Matomo vs Google Analytics

Choosing the right Google Analytics alternative  is critical for the success of your organisation. Learn about the differences between Matomo vs Google Analytics.

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Overview

At first glance, the two web analytics tools may seem very similar. Both provide detailed insights into website traffic and user behaviour. However, there are some key differences between Matomo and Google Analytics you should be aware of.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool that provides insights into website traffic and visitor behaviour with limitations. There is also a paid version of Google Analytics known as Google Analytics 360 (or GA360) with additional features and benefits.

What is Matomo?

Matomo is the leading open-source web analytics tool designed to help organisations make more informed decisions and enhance customer experience while ensuring data ownership, compliance and privacy.

Table of Contents

Historical Universal Analytics Data Imports

Google Analytics

The newest version of Google Analytics (GA4) doesn’t support historical data imports from its predecessor, Universal Analytics (UA or GA3). So businesses using UA will lose years of valuable data and need to start from scratch with GA4 when UA is deprecated in July 2023.

Matomo

Matomo offers users the ability to import their historical Universal Analytics data. So you can keep all that valuable historical data you’ve collected over the years.

This is particularly important for any Universal Analytics users that need to migrate to a new web analytics tool or Google Analytics 4 but don’t want to lose their data. For more on this, check out our in depth review of Google Analytics 4 vs Matomo.

Compliance with Global Privacy Laws

Compliance with Global Privacy Laws

Google Analytics

Websites using Google Analytics risk being fined for GDPR breaches. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has found that cloud services hosted in the US (like Google Analytics) are not compliant with GDPR and EU privacy laws.

The legal ramifications of these findings has meant that the use of Google Analytics is now illegal in countries like France and Austria. Other EU member states are expected to follow with similar rulings against Google Analytics too.

While Google has made efforts to make the new Google Analytics 4 more compliant, the data is still transferred to the US. For this reason, GA4 is not compliant with GDPR (also known as DSGVO in German, and RGPD in French).

Matomo

Matomo, on the other hand, can be made to comply with the strictest of privacy laws, including the GDPR, CCPA, LGPD and more. This is ensured through robust data protection measures such as:

These safeguards are why EU institutions like the European Commission, privacy activist non-profit organisation, noyb and the French Data Protection Agency, CNIL trust Matomo on their own sites.

Furthermore, Matomo has been approved by the CNIL as one of the few web analytics tools that can be used to collect data without tracking consent.

Data ownership

Google Analytics

The trade off with using a free tool like Google Analytics is that they own your data. This means that Google can use your data for their own purposes, like targeted advertising. Which is also a major threat to privacy.       

Matomo

Matomo solves this problem by giving you 100% data ownership. Your web analytics data is yours to own, with no external parties looking in. Gain peace of mind knowing you’re in complete control as your data is only being used for your own web analytics purposes. Data ownership gives you the power to protect privacy and build trust with your users.

In addition, because you own the data and it’s not used by third-parties, you can get rid of cookie consent banners.

Cookieless Analytics

Cookieless tracking

Google Analytics

Privacy concerns have led many people to block or regularly delete third-party cookies like those used by Google Analytics, making it difficult to track user behaviour and get accurate insights.

Google Analytics 4, however, is designed to evolve to the cookieless future and relies on first-party cookies and machine learning to fill gaps. While this sounds exciting, when comparing a data gap-filling approach to 100% accurate data, you’ll always be better off making decisions from the latter.

Matomo

Fortunately, Matomo is a cookieless alternative to Google Analytics. Matomo uses a config_id to track users without the use of third-party cookies, machine learning or gap filling. This means you get 100% accurate reports because Matomo can track even if users have cookies disabled or regularly deleted.

Matomo’s industry-leading measures to protect user privacy means that it is also exempt from tracking consent by France’s Data Protection Authority (CNIL). With Matomo cookieless tracking, you can say farewell to those irritating cookie consent banners, confidently rely on accurate data and protect user privacy.

User Data Privacy

Google Analytics

Companies like Google can be a threat to privacy. Using Google Analytics means signing away your user’s right to privacy as Google leverages your website analytics data for their own interests – advertising.

