Cookie popups and permission forms are disruptive, and users are uncomfortable with how their data is being tracked, stored and owned. A Price Waterhouse Cooper study found that 71% of customers would stop doing business with a company that gave away their sensitive data without permission. And yet, because Google Analytics makes a profit from the personal data they glean from users, it’s an uneasy choice for companies wanting ethical integrity. Supporting independent businesses that genuinely care about privacy has never been easier. We’ve gathered 5 of the most promising alternatives and compared their performance.
Used on over a million websites to date, including Red Bull, NASA and Amnesty International, Matomo promises 100% data ownership, so you are in the driver’s seat regarding your users’ privacy. In addition, it’s GDPR and CCPA-compliant, which means it can be used without needing to ask for consent.
Because it’s open-source, you can install it on as many websites as you like and include as many team members or segments as you need to while your subscription stays the same – approx—$ 32 per month for up to 50,000 page views.
Matomo was launched in 2007 and is still strong, with a straightforward (if not super attractive) interface that gives you a clear snapshot of your customers’ behaviour without compromising their privacy. However, though it’s a solid choice if you’re looking for a Google Analytics alternative, some have found that Matomo’s dashboard is cluttered with features you may never use.
Content Square is another leader in the mission to provide simpler, more streamlined data that doesn’t need to be deciphered by a specialist. However, if you’re a visual learner, you may find the uncomplicated, clean interface and zone-based heat maps easy to understand. Their privacy-first approach rests on clever cookieless technology, but they are known for their AI-generated and automated insights.
Identify errors and frictions before they start costing you money, and do it all while staying GDPR, CCPA and SOC 2 compliant. Interestingly, Content Square can integrate easily with your existing tools (including Google Analytics). As a result, setting up is easy, and you’ll gain access to metrics and features you won’t find elsewhere, although some would find the platform more cluttered than comprehensive.
Data visualization is top-notch, the 24/7 customer support is excellent, and a thriving Content Square community and even a “university” bursting with tutorials and guidance. On the downside, using Content Square to compare metrics across devices is difficult. Though it may be one of the top-rated analytics platforms, it’s frustratingly vague on pricing (you’ll need to get a custom quote) and does not offer a free trial or unpaid version.
A quick clarification: Matomo used to be called Piwik, so if you notice similarities between Piwik PRO and Matomo, it’s because of their shared history – many of the same developers created open-source code for both products. In 2016 the companies diverged, however, and now operate independently.
Piwik PRO is a robust and comprehensive analytics suite that emphasizes security and data privacy, allowing you to put your security regulations compliance as an absolute priority. But this doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice features or lose analytical insight. You can still measure and improve your user experience with a sophisticated platform that keeps you in charge at every step of the customer journey.
An impressive feature is the ability to collect consent and data requests to streamline your compliance procedures, no matter where you are. Piwik PRO has demos available, but you’ll have to request a personalized one on their site. The biggest plus is that the suite is free for up to 100,000 sessions per month. However, the catch is that you must put your name on a waiting list to access their free plan (“Piwik PRO Core”). The other option is to go up to the next plan, the most expensive option on our list at $419 monthly.
Try Plausible if you’re looking for a lightweight, simple, and streamlined Google analytics alternative. It was first developed in the EU in 2019 and is one of the fastest-growing open-source startups. However, the founders claim they are not interested in raising funds or taking investments. Furthermore, they claim they are not interested in collecting and analyzing huge amounts of personal information from web users and using these behavioural insights to sell advertisements.
Instead, the company is about self-sustaining, privacy-focused alternatives for those who want to gain insight into customer behaviour without participating in the growing problems of surveillance capitalism. Plausible is GDPR, CCPR and PECR compliant and continues to be hosted in the EU. You’re guaranteed to maintain 100% data ownership on your websites, so you don’t need to subject your users to cookie banners or annoying consent pop-ups.
People like Plausible’s ease of integration, sleek-looking dashboard, affordable pricing ($6 per month) and simple analytics. However, one obvious red flag is that it has yet to stand the test.
As far as simplicity goes, Fathom Analytics is certainly an appealing option. At first glance, you can see the potential for saving time – instead of scrolling through endless pages of reports trying to glean something useful, Fathom presents you with a neat, intuitive dashboard displaying everything in one place. It’s the analytics tool of choice for GitHub, Transistor and Buffer, and like the other tools on this list, it takes your user’s privacy seriously.
With no cookies, it’s GDPR, CCPA, PECR, COPPA and ePrivacy compliant and can be used on an unlimited number of sites. Fathom is one of the most effective choices since subscription plans start at $14 monthly for up to 100,000 views. In addition, fathom’s servers are auto-scaling and on-demand so that they won’t interfere with site speeds, and to install it, you only need to cut and paste a small snippet of code into your site’s header section – nothing more.
As for the pros, fans of Fathom find the dashboard beautiful and especially like that you can share it publicly for extra transparency. However, a few noted cons are that the lower tier subscription is less well-maintained than the mid-range options and that, like Plausible, the company is still in its early days, having only launched in 2018.
Which to choose?
We believe each option on our list has something to offer, but privacy is ultimately a personal decision. Of course, most business owners want some insight into their site traffic, but there is a difference between tracking the performance of your content and tracking your user. And while all businesses want to understand what works and what doesn’t, it’s fair to say that this is not the same as selling data to advertisers.
The analytics tools will depend on your needs. The right option will feel simple and easy to use and tick all privacy boxes.
What about you? Which web analytics tool will your company use from 2023?