups, geographies or devices. 

This way you can make data-based decisions for A/B testing, updating or redesigning your website pages. 

Custom Alerts

When it comes to your website, you don’t want to miss anything big — be it your biggest sales day or a sudden nosedive in traffic. 

That’s when Custom Alerts come in handy. 

Matomo Custom Alerts

With a few clicks, you can set up email or text-based alerts about important website metrics. Once you hit that metric, Matomo will send a ping. 

You can also set different types of Custom Alerts for your teams. For example, your website administrator can get alerted about critical technical performance issues such as a sudden spike in traffic. It can indicate a DDoS attack (in the worst case) — and timely resolution is crucial here. Or suggest that your website is going viral and you might need to provision extra computing resources to ensure optimal site performance.

Your sales team, in turn, can get alerted about new form submissions, so that they can quickly move on to lead scoring and subsequent follow-ups. 

Use cases are plentiful with this feature. 

Custom Dashboards and Reports

Did you know you can get a personalised view of the main Matomo dashboards? 

By design, we made different website stats available as separate widgets. Hence, you can cherry-pick which stats get a prominent spot. Moreover, you can create and embed custom widgets into your Matomo dashboard to display third-party insights (e.g., POS data).

Set up custom dashboard views for different teams, business stakeholders or clients to keep them in the loop on relevant website metrics. 

Custom Reports feature, in turn, lets you slice and dice your traffic analytics the way you please. You can combine up to three different data dimensions per report and then add any number of supported metrics to get a personalised analytics report.

For example, to zoom in on your website performance in a specific target market you can apply “location” (e.g., Germany) and “action type” (e.g., app downloads) dimensions and then get segmented data on metrics such as total visits, conversion rates, revenue and more. 

Get to know even more ways to customise Matomo deployment.

Roll Up Report

Need to get aggregated traffic analytics from multiple web properties, but not ready to pay $150K per year for Google Analytics 360 for that?

We’ve got you with Roll-Up Reporting. You can get a 360-degree view into important KPIs like global revenue, conversion rates or form performance across multiple websites, online stores, mobile apps and even Intranet properties.

Roll-Up-Reporting in Matomo

Setting up this feature takes minutes, but saves you hours on manually exporting and cross-mapping data from different web analytics tools. 

Channel all those saved hours into more productive things like increasing your conversion rates or boosting user engagement

Avoid Marketing Tool Sprawl with Matomo 

With Matomo as your website analytics and conversion optimisation app, you don’t need to switch between different systems, interfaces or have multiple tracking codes embedded on your site.

And you don’t need to cultivate a disparate (and expensive!) MarTech tool stack — and then figure out if each of your tools is compliant with global privacy laws.

All the tools you need are conveniently housed under one roof. 

Want to learn more about Matomo features? Check out product training videos next! 

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Homepage Design: Best Practices & Examples https://matomo.org/blog/2022/10/homepage-design/ Wed, 05 Oct 2022 14:56:28 +0000 https://matomo.org/?p=58967 Read More

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Did you know users spend about 50 milliseconds deciding if they like your website’s homepage design or not?

With billions of websites and scrolling often done on the go, you have to make a strong first impression because the chances for a once-over are slim. 

Learn how to design magnetically-appealing website homepages from this guide. 

What is a homepage in web design?

Homepage is the front page of your website — a destination where users land when typing your website URL address. It’s located at the root of the website’s domain (e.g., matomo.org) or a subdomain (e.g., university.webflow.com).

Design-wise a homepage has two goals:

  • Explain the purpose of the website and present overview information 
  • Provide top-level navigation to lower-level web pages (e.g., blog, sales pages, etc.) 

Separately, a homepage is also the place where users will return each time they’ll feel stuck and want to start anew. Thus, your homepage website design should provide obvious navigation paths to other website areas.

6 Must-Know Website Homepage Design Best Practices

Behind every winning homepage design stands a detailed customer journey map. 

A customer journey is a schematic representation of how site visitors will move around your website to accomplish various goals. 

A good customer journey map lists different actions a user will take after landing on your website (e.g., browse product pages, save items to a wishlist, register an account, etc.) — and it does so for different audience segments

Your homepage design should help users move from the first step on their journey (e.g., learning about your website) to the final one (e.g., converting to a paid customer). At the same time, your homepage should serve the needs of both new and returning visitors — prospects who may be at a different stage of their journey (e.g., consideration).  

With the above in mind, let’s take a look at several website homepage design ideas and the reasons why they work. 

1. Use Familiar Design Elements

Whether you’re designing a new website or refreshing an old one, it’s always tempting to go “out of the box” — use horizontal scrolling, skip header navigation or include arty animations. 

Bold design choices work for some brands, mainly those who aren’t using their website as a primary sales channel (e.g., luxury brands). 

But unfamiliar design patterns can also intimidate a lot of shoppers. In one observational study, people were asked to guess where specific content (e.g., information on international calls) would be placed on a telecom website. 75% of users picked the same location. This means two things:

  • People already have expectations of where specific website information is typically placed 
  • Yet, one in four users struggles to identify the right areas even within standard website layouts

So why make the job harder for them? As UX consultant Peter Ramsey rightfully notes

The truth is: designing the best experience isn’t about being unique, it’s about being easy. And guess what feels really easy to use? Things that feel familiar.

Therefore, analyse other homepage layout designs in your industry. Pay attention to the number and type of homepage screens and approaches to designing header/footer navigation. 

Take some of those ideas as your “base”. Then make your homepage design on-brand with unique typography, icons, visuals and other graphic design elements.

Take a cue from ICAM — a steel manufacturing company. Their niche isn’t typically exciting. Yet, their homepage design stops you in your tracks and tinkers your curiosity to discover more (even if you aren’t shopping for metalware). 

ICAM homepage example

The interesting part is that ICAM uses a rather standard homepage layout. You have a hero image in the first screen, followed by a multi-column layout of their industry expertise and an overview of manufacturers. 

But this homepage design feels fresh because the company uses plenty of white space, bold typography and vibrant visuals. Also, they delay the creative twist (horizontal scrolling area) to the bottom of the homepage, meaning that it’s less likely to intimidate less confident web users. 

2. Decide On The Optimal Homepage Layout 

In web design, a homepage layout is your approach to visually organising different information on the screen. 

Observant folks will notice that good homepage designs often have the same layout. For example, include a split-view “hero” screen with a call to action on the left and visuals (photo or video) on the left.   

Ecommerce Homepage Design Example
SOURCE: shopify.com / SOURCE: squareup.com

The reason for using similar layouts for website homepage design isn’t a lack of creativity. On the contrary, some layouts have become the “best practice” because they:

  • Offer a great user experience (UX) and don’t confuse first-time visitors 
  • Feel familiar and create a pleasurable sense of deja-vu among users 
  • Have proven to drive higher conversion rates through benchmarks and tests 

Popular types of website homepage layouts: 

  • Single column – a classic option of presenting main content in a single, vertical column. Good choice for blogs, personal websites and simple corporate sites. 
  • Split screen layout divides the page in two equal areas with different information present. Works best for Ecommerce homepages (e.g., to separate different types of garments) or SaaS websites, offering two product types (e.g., a free personal product version and a business edition). 
  • Asymmetrical layout assumes dividing your homepage into areas of different size and styles. Asymmetry helps create specific focal points for users to draw their attention to the most prominent information. 
  • Grid of cards layout helps present a lot of information in a more digestible manner by breaking down bigger bulks of text into smaller cards — a graphic element, featuring an image and some texts. By tapping a card, users can then access extra content. 
  • Boxes are visually similar to cards, but can be of varying shape. For example, you can have a bigger header-width box area, followed by four smaller boxes within it. Both of these website layouts work well for Ecommerce. 
  • Featured image layout gives visuals (photos and videos) the most prominent placement on the homepage, with texts and other graphic design elements serving a secondary purpose. 
  • F-pattern layout is based on the standard eye movement most people have when reading content on the website. Eye tracking studies found that we usually pay the most attention to information atop of the page (header area), then scan horizontally before dripping down to the next vertical line until we find content that captures our attention. 

User behaviour analytics (UBA) tools are the best way to determine what type of layout will work for your homepage. 

For example, you can use Matomo Heatmaps and Session Recording to observe how users navigate your homepage, which areas or links they click and what blockers they face during navigation.

Matomo Heatmaps

Matomo can capture accurate behavioural insights because we track relative positions to elements within your websites. This approach allows us to provide accurate data for users with different browsers, operating systems, zoom-in levels and fonts.  

The best part? You can collect behavioural data from up to 100 different user segments to understand how different audience cohorts engage with your product.

3. Include a One-Sentence Tagline

A tagline is a one-line summary of what your company does and what its unique sales proposition (USP) is. It should be short, catchy and distinguish you from competitors.

A modern homepage design practice is to include a call to action in the first screen. Why? Because you then instantly communicate or remind of your value proposition to every user — and provide them with an easy way to convert whenever they are ready to do business with you. 

Here’s how three companies with a similar product, a project management app, differentiate themselves through homepage taglines. 

Monday.com positions itself as an operating system (OS) for work. 

monday.com homepage

Basecamp emphasises its product simplicity and openly says that they are different from other overly-complex software. 

