The 6 Only Google Analytics Alternatives Worth Considering
Given that it’s free and already very popular, Google Analytics currently dominates the web analytics market. But there are many reasons why you’d want to search for an alternative - privacy, and ease-of-use being the most common ones.
Before we dive into looking at Google Analytics alternatives, it’s important to consider why this is even something you should consider.
Top reasons to consider using a Google Analytics alternative:
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Google collects enough data on everyone. They have your browser history, your search history, your location history, your emails. Google probably knows more about you & your habits then you do.
So if you really want to take that into consideration for your website visitors, switching away to a self-hosted alternative where you don’t share data with anyone is the way to go.
- Data ownership
As mentioned above, when using Google Analytics, you don’t really own any of the data that they collect for you. They limit what you can see, and for those who are privacy-aware not letting Google Analytics collect & potentially take advantage of their customer/visitor data is an important consideration.
There are significant limitations to what is possible in Google Analytics while other web analytics software can be more flexible if you’re a developer and know how to extend it further.
Let’s face it Google Analytics also isn’t that easy to use. A lot of the alternatives we cover in this article actually make it far easier to find the data that truly matters to you so you can use it to make data-driven decisions.
Alright, now that we know why we’re looking at alternatives to Google Analytics – let’s dive right into it.
First up on our list is Fathom Analytics, a strong and simple alternative to Google Analytics. Its dashboard is where you’ll find all your data, and even goals, in a clearly visible manner. In Google Analytics, this seemingly simple insight will take you a bit more time to dig up, forcing you to customize your dashboard for each site in order to do so.
If you run multiple websites or apps, Fathom Analytics makes it easy for you to switch between them. It’s much more simple than using the Views function of your Properties in Google Analytics.
With Google Analytics, you might often need their events feature, but this feature can be difficult to get the hang of. With, Fathom, on the other hand, it’s way easier to set your site goals. To do so, you only need to follow two simple steps: create a goal by giving it a name, and then add the click handler to a link.
Fathom is also more friendly for ad blockers than Google Analytics, as the latter gets blocked by most of them. In turn, most ad blockers don’t block Fathom because:
- it’s more light-weight, and as such, harder to get noticed by ad blockers;
- it strongly cares about user privacy, which is not the case with Google Analytics.
All in all, Fathom Analytics is a privacy-friendly and more user-friendly alternative to Google Analytics. It tracks your site’s users but doesn’t collect user data, whereas, with Google Analytics, privacy will likely be a real concern for you.
Fathom gives you easily understandable insights into your top content and top referrers. Its pricing plans start at $14/month.
Matomo aims to provide a full analytics experience, while at the same time letting you own your data completely. Both Matomo and Google Analytics give you reports on your website’s users and how they interact with it, but, much like Fathom, Matomo actually focuses on protecting your users’ privacy.
Matomo Cloud’s tracking abilities depend on your subscription, which is, in fact, one of its downsides. Unlimited tracking is reserved for enterprise-level users only, whereas Google Analytics doesn’t put a limit on the number of users, goals, segments, and custom dimensions, plus it’s completely free.
However, when it comes to tracking the performance of your online forms, Matomo is simpler to use. Google Analytics makes it necessary for you to configure event tracking to measure this. Matomo, on the other hand, has a forms tracking feature which automatizes this process, saving you the time and effort.
Matomo started off as Piwik, an open-source alternative to Google Analytics. Today, it provides features such as common site analytics (goals and campaigns), video and audio analytics, keyword tracking, A/B testing, and online form audits.
Better yet, Matomo is free & open-source software (FOSS) which means you can install it on your own VPS cloud server. Learn how to install Matomo here...
MixPanel is another alternative to Google Analytics, the main difference between the two being the tracking method MixPanel uses. It’s mostly based on event tracking, unlike Google Analytics which generally relies on page view tracking.
When it comes to real-time reporting, there’s a significant difference between MixPanel and Google Analytics. Usually, Google Analytics updates reports for minor sites very quickly. However, when it comes to bigger ones, it takes Google Analytics a bit of time to process all the data, sometimes even up to 24 hours. This is an issue you won’t have with MixPanel, which can update all data much faster, sometimes in a matter of seconds.
Another field in which MixPanel beats Google Analytics is funnel analysis, which is used to determine how visitors navigate a given website. MixPanel makes it easy to create a funnel in a couple of steps. You just need to choose the events in sequence, and you can also use them retroactively to measure conversions based on past browsing data for your site. This is a feature that Google Analytics doesn’t have, even though you can create funnels with it too.
Google Analytics uses browser cookies to locate individual users by storing their unique client ID. This method only checks visitors from a single device, however, and cannot identify the same visitor in case they switch devices without having you configure cross-device tracking for a single user ID.
This may be a bit complicated to pull off if you don’t have any programming experience. MixPanel, on the other hand, lets you directly locate individual users without using cookies. Its People Analytics tool helps you set up customizable profiles, do unique user searches, and more.
MixPanel is focused on event tracking, that is, evaluating site user actions to determine what actions they take the most. You can track any user action with MixPanel, while Google Analytics is mostly useful for page views insights.
MixPanel’s retention analysis method, designed to give you insights into the actions of new users, is also different from Google Analytics’ approach. It lets you check if new users visit your site again and how often they do it. Google Analytics provides you with its cohort analysis method, which offers similar functionality but not quite the same as MixPanel’s.
