See more articles

Avoid GA4 With The 30+ Best Google Analytics Alternatives

A logo featuring the Google Analytics man.
A logo featuring the Google Analytics man.

Google Analytics has historically been the go-to tool for webmasters everywhere to analyze their websites.

When properly implemented, web analytics allow website owners to fine-tune their site performance using data pulled directly from their users’ behavior and interactions.

Google Analytics has always thrived because it comes straight from Google itself. After all, where better to get your vital performance information than straight from the horse’s mouth?

Google Analytics isn’t faultless, however. Increased competitor pressure has built up in recent years, coupled with several stumbles in the rollout of Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

With Google set to sunset the old Universal Analytics on July 1st, 2023, there has never been a better time to look into switching to one of Google Analytics’ top competitors.

5 Frustrating Problems With Google Analytics

Before we leap into the top competitors, it’s worth addressing what issues SEOs are having with Google Analytics, either via the old Universal Analytics or the new Google Analytics 4.

Understanding these issues will help determine which tools are best to take up the torch as the best GA4 alternatives and the limitations of analytics tools overall.

Already pulling your hair out over the changes to GA4? Leap ahead to find our picks for the best Google Analytics competitors.

FATJOE graphic listing Google Analytics problems

The Learning Curve

Universal Analytics wasn’t exactly straightforward, but now that it is being sunsetted and all its users are being coerced into learning GA4, the least Google could’ve done was make it easy to learn.

Unfortunately, even for Universal Analytics stalwarts, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Event tracking and other features are more advanced, which can make it an ideal platform for data wizards, but most marketers have been left bemused by the new platform so far.

 

GDPR Compliance and Ad Blockers

Google Analytics is not GDPR compliant by default in some countries. This can cause massive compliance issues for SEOs and marketers looking to integrate the analytics platform into their reporting.

Even if you can resolve these issues for the country you are operating in or targeting, it’s enough to set many on edge when implementing the tool.

Added on top of these concerns is the fact that opt-outs and ad blockers can cause loss of data.

While it’s, of course, valuable to provide end users the ability to opt out of certain tracking and into enhanced privacy, this does mean the available data can be diminished or potentially skewed.

Data Storage Compliance Issues

Further to the potential GDPR issues, there are concerns about possible data storage compliance issues.

Google Analytics stores user data on its US-based cloud servers. This user data can, of course, include the data of EU residents and users, which can potentially cause a massive compliance headache.

Couple this with the fact that as a US-owned company, Google is subject to US surveillance laws, and you’ve got a melting pot of data regulation issues all overlapping. The Cloud Act gives governmental bodies access to any data hosted in US regions, including that stored by Google for Google Analytics.

EU regulatory bodies and end-users are naturally concerned about this with the knock-on effect that GA4 is being shunned by many marketers.

 

Data Sampling

In some reports, GA will take samples of your data and use subsets to determine results rather than analyzing the whole thing.

Sampling can be useful to break down unwieldy data but bear in mind that it can kick in automatically when you hit approximately 500,000 sessions within a single property.

This won’t affect most users, but for enterprise-level analytics properties, this is certainly something to account for.

The bigger issue here is how Google Analytics can potentially skew the data with its own interventions, possibly without users otherwise noticing.

Website Performance

Some suspect that the script can actually affect a website’s performance.

This is one for speculation at this point, rather than a confirmed phenomenon, but webmasters and SEOs are rightly dubious about implementing anything that could have a negative effect on a client’s site.

Our Top Picks for the Best Google Analytics Alternatives

Best for Privacy Features – Fathom Analytics

fathom analytics dashboard

Fathom Analytics takes home our pick for Best Privacy Features as it respects users’ privacy by not collecting any personal data.  Most other analytics platforms track and store personal information but Fathom is wholly anonymized, which we love. 

Fathom provides a clear data processing agreement (DPA) that outlines how user data is processed and protected, ensuring GDPR compliance. This is excellent for both your own use and client use as you can rest easy knowing you’re GDPR compliant throughout, avoiding any sticky situations with clients.