Asana, in turn, addresses a familiar user pain point (siloed communication) that it attempts to fix with its product. 

asana.com homepage

Coming up with the perfect homepage tagline is a big task. You may have plenty of ideas, but little confidence in what version will stick. 

The best approach? Let a series of A/B tests decide. You can test a roaster of homepage slogans on a rotating bi-weekly/monthly schedule and track how copy changes affect conversion rates. 

With Matomo A/B test feature, you can create, track and manage all experiments straight from your web analytics app — and get consolidated reports on total page visitors and conversion rates per each tested variation. 

Matomo A/B Test feature

Beyond slogans, you can also run A/B tests to validate submission form placements, button texts or the entire page layout. 

For instance, you can benchmark how your new homepage design performs compared to the old version with a subset of users before making it publicly available. 

4. Highlight The Main Tasks For The User

Though casual browsing is a thing, most of us head to specific websites with a clear agenda — find information, compare prices, obtain services, etc. 

Thus, your homepage should provide clear starting points for users’ main tasks (those you’ve also identified as conversion goals on your customer journey maps!).

These tasks can include: 

  • Account registration 
  • Product demo request 
  • Newsletter sign-up 

The best website homepage designs organically guide users through a set number of common tasks, one screen at a time. 

Let’s analyse Sable homepage design. The company offers a no-fee bank account and a credit card product for soon-to-be US transplants. The main task a user has: Decide if they want to try Sable and hopefully open an account with them. 

Sable Example Homepage

This mono-purpose page focuses on persuading a prospect that Sable is right for them. 

The first screen hosts the main CTA with an animated drop-down arrow to keep scrolling. This is likely aimed at first-time visitors that just landed on the page from an online ad or social media post. 

The second screen serves the main pitch — no-fee, no-hassle access to a US banking account that also helps you build your credit score. 

The third screen encourages users to learn more about Sable Credit — the flagship product. For the sceptics, the fourth screen offers several more reasons to sign up for the credit product. 

Then Sable moves on to pitching its second offering — a no-fee debit card with a cashback. Once again, the follow-up screen sweetens the deal by bringing up other perks (higher cashback for popular services like Amazon) and overcoming objections (no SSN required and multi-language support available). 

The sequence ends with side-by-side product comparison and some extra social proof. 

In Sable’s case, each homepage screen has a clear purpose and is designed to facilitate one specific user action — account opening. 

For multi-product companies, the above strategy works great for designing individual landing pages. 

5. Design Proper Navigation Paths

All websites have two areas reserved for navigation: 

  • Header menu 
  • Footer menu 

Designing an effective header menu is more important since it’s the primary tool visitors will use to discover other pages. 

Your header menu can be:

  • Sticky — always visible as the person keeps scrolling.  
  • Static — e.g., a hidden drop-down menu. 

If you go for a static header and have a longer homepage layout (e.g., 5+ screens), you also need to add extra navigation elements somewhere mid-page. Or else users might not figure out where to go next and merely bounce off.  

You can do this by: 

  • Promoting other areas of your website (e.g., sub-category pages) by linking out to them 
  • Adding a carousel of “recent posts”, “recommended reads” and “latest products” 
  • Using buttons and CTAs to direct users towards specific actions (e.g., account registration) or assets (free eBook)

For instance, cosmetics brand Typology doesn’t have a sticky header on the homepage. Instead, they prompt discovery by promoting different product categories (best sellers, bundles, latest arrivals) and their free skin diagnostic quiz — a great engagement mechanism to retain first time users.

Typology Homepage Example

Once the user scrolls down to the bottom of the page, they should have an extra set of navigational options — aka footer links. 

Again, these help steer the visitor towards discovering more content without scrolling back up to the top of your homepage. 

Nielsen Norman Group says that people mostly use footers as:

  • A second chance to be convinced — after reading the entire homepage, the user is ready to give your product a go.
  • The last resort for hard-to-find content that’s not displayed in global header navigation (e.g., Terms and Conditions or shipping information pages).

As a rule of thumb, you should designate the following information to the footer: 

  • Utility links (Contact page, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, etc.) 
  • Secondary-task links (e.g., Career page, Investor Details, Media contacts, etc.) 
  • Brands within the organisation (if you operate several) 
  • Customer engagement link (email newsletters and social media buttons)

The key is to keep the area compact — not more than one standard user screen resolution of 1280×720.  

6. Show Users What’s Clickable (Or Not) 

A homepage invites your site visitors on a journey. But if they don’t know which elements to click, they aren’t going to get anywhere.

Good homepage design makes it obvious which page elements are clickable, i.e., can take the user to a new page or another segment of the homepage. 

Here are several must-know homepage design tips for better on-page navigation: 

  • Use colour and underline or bold to highlight clickable words. Alternatively, you can change the browser cursor from a standard arrow into another element (e.g., a larger dot or a pointy finger) to indicate when the cursor hovers over a clickable website area.   
  • Make descriptive button texts that imply what will happen when a user clicks the page. Instead of using abstract and generic button texts like “see more” or “learn more”, try a more vibrant language like “dive in” for clicking through to a spa page. 
  • Use a unified hover area to show how different homepage design elements represent a single path or multiple navigation paths.  When multiple items are encapsulated in one visual element (e.g., a box), users may be reluctant to click the image because they aren’t sure if it’s one large hit area leading to a single page or if there are multiple hit areas, leading to different pages. 

Homepage of BEAUSiTE  — a whimsical hotel in the Swiss Alps – embodies all of the above design principles. They change the cursor style whenever you scroll into a hit area, use emotive and creative micro-copy for all button texts and clearly distinguish between different homepage elements.

Beausite Homepage Example

How to Make Your Homepage Design Even More Impactful? 

Website homepage design is roughly 20% of pure design work and 80% of behind-the-scenes research. 

To design a high-performing homepage you need to have data-backed answers to the following questions: 

  • Who are your primary and secondary target audiences? 
  • Which tasks (1 to 4) you’d want to help them solve through your homepage?

You can get the answers to both questions from your web analytics data by using audience segmentation and page transition (behaviour flow) reports in Matomo.  

Based on these, you can determine common user journeys and tasks people look to accomplish when visiting your website. Next, you can collect even more data with UBA tools  like heatmaps and user session recordings. Then translated the observed patterns into working homepage design ideas. 

Improve your homepage design and conversion rates with Matomo. Start your free 21-day trial now

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9 Ways to Customise Your Matomo Like a Pro https://matomo.org/blog/2022/10/customise-matomo/ Wed, 05 Oct 2022 10:19:21 +0000 https://matomo.org/?p=58867 Read More

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Matomo is a feature-rich web analytics platform. As such, it has many layers of depth — core features, extra plug-ins, custom dimensions, reports, extensions and integrations. 

Most of the product elements you see can be personalised and customised to your needs with minimal restrictions. However, this breadth of choice can be overlooked by new users. 

In this post, we explain how to get the most out of Matomo with custom reports, dashboards, dimensions and even app design. 

How to customise your Matomo web analytics

To make major changes to Matomo (e.g., create custom dashboards or install new plugins), you’ll have to be a Matomo Super User (a.k.a. The Admin). Super Users can also grant administrator permissions to others so that more people could customise your Matomo deployment. 

Most feature-related customisations (e.g. configuring a custom report, adding custom goal tracking, etc.) can be done by all users. 

With the above in mind, here’s how you can tweak Matomo to better serve your website analytics needs: 

1. Custom dashboards

Matomo Customisable Dashboard and Widgets

Dashboards provide a panorama view of all the collected website statistics. We display different categories of stats and KPIs as separate widgets — a standalone module you can also customise. 

On your dashboard, you can change the type, position and number of widgets on display. This is an easy way to create separate dashboard views for different projects, clients or team members. Rather than a one-size-fits-all dashboard, a custom dashboard designed for a specific role or business unit will increase data-driven decision-making and efficiency across the business.

You can create a new dashboard view in a few clicks. Then select a preferred layout — a split-page view or multi columns. Next, populate the new dashboard area with preferred widgets showing:

Or code a custom widget area to pull specific website stats or other reporting data you need. Once you are done, arrange everything with our drag-and-drop functionality. 

Matomo Widgets

Popular feature use cases

  • Personalised website statistics layout for convenient viewing 
  • Simplified analytics dashboards for the line of business leaders/stakeholders 
  • Project- or client-specific dashboards for easy report sharing 

Read more about customising Matomo dashboards and widget areas

2. Custom reports

Matomo Custom Reports

As the name implies, Custom Reports widget allows you to mesh any of the dimensions and metrics collected by Matomo into a custom website traffic analysis. Custom reports save users time by providing specific data needed in one view so there is no need to jump back and forth between multiple reports or toggle through a report to find data.

For each custom report, you can select up to three dimensions and then apply additional quantitative measurements (metrics) to drill down into the data.

For example, if you want to closely observe mobile conversion rates in one market, you can create the following custom report:

  • Dimensions: User Type (registered), Device type (mobile), Location (France)
  • Metrics: Visits, Conversion Rate, Revenue, Avg. Generation Time.

Custom Report widget is available within Matomo Cloud and as a plugin for Matomo On-Premise.

