Why you should consider a Google Analytics alternative

Google Analytics (GA) is free to use, but what do you lose? Here are a few reasons to consider choosing a Google Analytics alternative.

Using GA means losing customers and annoying visitors with cookie consent banners

You can use Matomo without cookie consent banners but this doesn’t apply to Google Analytics. Since GA uses web analytics data for their “own purposes”, cookie consent banners are required under GDPR. Every website using Google Analytics in Europe needs to display a tracking consent screen for visitors to agree or disagree to.

When visitors land on your site and then get disrupted by a distracting consent banner that informs them that they are being tracked, it will often lead to visitors immediately leaving your site. Some may feel that it’s not worth taking the time to read what they’re agreeing to and choose to exit your site. Others might not feel comfortable with the level of tracking and lack of privacy and choose to also leave. Either way, we can all agree that cookie consent screens are a distraction your visitors can do without.

A previous GA user alerted us to a significant drop in visitors because they were required to use a consent screen with GA. “We did some A/B testing and found out that like 5-10% of visitors run away when they see a big consent banner (as we are not a common brand),” they said. This could similarly affect you. 

Along with a loss of business you may also get less accurate data since more users can decline tracking. 

This is where Matomo Analytics can give you an advantage. Matomo’s privacy protection is so good that once configured, you can use it without needing to ask for any tracking consent. This results in more accurate data and a better user experience.

The French Data Protection Authority, Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL), approved Matomo as one of the select few web analytics tools that can be used to collect data without tracking consent

Matomo Analytics for WordPress

You face privacy sacrifices as your data is used for their “own purposes”

Google uses the data they gain from you to build profiles of internet users for their own re-marketing purposes. So even though it’s a free service, there are privacy sacrifices as your analytics data is tracked, stored and owned by them.

Not only could using GA damage your reputation if customers found out Google uses their information for advertising purposes, you could also lose your customers’ trust and loyalty.

A Pricewaterhouse Cooper study found 71% of people surveyed would stop doing business with a company for giving away their sensitive data without permission.

You don’t have data ownership (and could risk data protection)

Google makes it clear that by using their service you give them the right to retain and use the data you collect. 

In their Terms of Service they mention “Google and its wholly owned subsidiaries may retain and use, subject to the terms of its privacy policy (located at https://policies.google.com/privacy), information collected in Your use of the Service.”

By giving Google the right to access and use your data, this limits your ability to protect the data of your visitors.

Matomo, on the other hand, gives you 100% data ownership. This means you get complete control over what happens to your own data and can fully protect your data. 

"No matter whether we are working with granular or big-picture data, we always have confidence that we are making user-benefited decisions based on a complete data set. And having full control of our Matomo data is critical - we get to choose exactly how it's stored, managed and deleted."

Where your data is stored, matters

This comes into play if you have to abide by privacy legislations that require data sovereignty. With free Google Analytics you don’t get a say on where your data is stored, and it’s unlikely you’ll be told exactly where to locate your data. 

On July 16, 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that any cloud services hosted in the US no longer comply with the GDPR and EU privacy laws.

In 2022, the Austrian Data Protection Authority ruled Google Analytics illegal, and shortly thereafter, the French Data Protection Authority (CNIL) followed suit with a similar ruling. Both rulings came down to the fact that websites using Google Analytics are sending data to the US, which does not offer adequate data protection.

On their support page, Google says “Google operates a geographically distributed set of data centers that is designed to maintain service continuity in the event of a disaster or other incident in a single region.” So people can only interpret this as Google storing your data randomly in locations around the US, EU and Asia.

With Matomo On-Premise you choose what happens to your data and where it’s stored. Matomo Cloud’s secure servers are based in Germany – where websites must follow one of the strictest privacy legislations in the world, the GDPR.

Alternative of Google Analytics

There are 200,000 cases against websites using Google Analytics

Ultimately, Google Analytics loses trust of users because of the legal troubles they continue getting into over the platform not being fit for privacy purposes. The German data protection authority is currently investigating 200,000 pending cases against websites using Google Analytics. These complaints show how easy it is to use Google in a non-GDPR compliant manner.

According to the GDPR, you can be fined up to 4% of your yearly revenue for data/privacy breaches or non-compliance. 

Is Google Analytics really free to use?

Standard Google Analytics is offered freely as a platform, but what does it cost you? There are different kinds of costs to consider, such as the time you devote to learning how to use it. As well as having to purchase additional products like Heatmaps from other companies to build a more complete picture of your visitors.

For GA itself, as soon as you want to track media/forms/outlinks/downloads etc., it costs additional time to set up tracking, whereas Matomo tracks everything out of the box. 

With Google some features you’ll have to configure yourself and other features are simply unavailable so you’ll have to combine Google with other products. Matomo offers all features under one platform e.g. Heatmaps, Session Recordings and Form Analytics. This saves you time and makes your life easier as you don’t have to deal with multiple companies for a complete analytics tool. 

Matomo Analytics is the ethical alternative for Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a great free analytics tool, but there’s no clarity when it comes to grey areas like privacy and data ownership. If these are major concerns for you, Matomo offers complete peace of mind that you’re doing the best you can to stay ethical while growing your business and website.

Matomo is a complete analytics tool that:

  • Doesn’t require you to display a tracking consent screen
  • Offers 100% data ownership and data protection
  • Respects user privacy
  • Gives you control over what you do with your own data

>> Here’s an in-depth comparison of Matomo vs Google Analytics

Import your Google Analytics data directly into your Matomo

If you’re thinking of making the switch, Matomo lets you import all your historical Google Analytics data directly into your Matomo. You won’t sacrifice any progress and can start immediately from where you left off in GA. 

More ways you can benefit from Matomo today

Minimise risk with a secure, transparent platform that’s been thoroughly tested by hundreds of contributors. 

No data sampling means you can make impactful decisions based on 100% accurate reporting.

Matomo experts will save you time and money by providing guidance on how best to use your Matomo.

Create the tool of your dreams. Matomo can be customised and extended to meet your every need.

Avoid getting fined by using a platform that complies with the strictest privacy laws in the world. 

Get an unlimited number of websites, users and segments. There’s also no limitation on how much data you store.

Easy to use

Easily navigate through a user-friendly interface to get the data you need, faster.

The comprehensive range of features gives you actionable insights and a complete picture of your customers.

Securely track personal data in accordance with privacy laws. This option is unavailable with GA.