The platform also offers users the ability to anonymize IP addresses. This gives users more control over their data which is always a plus point. Google, and specifically GA4, is known for its issues around this, so this is a major plus.

All data is stored on a remote server and can be downloaded to your machine on request. This again is excellent for peace of mind around your data and its usage. It also opens up great opportunities to then analyze that data yourself for additional insights.

Speaking of insights, the platform allows you to segment traffic and analyse user interaction with detailed insights on different groups of users. While it’s our top pick for privacy features Fathom is also a standout choice for its range of analytics features.

Other key features:

  • Paid tool with a 30-day free trial available (Fathom Lite is free)
  • Minimalist dashboard focusing on essential metrics
  • Can be Self-Hosted with Fathom Lite
  • Easy to use and great for beginners
  • Has a lightweight script over 20 times smaller than Google Analytics

Get started with Fathom here.

The Best FREE Analytics Platform – OpenWebAnalytics (OWA)

OpenWebAnalytics dashboard

Our choice for the best free platform is OpenWebAnalytics. As its name may imply, OpenWebAnalytics is an Open Source platform. It is free to use and modify, making it an affordable option for small businesses and individuals

OWA offers a robust set of features and functionalities on par with many paid analytics platforms. It’s a great analytics solution to start with given its breadth of features and the low low price of free.

Despite being free it provides in-depth reports and analysis, including real-time tracking, goal conversion tracking, and segmentation. It certainly doesn‘t feel like a free offering with the suit of features on show here.

As an Open Source tool OWA is highly customizable, allowing users to tailor their analytics to meet their specific needs. This also means the platform can grow with you, keeping things simple early on and factoring in more dimensions and metrics as you gain confidence.

If you’re budget conscious and looking for more cost-effective solutions to measure your organic performance, check out some of the best free SEO tools to supplement your analytics platform.

Other key features:

  • Can be self-hosted
  • Similar interface and features as Google Analytics

You can download OWA here.

The Best Overall Google Analytics Alternative – Matomo (formerly Piwik)

matomo analytics dashboard

Our pick for the Best Overall Google Analytics Alternative is Matomo (formerly called Piwik). 

Matomo offers versatility from the get-go with both a free self-hosted version and a paid cloud version which allows for easy integration for most features as part of a monthly fee (cost dependent on your traffic). 

Matomo is completely Open Source and is free to modify and use. This is massive, especially for such an in-depth service, as it also allows for your own data importation. This adds to the versatility as you can really tailor it to meet your specific reporting requirements.

It also offers customizable reports and analysis, allowing users to fine-tune their analytics to meet their specific needs. 

For those with privacy concerns, Matomo doesn’t share any data with 3rd party companies. It boasts full compliance with GDPR, CCPA, and HIPAA out of the box. In light of concerns with GA4’s handling of the same issue, this is a real plus.

Back to the reporting side of things, Matomo offers a full suite of CRO tools. These include Heatmaps, Session Recordings, and even A/B Testing. Google notably doesn’t provide these, putting Matomo ahead of GA4.

The platform offers 100% accurate reports with no data sampling so you can rest assured any and all takeaways divined from their data are accurate and valid.

Matomo can help you build up visitor profiles for enhanced targeting, enhancing your ROI for the time invested in the analytics. Not only does the platform help in macro-scale reporting these profiles can help you hone in on targeted performance reporting for the most accurate data possible.

It also offers robust SEO features. The platform integrates directly with Google Search Console, Keyword referral and ranking reports, crawl statistics, and core web vitals. This helps SEOs build a more in depth and complete picture of their holistic web performance, allowing for invaluable insights within a single reporting structure,

Overall we believe Matomo doesn’t just compete with Google Analytics and GA4, it beats it. Matomo is a more customizable, secure, detailed and user-friendly analytics platform than Google Analytics, making it the clear choice for the best Google Analytics alternative in our opinion.

Start your 21-day free trial of Matomo here.

Want to check out some more top GA4 competitors? We’ve compiled 30+ for you!

5 Things To Consider With Analytics Platforms

While there are many outstanding solutions available that can provide webmasters with the features and tools they need, and at a price point in line with their budget, each tool does have its pros and cons.

