3 Privacy-Friendly Website Analytics Tools to Avoid Google Analytics

The Internet economy exists in large part because of advertising. This involves tracking website visitors between sites and building detailed profiles on them – to better sell them things they may not want or need.

You can help keep your users’ data private with the privacy-friendly Google Analytics alternative web analytics tools. Here we will look at three of them.

Why do website owners use Google Analytics?

Analytics help website owners understand what visitors want to read on their site, how they get there, which authors and publishers are performing well, and how users move from page to page. This is valuable information in that it helps website owners create better content that visitors will want to consume.

Of course, analytics are also used to provide valuable customer insights. These may be used directly by the website for advertising purposes or sold to other advertisers. This is not always the case, so the analyzes are not always negative. But, they are not always very privacy-oriented.

Why You Should Avoid Google Analytics

Google Analytics offers all the benefits described above, but it also collects large amounts of personal information about website users. The service then gathers them from each website visited by a user on which Google Analytics is deployed.

This gives advertising and tracking companies unique insight into a user’s likes, dislikes, sexuality, health, and all sorts of metrics they’d rather keep private.

Even with ad blockers or other opt-out tracking extensions enabled, Google Analytics may collect details such as IP address and user agent string whenever you visit a site that uses part of the network. GA. This information alone is usually enough to link web activity to an individual.

There are raging debates over whether such invasive tracking is legal, and several European governments have banned or are in the process of banning its use, in part because of the transmission of data to the United States.

Despite the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requiring companies to obtain consent for user tracking, many websites ignore it because it can be difficult to put implemented, especially with niche content management systems.

Website visitors are also increasingly nervous about tracking companies knowing everything they do on the web and in the real world, and some are actively avoiding sites that use Google Analytics.

3 privacy-focused alternatives to Google Analytics

Google Analytics has become the dominant analytics package because it’s easy to deploy, free for websites, and reveals a staggering amount of data. A privacy-friendly analytics package should provide website owners with the data they need to improve their website without passing this information on to third parties.

The software should also be easy to configure. Whether you consider these features worth paying for is up to you. Privacy-friendly analytics exist, and here are some of the best:

1. Matomo

Matomo Analytics was formerly known as Piwik and was launched in 2007 as a free, open-source alternative to Google Analytics with a focus on user privacy. Among its features, Matomo shows visitors in real time and displays this information in text and graph form, as well as a world map showing where visitors are coming from and an overview of behavior on the site.

Matomo boasts GDPR compliance, 100% data ownership, reliability and security.

Although Matomo offers paid cloud hosting for your analyses, it is free to host, very easy to set up and run on your own hardware. It works great even on old or underpowered hardware and can handle large numbers of visitors without loss of stability, even on a Raspberry Pi.

2. Koko Analysis

If your website is WordPress-based, Koko Analytics is incredibly easy to install. Just click “Add New” in the Plugins section and search for “Koko Analytics”.

User privacy is Koko Analytics’ number one concern and in the settings you will find an option to perform log-based analytics. This is less accurate than cookie-based analytics and doesn’t do a perfect job of detecting returning visitors, but provides additional privacy for your users if you choose to opt-in.

The data is displayed in easy-to-understand graphs, and when Koko is able to detect where a visitor is coming from or the route they landed on your site, this will also be displayed.

No personal information is ever tracked and Koko is fully GDPR compliant. Data can be configured to be deleted automatically after a set number of days.

3. Plausible analyzes

Plausible Analytics is a latecomer to the world of privacy-aware analytics with development beginning in late 2018 and the first release in April 2019. The hosted version of Plausible charges based on the number of visits to your site, with the lowest tier (up to up to 10,000 pageviews per month) costing $9 per month.

Plausible is developed and hosted in the EU and is GDPR and CCPA compliant, as well as the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation. With the analytics tool, there are no persistent identifiers, no personal data is collected, and no cookies are used.

Useful features for web admins include the ability to create goals, track events and conversions, and share your dashboard with viewers who aren’t logged in.

In addition to paid hosting, you are also free to host plausible analytics on your own hardware, whether at your business premises or at home. There is no charge to download it and no charge to use it as you wish.

There are great privacy-focused alternatives to Google Analytics

Getting the information you need about your visitors doesn’t necessarily mean selling their data to ad agencies. We’ve shown you three fantastic alternatives that can generate detailed data while maintaining your users’ privacy. Best of all, they don’t need to rely on any external infrastructure; you can run them yourself on your own servers.

There are other privacy-focused analytics tools, if you have a requirement that none of these options satisfies. It may also be worth considering a separate tool to monitor your website traffic.

Charles J. Kaplan