Popular feature use cases

  • Campaign-specific reporting to better understand the impact of different promo strategies 
  • Advanced event tracking for conversion optimization 
  • Market segmentation reports to analyse different audience cohorts 

Read more about creating and analysing Custom Reports.

3. Custom widgets

Matomo Customisable Widgets

We realise that our users have different degrees of analytics knowledge. Some love in-depth reporting dimensions and multi-row reporting tables. Others just want to see essential stats. 

To delight both the pros and the novice users, we’ve created widgets — reporting sub-modules you can add, delete or rearrange in a few clicks. Essentially, a widget is a slice of a dashboard area you can populate with extra information. 

You can add pre-made custom widgets to Matomo or develop your own widget to display custom reports or even external data (e.g., offline sales volume). At the same time, you can also embed Matomo widgets into other applications (e.g., a website CMS or corporate portal).

Popular feature use cases

  • Display main goals (e.g., new trial sign-ups) on the main dashboard for greater visibility 
  • Highlight cost-per-conversion reporting by combining goals and conversion data to keep your budgets in check 
  • Run omnichannel eCommerce analytics (with embedded offline sales data) to get a 360-degree view into your operations 

Read more about creating widgets in Matomo (beginner’s guide)

4. Custom dimensions 

Matomo Custom Dimensions

Dimensions describe the characteristics of reported data. Think of them as “filters” — a means to organise website analytics data by a certain parameter such as “Browser”, “Country”, “Device Type”, “User Type” and many more. 

Custom Dimensions come in handy for all sorts of segmentation reports. For example, comparing conversion rates between registered and guest users. Or tracking revenue by device type and location.  

For convenience, we’ve grouped Custom Dimensions in two categories:

Visit dimensions. These associate metadata about a user with Visitor profiles — a summary of different knowledge you have about your audience. Reports for Visit scoped custom dimensions are available in the Visitors section of your dashboard. 

Action dimensions. These segment users by specific actions tracked by Matomo such as pageviews, events completion, downloads, form clicks, etc. When configuring Custom Dimensions, you can select among pre-defined action types or code extra action dimensions. Action scoped custom dimensions are available in the Behaviours section of Matomo. 

Depending on your Matomo version, you can apply 5 – 15 custom dimensions to reports. 

Important: Since you can’t delete dimensions (only deactivate them), think about your use case first. Custom Dimensions each have their own dedicated reports page on your Matomo dashboard. 

Popular custom dimension use cases among users:

  • Segmenting reports by users’ screen resolution size to understand how your website performs on different devices
  • Monitor conversion rates for different page types to determine your best-performing assets 

Read more about creating, tracking and managing Custom Dimensions

5. Custom scheduled reports

Manually sending reports can be time consuming, especially if you have multiple clients or provide reports to numerous stakeholders. Custom scheduled reports remove this manual process to improve efficiency and ensure timely distribution of data to relevant users.

Any report in Matomo (default or custom) can be shared with others by email as a PDF file, HTML content or as an attached CSV document. 

You can customise which data you want to send to different people — your colleagues, upper management, clients or other company divisions. Then set up the frequency of email dispatches and Matomo will do the rest. 

Auto-scheduling an email report is easy. Name your report, select a Segment (aka custom or standard report), pick time, file format and sender. 

Matomo Schedule Reports

You can also share links to Matomo reports as text messages, if you are using ASPSMS or Clockwork SMS

Popular feature use cases

  • Convenient stakeholder reporting on key website KPIs 
  • Automated client updates to keep clients informed and reduce workload 
  • Easy data downloads for doing custom analysis with business intelligence tools 

Read more about email reporting features in Matomo

6. Custom alerts

Matomo Custom Alerts

Custom Alerts is a Matomo plugin for keeping you updated on the most important analytics events. Unlike Custom Reports, which provide a complete or segmented analytics snapshot, alerts are better suited for tracking individual events. For example, significant traffic increases from a specific channel, new 404 pages or major goal achievement (e.g., hitting 1,000 sales in a week). 

Custom Alerts are a convenient way to keep your finger on the pulse of your site so you can quickly remedy an issue or get updated on reaching a crucial KPI promptly. You can receive custom alerts via email or text message in a matter of minutes.

To avoid flooding your inbox with alerts, we recommend reserving Custom Alerts for a select few use cases (3 to 5) and schedule custom Email Reports to receive general web page analytics. 

Popular custom alerts use cases among users:

  • Monitor sudden drops in revenue to investigate the cause behind them and solve any issues promptly 
  • Get notified of traffic spikes or sudden dips to better manage your website’s technical performance 

Read more about creating and managing Custom Alerts

7. Goals

Matomo Customisable Goal Funnels

Goals feature helps you better understand how your website performs on certain business objectives such as lead generation, online sales or content discovery. A goal is a quantifiable action you want to measure (e.g., a specific page visit, form submission or a file download). 

When combined together, Goals make up your sales funnel — a series of specific actions you expect users to complete in order to convert. 

Goals-setting and Funnel Analytics are a powerful, customisable combo for understanding how people navigate your website; what makes them take action or, on the contrary, lose interest and bounce off. 

On Matomo, you can simultaneously track multiple goals, monitor multiple conversions per one visit (e.g., when one user requests two content downloads) and assign revenue targets to specific goals.

Separately, Matomo Cloud users also get access to a premium Funnels feature and Multi Channel Conversion Attribution. On-Premises Matomo users can get both as paid plugins via our Marketplace.

Popular goal tracking use cases among users:

  • Tracking newsletter subscription to maximise subscriber growth 
  • Conversion tracking for gated content (e.g., eBooks) to understand how each asset performs 
  • Analysing the volume of job applications per post to better interpret your HR marketing performance 

Read more about creating and managing Goals in Matomo.

8. Themes

Matomo On-Premise Customisable Themes

Want to give your Matomo app a distinctive visual flair? Pick a new free theme for your On-Premises installation. Minimalistic, dark or classic — our community created six different looks that other Matomo users can download and install in a few clicks. 

If you have some HTML/CSS/JS knowledge, you can also design your own Matomo theme.  Since Matomo is an open-source project, we don’t restrict interface customisation and always welcome creativity from our users.

Read more about designing your own Matomo theme (developer documentation).

9.  White labelling

Matomo white label options

Matomo is one of the few website analytics tools to support white labelling. White labelling means that you can distribute our product to others under your brand. 

For example, as a web design agency, you can delight customers with pre-installed GDPR-friendly website analytics. Marketing services providers, in turn, can present their clients with embedded reporting widgets, robust funnel analytics and 100% unsampled data. 

Apart from selecting a custom theme, you can also align Matomo with your brand by:

  • Customising product name
  • Using custom header/font colours 
  • Change your tracking endpoint
  • Remove links to Matomo.org

To streamline Matomo customisation and set-up, we developed a White Label plug-in. It provides a convenient set of controls for changing your Matomo deployment and distributing access rights to other users or sharing embedded Matomo widgets). 

Read more about white labelling Matomo

Learning more about Matomo 

Matomo has an ever-growing list of features, ranging from standard website tracking controls to unique conversion rate optimisation tools (heatmaps, media analytics, user cohorts and more).

To learn more about Matomo features you can check our free video web analytics training series where we cover the basics. For feature-specific tips, tricks and configurations, browse our video content or written guides.  

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Introducing Improvements to the Opt-Out Form Feature https://matomo.org/blog/2022/09/improvements-to-matomo-opt-out-form-feature/ Sun, 18 Sep 2022 20:18:16 +0000 https://matomo.org/?p=58403 Read More

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Matomo includes a built-in opt-out form that you can add to your website so you can provide your visitors with the choice to opt-out of Matomo tracking. Up until Matomo 4.12.0 the built-in opt-out form relied on iFrame technology which has become increasingly problematic due to browser changes and restrictions on setting third-party cookies.

With our privacy-first approach, we’ve known for some time that we would eventually need a new way to provide this important opt-out functionality that would work most reliably in the myriad of contexts our users rely on it for.

Embedding the opt-out form

Matomo 4.12.0 introduces an improved opt-out. This provides two new options for embedding the opt-out on your website, either using the Matomo tracker code or as self-contained code.

As with the iFrame method, the built-in opt-out code can be styled in Matomo to match your website, and provides a snippet which you can add to your website to show the opt-out feature to your users.

Find out how to customise the opt-out form.

Customising the opt-out form

What does this mean for existing opt-out forms?

Although it is no longer possible to generate new iFrame embed code using the Matomo UI, the underlying opt-out feature is still fully supported and any existing iFrame opt-out form code embedded in websites will still work as before. It is recommended to migrate to one of the new opt-out form options as browser support for the iFrame opt-out will continue to decrease.

To read more in depth information about the new opt-out functionality please refer to our new developer documentation for tracking opt-out.

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Data Privacy in Business: A Risk Leading to Major Opportunities  https://matomo.org/blog/2022/08/data-privacy-in-business-risks-and-opportunities/ Tue, 09 Aug 2022 21:27:34 +0000 https://matomo.org/?p=56999 Read More

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Data privacy in business is a contentious issue. 

Claims that “big data is the new oil of the digital economy” and strong links between “data-driven personalisation and customer experience” encourage leaders to set up massive data collection programmes.