To put it into perspective, when you visit a site that uses Google Analytics, Google uses this information to build your digital profile and then advertise to you. More and more consumers are becoming aware and concerned with Google Analytics’ invasion of privacy.

Matomo

Although Matomo is a web analytics software with a purpose to track user activity on your website, we take privacy very seriously. Matomo’s advanced privacy features, along with the open and decentralised nature of Matomo, mean your users’ privacy is respected.

Successful brands fully embrace privacy. After all, if your customers know their information is safe with you, they’re more likely to keep coming back.

Don't damage your reputation with Google Analytics

By choosing Matomo, the ethical analytics alternative, you won’t make privacy sacrifices or compromise your site. 

No credit card required

Hosting options

Google Analytics

With Google Analytics, your only hosting option is the Cloud. For some, this may be a non-issue, but for those wanting to self-host their web analytics data, Google Analytics isn’t an option.

Matomo

Fortunately, Matomo offers greater flexibility with two hosting options – Matomo Cloud and Matomo On-Premise.

Matomo Cloud is an ideal option if you want convenience, hands-free maintenance and support from the Matomo experts. The Matomo team will handle all the technical aspects of hosting your data (in Germany) and maintaining the platform, so you can solely focus on using the tool to improve your business. If you’re pressed for time and need a tool that works out-of-the-box, Cloud is the whole package.

Matomo On-Premise, on the other hand, is a dream come true for the technically minded. If that’s you, then by getting this flexibility, you’ll be able to create a tool that meets your every analytics whim. You’ll need to handle the technical aspects of setting up and maintaining your own server, but you’ll have complete control over how your data is stored and accessed. The Matomo Marketplace also features over 75 plugins, so you can find the right mix of features that suit you.

Matomo On-Premise is a great option if you’re looking for a self-hosted Google Analytics alternative. Best of all, it is and always will be free.

Either way, both hosting options offer a secure, flexible and compliant solution.

Open source

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a closed source proprietary product. To put it simply, the source code that Google Analytics is built on is not available to the public. This comes with many disadvantages and security concerns (in one instance, hackers were able to tap into Google Analytics to steal credit card information).

The downsides to Google Analytics being a closed source product is lack of customisation, some bugs may never be repaired and you have no control over the product.       

Matomo

The open-source nature of Matomo makes it one of the most secure web analytics platforms available. Through the Matomo Bug Bounty Programme, it is constantly being updated and improved by a passionate community of developers who are dedicated to fixing bugs, looking out for suspicious activity and ensuring the tool is secure and up to the highest of standards.

As is the nature of open-source, Matomo On-Premise is extremely flexible so you can design a solution that suits your specific needs. It’s also free, making it accessible for all.

Data accuracy

Google Analytics

Google Analytics carries out data sampling and machine learning to fill gaps. In other words, after a certain threshold, only a portion (or sample) of the total amount of data collected is analysed. Instead of getting the complete picture with all your data, you get an assumption based on that sample.

In GA4 sampling automatically applies when you:

  • Perform advanced analysis such as cohort analysis, exploration, segment overlap or funnel analysis with not enough data 
  • Have over 10,000,000 data rows and generate any type of non-default report

This causes uncertainty as businesses have to rely on assumptions to make crucial decisions.

Matomo

Matomo, on the other hand, does not sample data so you can trust the data you’re seeing is complete and accurate. This is essential for data-driven businesses that need to make decisions based on accurate information.

In addition to data accuracy, here’s 6 other reasons you should migrate from Google Analytics to Matomo.

Google Analytics Limitations

Data limits

Google Analytics

As a free tool, Google Analytics has data limits in place, and once you exceed 10 million hits to your site, new data will not be processed.

In order to increase Google Analytics’ data limits, you’d need to pay ~USD130,000 a year to upgrade to GA 360. For most users, this is not a viable option.

Google Analytics has no shortage of limitations. Discover the 10 key limitations of Google Analytics that you should be aware of.

