Collecting and analyzing data is absolutely crucial if you run an online business. To do so, you need to use either Google Analytics (easy to setup with a Google Analytics WordPress plugin), or a Google Analytics alternative. There’s no way around it.
Because the biggest mistake you can make as an entrepreneur is relying on your gut instinct when making important decisions.
Sure, intuition is extremely valuable when interacting with people face-to-face. However, if you are running an online business that serves thousands of customers from all over the world and are able to drive traffic to your site consistently, then you need to understand you simply aren’t equipped to deal with this level of complexity on your own.
That is why you need reliable analytics software that can help you track relevant metrics and extract actionable insights from all that data.
Google Analytics dominates the market. But are there any good alternatives?
The answer is: yes, there are. So, let’s have a closer look at them!
Why You Should Consider Using Google Analytics Alternatives
You might be wondering why should you even consider using a Google Analytics alternative.
There are three main reasons: ease of use, privacy, and ethics.
1. Ease of Use
Google Analytics is a powerful analytics tool but it can be also complicated.
If you aren’t a technically-inclined person, figuring out how to use Google Analytics can be quite a challenge.
Of course, if you want to learn your way around Google Analytics, there are plenty of resources out there that will help you do exactly that.
But, as a business owner, you need to ask yourself whether spending a couple of weeks of your life learning GA is the best use of your time. You may want to consider a simpler analytics platform built with you in mind.
Google is best known for its “free” products: Google Search Console, Gmail, Chrome, Google Docs, Google Analytics, etc.
But, lets’ no forget it, Google isn’t a nonprofit organization. They aren’t giving these products away for free out of the kindness of their hearts.
According to Statista, in 2018 the company’s revenue exceeded $136 billion:
So where did all that money come from?
Most of it, $116 billion to be specific, came from advertising. And where do they get the information which helps their advertisers target their ideal customer?
The answer is: you.
Google takes the data you give them and uses it to personalize ads they show to you, making it more likely that you will click on them.
On the surface, this doesn’t sound that bad. If they are going to show you ads anyway, they might as well make them relevant, right?
However, the more you think about it, the more disturbing this whole thing becomes.
Your browser history. Your search history. Your YouTube history. Your location history. Your emails. Google has it all.
There’s a common argument used to dismiss privacy concerns that goes like this:
“Well, if you aren’t doing anything wrong, then you don’t have anything to worry about!”
But it’s perfectly normal to want to maintain your privacy even if you don’t have anything scandalous to hide.
So the question is how much of your privacy are you willing to sacrifice in order to get access to Google’s “free” products?
There is a growing concern about the amount of power Google has gained in years. In fact, Google has an almost 90% share of the search market:
This means that its search algorithm kinda shapes the public’s perception of the world. Can you imagine the influence that Google has because of this?
You might think this shouldn’t be an issue because the whole point of a search algorithm is to bring up the most relevant search results. Which is true, but sometimes Google seems to forget about it, favoring their market leader position.
Jen Gennai, a Google executive, recently released a statement which stated:
“Google has repeatedly been clear that it works to be a trustworthy source of information, without regard to political viewpoint. In fact, Google has no notion of political ideology in its rankings. And everything I have seen backs this up.”
So if you dislike how Google operates as a search engine, you should know there are plenty of alternative search engines you could use.
But what about Google Analytics?
Top 13 Google Analytics Alternatives
Let’s take a closer look at the Google Analytics competition.
StatCounter was founded in 1999 by Aodhán Cullen, who was only 16 years old at the time.
Their mission is:
“to help our members easily understand their visitors, so they can make good decisions to become more successful online.”
The key features include traffic analytics that allows you to track the most important metrics, paid traffic analytics that help you improve your paid advertising campaigns and visitor alerts that send you a notification when an important visitor returns to the website.
There’s also a handy report feature where you can set up daily, weekly or monthly reports where the most important data is sent straight to your inbox.
StatCounter pricing is based on the log space that you need:
It’s worth noting that StatCounter has been in business for 20 years, so it’s unlikely that they will go bust anytime soon.
Gauges is a real-time analytics tool that tracks the most important traffic metrics. It allows you to see the number of unique visitors, the number of pageviews, top content, geographical data, etc.
Gauges is worth considering if all you want is basic analytics software that is easy to use. This analytics tool is available as a free or paid solution (starting at $500/year).
Simple Analytics is focused on providing “simple, clean and friendly analytics” while respecting people’s privacy. Explains Adriaan van Rossum, Simple Analytics founder:
“I am more and more concerned about the privacy of the individual. Big corporations track everything without any consequences. That has to stop. Plus, when tracking your own visitors, do you really need 500 pages of graphs?”
The software only tracks these metrics:
- Top pages.
- Screen sizes.
Here’s what the Simple Analytics dashboard looks like:
As you can see, when they say “simple,” they really mean it. Traffic analytics don’t get more straightforward than this.
