When Google Analytics was first released, it was like nothing else on the market. GA quickly became the most popular web analytics tool on the Internet.
Fast forward to today: Google Analytics is focused on advertisers and is a target for data protection regulations around the world.
We’re not going to get into an in-depth analysis of why you should or shouldn’t use Google Analytics: that’s a topic for another article.
It’s important to be aware of some of the problems with GA, and to not use it as your only web analytics solution.
Here are some of the reasons why you should consider using a Google Analytics Alternative
Data Protection Laws
Google Analytics stores and processes data in its globally distributed cloud.
This violates many of the global data protection regulations (30+) currently in effect: the most high-profile violation is with GDPR, which considers the default installation of Google Analytics to be illegal.
As data protection laws continue to grow, the topics of Data Ownership and Data Sovereignty become more important.
It’s a good idea to get ahead of these regulations before new restrictions appear.
If your business has used Google Analytics for a number of years and you don’t use any other analytics products, you’ve successsfully achieved Vendor Lock-In!
Vendor Lock-In happens when you’re reliant on a single vendor for a solution, and there’s a high cost of money and time to switch to a different solution.
You can alleviate Vendor Lock-In by introducing another analytics product to your environment. Ideally, you should introduce one that ensures Data Ownership and provides information you don’t get from Google Analytics.
Google Analytics Tracking is Blocked
This has been a problem for years and it’s finally being acknowledged by web analytics professionals: a high percentage of Visitors block Google Analytics Tracking.
It’s easy to block the tracking code or the tracking request, and various browsers and extensions block them automatically.
The best solution we’ve found is to analyze your web server or CDN access logs: they contain a history of all traffic on your website.
No PII: Personally Identifiable Information
Google doesn’t allow you to store PII in your GA account: this includes usernames, IP addresses, or anything that might identify a website Visitor.
This makes sense for anonymous public websites. But when you have internal or extranet websites that require authentication and are used to validate compliance, it complicates your ability to measure usage or troubleshoot problems.
The inability to store PII in Google Analytics is an even bigger disadvantage when you introduce concepts like First-Party & Zero-Party Data.
Self-hosted / on-premises web analytics tools don’t have a restriction on PII.
Which Options Exist?
We recommend looking at a self-hosted solution as a Google Analytics alternative:
Angelfish is a web analytics tool that keeps your data behind your firewall. This alleviates many Data Protection Laws, and there’s no question about Data Ownership: your data never leaves your network.
Angelfish lets you:
- See Visitors who block GA Tracking
- Re-Use GA Campaign Tags
- Investigate All Visitor Details (no data sampling)
Plus, Angelfish can process historical data for as far back as you have access logs.
Learn More: Angelfish Software