As of 1 July 2023, the old version of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics – UA) ceased to collect new website data. For Google Analytics users, this has meant migrating to the less user-friendly Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
For a lot of webmasters and online marketers, this shift has led them to look for alternatives to Google Analytics that are easier to use and perhaps provide different analytics features.
Although Google Analytics is still the first choice for most, it is certainly not the only analytics tool out there – and with the issues surrounding GA4, a lot of new tools are starting to develop new features and pricing structures to attract more users.
If you are thinking about trying out a new analytics and web data platform, we have identified the best Google Analytics alternatives below.
What has changed from Universal Analytics to GA4?
In essence, the primary difference between Universal Analytics (UA) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4) lies in their data-tracking methodologies.
Universal Analytics was great at tracking metrics such as the number of sessions on a website, the number of page views and the traffic source that led to each session.
In contrast, GA4 uses an “event-based” tracking system, engineered for monitoring actual user activities, such as button clicks and form completions. While it retains the capability to track metrics such as page views and website referrals, its event-based model provides more flexibility and power.
Why look for an alternative to GA4?
Although GA4 offers more flexibility for data reporting across websites and apps, the only users who are likely to benefit from that are analytics ‘power-users’. For most webmasters and marketers, Universal Analytics was perfect as a simple but effective tool to show what visits their websites were getting, where those visits were coming from, what pages they were landing on and how many went on to convert by buying a product or completing a form.
With the event-based system of GA4, it is no longer so simple to access this data as there are no pre-defined reports in GA4.
Many users have also reported that they feel that GA4 has been designed more for larger corporate users and app developers, who need more ‘data science’ features and welcome the greater emphasis on exporting data to Data Studio or BigQuery for further analysis.
How to choose the right analytics tool for you
For those looking for an alternative to GA4, there are now a lot of new options to choose from – so it’s important to know what to look for when assessing your options.
The most important thing is to find an analytics tool that suits your unique needs and budget. GA4 boasts the advantage of being cost-free for most users, unless they fall into the high-volume category. However, it's crucial to consider that free usage comes at a cost - essentially granting Google ownership of the data originating from your website.
Fortunately, several excellent GA4 alternatives are available at affordable prices, notably Fathom Analytics and Matomo. For those willing to invest without constraints, premium enterprise solutions like Adobe Analytics are viable options.
Once pricing is taken into account and some GA4 alternatives are ruled out, the ideal platform should be chosen based on your specific priorities. Assess how well each analytics solution aligns with your website's (or app's) performance measurement needs.
The best Google Analytics alternatives
If you are looking for an alternative to Google Analytics, these are the tools to try:
Formerly known as Piwik, Matomo is a popular alternative analytics tool as it lets you import your historic Google Analytics data and then serves as your replacement full-service web analytics platform.
Matomo gives you heatmaps, A/B testing, funnel and goal tracking, session recordings and a lot of other conversion-optimised features, all while promising you 100% data ownership and privacy protection.
If you are worried about sensitive data, there’s also the option to host Matomo on your own servers as well as the cloud-based hosting options they offer.
Pricing for the cloud-based option starts at £17 per month, while the ‘On-Premise’ self-hosted option is free to start with for basic tracking options but requires payment for extra features outside of the standard ones.
For more information, visit: https://matomo.org/
Heap is a replacement analytics tool that is best suited for those who sell online products.
With Heap you can measure every interaction that happens on your website, including clicks, form submissions and page views.
It also offers retrospective analytics data so you can see what impact the changes you make to your website have.
Heap also automates data capture, so event tracking is baked into the platform and requires minimal setup.
It’s worth noting though that Heap has a steeper learning curve than many of the other tools on this list, and it is also one of the most expensive.
It is designed to give you better insights into your customer’s journeys and to help you optimise your sales funnels, increase conversion rates and ultimately make more sales.
For more information, visit: https://www.heap.io/
Piwik PRO is the commercial version of Matomo, which used to be called Piwik but has changed its name to differentiate between the two tools.
There are some similarities between the two platforms as they both rely on session-based tracking and share similar UX designs.
The main difference with Piwik PRO is the enterprise-level support it offers and the integration of a customer data platform (CDP), making it much more suited to larger organisations.
For more information, visit: https://piwik.pro/
Fathom is another analytics tool that is focused on privacy. As their co-founder Paul Jarvis says, “Fathom lets you collect data on your site without spying on anyone.”
It may lack some of the deeper features of Google Analytics 4, but is a solid choice if all you need is a simple and lightweight analytics platform.
Fathom is a very well-designed and easy-to-use analytics platform that includes the basic metrics like number of visitors, dwell time, traffic sources and conversions without using cookies or storing any personal data.