However, many of these conversations downplay the magnitude of security, compliance and ethical risks companies face when betting too much on customer data collection. 

In this post, we discuss the double-edged nature of privacy issues in business — the risk-ridden and the opportunity-driven. ​​

3 Major Risks of Ignoring Data Privacy in Business

As the old adage goes: Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it right.

Easy data accessibility and ubiquity of analytics tools make data consumer collection and processing sound like a “given”. But the decision to do so opens your business to a spectrum of risks. 

1. Compliance and Legal Risks 

Data collection and customer privacy are protected by a host of international laws including GDPR, CCPA, and regional regulations. Only 15% of countries (mostly developing ones) don’t have dedicated laws for protecting consumer privacy. 

State of global data protection legislature via The UN

Global legislature includes provisions on: 

  • Collectible data types
  • Allowed uses of obtained data 
  • Consent to data collection and online tracking 
  • Rights to request data removal 

Personally identifiable information (PII) processing is prohibited or strictly regulated in most jurisdictions. Yet businesses repeatedly circumnavigate existing rules and break them on occasion.

In Australia, for example, only 2% of brands use logos, icons or messages to transparently call out online tracking, data sharing or other specific uses of data at the sign-up stage. In Europe, around half of small businesses are still not fully GDPR-compliant — and Big Tech companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook can’t get a grip on their data collection practices even when pressed with horrendous fines. 

Although the media mostly reports on compliance fines for “big names”, smaller businesses are increasingly receiving more scrutiny. 

As Max Schrems, an Austrian privacy activist and founder of noyb NGO, explained in a Matomo webinar:

“In Austria, my home country, there are a lot of €5,000 fines going out there as well [to smaller businesses]. Most of the time, they are just not reported. They just happen below the surface. [GDPR fines] are already a reality.”​

In April 2022, the EU Court of Justice ruled that consumer groups can autonomously sue businesses for breaches of data protection — and nonprofit organisations like noyb enable more people to do so. 

Finally, new data privacy legislation is underway across the globe. In the US, Colorado, Connecticut, Virginia and Utah have data protection acts at different stages of approval. South African authorities are working on the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) act and Brazil is working on a local General Data Protection Law (LGPD).

Re-thinking your stance on user privacy and data protection now can significantly reduce the compliance burden in the future. 

2. Security Risks 

Data collection also mandates data protection for businesses. Yet, many organisations focus on the former and forget about the latter. 

Lenient attitudes to consumer data protection resulted in a major spike in data breaches.

Check Point research found that cyberattacks increased 50% year-over-year, with each organisation facing 925 cyberattacks per week globally.

Many of these attacks end up being successful due to poor data security in place. As a result, billions of stolen consumer records become publicly available or get sold on dark web marketplaces.

What’s even more troublesome is that stolen consumer records are often purchased by marketing firms or companies, specialising in spam campaigns. Buyers can also use stolen emails to distribute malware, stage phishing and other social engineering attacks – and harvest even more data for sale.  

One business’s negligence creates a snowball effect of negative changes down the line with customers carrying the brunt of it all. 

In 2020, hackers successfully targeted a Finnish psychotherapy practice. They managed to steal hundreds of patient records — and then demanded a ransom both from the firm and its patients for not exposing information about their mental health issues. Many patients refused to pay hackers and some 300 records ended up being posted online as Associated Press reported.

Not only did the practice have to deal with the cyber-breach aftermath, but it also faced vocal regulatory and patient criticisms for failing to properly protect such sensitive information.

Security negligence can carry both direct (heavy data breach fines) and indirect losses in the form of reputational damages. An overwhelming 90% of consumers say they wouldn’t buy from a business if it doesn’t adequately protect their data. This brings us to the last point. 

3. Reputational Risks 

Trust is the new currency. Data negligence and consumer privacy violations are the two fastest ways to lose it. 

Globally, consumers are concerned about how businesses collect, use, and protect their data. 

Consumer data sharing attitudes
  • According to Forrester, 47% of UK adults actively limit the amount of data they share with websites and apps. 49% of Italians express willingness to ask companies to delete their personal data. 36% of Germans use privacy and security tools to minimise online tracking of their activities. 
  • A GDMA survey also notes that globally, 82% of consumers want more control over their personal information, shared with companies. 77% also expect brands to be transparent about how their data is collected and used. 

When businesses fail to hold their end of the bargain — collect just the right amount of data and use it with integrity — consumers are fast to cut ties. 

Once the information about privacy violations becomes public, companies lose: 

  • Brand equity 
  • Market share 
  • Competitive positioning 

An AON report estimates that post-data breach companies can lose as much as 25% of their initial value. In some cases, the losses can be even higher. 

In 2015, British telecom TalkTalk suffered from a major data breach. Over 150,000 customer records were stolen by hackers. To contain the issue, TalkTalk had to throw between $60-$70 million into containment efforts. Still, they lost over 100,000 customers in a matter of months and one-third of their company value, equivalent to $1.4 billion, by the end of the year.   

Fresher data from Infosys gives the following maximum cost estimates of brand damage, companies could experience after a data breach (accidental or malicious).

Estimated cost of brand damage due to a data breach

3 Major Advantages of Privacy in Business 

Despite all the industry mishaps, a reassuring  77% of CEOs now recognise that their companies must fundamentally change their approaches to customer engagement, in particular when it comes to ensuring data privacy. 

Many organisations take proactive steps to cultivate a privacy-centred culture and implement transparent data collection policies. 

Here’s why gaining the “privacy advantage” pays off.

1. Market Competitiveness 

There’s a reason why privacy-focused companies are booming. 

Consumers’ mounting concerns and frustrations over the lack of online privacy, prompt many to look for alternative privacy-centred products and services

The following B2C and B2B products are  moving from the industry margins to the mainstream: 

Across the board, consumers express greater trust towards companies, protective of their privacy: 

And as we well know: trust translates to higher engagement, loyalty, and – ultimately revenue. 

By embedding privacy into the core of your product, you give users more reasons to select, stay and support your business. 

2. Higher Operational Efficiency

Customer data protection isn’t just a policy – it’s a culture of collecting “just enough” data, protecting it and using it responsibly. 

Sadly, that’s the area where most organisations trail behind. At present, some 90% of businesses admit to having amassed massive data silos.  

Siloed data is expensive to maintain and operationalise. Moreover, when left unattended, it can evolve into a pressing compliance issue. 

A recently leaked document from Facebook says the company has no idea where all of its first-party, third-party and sensitive categories data goes or how it is processed. Because of this, Facebook struggles to achieve GDPR compliance and remains under regulatory pressure. 

Similarly, Google Analytics is riddled with privacy issues. Other company products were found to be collecting and operationalising consumer data without users’ knowledge or consent. Again, this creates valid grounds for regulatory investigations. 

Smaller companies have a better chance of making things right at the onset. 

By curbing customer data collection, you can: 

  • Reduce data hosting and Cloud computation costs (aka trim your Cloud bill) 
  • Improve data security practices (since you would have fewer assets to protect) 
  • Make your staff more productive by consolidating essential data and making it easy and safe to access

Privacy-mindful companies also have an easier time when it comes to compliance and can meet new data regulations faster. 

3. Better Marketing Campaigns 

The biggest counter-argument to reducing customer data collection is marketing. 

How can we effectively sell our products if we know nothing about our customers? – your team might be asking. 

This might sound counterintuitive, but minimising data collection and usage can lead to better marketing outcomes. 

Limiting the types of data that can be used encourages your people to become more creative and productive by focusing on fewer metrics that are more important.

Think of it this way: Every other business uses the same targeting parameters on Facebook or Google for running paid ad campaigns on Facebook. As a result, we see ads everywhere — and people grow unresponsive to them or choose to limit exposure by using ad blocking software, private browsers and VPNs. Your ad budgets get wasted on chasing mirage metrics instead of actual prospects. 

Case in point: In 2017 Marc Pritchard of Procter & Gamble decided to first cut the company’s digital advertising budget by 6% (or $200 million). Unilever made an even bolder move and reduced its ad budget by 30% in 2018. 

Guess what happened?

P&G saw a 7.5% increase in organic sales and Unilever had a 3.8% gain as HBR reports. So how come both companies became more successful by spending less on advertising? 

They found that overexposure to online ads led to diminishing returns and annoyances among loyal customers. By minimising ad exposure and adopting alternative marketing strategies, the two companies managed to market better to new and existing customers. 

The takeaway: There are more ways to engage consumers aside from pestering them with repetitive retargeting messages or creepy personalisation. 

You can collect first-party data with consent to incrementally improve your product — and educate them on the benefits of your solution in transparent terms.

Final Thoughts 

The definitive advantage of privacy is consumers’ trust. 

You can’t buy it, you can’t fake it, you can only cultivate it by aligning your external appearances with internal practices. 

Because when you fail to address privacy internally, your mishaps will quickly become apparent either as social media call-outs or worse — as a security incident, a data breach or a legal investigation. 

By choosing to treat consumer data with respect, you build an extra layer of protection around your business, plus draw in some banging benefits too. 

Get one step closer to becoming a privacy-centred company by choosing Matomo as your web analytics solution. We offer robust privacy controls for ensuring ethical, compliant, privacy-friendly and secure website tracking. 