Here are the 5 key considerations to make when choosing an analytics platform for your needs:

FATJOE graphic listing things to consider with analytics platforms

How Easy Is It To Use?

The general consensus is that GA4 is difficult to use, even more so than the old Universal Analytics, which wasn’t exactly known as user-friendly.

Analytics are inherently quite convoluted, with shedloads of available data potentially overwhelming users.

If you have people dedicated to managing your analytics, a more advanced solution may be worth exploring, especially if you’re dealing with enterprise projects. Otherwise, a platform that makes it easy to find essential metrics and create reports may be best.

How Much Does It Cost?

Needless to say, we all want the most cost-effective option for our analytics.

While Google Analytics 4 remains free, other free alternatives could fit the bill for you.

Some of the paid options offer free trials or versions with limited features too, so you don’t need to worry about splashing the cash immediately.

Is It Open-Source?

This is one for the more hands-on deep divers to consider.

Open-source software is created using code that is designed to be publicly accessible. Any potential users can see, modify, or even distribute variants of the code as they see fit.

Using an analytics platform based on open-source software means you can access the source code to customize it to whatever bespoke requirements you have.

This can make them a cost-effective competitor to bespoke software if you know how to edit and repurpose the code.

Even for those who don’t want to customize their analytics tools, open source solutions might still be appealing as you know additional functionality and developments will be peer-reviewed.

Another plus is that if a tool using an open-source base were to suddenly become paywalled, you could pivot easily to another version using the same base.

Can It Be Self-Hosted?

This is another one that applies more to users that want to be really hands-on with their data.

A self-hosted analytics tool means it is installed on your own web servers.

The upside of this is that it gives you enhanced control over where your data is kept and how it is then used. It can help circumvent the compliance issues mentioned earlier (as long as your own hosting solution is compliant).

While hosted solutions are great for being ready to use right out of the box, self-hosted solutions mean you’re in control of your data. You just need the knowledge about server management and the computing power to back it up!

How Suitable Is It For Specific Uses?

Analytics platforms can provide a great suite of tools for marketers, but not every tool is necessarily required for every marketer. Some will have interests and use cases that focus on specific aspects of the reports. There’s no point using a platform that is a jack of all trades if you only need a master of one.

Some potential use cases are:

  • SEO Projects

You can determine how suitable a tool is for SEO projects by its ability to monitor important metrics for organic performance. Including keyword analysis, conversion tracking etc.

A tool that doesn’t cover these vital points won’t be of any use for an SEO.

  • Digital Marketing Campaigns

Useful tools for campaign tracking will provide a holistic overview of website performance based on various marketing channels.

Multi-channel tracking is vital for anyone providing comprehensive digital marketing campaign reports.

  • SaaS (Software as a Service)

Anyone integrating a tool for SaaS tracking will want to ensure it provides ample reporting on key areas such as customer engagement stats and user behavior throughout sessions.

This can drive product implementation and development, so these metrics are must-haves for any tool.

  • Data Privacy

A timely one given the concerns mentioned earlier, it’s vital to ensure that the tool allows for proper data tracking, storage, and collection for your given jurisdiction.

The best tools will be able to scale to enterprise-level solutions for data management and will have proven track records and processes for data handling. They can also allow you to modify options and tracking accordingly for best compliance across the board, even to the possible detriment of your data.

You really don’t want to find yourself on the hook for breaches around this, so make sure you select the best tool for your needs here.

30+ Google Analytics Alternatives

In addition to our top picks, we’ve also created a list of the best web analytics platforms and noted some key info about each one.

If you’ve just jumped here from the start, keep the below points in mind to check which platform is suited to you.

  • Pricing
  • User-Friendliness
  • Open Source
  • Self-Hosting Capability
  • Data Compliance
  • Suitability for SEO

With those points in mind, let’s dive into our list of the best web analytics platforms competing with Google Analytics.

