Google’s move from Universal Analytics (and GA360) to GA4 – for a range of reasons ranging from rulings on the illegality of GA to the need to bring together analytics for web and mobile (in the way that other analytics providers had done some time previously) – has led many marketers to re-evaluate their analytics options.
In an environment where they are already grappling with the impending death of third-party cookies and the lingering effects of iOS 14.5, there is a need to reconsider the role of GA in a whole new world and assess its relevance for a changed marketing landscape.
Here we take a look at the issues including:
- What is Google Analytics?
- What are the pros and cons of Google Analytics?
- 8 Google Analytics alternatives to consider:
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is an analytics package from Google that enables you to track user behaviour on your website.
There are number of products that sit under the Google Analytics umbrella.
More traditional GA products, including Universal Analytics (UA) and GA360, have previously provided ‘hit’ based data like impressions, clicks and page views on your site.
However, concerns around GDPR compliance and the illegality of UA-based products in the EU led to them being sunset in July 2023.
Existing users were then migrated to GA4.
The move to GA4 is a necessary upgrade for Google – as it aims to provide more journey-based analytics – and it was accelerated partly due to the issues outlined above.
However, the decision has meant a significant period of disruption and adjustment for existing UA and GA360 users.
Pros and cons of Google Analytics
So, what are the upsides and potential downsides to Google Analytics?
Here are a few of the main pros and cons:
- If you are on a budget then Google Analytics has a free offering (all new users will set up on GA4)
- Google Analytics provides easy integration with other tools in the extended Google ecosystem including Google Ads and Google Search Console
- It now offers you the ability to run analytics data for web and mobile in the same instance of GA (although it is worth noting this only a recent development in GA4)
- GA has traditionally relied on cookies for measurement which do a particularly poor job of tracking complex user journeys and leaves marketers with 80% inaccurate data
- GA has been impacted by a number of rulings which have found it to be illegal under data compliance laws in the EU
- The impact of the rulings above means Google has effectively forced users of the existing Universal Analytics to move to their new GA4 product. This has not only been a steep learning curve for marketers but users have suffered from a range of issues including a lack of data portability between the respective products and extended changes needed to tagging and other analytics configurations
8 alternatives to Google Analytics
One side effect of the issues around GA is that it has prompted marketers to look around at their options.
So, what is available out there and what are the pros and cons of each?
Here are 8 Google Analytics alternatives that you might want to consider.
Corvidae is a cookieless attribution and analytics platform that uses Machine Learning and AI techniques to create a clear picture of the effectiveness of your marketing initiatives at a channel, campaign and individual creative level.
How much does Corvidae cost?
Corvidae offers custom pricing based on the level of data within your business and add-ons including integrations. If you’d like a free quote, get in touch with our team.
Pros and cons of Corvidae
- It is a fully cookieless solution that leverages the power of AI to deliver enhanced analytics and attribution
- Boosts the accuracy of analytics data from 20% to +95%
- Rebuilds your broken marketing data from the ground up and brings together siloed data from online and offline channels
- Is fully GDPR compliant
- The AI learns over time and provides optimal levels of campaign spend on an ongoing basis
- Not a downside, as such, but it is worth pointing out that Corvidae is well suited to B2C companies who are spending more than £500k per annually on digital media. And spend a significant proportion of that spend on Facebook and Google (although our API and complimentary Power BI custom templates open up the opportunity for potential FMCG and B2B companies. If you are in any doubt don’t hesitate to contact our team who will be pleased to explore your attribution challenges and schedule a demo).
Plausible is an intuitive, lightweight and open-source web analytics tool.
How much does Plausible cost?
Plausible offers pricing that starts from £9 per month for monthly billing which includes 50 websites and a number of other features, including:
- custom events
- unlimited data retention
- unlimited team members
It scales on their website to £169 per month for 10 million page views and anything above that is custom pricing.
Pros and cons of Plausible
- Quick and easy to set up and is very intuitive and user-friendly
- Plausible has integrations out of the box with commonly used packages including WordPress, Ghost, Squarespace, Wix and Weebly
- Has less depth of reporting and analytics than some other solutions, so if you are looking for a heavyweight solution this probably isn’t it
- Product support and documentation appears to be limited
3. Adobe Analytics
How much does Adobe Analytics cost?
You can buy Adobe Analytics as part of your Adobe Experience Cloud solution.
Pricing is based on your specific requirements (but web reports suggest it starts around $500 a month).
Pros and cons of Adobe Analytics
- Provides heavyweight analytics capabilities and the ability to really drill down into the detail of customer journeys
- Can gather data from a range of channels – web, email and mobile apps – all in one place
- If you are already using the Adobe Experience Cloud then it offers the potential for leveraging capabilities in other tools including Adobe Campaign (for email, SMS, and direct mail campaigns), Adobe Real-Time CDP (a customer data platform) and Adobe Customer Journey Analytics
- Offers more advanced capabilities than Google Analytics
- No free tool available and paid versions of the tool are costly
- There is a steep learning curve in terms of getting started
- It appears from user reviews across a number of sites that support for the product can be an issue so you are going to want to make sure you have the expertise and resources in place before implementing the solution
Woopra is a customer journey analytics platform that lets product, marketing, sales and support teams track the progress of user journeys on their website.
The product is more of a customer journey mapping tool.
How much does Woopra cost?
Woopra has a free Core plan which is designed to let users learn and experiment with the platform.
It allows 500,000 actions a month and has core analytics and 30+ integrations.
