Reasons to switch
Why you should go for an alternative
Every day we are getting closer to the end of Universal Analytics. If you have not decided what your next web analytics tool is going to be, you are running out of time. It’s important to switch early to ensure you always have access to historic data.
Google does offer an alternative: Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Although GA4 is a great tool packed with features, it has some limitations:
Time to Google Analytics UA sunset
What should you look for in a Google Analytics alternative?
1. Web Analytics features
Most tools have a feature set oriented toward a specific use case, like user engagement reports and customer journey reports for product analytics, or heatmaps and session recordings for UX analytics. Think of what you want to measure and analyze before diving into the deep end. More features is not always better: there are specialized tools that do few things in a great way, instead of many things just okay.
2. Data privacy regulation compliance
Data privacy compliance should be high on your list. Look for a tool that complies with the GDPR and CCPA if you want to respect your visitor’s privacy and avoid trouble. Large fines have been given to companies that did not handle customer private data correctly.
Tools that comply with any specific regulation will state it clearly since it’s a selling point nowadays. Even so, always consult a legal expert to check if a tool can be used in your target markets. Learn more about data privacy regulation in our knowledge base.
Ownership covers to two aspects: data ownership and software ownership. Owning your (raw) data gives you full control over it. This means you can modify and analyze it in any way you want. Your data will not be used by anyone but you, which simplifies data privacy compliance. Still, you can send it to wherever with a Customer Data Platform (CDP).
As opposed to proprietary software, you can turn to the open-source community. There are quite a few open-source options on the market today. The benefit of an open-source analytics tool is that you can access the source code and customize them however you see fit. This can make them cost-effective and they give you more control over your data collection and management.
4. Hosted or Self-hosted Analytics
Hosted means that the provider hosts the software for you. You can then use their software by logging in, which is the case for most tools. They work out of the box and offer convenience: don’t worry about technicalities like servers and security.
Self-hosted means you install the tool on your own web servers. This gives you control over where your data is kept and how it’s used. Self-hosted is great if you have knowledge of server management and access to sufficient computing power.
One of the main reasons why you might choose self-hosted analytics is the data privacy restrictions of the countries you operate in. Some countries prohibit storing their citizens’ personal data outside their territory, like the EEA, China, and Russia.
5. Pricing of analytics tools
Get value for your money by considering the price of the tool compared to the functionality it offers. Many tools base their pricing on a metric, like the number of pageviews. Exceeding that number exposes you to additional charges or forces you to go up one pricing tier.
Luckily these paid solutions come with a free trial, ranging from 7 to 21 days. Don’t want to pay? Pick a free tool. Be aware that free plans usually come with restrictions or fewer features.
What are the main alternatives to Google Analytics?
Marketing analytics enable you to gather customer data, like where your users come from and how they interact with your website or app.
Product analytics enable you to analyze how users engage with an online software product. It allows product teams to track, visualize, and analyze their users’ engagement and behavior data.
Cookieless Analytics tools do not use tracking cookies to collect its data about users. This makes this type of analytics very privacy-friendly and future-proof.
How to choose the right analytics tool?
If Google Analytics fails to meet your needs or if you are worried about privacy, you should definitely look into the many Google Analytics alternatives. Remember: “the most popular” doesn’t necessarily mean “the best” and it most certainly doesn’t mean “the best for you.” To discover the tool that matches your needs best, you need to ask yourself a few basic questions.
What are my business goals?
02 Required insights
What analytics insights do I need to achieve these goals?
03 User proficiency
Who will use the analytics tool and what is their skill level?
04 Resources availability
Do I have the budget and technical resources to integrate and maintain the tool?
Over time your goals will probably change, so it’s important to review them periodically to stay aligned with your website’s goals and to measure what matters. If you decide to go with one of the Google Analytics competitors, you might need to actually pay for the software. However, the price will be well worth it if the product is more suitable for your business.
Not sure where to start? List out what you dislike about GA and what you want in an alternative, then use the New Metrics Analytics Quiz to see which tools work best for you.
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