FATJOE checklist of features for the 30+ best google analytics alternatives

Countly

  • A free version is available for up to 10,000 monthly users
  • Easy to use and customize
  • Open Source and can be Self-Hosted
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Has a wide range of advanced features suitable for both user behavior and SEO

Posthog

  • Free for up to 1 million events per month. Upgrade required for advanced features
  • Easy-to-use and customizable dashboards
  • Open source and can be self-hosted
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Broad range of analytics, including some SEO features

Piwik PRO

  • Free for up to 500,000 monthly actions
  • Simple interface and is fairly easy-to-use
  • Can be self-hosted using the on-premise version
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Has a wide range of analytic features, including some useful SEO analysis

Umami

umami analytics dashboard

  • Free and open-source
  • User-friendly, simplified interface
  • Can be Self-Hosted
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Currently a new platform in beta, Umami has a wide variety of analytics but does not have many SEO-related features

AWStats

  • Free to download
  • Requires technical knowledge to configure and can be intimidating for beginners
  • Open Source and can be Self-Hosted
  • GDPR compliance falls on the user’s privacy configuration
  • Provides some useful insights but isn’t as advanced as Google Analytics

Clicky

  • Free and paid versions available with a 21-day free trial
  • Easy to use and customize
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Has a lot of advanced features including SEO-related data
  • A popular, affordable choice for small-medium businesses

GoAccess

  • Free to download
  • The command-line interface isn’t the most user-friendly
  • Open Source and can be Self-Hosted
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Great for monitoring real-time traffic data but lacks SEO features

Lucky Orange

  • Free up to 500 monthly pageviews, with a 7-day free trial
  • Easy to use with a clean interface
  • GDPR-compliant with additional privacy features
  • Provides great insights into user behavior and offers some SEO-related features

Panelbear

  • Free for up to 1000 page views per month
  • User-friendly and customizable interface
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Has a wide range of analytics features, including useful SEO data

Plausible Analytics

  • Paid tool based on usage with a 30-day free trial available
  • Easy to use and setup
  • Open source and can be self-hosted
  • GDPR-compliant
  • SEO-related features are limited but there is a wide range of analytics available

Segment

  • Free up to 1000 visitors per month
  • User-friendly interface with customizable dashboards
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Wide range of analytics, including SEO features
  • Ideal for supercharging customer acquisition

Statcounter

  • Free for up to 500 page views per month. Upgrade required for advanced features
  • Easy to use with customizable dashboards
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Wide range of analytics, including SEO features

Volument

  • Free for up to 10,000 page views per month
  • Clean interface with simplified insights
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Currently a new platform in beta, Volument is devised as a simple alternative to Google Analytics. It also has some SEO features

Woopra

  • Free for up to 500,000 actions per month. Upgrade required for advanced features
  • Clean, modern interface with customizable reports and dashboards
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Wide range of analytics, including SEO features

Pirsch

Pirsch analytics dashboard

  • Paid tool based on monthly page views with a 30-day free trial available
  • Simple and user-friendly interface
  • Can be self-hosted
  • GDPR-compliant with additional data privacy options
  • Reports on essential metrics including keyword data for SEO

Air360

  • Free version available; upgrade required for advanced features
  • Simple interface and is ideal for beginners
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Great for monitoring user engagement but very limited for SEO

Amplitude

  • Free version available; upgrade required for advanced features
  • Easy to use, with drag-and-drop functionality
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Great for analyzing user behavior, but lacks SEO-specific features

Gauges

  • Paid tool with a 7-day free trial available
  • Simple interface makes it easy-to-use
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Good for general analytics and basic SEO analysis

GoSquared

  • Paid tool with a 7-day free trial available
  • User-friendly interface and easy to navigate or customize
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Ideal for analyzing real-time traffic data and also includes some SEO features

Mixpanel

  • Free version for up to 100,000 monthly users. Upgrade required for advanced features
  • Easy to use with customizable dashboards
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Covers most analytics relating to user behavior, but lacks SEO-specific features and is more suited to product analytics

Pendo

  • Free for up to 500 monthly users
  • Easy to use interface
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Great for tracking user engagement, but is more suited to product analytics than SEO projects

Simple Analytics

  • Paid tool with a 14-day free trial available
  • Simple interface focusing on essential metrics
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Wide range of analytics, including SEO features

