Google Analytics vs Plausible: What’s the Difference?

Google Analytics vs Plausible

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?

Google Analytics vs Plausible - GA logo

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 4GA360Plausible
CostFreeupwards of $150,000 per yearNo 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 implementationRelatively easy to get started and expand out, particularly if you are using other Google Ecosystem appsMore complex implementation that GA4Specifically designed to be easy to get started with simple menu and dashboard structure
Ease of use and interfaceEasier 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 processEasier 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 knowledgeSimplified menu structure and lack of complexity make this an easy solution to pick up and use
TrackingSimple to set up and usePotentially more complex to configure than GA4Simple to set up and use
ReportingOut of the box reporting is easy to get up and running with some customisationAdvanced level reporting is possible with customisationReporting is customisable at a basic level
VisualisationThird party tool is requiredThird party tool is requiredThird party tool is required
PrivacyCookie based tracking and data collectionCookie based tracking and data collectionCompliant with privacy regulations. No cookies used or personal data collected
GDPR compliancePrivacy policy, cookie banner and consent required. Rulings on illegality in EUPrivacy policy, cookie banner and consent required. Rulings on illegality in EUCompliant with GDPR
eCommerce integrationHas dedicated Ecommerce tracking capability built into the monetisation feature in the Lifecycle AreaHas dedicated Ecommerce tracking capability built-in to the monetisation feature in the Lifecycle AreaHas basic level of ecommerce tracking that can be configured
IntegrationsSeamlessly 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 retentionHas 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 monthsRetained as long as your account is active
Number of user accounts100 maximumUnlimitedUnlimited
Account structureThere 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 getProvides much more flexibility than GA4 in terms of the ability to create more customized propertiesFunctionality exists but more limited
Data samplingHas 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 dataThe ceilings inherent in GA4 are removed with data sampling thresholds of up to 1 billion eventsNo data sampling
Customer supportSelf-service support from GA plus community supportAccess to a dedicated team of customer support specialists via chat and email based on priority systemOnline 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

If you’d like to know more about our unique approach to attribution, download our Getting Started with Corvidae guide below. Or, request a demo here.

Getting Started With Corvidae