For more information, visit: https://usefathom.com/
Clicky has become a popular alternative to GA4 as it offers a feature-rich free version as well as various Paid plans.
It offers the basic analytics data like number of visits, time on site etc… and also boasts what it calls the “best bot detection in the business” – which helps to reduce the amount of referral spam you see in your reports.
Clicky also monitors your website and sends you alerts when it is down.
In terms of the user interface, it is a bit ‘old school’, but if you want a cheap and effective alternative to GA4 then Clicky takes some beating.
For more information, visit: https://clicky.com/
Woopra is an analytics package that provides information on the customer journey across your website.
One of its best features is the number of integrations with third-party apps like Mailchimp, Zapier, Salesforce, WordPress, Google Ads and much more.
For more information, visit: https://www.woopra.com/
GoSquared is a solid web analytics platform that has been designed primarily for ease of use.
Features include session recordings, funnel analysis and heatmaps, while it also boasts some robust privacy settings such as IP anonymisation and consent management.
The Starter package costs just £9 per month, so it’s a great option for those looking for basic analytics data at a low cost.
For more information, visit: https://www.gosquared.com/analytics/
If your business is primarily based around selling digital products, then Mixpanel could be the analytics solution for you.
It goes beyond just traffic analytics data to give help you identify real-time trends regarding user behaviour on your website, allowing you to make better decisions.
For more information, visit: https://mixpanel.com/
Plausible sells itself as an “Easy to use and privacy-friendly Google Analytics alternative”, and the platform is certainly a leader in the market of lightweight, privacy focused analytics tools.
While this helps comply with GDPR, it does compromise the functionality of the tool, which only tracks basic data points like pageviews and traffic referral information.
For more information, visit: https://plausible.io/
Part of the Adobe Experience Cloud, Adobe Analytics offers granular data analysis of any point in the customer journey.
It promises unique insights based on in-depth analysis, predictive intelligence and versatile reporting to help you build better customer experiences.
For more information, visit: https://business.adobe.com/uk/products/analytics/adobe-analytics.html
With Kissmetrics you can track and analyse user behaviour based on the first-party data it collects from either your website or app.
In their words, the platform offers “Simple analytics that track human behaviour to increase revenue”, so you get features like heatmaps, funnel analysis and session recordings as standard.
However, with plans starting at $199 per month for up to 2.5m recorded sessions, it is a bit more expensive than most tools on this list.
For more information, visit: https://www.kissmetrics.io/
Similar to GA4, PostHog is an event-based analytics platform that includes product analytics, session recording and A/B testing.
It is an open-source platform that is aimed at product and engineering teams seeking deep insights into how users use their product – so is not really suited to casual users looking to track basic web traffic data.
For more information, visit: https://posthog.com/
Counter is another open-source analytics tool which uses a unique “pay what you want” pricing structure.
Similar to Fathom and Plausible, Counter is heavily privacy-focused and has very basic tracking and measurement features. In their words it is, “Web Analytics made simple and therefore privacy-friendly.”
As it is effectively free though, it’s a great starting point for those looking to try different analytics platforms to GA4.
For more information, visit: https://counter.dev/
Wide Angle integrates with all popular CMS’ like WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Ghost and more.
It is very privacy-oriented, allowing you to process certain private information with user consent, although you don’t need to have a cookie banner on your website.
For more information, visit: https://wideangle.co/
StatCounter is another web analytics tool that gives you all the basic data, but it also has some interesting added features. For example, it can help you detect click fraud on any paid ads you are running and can also notify you when an important visitor e.g. a past customer or lead, returns to your website.
It also integrates with Google Ads to help you track the conversion rates of your landing pages.
For more information, visit: https://statcounter.com/
Publytics bills itself as “the Google Analytics alternative built for publishers”, allowing users to monitor their editorial team to get accurate data on which authors, categories and posts are the best performing.
For more information, visit: https://publytics.net/
Leadfeeder integrates with Google Analytics and enhances the data and reports you get from it, so it is not a direct ‘alternative’ to GA4.
However, it is a very good enhancement for users who are looking to get better insight into their visitors and tools to turn visitors into sales leads.
For more information, visit: https://www.leadfeeder.com/
Clarity from Microsoft
Clarity is a free and easy-to-use analytics tool that captures how real people actually use your site.
With Clarity you can summarise data in a convenient user dashboard with all the basic analytics data you need, including heatmaps and session recordings.
For more information, visit: https://clarity.microsoft.com/
About the Author
Luke Glassford is an SEO expert with over 15 years’ experience.
During his time working in SEO, Luke has set-up an SEO agency, worked as an in-house SEO for a major national company and managed his own successful SEO consultancy - using a lot of different SEO tools along the way!
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