MixPanel, like Google Analytics, includes A/B testing, but only for mobile users. Google Analytics lets you do web A/B testing for both desktop and mobile users.
Lastly, MixPanel lets you set incremental properties manually, which enables you to create a list of users more interested in what you sell on your site. If you’re using Google Analytics, you’d have to use advanced segments for counting purchases in order to get similar insights.
MixPanel is a great option for marketing and sales agencies. They can use it to streamline their sales funnel better through features like A/B testing and event tracking, as well as its functionalities focused on measuring user actions.
MixPanel has a developed API library, making it easy for you to integrate it with your marketing stack. When it comes to pricing, it has a free plan as well as professional plans that start at $24/month.
Kissmetrics analytics mostly focuses on user interactions, relating page views to the person behind them rather than devices or cookies. One important feature that sets Kissmetrics apart is people tracking, something that Google Analytics also provides but is still way easier with Kissmetrics.
A/B testing isn’t included in core Kissmetrics, though third-party tools can make it available. In fact, both Google Analytics and Kissmetrics offer you an easy way to generate reports by using third-party tools.
Kissmetrics’ activity report allows you to quickly visualize your events to have an insight into what causes trends such as traffic spikes, for example. Finding what causes trends in Google Analytics requires you to dig more into its reports and have a more solid knowledge of the platform itself, while Kissmetrics’ activity report makes this whole procedure way simpler.
Through the enhanced eCommerce tracking for Google Analytics, you can get a better grasp of user actions related to the purchase funnel, which can help you compile a list of users who interacted with the products you sell, even if they didn’t buy anything. Whereas Google Analytics doesn’t allow you to contact them in any way, Kssmetrics actually lets you send them an email about the purchase they didn’t complete, giving you a way to re-attract them to the product they were interested in.
Kissmetrics also lets you create populations, which are specific groups of people relevant to your business. It also lets you measure the actions of each population to give you an idea of their behavior changes. For instance, you can group all users who have subscribed to your site into a single population, or users who have purchased over or under a set sum, and more.
To set up Google Analytics events, you need to add specific event codes to your website, which is difficult if you’re not good at coding. Kissmetrics simplifies the process of setting up events without requiring coding knowledge.
As a people-centered alternative, Kissmetrics lets you easily find users with similar behaviors. You can set up user searches by events, property, and identity criteria. These searches let you re-engage users’ behavior to help you drive conversion.
Kissmetrics’ main focus is on people’s behavior. It gives you in-depth knowledge about your website’s visitors’ actions, which can help you improve engagements and conversions.
You can make use of Kissmetrics’ social integrations and email functionalities that let you personalize your interactions with your site visitors according to their behavior and site actions.
Pricing plans for Kissmetrics start at $299/month.
GoSquared’s main focus is accuracy. It provides insight into the time users spend on your website, measuring it way better than Google Analytics. It does so by using pings, meaning that when users are on a page of your website, they periodically send signals informing GoSquared that they’re still online.
GoSquared’s engagement widget, which is part of its Now dashboard, tells you how many of your site’s visitors are active on it rather than just having it open without doing anything. It does so by determining whether your page is open in a particular visitor’s main tab, whether their cursor is actively moving, and other factors. Google Analytics’ definition of active users is far less accurate – if a user performs a page view or starts an event in the last five minutes, they’re considered active.
Different ad blockers also act differently when it comes to GoSquared. Much like Fathom Analytics, most of those who block Google Analytics don’t block GoSquared – even though on rare occasions it’s the other way around – so this can be considered an advantage for GoSquared.
GoSquared is best for tracking site visitors at a given time. It gives you an insight into your visitors' traffic source and also lets you know which exact pages of your site they’re on.
This alternative can also be used for improving the sales process with functionalities such as live chat and team inbox. Pricing plans start at $29/month.
Heap is designed to show you what your website visitors actually do while browsing your site. It measures what kind of actions users take, their conversion rate, and more.
Another alternative that goes beyond Google Analytics’ calculating page views and sessions, Heap’s reporting features provide you with detailed information about user behavior. Heap shows you exactly what users are up to on your site, rather than just statistically noting how many times they’ve visited it.
Unlike Google Analytics, Heap actively keeps track of clicks, field changes, and form submissions. Even if you are in the middle of updating your site, Heap still keeps automatically performing these calculations while you do so. Heap gives you a clear idea of how much your site engages its visitors. It makes it easy for you to get a better understanding of your site’s feature usage and user friction, and it doesn’t require advanced coding knowledge.
Google Analytics doesn’t go all the way when it comes to combining anonymous and known user behavior, and it doesn’t relate actions from different devices that are more than 90 days apart from each other. With Heap, all of this is accounted for. It lets you keep track of user behaviors no matter their nature and time interval. This helps you optimize retention and conversion regardless of the devices your site’s visitors use.
Heap is a tool that makes it easy for its users to understand advanced web analytics, even if you aren’t a techie. You will have no issue to quickly set it up either.
Heap automates the tracking of user behavior and interactions with your site. It lets you make web analytics retroactively as well. It has a free, growth, and enterprise pricing plan, but you have to directly contact them through their site’s pricing section to get a price.
We hope this list helps you familiarize yourself with the best Google Analytics alternatives out there. All of the above options offer many features Google Analytics is missing. Our personal favorite, however, is Matomo since it’s the most fully-featured alternative and allows you to take complete ownership of your data because it can be deployed on a VPS cloud server that you own.