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The Ultimate List of Alternatives to Google Products https://matomo.org/blog/2022/08/alternatives-to-google-products/ Tue, 02 Aug 2022 04:18:28 +0000 https://matomo.org/?p=56711 Read More

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For many businesses, Google products can play an integral part in the productivity, function and even success of the company. This is because Google has designed their digital ecosystem to infiltrate every aspect of your work and personal life at low-to-no cost.

On the surface, this seems like a no-brainer. Why not have a cost-effective and seamlessly connected tech stack? It’s the complete package. 

From Gmail to Google Analytics, it becomes hard to untangle yourself from this intricate web Google has managed to spin. But like a web, you know there’s also a catch.

This leads us to the big question… Why stop?

In this blog, we'll cover:

Why de-Google?

Google products are convenient and seemingly free. However, in recent years, Google’s name has become synonymous with privacy breaches, data leaks and illegal under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

As their track record shows a glaring disregard for data protection, a growing list of EU member countries like Austria, France, Denmark and Italy have banned Google products, such as Google Analytics, Google Workspace and Google Chromebook.

Google offers free products and services, but not out of altruism. There’s a trade-off. By using Google’s “free” products, your customers’ and your own online activity becomes a commodity that can be sold to advertisers.

When the risks of using Google products are considered, it becomes clear the need to plot a pathway to de-Google your business. If you’re wondering how in the world to uncoil from this web, fortunately, there are plenty of privacy-friendly, secure alternatives to Google products that you can choose.

Disclaimer: Below, we’ve tried our best to provide a comprehensive list of alternatives to Google products for businesses, but because you know your business best, we’d also encourage you to do your own research to ensure the tool will suit your unique needs.

Best Google alternative tools for business

Overall business tools

Google Workspace alternatives

Google Workspace isn’t GDPR compliant by default, so businesses are at risk of fines and reputational damage. More EU countries are reaching the same conclusion that Google products are violating EU law. Data Protection Authorities from Norway and Denmark have deemed Google Workspace illegal in accordance with the GDPR. 

Nextcloud

Nextcloud is an open-source and self-hosted productivity platform that offers a suite of services to replace the major features found in Google Workspace, such as Google Drive, Calendar, Docs, Forms and Tasks. 

You can share files and collaborate without worrying about data being shared with unauthorised individuals or companies. As a self-hosted suite, you’re in full control of where your data is, who has access to it and can comply with the strictest of data protection legislations.

Nextcloud dashboard
Zoho

Zoho is a Google Workspace alternative built on the same principles as Google’s productivity suite. It offers a suite of online office tools, including email, calendar and task management, but with an emphasis on privacy protection. Zoho doesn’t rely on advertising revenue to support their business which means your personal data will never be sold or used for targeted ads. 

With over 75 million users globally, Zoho offers data encryption at rest and at transit, multi-factor authentication and complies with strict security standards set by HIPAA, the Cloud Security Alliance and the GDPR.

Zoho dashboard

Gmail alternatives

Google only encrypts emails via STARTTLS. In other words, your data isn’t end-to-end encrypted and can be decrypted by them at any time. Gmail also has a history of allowing third-party app developers that work with Gmail to access private and personal Gmail messages for their own market research purposes.

ProtonMail

ProtonMail is a secure, open-source email service that provides end-to-end encryption, so only the sender and receiver can access the messages. Proton deliberately doesn’t possess the key needed to decrypt any part of the message, so you know your sensitive business information is always private. 

To protect users from digital surveillance, they also provide enhanced tracking protections and don’t rely on ads, so your data isn’t mined for advertising purposes. Not only that, you can also sync ProtonMail with a host of other Google alternative products, such as Proton Calendar and Proton Drive.

Proton Mail
Mailfence

Mailfence is a highly secure communications and planning platform that offers a complete email suite, as well as, Documents, a Calendar and Groups. It provides end-to-end encryption and comes with a built-in data loss prevention system that prevents unauthorised access to your sensitive information. 

Mailfence is completely ad-free and promises to never commercialise its databases or share data with third parties for targeted ads.

Mailfence
Tutanota

Tutanota is an open-source email service known as one of the first to offer end-to-end encryption. It boasts a user-friendly interface and offers a fast, simple and secure email service that works on web and mobile platforms. Stringent security, in addition to TOTP and U2F for two-factor authentication means you control who has access to your email and messages. 

It requires no phone number or personal information to register for a free account. In addition, Tutanota doesn’t earn money through ads, its servers are based in Europe and it is fully GDPR compliant.

Google Calendar alternatives

Calendars can contain a lot of personal information (who you are meeting, location, contact info, etc.), which is well worth keeping private. 

Proton Calendar

With Proton Calendar all event details – participants, locations, event names, descriptions and notes are end-to-end encrypted. It has a clean and easy-to-use interface, and you get a full set of advanced features to replace Google Calendar, such as the ability to create events and reminders, add multiple calendars and set up repeating events. You can easily sync all your calendars between mobile and desktop apps.

Mailfence Calendar

Mailfence Calendar lets you manage, schedule and track your events and meetings. Similar to Google Calendar, you can invite people to events using their Mailfence email IDs, but it doesn’t track your location or email address.

Tutanota Calendar

Tutanota Calendar offers built-in encryption, so no one else can decrypt and read your information.

You can keep track of your appointments and meetings in a secure environment that only you have access to. You get features, such as day/week/month view, all-day events, recurring events, upcoming events view and shared calendars. You can also sync it with other apps such as Outlook.

Tutanota calendar event
Nextcloud Calendar app

Nextcloud also offers a Calendar app which easily syncs events from different devices with your Nextcloud account. You can integrate it with other Nextcloud apps like Contacts, Talk and Tasks.

Nextcloud calendar

Google Drive alternatives

The GDPR emphasises end-to-end encryption as a safeguard against data leaks, but Google Drive isn’t end-to-end encrypted, so Google has access to the data on its servers. 

In their privacy policy, they also state that this data can be analysed for advertising purposes, so although you’re using “free” Cloud storage, users need to be aware that they’re paying for this by giving Google access to any and all data stored in Google Drive.

Proton Drive

Proton Drive is a secure and private Cloud storage service that provides you with an easy-to-use, customisable and secure file management system.

It uses end-to-end encryption to secure your data and keep it safe from prying eyes. As you have full control over your data, you can decide how long it’s stored and who has access to it. You can also choose how much of your information is shared with other users.

Proton Drive
Nextcloud

Nextcloud works on your own server, so you can access and share your data wherever you are. It’s a file hosting service that lets you store files, sync them across your devices and collaborate with others on projects. 

It also provides encryption for all the files that you store on its servers, so you can rest assured that no one can see your information without your permission.

Nextcloud Drive
Syncthing

Syncthing is a free, open-source file synchronisation program that allows you to store and access your files wherever you are. It’s designed to be fast, secure and easy to use, making it a great alternative to Google Drive. 

With Syncthing, you can sync files across multiple computers and mobile devices at once. So if you create, delete or modify files on one machine, they will automatically be replicated on other devices. Data is saved directly to a location you choose, so you can securely backup your data without needing a third-party cloud service.

Google Docs alternatives

Google states they can “collect information” from Google-hosted content such as Docs by means of automated scanning. 

Not only does this stoke spying fears, it also raises concerns over who holds power over your content. If they look through your docs and decide that you’ve violated their terms of service, you can get locked out of your Google Docs – as was the case when a National Geographic crime reporter had her story “frozen” by Google.

LibreOffice

LibreOffice is a free, open-source office suite with all the features you need to create and edit documents, presentations and spreadsheets. It’s compatible with many different languages and all Microsoft Office file formats. 

Unlike Google Docs, LibreOffice doesn’t store your documents on the Cloud. As it runs on your own computer, you maintain complete control and the data is kept as private and as secure as you wish. LibreOffice also has an online version that works with most web browsers and can be used on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. 

The open-source nature ensures security as the code is constantly improved and scouted for vulnerabilities.

Nextcloud Office

Like Google Docs, Nextcloud Office lets you create new documents and spreadsheets and collaborate with teammates or colleagues. But unlike Google Docs, Nextcloud doesn’t collect any data on who is using its platform, or what they’re doing on it. You can even encrypt the files you store in Nextcloud, so no one else can see them unless you give them access to your account.

Nextcloud Office

Google Keep alternative

Standard Notes

Standard Notes is an open-source online notebook app that offers a variety of useful features, such as tasks, to-dos and spreadsheets. 

Unlike Google Keep, which has access to your notes, Standard Notes is end-to-end encrypted, which protects all your information and keeps it securely synced across all your devices. Standard Notes supports text, images and audio notes. As open-source software, they value transparency and trust and don’t rely on tracking or intrusive ads.

Standard notes dashboard

Google Chrome alternatives

Google Chrome is notorious for stalking users and collecting information for their own gains. Their browser fuels their data gathering infrastructure by being able to collect info about your search history, location, personal data and product interaction data for “personalisation” purposes – essentially to build a profile of you to sell to advertisers.

Firefox

Firefox is one of the most secure browsers for privacy and is trusted by 220 million users. It easily compares with Chrome in terms of ease of use and performance. 

On top of that it offers enhanced privacy protections, so you get a browser that doesn’t stalk you and isn’t riddled with ads.