Paid plans start at $999 per month and feature extended capabilities like increased actions, longer data retention and premium support.
Pros and cons of Woopra
- Provides the capability to track individual behaviour and link it with other personally identifiable Information (PII) including product usage and purchase history
- It has unique custom tracking capabilities and over 30+ integrations including MailChimp, Salesforce, Google Ads, Google Drive, Slack and Zapier
- Has the ability to create complete customer profiles
- Data from the company Support, CRM, Social, Mobile, and Marketing Automation tools can be gathered
- Does not have the privacy features that other solutions have
- If you use it at scale you need development resource and expertise in place to configure it
- There is a steep learning curve for new users due to the complexity of the feature set
- Support is limited unless you are on one of the more expensive pricing plans
Fathom is a Google Analytics alternative that has a strong focus on visitor data privacy.
It enables you to understand:
- what pages on your site are popular
- where traffic is coming from
- what campaigns are doing well
- what products or services are selling best
How much does Fathom cost?
Fathom offers a free trial for 30 days.
Following completion of the trial, plans scale up from $14 per month for up to 100,000 monthly page views to $44 per month for up to 500,000 monthly page views for up to 50 sites.
Pros and cons of Fathom
- Is very quick and easy to set up
- Overcomes some of the challenges that GA has experienced by putting data privacy first and enabling compliant analytics for GDPR by routing EU web traffic through European hosting infrastructure
- Fathom claim to be able to bypass ad blockers to deliver a more complete set of data
- The trade-off with easy and quick set up is that the level of insight which Fathom is able to provide is quite limited – so probably a solution that will appeal to small or medium-sized businesses
- There is also no integration to allow you to understand the performance of your paid advertising
- As you might expect for the price support for the product is limited compared to other Google Analytics alternatives
6. Piwik PRO
Piwik PRO enables you to analyse customer journeys across websites and apps and is an analytics suite which is highly focused on user privacy and data security.
In historical terms, it came from the same open source Piwik project as Matomo.
However, in 2016 the products forked and – while Matomo remained open source – Piwik PRO offers a freemium Cloud tier with limitations. And paid models over and above that.
How much does Piwik PRO cost?
Piwik PRO’s web analytics suite offers a free plan which includes Analytics, Tag Manager and Consent Manager modules and up to 500,000 monthly actions. Plus Safe EU Cloud and Community Support.
As you move above that level, you are in the realms of an Enterprise plan which extends to include a Customer Data Platform and enhanced features including increased actions and longer data retention.
Pros and cons of Piwik PRO
- It is relatively easy to use compared to GA and user reviews are very good (in fact, the product interface has similarities to GA which makes it easy to pick up)
- Piwik PRO avoids the data sampling issues which are inherent in GA and only provides data sets that are 100% accurate
- The ability to select EU data Cloud means that you are able to meet requirements around GDPR (as well as CCPA etc)
- Functionality between Piwik PRO and GA4 is broadly similar but Piwik Pro offers additional benefits including SEO functionality
- There is a heavy dependency on cookies within Piwik PRO which is problematic in that first party cookie data is very device siloed. With in the region of 80% of journeys now multidevice that makes data accuracy and effective attribution problematic
- Unlike Google Analytics which plugs in to the wider Google Ecosystem for ads, search etc Piwik PRO doesn’t offer easy integration with these tools ‘out-of-the-box’
- The point above leads to the need for technical expertise to be able to configure and manage the solution
Clicky is a privacy-friendly analytics tool that delivers real-time traffic analytics and heatmap tracking which allows you to visualise the user journey on your website.
How much does Clicky cost?
Clicky is free to use but offers a Pro version from $9.99 a month – and tiered pricing up to $19.99 per month plus custom pricing above that level.
Pros and cons of Clicky
- Is easy to set up and use
- Enables you to stay GDPR compliant
- Delivers real-time reporting and data on goal and conversion tracking
- Is a stripped-down tool so might not have enough functionality for heavyweight users
- There are limitations in the free plan
- Doesn’t offer the type of advanced customisation which is available in GA
Matomo is an open-source web analytics platform and is a Google Analytics alternative that claims to take away the risk to your reputation that is associated with GA.
How much does Matomo cost?
Matomo offers a Cloud hosted version that starts at £17 per month for 50,000 monthly hits that scales to £11,900 per month for 100 million hits.
As you scale from the lowest cost version, you effectively remove restrictions around key variables including number of websites, team members, segments, goals and data retention and segmentation functionality.
Pros and cons of Matomo
- There is relatively rich feature functionality available to you including geographic and channel segmentation for visitors in real-time
- It also offers the ability to have your data stored in the EU to avoid potential issues with GDPR compliance
- It has a special use case for ecommerce reporting
- You also have the ability to configure goals, create funnels and do some detailed analysis around the forms on your site
- Because you are looking at hit based data the insight into ad-based activity is limited
- Not all features are available for the core subscription price and optional extras can begin to push the price up quite quickly
- It is possible to import data from Paid Social and Paid Search but it isn’t possible to join together ‘hit’ based data to enable true campaign optimisation
Looking for a Google Analytics alternative?
Compliant analytics isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s crucial to futureproofing your marketing efforts – and your business.
If you’re looking to get clued up about how to ensure your marketing analytics are compliant, download our Quick Guide to Compliant Marketing Analytics.
And if the move to GA4 and increasing GDPR issues have left you looking for an alternative to Google Analytics, get in touch to find out how Corvidae can help.