Matomo

On the flip side, Matomo has no data limits. So you can track as much data as you need without worrying about exceeding your quota. This makes Matomo a cost-effective option for businesses with high traffic levels or complex data sets. See our pricing page for more.

Matomo Features

In this section, we’ll cover a bit more about the features that Matomo offers that Google Analytics does not.

Built-in Tag Manager

Unlike Google Tag Manager, the Matomo Tag Manager is built into the tool for a consistent and efficient user experience.

Matomo Tag Manager helps you manage and unify all your tracking and marketing tags so they can be found in one place. It can make your life easier as you’re able to modify these tags without the need for a developer to make the changes for you. By bringing changes to your website faster, you can reduce costs and gain insights quickly.

Heatmaps

Heatmaps are used to quickly show you how your visitors are interacting with your website’s pages and to identify areas of interest.

Take out the guesswork by seeing where your users are clicking and how far down they’re scrolling. By identifying areas of your website that are getting more or less attention from users, you can fix pain points and make design and content changes to improve engagement.   

Heatmaps in Matomo

Session Recordings

Session Recordings help you understand user behaviour by recording their interactions with your website. You can see how they’re navigating your content. This lets you identify areas of confusion, understand their expectations and usage patterns and allows you to ultimately optimise your website for success.   

Log Analytics

Log Analytics is the most secure way to get insights for organisations that are highly sensitive about user data. Instead of embedding the JavaScript tracking code on your website, data becomes available through web server log files – giving you data through all your historical visitor sessions. This means you can get insights faster and at a higher level of security.

Form Analytics in Matomo

Form Analytics

Form Analytics provides valuable insight by helping you understand how your forms are being used and identifying areas where users are struggling. By tracking form submissions, abandonments and errors you can find out where the friction points are and optimise to increase lead conversion rates.   

Media Analytics

Media Analytics tracks media engagement, so you can see which of your video and audio content are being viewed or listened to the most and for how long. This information is essential for understanding your audience and tailoring your content to their needs. You can use it to fine-tune your content strategy for maximum effectiveness. 

Media Analytics
Media Analytics in Matomo

Content Tracking

Content Tracking uncovers the performance of content on any page of your website.

If you’ve ever wondered how often a specific ad or a banner was displayed,viewed and interacted with, Content Tracking allows you to analyze the ratio of content impressions to content interactions. As soon as a visitor scrolls down the page and sees more ads/banners/blocks (any type of content), Matomo automatically logs the impression for each piece of content.   

GDPR Manager

Take the uncertainty out of GDPR compliance with the GDPR Manager. This feature ensures your users can easily exercise any of their following rights, e.g. their right to be informed, their right to withdraw consent and their right to erasure.

Roll-Up Reporting

Roll-Up Reporting lets you aggregate data from multiple Matomo instances into one report. It saves you lots of time and helps you gain the insights you need instantly.

For Google Analytics, this feature is available but only in GA360 for 130k USD per year.

White Label

With White Label web analytics, you can put your own stamp on the platform by being able update the interface with your own branding. This gives your users a more cohesive analytics experience and allows your company to stand out.

Pricing

Google Analytics

While Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool, there’s a costly price to pay for using it. Not only do you have to deal with data sampling, data limits, privacy concerns and non-compliance, you also risk damaging your reputation and breaking your customers’ trust.

Google Analytics’ infamous reputation for privacy breaches and misuse of personal data becomes a burden for users. Coupled with the uncertainty a move to Google Analytics 4 presents, the evidence becomes clear that Google Analytics users might be worse off in the long run.   

Matomo

Matomo On-Premise is free forever and Matomo Cloud starts out at 19 EUR per month for 50k hits.

While there is a small monthly investment required, there are invaluable benefits to gain, including:

  • 100% data ownership, giving you peace-of-mind that your visitor data is protected.
  • Reduce time and resources spent on compliance
  • Better insights through 100% accurate, unsampled data
  • Uncover more about how your visitors engage with your sites with additional behavioural analytics (A/B testing, Heatmaps, Session Recordings, etc.)

See our pricing page for more details.

One analytics tool to replace
them all

Matomo gives you access to deeper and more valuable insights.