There are three pricing tiers: the $9/month Starter plan, the $49/month Business plan, and the custom Enterprise plan. This makes it a highly affordable alternative to Google Analytics, and an ideal option for the less-tech inclined.
Simple Analytics has also received an endorsement from Pieter Levels, founder of RemoteOK and NomadList, and author of the Make book:
“If you’re done with letting your users be tracked by giant corporations, you should try Simple Analytics. It’s a minimalist and privacy-friendly Google Analytics without the tracking.”
Fathom is another company that offers analytics software that respects people’s privacy.
Jack Ellis and Paul Jarvis, founders of the company, want to:
“make the internet a little better and more private by offering a modern analytics tool that’s easy to use and treats citizens of the web with respect and privacy.”
It only tracks these metrics:
- Unique visitors.
- Average time on site.
- Bounce rate.
- Top pages.
- Top referrers.
- Country, Device type, Browser.
- User set Goals.
Here’s what their dashboard looks like:
There are three pricing tiers: the $14/month Standard plan, the $44/month Business plan, and the $114/month Enterprise plan.
Fathom also has a policy of not suspending the account if you go over the view limit:
“Instead, we look at a three-month rolling average, and email you when it’s time to upgrade based on consistent overages, not just occasional traffic spikes.”
This is helpful because if you hit your monthly limit just once, it’s nice to know you won’t be charged additional costs just for that spike (of hope).
Clicky offers analytics software that not only tracks the key metrics but also allows you to see the actions of your visitors, use heatmaps, monitor uptime, and more.
They are an established player in the analytics space, and their software is currently used on 1,192,960 websites.
There are five pricing tiers: the Free plan, the $9.99/month Pro plan, the $14.99 Pro Plus plan, the $19.99/month Pro Platinum plan, and the Custom plan. Not the simplest pricing, if you ask me.
If you can put their dated website design to the side, Clicky’s software does the job. Check out the demo here:
Matomo, previously known as Piwik, offers powerful analytics software while also taking privacy concerns into consideration (by the way, “matomo” means “honesty” in Japanese).
Their mission is:
“to lead the charge in empowering people to take back full control of their own data with a revolutionary analytics platform.”
They are a trusted name in the analytics industry, with their software used on 1.4 million websites in over 190 countries. The software has a wide variety of features, from analytics and conversion optimization to visitor profiles.
One of the more interesting Matomo’s selling points is that they don’t use data sampling:
Basically, data sampling means that you take a sample of the data, analyze it, then extrapolate your findings to the rest of the data. Here’s how Google explains data sampling:
“For example, if you wanted to estimate the number of trees in a 100-acre area where the distribution of trees was fairly uniform, you could count the number of trees in 1 acre and multiply by 100, or count the trees in a half-acre and multiply by 200 to get an accurate representation of the entire 100 acres.”
While using data sampling after a certain traffic threshold saves Google a lot of money, it’s not exactly ideal if you want accurate, granular-level data.
Matomo doesn’t use this statistical analysis method to cut costs. They actually analyze all the data, so you can be sure that what you are seeing corresponds with reality.
There are three pricing tiers: up to 50k monthly pageviews, you have the $19/month Essential plan, the $29/month Business plan, and the custom Enterprise plan:
Also, Matomo pride themselves on their stance on privacy:
“With Matomo, the philosophy around data ownership is simple: you own your data, no one else.”
This sound so right, doesn’t it?
Woopra was founded in 2012 with the idea that there was a need for analytics software that would capture the entire user’s journey.
Since then, the software has grown into a powerful analytics platform with the slogan:
“Visualize and Optimize Every Step of the Customer’s Journey.”
Woopra doesn’t just show you the metrics, it helps you understand how those numbers relate to one another. This is ideal for users who are tech-savvy and want a deeper understanding of their data than some of the other Google analytics alternatives provide.
The software provides insights into customer behavior and allows you to improve the customer experience. It includes features like segmentation, feature usage analytics, bug and error monitoring, trend reports, and much more.
There are three pricing tiers: the free Core plan, the $999/month Pro plan, and the custom Enterprise plan.
Woopra is a great analytics software that can, among others, help SaaS entrepreneurs understand what works and what doesn’t about their product.
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Heap’s software captures all web, mobile, and cloud interactions and analyzes this data. They are focused on helping you understand customer behavior through behavioral data.
It’s an advanced tool, so you need some technical knowledge to fully appreciate their selling points (retroactive analytics, virtual events, etc.).
Heap primarily focuses on serving businesses in three industries: ecommerce, financial services, and SaaS.
They offer three pricing tiers: the Free plan, the Startup plan, and the custom Enterprise plan. All plans include a free 14-day trial so you can try their software without any risk:
Note: I’m sure they’re testing something as a few months ago the Startup plan price was visible and it was $499 for the Startup plan.
Heap has over 6,000 customers with some big names among them such as Microsoft, The Atlantic, Casper, Freshworks, and others.