Firefox

Google alternatives

Duckduckgo

Duckduckgo is a privacy-respecting search engine used by approximately 80 million people. It doesn’t store tracking cookies or personal identifiers (like IP addresses), so your search history is saved in a non-identifiable manner. In other words, your searches are completely anonymous.

Kagi

Kagi is an ad-free and tracking-free search alternative to Google that focuses on privacy, superior results and speed. Their focus isn’t to be a “Google killer” but to offer better quality results.

Google Tasks alternatives

Wekan

Wekan is a free, open-source and privacy-friendly kanban board that allows you to create, organise and manage your tasks as well as personal or collaborative projects. 

Rather than relying on Google to store your data on their servers, self-hosted Wekan gives you full control over your own data, so you can safeguard your projects. 

It has a clean interface that’s easy to use and supports most features like customisable labels, filtered views, a real-time user interface and card comments. Wekan doesn’t require an email address or any other personal information from its users for them to use the service.

Wekan
Nextcloud Tasks

Nextcloud Tasks is an app that lets you add and delete tasks, edit their title, description, start and due dates and mark them as important. Tasks can be shared between users and synced to your local client: Thunderbird, Evolution, KDE Kontact and iCal.

Google Meet alternatives

Jitsi

Jitsi is open-source software for secure, flexible and free video conferencing that’s a safer, more private alternative to Google Meet. It offers transport encryption of the connections at all times and is also end-to-end encrypted between two parties. 

With over 20 million monthly active users, Jitsi can be used via a public instance (meet.jitsi.si) or run over your own server. No account is needed to access it and no sensitive account data is stored.

Marketing, website, data tools

Google Data Studio alternative

Metabase

Metabase is an open-source, business intelligence tool that lets you create data visualisations, dashboards, reports and charts for your business. With a strong data protection framework, Metabase is used by data teams in SMEs, government organisations and NGOs to visualise and report on data. 

Compared to Google Data Studio, Metabase has a more profound BI engine with capabilities that include – budgeting and forecasting, data analysis, KPIs, performance metrics, visual analytics, strategic planning, etc. The Cloud solution complies with strict data privacy laws like the GDPR and CCPA.

Google Analytics alternatives

Due to GDPR violations, Google Analytics (GA) is being made illegal in an increasing number of countries, such as Italy, Austria and France. By using GA, users risk incurring steep fines for GDPR non-compliance. 

The issues don’t end at GDPR either. GA’s unsavoury use of third-party cookies to track user behaviour across websites can undermine customer trust once they find out their info is being collected and sold to advertisers.

Matomo

Matomo is a powerful, open-source and privacy-friendly Google Analytics alternative that adheres to the strictest of privacy laws. With 100% data ownership, you get the power to protect user privacy. Matomo doesn’t use third-party cookies and you can customise it for cookieless tracking. 

Not only do you get a suite of analytics features to rival Google Analytics, but it also combats Google Analytics’ limitations of data sampling and data limits by giving you 100% accurate data and no data limitations. Best of all, migration is easy with the Google Analytics data importer plugin which brings over all your historical data from GA. 

With Matomo, you get GDPR compliance peace of mind and the most accurate view of website usage to make the right decisions.

Matomo dashboard
Fathom

Fathom is a lightweight GA alternative that puts privacy first. It’s able to bypass ad blockers to give you accurate data and also offers faster load times than GA. Fathom protects privacy by not relying on third-party cookies and doesn’t collect or store personal data.

Great for users who need a simple web analytics solution to monitor website performance and traffic.

Google Forms alternatives

Nextcloud Forms

Nextcloud Forms is an app that lets you create and share forms with as many people as you need. You can choose from different question types, such as multiple choice, checkboxes, dropdowns and short answers.

LimeSurvey

LimeSurvey is a powerful, open-source, online survey tool that allows you to create and publish customer surveys and questionnaires. 

You can easily create multiple choice questions, free response questions, checkboxes and rating scales in minutes. It offers a host of features unavailable in Google Forms, such as email marketing, data analysis and offline response collection. 

With its self-hosted option you store all data on your own server, so you don’t have to worry about it being shared with any third parties. With LimeSurvey Cloud, data can be stored on servers in Germany to ensure full GDPR compliance.

Google Tag Manager alternative

Matomo Tag Manager

Matomo Tag Manager lets you easily manage all your tracking and marketing tags in one place, and offers less complexity and more flexibility in contrast to Google Tag Manager. With Matomo you also get the added peace of mind that comes with 100% data ownership and privacy protection, so you’ll never be left wondering what’s happening to your data.

Matomo Tag Manager

Google reCAPTCHA alternatives

When you embed reCAPTCHA on your website, you are unavoidably sending data about your users to US servers, and if you can’t let your users know how this data is processed, you’re violating GDPR.  

hCaptcha 

hCaptcha is a bot detection service that helps websites filter out and protect themselves from spambots. Instead of recording and analysing browsing history, it relies on instant evaluation to carry out its services. This eliminates the need for data collection or retention and ensures no user data can be leaked or used for advertising purposes. 

hCaptcha complies with global privacy laws, such as the GDPR, Brazilian General Data Protection Law (LGPD), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and other worldwide data privacy laws.

hCaptcha is one of the only major captcha services not owned by an advertising service.

hCaptcha dashboard
Math Captcha

Math Captcha is designed to protect your website from harmful bots by presenting simple mathematical equations for human users to successfully solve.

It’s a less time-consuming alternative and doesn’t require extra software as it can be custom-coded into your forms or web pages. This means you’re ensuring the best protection for your website without needing to rely on an external party.

Google Optimize alternatives

Matomo A/B Testing

Matomo’s A/B Testing feature is available within the Matomo platform. This powerful feature allows you to complete experiments on your website for increased visitor conversation rates and improved UX. Like Google Optimize, you can run tests and try different variations of your website’s pages to see how they’re performing against your business’s goals. 

The difference is that with Matomo’s A/B Testing feature your data stays in your hands, rather than in the hands of advertisers.

Matomo's a/b testing feature

Google Fonts alternative

Self-hosted

Instead of relying on Google Fonts, you have the option to self-host your site’s fonts and refer to them in your page’s code. You can find many free open fonts that can be legally downloaded, hosted, and used on your site without needing to pay for them. Look for “GPL”, “OFL” or “Public Domain” fonts.

System fonts 

Another option is to use system fonts that are already available on your computer. These don’t leave the user’s device or use their internet connection, which ensures privacy isn’t violated.

Developer tools

Chrome DevTools alternative

Firefox developer tools

Firefox has a set of web developer tools to help you build better websites. They’re built directly into the Firefox browser to help you edit pages and diagnose problems, so you can easily examine, edit and debug HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Features include Firefox-based browsers, Firefox extension, JavaScript, development API and web page debugging.

Firefox developer tools

PageSpeed Insights/Core Web Vitals alternative

Matomo’s SEO Web Vitals and Page Performance Reports

Matomo’s SEO Web Vitals feature and Page Performance Reports are designed to help you improve your website’s performance, so you can rank higher in search results and optimise your visitor experience. 

The feature and reports are built in Matomo which means it doesn’t store any personal or sensitive data. You also get all the added benefits, like 100% data ownership, GDPR compliance and privacy protection.

Matomo's SEO Web VItals report

Google Cloud Platform alternative

AWS

AWS is a Cloud storage platform that offers comprehensive security features, making it a safe and secure environment for your data. 

With AWS, you get the same tools and services as Google Cloud Platform to take care of all your data needs, such as storage and processing, but with the added benefit of full GDPR compliance, increased security and privacy.

The core infrastructure complies with the strictest security requirements for global banks, the military and other data-sensitive organisations.

Firebase alternative

Supabase

Supabase is a Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform that provides software and services for building mobile or web apps. It provides storage, database and authentication services. 

Unlike Firebase, Supabase doesn’t store any user data in its database, as all data is stored locally on the device that it’s used on. This ensures your information remains private and secure at all times. Additionally, Supabase offers enhanced security features, such as two-factor authentication and encrypted storage of user data.

Security tools

Google Authenticator alternatives

OTP Auth (iOS only)

OTP Auth is a simple two-factor authentication app available for iOS devices. It enhances security by providing one-time passwords required to log into your accounts after you’ve enabled two-factor authentication. You can also protect app logins with Face ID, Touch ID or with a password.

Aegis (Android)

Aegis is a free, secure and open-source authenticator app for Android that focuses on security and backups. It creates two-step verification tokens to work alongside your password. Additional features include: encrypting your one-time password vaults, offering biometric unlock and supporting secure vault exports to new devices or backup locations.

Authy 

Authy offers 2-step verification tokens on both Android and iOS devices. On top of encrypted cloud backups, Authy uses PIN protection, passwords and TouchID to protect access to your 2FA tokens.

Google Password Manager alternatives

Bitwarden

Bitwarden is an open-source password manager that locks your private data with end-to-end encryption. 

It supports secure, cross-platform accessibility as your Bitwarden vault can be used across any browser, mobile or desktop application. Both Cloud and self-host options are available.

Bitwarden dashboard
KeePassXC

KeePassXC is an open-source, cross-platform password manager for desktops that stores personal data, such as usernames, passwords, attachments, URLs and notes in an offline, encrypted file that can be stored anywhere – private or Cloud.

