Change it Up! The Best Alternatives to Google Analytics Universal

Dhanisa Mashilfa

Loads of organisations are still using Google Analytics Universal – but if you haven’t heard, it’s on its way out. In July 2023, it will officially retire and stop processing new hits. And that means now is the time to start researching and implementing something new. Here are the best alternatives to try out.

#1 – Google Analytics 4

Love Google too much to say goodbye? Well, then take a look at their next generation tool – Google Analytics 4. It’s not 100% perfect, but what is? Here’s a breakdown of what this program offers.

How is it different to Google Analytics Universal?

  • It’s guaranteed free forever

  • More privacy-focussed

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant

  • Has new ads features like reporting time (conversion and interaction), attribution modelling, and touchpoints for conversion paths

  • Easy to install

  • Improved customer journey and engagement tracking

  • Simple goals and events set up

  • More powerful audiences

There’s a new interface and reporting, but there are lots of familiar features too. The main downside (to some) is the focus on privacy – which is important for customers but does have an impact on the data you can collect.

#2 – Piwik Pro

This option is about as close as you can get to Google Analytics Universal outside of Google platforms themselves.

Here’s what we like about it

  • It has a free version

  • Has simple, straightforward reports

  • Easy to install

  • And has a built-in cookie consent function

  • Integrates well with some third-party applications/tools

The downside is that if you’re running a bigger website – especially an e-commerce website – you’ll need to use the paid version. There are also far fewer organisations using this platform, so there’s less documentation/troubleshooting info/forums around it.

#3 – Matomo

This open-source analytics tool is great if you want to support data privacy or host your websites on-premises.

Why it’s a good option

  • Solid focus on privacy

  • 100% data ownership in your hands

  • Good web analytics, conversion optimisation, and tag manager

  • Good visitor profiles

  • Easy to install

The disadvantages are that there are costs involved – 19 Euro a month. It’s missing some useful features that GA4 offers like heat maps, A/B testing, and multichannel attribution, all of which GAU didn’t have either. In addition, owning all the data when it’s on your server does require expenses and technical expertise.

#4 – Mixpanel

This is a popular product analytics platform that lets you track and analyse how and why users are interacting with your website. It currently has over 7,000 users worldwide.

Why choose this platform?

  • Solid behavioural analytics

  • Focus on data science

  • Good identity management

  • See how people interact with your products

  • Robust data governance

  • Easy to measure the success of launches and campaigns

So, what are the cons? Well, there is a limited free plan but the real value comes in the higher, paid tiers of the platform, which run from US$89 upwards. While it’s good for individual campaign metrics, it doesn’t really solve issues around event tracking, and it requires a lot of manual tracking to use properly, which is admin intensive.

Let us handle your analytics – so you can drive results

Digital Freak is a holistic digital marketing agency based in Melbourne that’s all about no-fuss, no-hassle results. We’re not here to tell you what you want to hear – we’re here to help you become the brand your audience wants you to be. With social media, website development, inbound marketing, and analytics expertise, we’re here to help your business shine.

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Change it Up! The Best Alternatives to Google Analytics Universal