Switching from Google Analytics: Here’s what you need to know

Google has dominated the analytics market for so long that it might seem daunting to change. You may have reservations about an alternative platform because you have been conditioned to think that there is no other tool up to par with Universal Analytics.

We’re here to reassure marketers that this is not the case – change has never been easier. Especially since Google recently announced it would be ditching its Universal Analytics platform.

If you’ve gotten here, chances are you’ve already done your research on the pitfalls and limitations of Universal Analytics ‘successor, Google Analytics 4. If not, it’s worth reading’Google Analytics 4: drawbacks and limitations: is it worth staying? ‘.

Chances are you’ve noticed the long list of problems with Google Analytics 4 and are considering skipping ship. This could be due to data quality or limitations, lack of privacy-friendly features, or transparency in data management.

As a marketer or analyst, you need to make an informed decision and choose the platform whose feature sets suit your organization’s needs to process user-level data while building trust with visitors. This article will help alleviate some of the cognitive dissonances you may be experiencing. Let’s get into it:

Which is better, a free plan or a paid one?

It all comes down to the trade-offs and limitations you can accept depending on your project. Here are some key differences:

Free plan

Free web analytics platforms always have constraints, whether it’s low performance, lack of robust privacy features, or sampled data. However, a free web analytics platform can help you manage your projects successfully.

Some platforms provide easy upgrade from free to paid and more advanced versions. They also allow you to keep the setting, data, tags, etc., so that you don’t have to start collecting data from scratch. Others simply lift the limitations and raise the price.

Paid alternatives

The paid alternatives push the limits of their free predecessors and provide more options for data collection and analysis. This includes analytics platform performance, data protection, and extensive customer support.

For many organizations, standard public cloud data protections are sufficient. However, those operating in jurisdictions with strict data privacy regulations or highly regulated industries, such as finance or healthcare, may require a private cloud or on-premise hosting. This is when a paid plan would be needed.

Piwik PRO offers both a free and paid plan so that different types of organizations can get the service tailored to their needs.

Which cloud is best – public, private, or self-hosted?

Archiving of data on internal servers was the gold standard for performing analyzes in a safe and secure manner. However, cloud-based analytics platforms are steadily gaining market share.

Here’s how they differ:

Public cloud

Public cloud is the most used model on the market. The storage space is shared among all the organizations that rent the environment from the same company. Public clouds are recommended for small to medium-sized organizations as they are cheaper and faster to deploy than the other options.

A disadvantage of public clouds is the storage of data on the servers of the external provider. Responsibility for data security lies with the provider. While this may be convenient, it limits how you can protect your data.

Some companies have to comply with strict internal data protocols or data residency regulations. With Piwik PRO, marketers can choose from four cloud hosting options: Germany, the Netherlands, the United States and Singapore.

Private cloud

Another type of deployment is via a private cloud. This model is often called “enterprise cloud” or “organization cloud” because it is created exclusively for an organization. Businesses that want or need to separate their data from other cloud users who choose private cloud. This gives them the convenience of using a public cloud with better data security.

A disadvantage of a private cloud is that the cost is significantly higher than a public cloud because it requires building new infrastructure. Also, the setup time for the private cloud is typically longer than for the public cloud. For example, with Piwik PRO, technical onboarding for private cloud clients takes about two weeks.

On-premise (self-hosted)

In a local model, the infrastructure is built and managed by the company or organization, with employees having physical access to all resources. The company stores data on its servers or servers which it rents or rents from third parties.

Storing data in a chosen location and full physical access to the infrastructure allow companies to process personal data securely. However, the costs of on-premise are substantial and building and managing your own data center is a long and complicated process.

Myths versus facts about switching analytics platforms

Despite advances in alternative platforms, some organizations hesitate to abandon Google Analytics. To help dispel common fears and bring awareness to other platforms, here are common misconceptions about switching:

I will lose the historical data

This is a fact, but not for long. Some alternatives have developed data importers in the wake of Universal Analytics’ withdrawal.

The alternatives are not integrated with Google

This is a myth. The alternatives are designed to work seamlessly with other Google solutions and partner products.

I am missing some reporting features

This is false. Each alternative has unique reporting capabilities, and some are very flexible, allowing for more data transformations and exports than Universal Analytics.

It is easier to run advertising campaigns with Universal Analytics

This is true. There is deep integration with Google Analytics and Google Ads / Google Marketing Platform, which gives access to a vast repertoire of data.

I will lose my rank in Google Search

This is a myth. Alternatives customers do not report a lower ranking on Google Search. Make sure your site is fast, mobile friendly, popular (links), and with full metadata.

Where should you go from here?

As the importance of regulatory compliance is growing, marketers should consider analytics platforms that offer a full set of privacy features.

Our intention with Piwik PRO Analytics Suite has always been to offer customers powerful analytics capabilities along with key privacy and security features.

While we can’t tell you exactly which platform is right for your organization, we can help you with your research.

If you would like to learn more about Google Analytics alternatives or learn more about Piwik PRO Analytics Suite, please visit piwik.pro.

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