W3Counter

  • Free for up to 30 days of data. Upgrade required for advanced features
  • Simple interface with easy, customizable reporting
  • Wide range of analytics, including SEO features

Webtrends

  • Paid tool
  • Fairly easy-to-use
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Ideal analytics solution for enterprise-level projects, including SEO

Heap

  • Free for up to 10,000 monthly sessions
  • Easy to set up with a modern interface, but can be difficult to manage
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Provides user-friendly visualizations of advanced data with automatic event tracking, but lacks SEO-related features

ClickHouse

  • Paid platform, but you can pay based on usage, and there is a 30-day free trial
  • Very advanced features which require strong technical knowledge
  • Open Source and can be Self-Hosted
  • GDPR compliance falls on the user configuration
  • Has robust capabilities for analyzing traffic patterns and user behavior for high-traffic websites and applications. SEO features are limited

Kissmetrics

  • Paid tool with a 30-day free trial available
  • User-friendly and easy to use
  • GDPR-compliant with additional privacy features
  • Perfect for understanding your customer journey but lacks SEO features

Moengage

  • Paid tool
  • Very user-friendly
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Not ideal for solely SEO projects, but is an advanced solution for monitoring user journeys and customer engagement

Adobe Analytics

  • Paid tool
  • Easy report creation but quite an advanced platform
  • Requires user configuration for GDPR compliance
  • Similar features to Google Analytics and ideal for enterprise-level marketing projects

Celebrus

  • Paid platform
  • A highly customizable platform that will require a lot of technical knowledge
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Advanced user engagement insights, but not so much for SEO
  • Ideal for enterprise-level financial and retail businesses

How To Choose The Right GA4 Alternative Tool For You

Ultimately it’s all about choosing the right tool for you.

Alongside our previous points, to help you decide on which best suits your needs, consider these factors:

  • Consider your business goals

The first port of call is considering your business goals and products. Ultimately all analytics integrations boil down to understanding and increasing user engagement, but you can do this in several ways. Remember, there may be industry-specific product analytics tools that serve your particular needs much better than a broader, though better-known, tool.

  • Ensure the right features are on offer to gain the right insights

Ensure the reporting offered by the tool aligns with both the channels you use and the metrics you want to track.

  • Choose a tool you are likely to use proficiently.

You want to make sure you get your money’s worth, and that comes down not only to the price but also to how you’ll use the features you’re paying for.

  • If it’s not easy to use, how much support is available?

Following on from the previous point, how much help is out there for the tool? Less popular platforms are less likely to have community support. It’s not worth it to save money on a cheaper product if you can’t leverage it however you want.

  • Do you have the resources to invest in the platform, integrate it, and manage it?

As good as reporting tools are, they still need work to ensure they operate as intended. Off-the-shelf integrations can help with this, but ultimately, it will still take a commitment from you and your team to implement, manage, and report on your analytics data. Bear this in mind before you get started!

If you’re still a bit stuck choosing the best tool for you, a handy online quiz like this one could really help you narrow down what is important to you and what you need.

What Next After Choosing An Analytics Tool?

Hopefully, by the end of this you’ve chosen a tool that works for you (even if that choice is sticking with GA4 – hey, sometimes it’s best to stick with the big guy).

 

The main thing is not to get overwhelmed by the data provided to you.

It can be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t implemented an analytics package before.

Be careful, conscientious, and process-oriented as you handle the data. Don’t make any knee-jerk reactions. For any oddities or concerning results, explore them first, chat with your products team, and then try to drill down on what the data is showing you.

Over time you’ll be able to integrate the information from your analytics data with your SEO reporting to help build a fuller picture of your site’s performance, or that of your client.

We’ve got some great advice on how to monitor your backlinks and what SEO metrics to track. These posts, coupled with your new analytics data, can help you understand your site’s strengths and weaknesses, helping you improve your site’s performance immensely.

Joe Cowman
Joe Cowman

View All Posts

Become a Pro at SEO

Join 65,000 others and learn the secrets to SEO success with our weekly blog posts.

FATJOE CTA image