Business devices and OS

Android alternatives

A study carried out by a team of researchers in the UK has found that Android users are powerless to stop a never ending stream of data collection by their devices. Android continues sending data to Google at a rate of 340 times a day, even with your phone on idle with Chrome in the background. 

As the most popular mobile operating system in the world, Android OS is also more vulnerable to malware attacks which jeopardise the personal data of device owners.

Murena

Murena has a range of privacy-first smartphones that use the open-source and de-Googled operating system /e/OS – the privacy-respecting alternative to Android OS. 

These smartphones are paired with carefully selected apps that serve crucial components of your personal and professional life, while providing a privacy-enhanced environment. You get access to an ad-free search engine, an email platform, online secure storage, document management, calendar and many other online tools without worrying about your personal data being sent to Google.

Murena
Apple iPhones

Compared to Android, Apple performs better in handling threats to security by inspecting every app on its app store to reduce malware riddled apps. Apple also provides consistent security across devices with fully supported updates to patch vulnerabilities and has a closed system making it less vulnerable to hackers. As the iOS operating system powers fewer mobile devices than Android, hackers don’t target it as often.

Apple also recently changed its iOS software on iPhones to give users more control over their privacy by asking users for permissions before letting advertisers track them.

Apple iPhones

Google Chromebook alternatives

Data mining concerns persist over Google’s ability to collect data from Chromebooks for advertising purposes. Chromebook is also cloud-based with little internal storage. So rather than being safely stored on an internal hard drive, all your emails, pictures and documents are stored on Google’s servers. 

ThinkPad

Lenovo’s ThinkPad offers all of the features you’d get in a Chromebook laptop, but with more privacy. It comes with some top-of-the-line security measures built right in. You can encrypt your hard drive, so no one else can access your files without permission.

Thinkpad
Pinebook Pro

The Pinebook Pro is built on a Linux platform and comes with no built-in back doors to give hackers access to your information. It also comes with an option for a “secure mode” that disables some features to ensure that no one else can access your files without your permission.

Pinebook Pro

Chrome OS alternative

GalliumOS

GalliumOS is a desktop operating system you can get for most Chromebook or Chrome OS-powered systems. It’s designed to be lightweight, fast and secure, while also prioritising privacy and security.

GalliumOS

How to de-Google your business’s tech stack

Now, how to even start? Firstly, take a deep breath. This is a big task and won’t be done overnight. To help you get started we recommend the below steps.

  1. Make a plan. Collect a list of all the Google products you need to ditch. Once completed, check the list above to find the alternative that works for you and your business.

  2. Prepare and involve your team. A lot of your team members will most likely be using Google products. So be sure to share your plan and communicate the process to ensure everything goes smoothly.

  3. Consider alternative integrations. One of the biggest benefits of Google     products are their ability to integrate with most tools. So you’ll want to consider the integrations you currently have set up with Google products. For example, do you have Calendly integrated with your Google Calendar? If so, you might need to find a new tool to integrate with a Google calendar alternative. 

  4. Determine the method of migration. Some tools may offer automatic migration – for instance, with Matomo you can migrate your Google Analytics data with our Google Analytics data importer plugin. By importing all your data from one tool to the other, you can ensure your business carries on as usual. Ultimately, safeguarding your data and ensuring there’s continuity in your reporting and workflows.

  5. Get started! We’d recommend starting with tools that are easy to migrate to (e.g., tools that aren’t customer facing as these will be a good test run with less impact on your customers). Or, find tools that allow you to automate the migration – ProtonMail is another great example of this with their Easy Switch app.

Final thoughts

The Google digital ecosystem is large, robust and entices people into becoming commodities. Considering all we know about their questionable data collection practices, there couldn’t be a better time to start “de-Googling” your business.

It’s also worth recalling what we gain from choosing any one of the alternatives:

  • Mitigating risks by finding tools that are fully compliant with strict privacy laws like GDPR.
  • Gaining credibility and earning customer trust by choosing products designed with privacy in mind.
  • Increased security from open-source tools as the code is thoroughly examined and reviewed by dedicated experts in the community.
  • Not having to fear your customers’ information being abused.

And if de-Googling still seems too overwhelming, what about starting with a few quick-wins? Think, a quick switch from Chrome to Firefox or Gmail to ProtonMail. Start small and build up.

After all, the best way to escape Google’s web is to cut those threads, one product at a time.

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4 Ways to Embed User Privacy & Data Security in Your Business https://matomo.org/blog/2022/07/embed-user-privacy-and-data-security-in-business/ Fri, 15 Jul 2022 03:18:10 +0000 https://matomo.org/?p=55586 Read More

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Customer analytics undeniably plays a vital role for businesses. Product improvements, interface personalisation, content improvements, and creative advertising thrive on data. 

Yet, there’s a fine line between being a customer-centred company and a privacy-violating one. 

Due to ubiquitous online tracking, 62% of Americans now believe that it’s impossible to go about their daily lives without companies collecting data about them. Still, despite the importance of privacy in business for consumers, companies are reluctant to act. Privacy initiatives often stay on the back burner due to perceived complexity. That’s true to some extent.

Privacy in business does assume complex technical changes to your data management. But to be a privacy-centred organisation, you also need to re-think your processes, practices, and culture. 

Here are four ways to start your journey to better user privacy and data security.  

1. Revise Your Data Collection Process to Gain Consumer Trust 

The public is wary of sharing data with businesses because they are suspicious of its subsequent usage. 

However, not all data collection is bad or wrong. In many cases, you need specific data for service delivery, compliance, or good-natured personalisation. 

That’s exactly what consumers expect. Almost half of US consumers say they’d trust a company that limits the amount of personal information requested and only asks for data relevant to its products/services. 

By limiting data collection and offering transparent data usage terms, you can: 

  • Reassure reluctant users to try your product or service — hence, boost conversions and sales. 
  • Retain existing audiences by gaining their trust, which leads to loyalty and higher customer lifetime value (CLV). 

To gain consumers’ trust, implement proper consent and opt-out mechanisms. Then create educational materials about how you are collecting and using their data.

2. Perform Data Mapping to Determine Where Sensitive Data Rests 

Businesses are already pressed with an expanded cyber-security radar, courtesy of remote work, digital payment processing, IoT device adoption, etc. Yet, 41% of the executives don’t think their security initiatives have kept up with the digital transformations.

Loopholes in security eventually result in a data breach. The average cost of a data breach looms at $4.24 million globally. The sum includes regulatory fines and containment costs, plus indirect losses in the form of reduced brand equity and market share.  

Lax data protection in business also undermines consumer trust: 87% of consumers wouldn’t transact with a company if they had qualms with its security practices. 

To improve your security posture, analyse where you are storing sensitive consumer data, who has access to it (internally and externally), and how you are protecting it. Then work with cybersecurity specialists on implementing stronger consumer security mechanisms (e.g. auto-log offs, secure password policy, etc) and extra internal security policies (if needed). 

At the same time, start practising data minimisation. Ensure that all collected data is: 

  • Adequate – sufficient to meet your stated objectives 
  • Relevant – is rationally linked to the objectives 
  • Limited – no unnecessary data is collected or stored
  • Timely – data is periodically reviewed and removed when unnecessary 
Data Minimisation Principles

These principles prevent data hoarding. Also, they help improve your security posture and regulatory compliance by reducing the volume of information you need to safeguard.

3. Do an Inventory of Your Business Tools

Data leaks and consumer privacy breaches often occur through third parties. Because Google Analytics was deemed in breach of European GDPR in France, Austria and Italy, businesses using it are vulnerable to lawsuits (which are already happening). 

Investigate your corporate toolkit to determine “weak links” – tools with controversial privacy policies, murky data collection practices, and poor security. 

Treat it as a journey and pick your battles. By relying on Big Tech products for years, you might have overlooked better alternatives. 

For example:

  • Matomo is a privacy-centred Google Analytics alternative. Our web analytics is compliant with GDPR, CCPA, and other global privacy laws. Unlike Google Analytics, we don’t exploit any data you collect and provide full transparency into how and where it’s stored. Or if you want a simple analytics solution, Fathom is another great privacy-friendly option.
Matomo Dashboard
  • For online data storage, you can choose Proton Drive or Nextcloud (open-source). Or host your corporate data with a local cloud hosting provider to avoid cross-border data transfers.
Proton Drive

4. Cultivate a Privacy-Centred Corporate Culture 

To make privacy a competitive advantage, you need every team member (at every level) to respect its importance. 

This is a continuous process of inspiring and educating your people. Find “privacy ambassadors” who are willing to lead the conversations, educate others, and provide resources for leading the change. 

On an operational level, incorporate privacy principles around data minimisation, bounded collection, and usage into your Code of Conduct, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and other policies. 

Creating a privacy-centric culture takes effort, but it pays off well. Cisco estimates that for each dollar spent on privacy, an average organisation gets $2.70 in associated benefits. Almost half (47%) of organisations gain 2X returns on their privacy initiatives.

Moving Forward with a Data Privacy Programme 

Privacy has become a strong differentiator for brands. Consumers crave transparency and ethical data usage. Regulators mandate limited data collection and proper security mechanisms.

