The Top Alternatives To Google Analytics

Authored By: James LePage
Published On: May 18, 2020

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Our agency has been experimenting with Google Analytics alternatives as solutions to our customers increasing desires to break from the technological behemoth.

84% of websites use Google analytics as their statistical analytics platform for their website. It's a super powerful tool, but there are several cases where you may want to explore alternatives.

Google Analytics is powerful but complicated and if you want a simple chart / graph of where your visitors are coming from and how many you have, you may not want to use this solution.

The service is also pretty heavy on the back end, and may take time to load. We've experienced this in the past few months, slow loading times of statistics, and would rather an instantaneous experience. 

On the front end, the tracking script may take some time to load, as it's pretty big -  This impacts the performance of your website.

Google Analytics also uses cookies, which means in regions that the GDPR and consumer data privacy protections are enacted,  you'll need to display a cookie banner. You can get around this by using an analytics service that doesn't use cookies.

There's also a big movement towards open source software, and Google is the direct opposite of Open Source. 

In this article we wanted to explore four alternatives to Google Analytics that are low-cost or free to self-host, offer great UI/UX, and help you get around cookie notices by not having cookies.

While there are at least 60+  competitors out there, not all are equal. There are many projects that are abandoned or outdated, have a very poor user interface, or simply don't measure up to Google Analytics. 

The four solutions that we looked at have one or more of the above-mentioned features and may be a viable alternative to Google Analytics for some users.  Without any further adieu, let's get into our list of competitors.

Matomo

If you're looking for a full-blown replacement to Google Analytics, then Matomo is first on the list.  it's an open source, free solution who's features rival Google Analytics (and even beat them in some metrics).

Because we're a WordPress agency, we tested out their integrated WordPress solution, which allows you to host your analytics platform on  the same server as your website. This gives you a lot more control over user data, compared to Google Analytics, which is something that you can value if you are focused on privacy.

We use Matomo Analytics on our website, and also offer it to our clients due to its ease-of-use, good design, and powerful platform. We especially like the real-time features, specifically the real-time map, real-time visitor log and real time updates that can be pushed to every visual data interface on the platform.

Read: https://isotropic.co/moving-to-matomo-google-analytics-biggest-competition/

Fathom

Fathom is a super simple, lightweight, open source analytics solution. If you don't like Google analytics because of its complexities, and they're looking for a simple alternative, Fathom is your match.

They also don't use cookies which  means you don't have to display a cookie batter on your website, even in the European Union (as long as you have no other cookies). This cleans up the user experience.

While this is a really simple application, it's built for scale, and can handle any traffic spikes you may receive. In some cases the simplicity may help you if you scale rapidly, compared to other solutions which may break or slow down if confronted with massive traffic spikes. 

Our agency is looking into including this alternative to Google analytics in all of our simple client websites, as it's fast, doesn't add another cookie, and you can add unlimited tracking accounts to one installation.

SimpleAnalytics

This is another analytics solution that is very simple, but has a few more features than Fathom. They also don't have any cookies, which means you don't need to display any banners to be compliant with privacy regulations. 

Unlike some other solutions, Simple Analytics offers a WordPress plugin, which makes it easy to embed this dashboard into your website backend. At the same time, you need a paid plan to do this. 

The platform also has a really neat feature that displays recent tweets that mention you. This makes it a bit unique from others, and we +1 it for that. One other thing we noticed about this software was that the development team behind it is extremely responsive to customer feedback. Simply look at their Twitter and see how they adapt their platform to meet customer needs. That’s pretty awesome. 

This platform may be a great idea if you're playing around with other methods of building websites (non-wordpress), like something with Gatsby or React.

Plausible.io

And last but not least we come across Plausible.io. 

It's features are very similar to the previous two -- great UI, simple, and lightweight.

This will also generate weekly or monthly reports on your website traffic, a feature that other Google Analytics alternatives don't have. We also really like the feature that allows you to share online reports with your clients via a link.

You can even open your statistics up to the public, like plausible does on their own website, and we really like the social aspect of this alternative. 

Like some other solutions, the two developers behind this product are extremely responsive and have an active and promising future road map. 

This is an open source solution, but it lacks the documentation needed for non power users to install it themselves. Luckily, it's monthly plans are pretty affordable.


This article should have given you a good overview of viable Google Analytics alternatives. There's a robust ecosystem of competitors to the behemoth in the industry, each offering their own unique spin on website Analytics. Best of all, most are either open source or offer free trials, so you can test them out on your website before moving from Google Analytics for good.

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James LePage is the founder of Isotropic Design, a digital agency that builds WordPress websites. I read, write and design constantly!

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