They also received glowing praise from some of their customers. For example, here’s what Abhishek Ratna, a senior marketing manager at Microsoft, had to say about Heap:
“We have been able to save hours and weeks of effort by using Heap instead of designing multiple ETL jobs to combine data from different tools. Everything just works out of the box.”
Heap is a great tool for those who are looking for advanced analytics software that caters to people who know their way around data.
GoSquared aims to provide software that allows you to understand your customers and talk to them. They explain:
“We believe you shouldn’t need twenty different tools to understand and talk to customers, and that one tightly integrated, thoughtfully designed platform is fundamentally better for all businesses and their customers,”
GoSquared offers three products: analytics, live chat, and customer data hub. Their analytics tool has a variety of features including a real-time web analytics dashboard, smart predictions that help you estimate future traffic, daily email reports, and more:
There are also a lot of integrations available, including Twitter, Slack, Zapier, Shopify, and others.
It’s a solid analytics tool that is easy to set up and easy to use, which makes it ideal for those who don’t enjoy tinkering with tech and would rather spend less time on analytics and more time on their businesses.
You can start using GoSquared’s analytics software for free and then upgrade as your traffic grows. If you opt for the Suite, instead, price starts at £79/month ($96/month):
With the Analytics product, for example, you’ll be asked to pay £29/month ($24/month) if your site gets more than 1,000 pageviews:
Hitsteps offers real-time analytics with features such as heatmaps, page analysis, company profiles, profile visualizing, reports, and more.
There are five pricing tiers: the Free plan, the $4.99/month Starter plan, the $9.99/month Basic plan, the $21.99/month Pro plan, and the $49.99/month Ultimate plan:
This software is worth considering if you want something that goes beyond the basics but is also an affordable replacement for Google analytics.
Kissmetrics was started by Neil Patel and Hiten Shah, entrepreneurs who are well-known in the startup community.
Kissmetrics offers powerful analytics and funnel-analysis software that helps you better understand customer behavior and automate customer engagement.
It is used by over 900 companies, including some well-known brands such as Unbounce. Their value proposition is actually specific to their place as a Google Analytics alternative:
“Move past unreliable session-based analytics like GA into advanced user-based insights.”
Pricing is available only by booking a demo on their website. They’ve recently undergone a rebranding campaign, and have removed their blog, so things do make me think they’re working heavily on their market positioning.
Another Google Analytics alternative you might want to consider is Plausible, a lightweight and open source analytics tool. The main differences with Google Analytics are:
- Transparent and fully open source analytics software. You can inspect their code on GitHub. With Plausible Analytics, you own and control all of your website data.
- The Plausible analytics script weights only 1.4 KB, which makes it 33x smaller than the Google Analytics Global Site Tag. This will help keep your pages loading fast.
Here’s what the dashboard looks like:
The software also includes a Google Search Console integration, so you can see the search queries that lead visitors to your site.
There are three pricing tiers at Plausible: the $6/month Personal plan, the $12/month Startup plan, and the $36/month Business plan. There’s an additional 33% discount for those who subscribe to an annual plan.
The software is in active development and you can check its public roadmap here.
The Piwik PRO Analytics Suite allows you to analyze the complete user journey on your website, app, product pages, intranet.
This Google Analytics alternative ensures compliance with EU, US, Chinese, and Russian data protection laws, including GDPR and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
The main differences between Piwiki PRO and Google Analytics are:
- Privacy compliance: in Google Analytics, data about your users is hosted in data centers scattered around the world. With Piwik PRO this information can be stored on your own servers, in a private or public cloud, always respecting data protection and privacy laws.
- Full data ownership: Google Analytics gives you insight into your clients’ data, but it also uses that information to develop its advertising products (like Google Ads). Piwik PRO gives its customers 100% data ownership.
- No data sampling: with Google Analytics, data sampling occurs automatically when the monthly limit of 500,000 sessions is reached. This means your reports might be misleading. Piwik PRO provides unsampled data with all its pricing plans.
Here’s what the dashboard looks like:
Pricing is available only by requesting a custom quote through their website, where you can pick your preferred hosting option (EU cloud, US cloud, Private Cloud, and On-premises).
Piwik PRO’s flexible configuration and deployment make it a good fit for industries handling sensitive data such as healthcare or finance, but it could be also a good option for every company interested in ethical, privacy-friendly analytics.
Google Analytics is, without a doubt, an excellent analytics tool. But it’s not the only option out there to track analytics.
If it fails to meet your needs or if you are worried about privacy, you should definitely look into the many Google Analytics alternatives.
Sure, if you decide to go with one of the Google Analytics competitors, you might need to actually pay for the software. However, the price will be well worth it if the product is more suitable for your business. Plus, several of the above options offer a free plan for smaller sites.
Remember: “the most popular” doesn’t necessarily mean “the best” and it most certainly doesn’t mean “the best for you.”