But sweeping changes are hard to implement. So start small and go one step at a time. Understand which first-party data your company collects and how it is stored.

Then look into the tools and technologies you are using for data collection. Do these provide sufficient privacy controls? How are they using data collected on your behalf? Finally, move to wider transformations, pertaining to data management, cybersecurity, and cultural practices. 

Be consistent with your effort — and eventually, all the pieces will fall into place. 

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Privacy in Business: What Is It and Why Is It Important? https://matomo.org/blog/2022/07/privacy-in-business/ Wed, 13 Jul 2022 01:55:04 +0000 https://matomo.org/?p=55563 Read More

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Privacy concerns loom large among consumers. Yet, businesses remain reluctant to change the old ways of doing things until they become an operational nuisance. 

More and more businesses are slowly starting to feel the pressure to incorporate privacy best practices. But what exactly does privacy mean in business? And why is it important for businesses to protect users’ privacy?  

In this blog, we’ll answer all of these questions and more. 

What is Privacy in Business?

In the corporate world, privacy stands for the business decision to use collected consumer data in a safe, secure and compliant way. 

Companies with a privacy-centred culture: 

  • Get explicit user consent to tracking, opt-ins and data sharing 
  • Collect strictly necessary data in compliance with regulations 
  • Ask for permissions to collect, process and store sensitive data 
  • Provide transparent explanations about data operationalisation and usage 
  • Have mechanisms for data collection opt-outs and data removal requests 
  • Implement security controls for storing collected data and limit access permissions to it 

In other words: They treat consumers’ data with utmost integrity and security – and provide reassurances of ethical data usage. 

What Are the Ethical Business Issues Related to Privacy?

Consumer data analytics has been around for decades. But digital technologies – ubiquitous connectivity, social media networks, data science and machine learning – increased the magnitude and sophistication of customer profiling.

Big Tech companies like Google and Facebook, among others, capture millions of data points about users. These include general demographics data like “age” or “gender”, as well as more granular insights such as “income”, “past browsing history” or “recently visited geo-locations”. 

When combined, such personally identifiable information (PII) can be used to approximate the user’s exact address, frequently purchased goods, political beliefs or past medical conditions. Then such information is shared with third parties such as advertisers. 

That’s when ethical issues arise. 

The Cambridge Analytica data scandal is a prime example of consumer data that was unethically exploited. 

Over the years, Google also faced a series of regulatory issues surrounding consumer privacy breaches:

  • In 2021, a Google Chrome browser update put some 2.6 billion users at risk of “surveillance, manipulation and abuse” by providing third parties with data on device usage. 
  • The same year, Google was taken to court for failing to provide full disclosures on tracking performed in Google Chrome incognito mode. A $5 billion lawsuit is still pending.
  • As of 2022, Google Analytics 4 is considered GDPR non-compliant and was branded “illegal” by several European countries. 

If you are curious, learn more about Google Analytics privacy issues

The bigger issue? Big Tech companies make the businesses that use their technologies (unknowingly) complicit in consumer data violations.

In 2022, the Belgian data regulator found the official IAB Europe framework for user consent gathering in breach of GDPR. The framework was used by all major AdTech platforms to issue pop-ups for user consent to tracking. Now ad platforms must delete all data gathered through these. Biggest advertisers such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, IBM and Mastercard among others, also received a notice about data removal and a regulatory warning on further repercussions if they fail to comply. 

Big Tech firms have given brands unprecedented access to granular consumer data. Unrestricted access, however, also opened the door to data abuse and unethical use. 

Examples of Unethical Data Usage by Businesses 

  • Data hoarding means excessively harvesting all available consumer data because a possibility to do so exists, often using murky consent mechanisms. Yet, 85% of collected Big Data is either dark or redundant, obsolete or trivial (ROT).
  • Invasive personalisation based on sensitive user information (or second-guesses), like a recent US marketing campaign, congratulating women on pregnancy (even if they weren’t expecting). Overall, 75% of consumers find most forms of personalisation somewhat creepy. 22% also said they’d leave for another brand due to creepy experiences.
  • Hyper-targeted advertising campaigns based on data consumers would prefer not to share. A recent investigation found that advertising platforms often assign sensitive labels to users (as part of their ad profiles), indicative of their religion, mental issues, history with abuse and so on. This allows advertisers to target such consumers with dubious ads. 

Ultimately, excessive data collection, paired with poor data protection in business settings, results in major data breaches and costly damage control. Given that cyber attacks are on the rise, every business is vulnerable. 

Why Should a Business Be Concerned About Protecting the Privacy of Its Customers?

Businesses must prioritise customer privacy because that’s what is expected of them. Globally, 89% of consumers say they care about their privacy. 

As frequent stories about unethical data usage, excessive tracking and data breaches surface online, even more grow more concerned about protecting their data. Many publicly urge companies to take action. Others curtail their relationships with brands privately. 

On average, 45% of consumers feel uncomfortable about sharing personal data. According to KPMG, 78% of American consumers have fears about the amount of data being collected. 40% of them also don’t trust companies to use their data ethically. Among Europeans, 41% are unwilling to share any personal data with businesses. 

Because the demand for online privacy is rising, progressive companies now treat privacy as a competitive advantage. 

For example, the encrypted messaging app Signal gained over 42 million active users in a year because it offers better data security and privacy protection. 

ProtonMail, a privacy-centred email client, also amassed a 50 million user base in several years thanks to a “fundamentally stronger definition of privacy”.

The growth of privacy-mindful businesses speaks volumes. And even more good things happen to privacy-mindful businesses: 

  • Higher consumer trust and loyalty 
  • Improved attractiveness to investors
  • Less complex compliance
  • Minimum cybersecurity exposure 
  • Better agility and innovation

It’s time to start pursuing them! Learn how to embed privacy and security into your operations.

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Matomo Celebrates 15 Years of Building an Open-Source & Transparent Web Analytics Solution https://matomo.org/blog/2022/06/matomo-celebrates-15th-birthday/ Thu, 30 Jun 2022 04:10:36 +0000 https://matomo.org/?p=55441 Read More

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Fifteen years ago, I realised that people (myself included) were increasingly integrating the internet into their everyday lives, and it was clear that it would only expand in the future. It was an exciting new world, but the amount of personal data shared online, level of tracking and lack of security was a growing concern. Google Analytics was just launched then and was already gaining huge traction – so data from millions of websites started flowing into Google’s database, creating what was then the biggest centralised database about people worldwide and their actions online.

So as a young engineering student, I decided we needed to build an open source and transparent solution that could help make the internet more secure and private while still providing organisations with powerful insights. I aimed to create a win-win solution for businesses and their digital consumers.

And in 2007, I started developing Matomo with the help from Scott Switzer and Jennifer Langdon (who offered me an internship and support).         

All thanks to the Matomo Community

We have reached significant milestones and made major changes over the last 15 years, but we wouldn’t be where we are today without the Matomo Community.

So I would like to celebrate and thank the hundreds of volunteer developers who have donated their time to develop Matomo, the thousands of contributors who provided feedback to improve Matomo, the countless supportive forum members, our passionate team of 40 at Matomo, the numerous translators who have translated Matomo and the 1.5 million websites that choose Matomo as their analytics platform.

Matomo's Birthday
Team Meetup in Paris in 2012

Matomo has been a community effort built on the shoulders of many, and we will continue to work for you. 

So let’s look at some milestones we have achieved over the last 15 years.

Looking back on milestones in our timeline

2007

  • Birth of Matomo
  • First alpha version released

2008

  • Release first public 0.1.0 version

2009

  • 50,000 websites use Matomo

2010

  • Matomo first stable 1.0.0 released
  • Mobile app launched

2011

  • Released Ecommerce Analytics, Custom Variables, First Party Cookies

  • Released Privacy control features (first of many privacy features to come!)

2012

  • Released Log Analytics feature
  • 1 Million Downloads!
  • 300,000 websites worldwide use Matomo

2013

  • Matomo is now available in 50 languages!
  • Matomo brand redesign

2016

2017

  • Launched Matomo Cloud service 
  • Released Multi Channel Conversion Attribution Premium Feature, Custom Reports Premium Feature, Login Saml Premium Feature, WooCommerceAnalytics Premium Feature and Heatmap & Session Recording Premium Feature 

2018

2019

2020

2021

  • 1,000,000 websites worldwide use Matomo
  • including 30,000 active Matomo for WordPress installations
  • Released SEO Web Vitals, Advertising Conversion Export and Tracking Spam Prevention feature

2022

  • Released WP Statistics to Matomo importer

Our efforts continue

While we’ve seen incredible growth over the years, our work doesn’t stop there. In fact, we’re only just getting started.

Today over 55% of the internet continues to use privacy-threatening web analytics solutions, while 1.5% uses Matomo. So there are still great strides to be made to create a more private internet, and joining the Matomo Community is one way to support this movement.

There are many ways to get involved too, such as:

So what comes next for Matomo?

The future of Matomo is approachable, powerful and flexible. We’re strengthening the customers’ voice, expanding our resources internally (we’re continuously hiring!) and conducting rigorous customer research to craft a tool that balances usability and functionality.

I look forward to the next 15 years and seeing what the future holds for Matomo and our community.

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