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DAW Discussion: Alternatives to GA4

Data AnalyticsData ScienceData Visualisation

Data Analytics Wednesday is the monthly industry meet up for data and analytics minded people (which we also sponsor!). The topic for this month’s meet up was a spicy one: What are the best alternatives to Google Analytics 4? Is there even a viable alternative out there? Can a website truly exist without Google Analytics on the modern internet?

Why look into alternatives?

The Universal Analytics sunset is now behind us and, for many of us, Google Analytics 4 has been setup and the dust is beginning to settle on it. But as people began to use (or were forced to use) GA4, a lot of complaints and teething issues started arising across the industry. “Why can’t I find this metric? Where is my report?” “What is this conversion’s attribution?” “What is this (not set) value?” “How do I filter my report?” People who had used Universal Analytics and built up a working knowledge of how to use it were suddenly left in the dark with a new and strange system that didn’t look or behave in the same way. And unlike UA, GA4 doesn’t have the decade or more of help articles and accumulated knowledge behind it to help. This has led many in the industry to curse Google for changing their ways, but also to begin to looking into different options for analytics platforms

What are the best alternatives?

The discussion at Data Analytics Wednesday focused on that and the expert panel came up with these options:

Matomo

Also know as PikWik, Matomo is one of the alternatives to GA4 because it offers a very UA like interface and operates in a very similar way, even having it’s own tag manager. If you’re familiar with Universal Analytics and want the same reports and the same functionality, then Matomo might be your option. Matomo offers two options, with pricing depending on traffic and features: Cloud or On-Premise. The Cloud option hosts the analytics service on Matomo’s servers, meaning you don’t have to worry about setup or hosting. The On-Premise option allows you to host Matomo on your own servers, giving you control and ownership of your data. Matomo also offers the ability to import your historical Universal Analytics data, which most other services don’t offer.

The downside to Matomo is the same as it’s strength, it’s very much like Universal Analytics. With most of the analytics platforms implementing event streams and event based data models, by adhering to the Universal Analytics principles, Matomo is adopting a decade old way of viewing the internet.

Amplitude

Amplitude is another alternative analytics platform with a larger focus on product analytics. While they initially started focusing on what people do on your website after you’ve arrived, they have been expanding the platform’s capabilities toward marketing analytics as well, making the push to become an all round web analytics platform, making it one of the more exciting alternatives.

But as a lesser known tool, there’s also less familiarity with it as a platform, and while they offer a free starter option, to scale and unlock their advanced features, a subscription is required.

Snowplow

Snowplow is an enterprise level, open-source analytics platform. One of the most flexible and powerful analytics platforms, it allows you to expand beyond web analytics and integrate various data sources for a true CDP setup. It also allows you customise events, contexts and schemas to tailor the analytics platform to your specific needs, as well as host the platform on your own servers or cloud setup.

But as with most enterprise level solutions, Snowplow requires a lot of initial setup, as well as an appropriate level of data maturity within your organisation to truly take advantage of the platform.

Insightech

The other option suggested was Insightech, though it may not be a true alternative to Google Analytics. Insightech is a platform that focuses much more on content and website analytics. This mean it focuses much more on website optimisation and user journeys. While GA4 does offer some of these capabilities, as a platform designed specifically for that, Insightech offers better capabilities in that regards (also integrated with GA4 for good measure).

Do we even need an alternative to GA4?

Unfortunately, the answer is probably yes and no.If the problem is that users are

complaining that they aren’t used to GA4 and its new method of thinking or reporting, then those same users would likely complain if you changed to any other platform (even Matomo).

If the problem is that GA4 doesn’t have the same information or reports that UA had, then maybe your GA4 account isn’t setup correctly or your users don’t know how to extract the information they need from it (and we can help with both of those things!).And while there may be other platforms out there that do things better than Google Analytics can, Google Analytics is still a good starting point for web analytics. It’s free, somewhat widely adopted and integrates with other Google platforms such as Google Ads and Search Console better than any other platform can.

If you’re a part of a company that’s already well on their way on their way to becoming a data-driven /data mature company, then you should explore other options, but they will mostly run alongside Google Analytics rather than replacing it.

But if you’re a company that is just starting to dip their toes in to data analytics, then Google Analytics 4 still presents one of the most compelling options to get your data driven journey started with.

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2 responses to “DAW Discussion: Alternatives to GA4”

  1. Trenton Lang says:

    I do agree with all the ideas you have introduced on your post They are very convincing and will definitely work Still the posts are very short for newbies May just you please prolong them a little from subsequent time Thank you for the post

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