A rapidly changing measurement landscape has left many marketers reconsidering their analytics options.
If you’ve found yourself in that position then it’s likely that Google Analytics and Plausible are on your list to assess.
There are a whole host of analytics tools available to us, so knowing what the key different between them are – and which is right for you – can be difficult.
So, in this blog, we’ll take a side-by-side look at Google Analytics and Plausible to help you make an informed decision.
Keep reading to learn:
- What is Google Analytics?
- What is Plausible?
- Google Analytics vs Plausible
- Corvidae: a Google Analytics and Plausible alternative
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics (GA) is a web analytics service that tracks and reports on website traffic – plus mobile app traffic and events – that enables you to analyse visitor behaviour from prospects and customers.
It can then be used for a wide range of marketing and analytics purposes, including:
- Assessing the effectiveness of your customer acquisition activity across a range of channels including organic, paid, social, referrals etc
- Analysing customer behaviour and engagement on specific parts of your site
- Getting insight into user data including demographics and audiences that can be used to better target your marketing activity
- Monitoring trends in all of these aspects over time
At a broader level, GA is part of a suite of marketing applications called the Google Marketing platform that is designed to provide unified advertising and analytics which is designed to drive smarter marketing.
This incorporates a number of complimentary tools like:
- Search Console
- Tag Manager
- Campaign Manager 360
- Search Ads 360
GA is available in 2 different versions depending on your specific needs:
- Google Analytics (GA4) – is the latest version of Google Analytics and is free to use. It is the successor to the original version of GA – Universal Analytics or UA – which was sunset as a product in May 2023. This decision by Google was partly influenced by a number of rulings in Europe that GA was illegal due to the way that data was handled between the EU and the US. And a lack of compliance with GDPR as a result.
In essence existing users of UA were made to move across to GA4 as part of the move. However, there were a number of issues with the transition for users – not least the fact that were was no data portability between the respective products which has caused transitional issues for existing users.
- Google Analytics 360 (GA 360) – this is the version of GA that is aimed at enterprise users. It has all of the functionality that is available in GA4 but also includes a higher level of thresholds in terms of data retention etc and advanced configuration options.
What is Plausible?
Plausible is an intuitive, light weight and open-source analytics tool that heavily markets itself as an easy to use and privacy-friendly alternative to GA.
Similarly to GA, it allows you to track and analyse the activity on your website, making analysis available in a user-friendly dashboard that aims to remove some of the complexity associated with analytics tools.
The focus here is on stripping down the number of web metrics it reports on with a view to users being able to pick the tool up quickly and easily.
The stripped-down reporting it offers includes:
- Key metrics on site visitors, sessions, page views etc
- Top referral sources of traffic and most visited pages
- Information on countries, regions and cities driving traffic to your site
- Details on devices, browsers and operating systems being used by visitors
- Event and conversion tracking including custom tracking and funnel capability
Delivered using a lightweight script it is a privacy-focused, cookie-free solution that provides compliance with GDPR, CCPA and PECR.
It is also open-source.
Google Analytics vs Plausible
A side-by-side comparison
Those are the respective overviews of each of the products but to take the analysis to the next level we have also created a side-by-side comparison of the GA and Plausible options that are available to you.
|Google Analytics 4||GA360||Plausible|
|Cost||Free||upwards of $150,000 per year||No free plan. 3 plans starting at $2,500 and go up to $25,000, mainly depending on the feature set and the number of integrations, data migration requirements etc|
|Ease of implementation||Relatively easy to get started and expand out, particularly if you are using other Google Ecosystem apps||More complex implementation that GA4||Specifically designed to be easy to get started with simple menu and dashboard structure|
|Ease of use and interface||Easier for non- expert analytics team members to use and because GA is widely used there is a lot of free to use third-party content that you can leverage in your learning and set up process||Easier for non- expert analytics team members to use although as you dig into some of the more complicated GA360 set up it does need more analytics knowledge||Simplified menu structure and lack of complexity make this an easy solution to pick up and use|
|Tracking||Simple to set up and use||Potentially more complex to configure than GA4||Simple to set up and use|
|Reporting||Out of the box reporting is easy to get up and running with some customisation||Advanced level reporting is possible with customisation||Reporting is customisable at a basic level|
|Visualisation||Third party tool is required||Third party tool is required||Third party tool is required|
|Privacy||Cookie based tracking and data collection||Cookie based tracking and data collection||Compliant with privacy regulations. No cookies used or personal data collected|
|eCommerce integration||Has dedicated Ecommerce tracking capability built into the monetisation feature in the Lifecycle Area||Has dedicated Ecommerce tracking capability built-in to the monetisation feature in the Lifecycle Area||Has basic level of ecommerce tracking that can be configured|
|Integrations||Seamlessly integrates with the tools in the wider Google tech stack which includes Google Ads, Search Ads, Display & Video 360, Campaign Manager, Data Studio etc.|
However, as you begin to grow the free version of GA is going to place limits on your ability to scale
|Seamlessly integrates with the tools in the wider Google tech stack which includes Google Ads, Search Ads, Display & Video 360, Campaign Manager, Data Studio etc.||Offers integrations with a wide range of 3rd party products including Google Data Studio, Google Tag Manager, Shopify, WordPress and Drupal|
|Data retention||Has an upper limit of 14 months (default is set to 2 months) which may have implications if you are trying to look back at annual event comparison data (for example, Black Friday sales data over a number of years)||50 months||Retained as long as your account is active|
|Number of user accounts||100 maximum||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Account structure||There is a ceiling in terms of the depth of structure you can create within your GA4 account which sets an upper limit on data control and the depth of insights you get||Provides much more flexibility than GA4 in terms of the ability to create more customized properties||Functionality exists but more limited|
|Data sampling||Has a ceiling of 10 million events as a data sampling threshold and limitations in custom dimensions audiences which might constrain you and mean you are working with incomplete data||The ceilings inherent in GA4 are removed with data sampling thresholds of up to 1 billion events||No data sampling|
|Customer support||Self-service support from GA plus community support||Access to a dedicated team of customer support specialists via chat and email based on priority system||Online documentation and email support|
Corvidae: a Google Analytics and Plausible alternative
As you consider your options around new analytics platforms, you might want to add some other alternatives to your list alongside GA and Plausible.
Corvidae platform is a cookie-free alternative that:
- effectively rebuilds your broken analytics data using AI and machine-learning
- boosts the accuracy of your analytics data from 20% to +95% as part of that process
- enables you to understand true marketing performance across all customer touchpoints by removing the impact of AdTech bias and data silos
- is fully GDPR compliant