No credit card required

Comparison Table

Name Matomo Google Analytics (free) Google Analytics 360
Cloud hosting option
No hassle, we host Matomo for you. Matomo's secure servers are based in German and follow EU laws
On-Premise self-hosting option
Max flexibility, you host Matomo on your servers - a big bonus for data sensitive businesses
Basic Metrics
All standard visitor metrics and reports including location, device, OS, and engagement behaviour. This includes Real-time info and user-flows.
Website Actions
Tracking behaviour on your website including entry pages, exit pages, page titles, site search and event tracking.
Downloads and Outlinks tracks automatically
Gives you comprehensive analysis on items that are downloaded off your website and clicks to external websites without having to setup manually.
Requires manual configuration
Content Interactions
Comprehensive content analysis feature to ensure you get insights into how well your content is performing.
Channel Referrer / Campaign Tracking
Full channel referrers information to get insights to direct, search engine, paid media, social media, external website and email marketing referrer traffic. Also, comprehensive custom campaign insights.
Integration with Google Ads
Get insights into the performance of your Google Ads campaigns.
Integration with the full Google Marketing Platform
Including Display & Video 360, Search Ads 360 etc.
Integration with Google Search Console
Integrate search behaviours and crawling stats from your Google console directly into your UI.
Integration with Bing and Yahoo Search Consoles
Integrate search behaviours and crawling stats from your Bing and Yahoo consoles directly into your UI.
Search Engine Keyword Rankings
See the performance of your keywords and trends over time across Google and Bing search engines.
Annotations
Make notes throughout your interface to reference later or to share with your team.
Goal, Funnels and Multi Attribution
Define what Goals on your website are important to you and measure the success of these Goals. Map the step-by-step funnel process to measure drop-offs and increase conversion rates. And use the Multi Attribution model to measure First and Last Interactions of your digital channels.
Data Driven Attribution
Advanced Attribution features
Roll-Up Reporting
If you have multiple websites under the one account, you can use the Roll Up feature to combine all the website's data into the same interface.
Media Analytics
Track video and audio analytics from inside your website. See how people are engaging with your media content, where they are located and how are they viewing the most important media on your website.
A/B Testing
Conduct A/B testing to see what content resonates with your audience.
Ecommerce Reporting
Track where your revenue is coming from with comprehensive ecommerce insights.
Form Analytics
Measure the success of the forms on your website. Forms are an important part of the conversion process and you need to ensure your customers are filling them in effortlessly.
Heatmaps
Visualize you customer's behaviour on your webpages with Heatmaps; including colour coded hotspots for where users have clicked and scrolling behaviour.
Session Recording
Get video recordings of your customer's interactions on your webpages. This way you understand their expectations, problems they may have, usage patterns, and can improve the usability on your website.
Your Branding
Have your company's branding throughout the simple to use interface with our White Label feature. You can also set custom themes to have the interface looking the way you want.
Custom Reporting
Get the insights that matter to helping you achieve your business goals. Anything is possible by combining metrics from different features to get a deeper understanding of your customer's behaviour.
Tag Manager
Manage third party marketing application tags in a simple manner.
No Data Sampling
We rely on the facts; not cost-effective, time saving data samples for large data! The data you see is real.
Limit 500K Limit 100M
Unsampled Reports
Ensure you have accurate data when it comes to your reporting.
Custom Dimensions
Advanced Segmentation
Full access to raw data via SQL and full access to raw data via API.
Advanced Privacy Controls
User privacy is ingrained into everything we do at Matomo so you can remain in complete control.
GDPR Manager
To be GDPR compliant is one thing but to have a GDPR Manager ensures you are in full control when processing your user's personal data.
Support
Get Support from a dedicated Matomo team member which is included in all cloud hosted packages and as an additional paid option for On-Premise users.
Log Analytics
You can use server log analytics as an alternative method for tracking your website’s users if the Javascript tracking method isn’t feasible or if you need to comply with strict security policies.
Intranet Analytics
Analyse and improve the internal communications, content and experience for your users and colleagues.

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