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Google Analytics alternatives – free and paid

Analytics Comparisons

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Published January 13, 2022 · Updated April 12, 2022

Google Analytics alternatives - free and paid

Google Analytics, as a mature piece of analytics software, fulfills many needs. The platform not only collects information about events on websites, but also demographic data. If website owners link Google Analytics with Google Ads and Google Search Console, they have access to an extensive repertoire of data. 

In some cases, website owners seek an alternative to Google Analytics for unique and challenging demands. This could be because of data quality, or of some limitations, be it lack of privacy-friendly features or transparency in handling data. In most cases, organizations want to process user-level data while building trust with their visitors.

In this article we’ll go through the top free Google Analytics alternatives. We deliberately avoid platforms that only offer a limited trial period. Because web analytics projects can grow in volume, we also look at the paid versions. That’s why we focus on Piwik PRO, Matomo, Countly, Mixpanel, Woopra and Google Analytics.

Free alternatives to Google Analytics

Free web analytics platforms always have limitations, be it reduced performance, lack of solid privacy features or sampled data. Still, a free web analytics platform can help you run your projects successfully. You just need to make an informed decision and choose the platform whose limitations will affect your projects as little as possible.

Think about the goals of your projects, both short- and long-term. Some platforms ensure an easy transition from free to paid and more advanced versions. They also let you, for example, keep the setup, data, tags, etc. so you don’t have to start from scratch. Others just eliminate the limitations and lift the price. 

The compromises and limitations you can accept depend on your project. We want to present you with all the information on free Google Analytics alternatives you need to make an informed decision.

Here you will find basic overview of seven free platforms:

Performance and features Functionality compared to the paid version Data protection and security Action limit
Google Universal Analytics (GA3) good 10 million
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) good none
Piwik PRO Core good 500 thousand
Matomo On-premises very limited depending the on server
Countly Community very limited depending the on server
Mixpanel good 100 thousand
Woopra acceptable 500 thousand

Four of these platforms provide many of the analytics features of the paid plans, so with some projects you could just stick to those free versions. Even if it turns out that it’s not enough, getting started with a free platform will help you realize what you’ll need for future, more challenging analytics projects. 

What free Google Analytics alternatives offer

Let’s start with the most important features:

Access to raw data Integrated consent manager Integrated tag manager
Google Universal Analytics (GA3)
Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Piwik PRO Core
Matomo On-premises
Countly Community
plugin
Mixpanel
Woopra

A tag manager, consent manager, and access to raw data give you a robust foundation of your analytics projects. In case you hit action limits and your project outgrows the free platform, you just keep running on the paid plan.

Moreover, data quality is an important aspect:

Data timeliness Data storage Data sampling
Google Universal Analytics (GA3) 24 – 48 hours standard 26 months, user-defined automatic sampling for more than 500 thousand sessions per month
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) 24 – 48 hours 2 or 14 months for advanced reports only
Piwik PRO Core 30 min 14 months
Matomo On-premises 15 min custom
Countly Community 1 hour custom
Mixpanel real-time 60 months (accessible only 90 days in the free version)
Woopra n/a 90 days

Although Google Analytics has higher action limits, it samples the data. In some scenarios  it won’t be a big problem. However, sampling will hurt the accuracy of your data and reports. 

If you’re interested in details behind sampling, read our article: What are the causes of data discrepancies between Piwik PRO and other analytics platforms?

Now, let’s look at reporting features. If you work with raw data it might take a while to do in-depth analysis. That’s why it’s crucial to have customizable reports that will save you a lot of time.

Conversion funnel User flow report User-level reports Multi-channel attribution
Google Universal Analytics (GA3)
Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Piwik PRO Core
Matomo On-premises paid plugin paid plugin paid plugin
Countly Community
Mixpanel
Woopra
read also
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Get your analytics project off to a good start – for a website, digital product or app. See the pluses and minuses of these seven free web analytics platforms.

Download the full 65-point comparison here (direct link, no form to fill out).

Paid alternatives to Google Analytics overcome the limits of their free forerunners and grant more options for data collection and analysis. This includes the performance of the analytics platform, data protection, and extensive customer support. 

Here’s the overview:

Performance and features Data protection and security Customer service
Google Analytics self-service
Google Analytics 360 SLA, community, self-service, and general support
Piwik PRO Enterprise SLA, community, self-service, personalized implementation, dedicated support specialist, 2nd level technical support, custom add-ons
Matomo Cloud email support, self-service
Countly Enterprise community, self-service, email support
Mixpanel community, self-service, email support
Woopra community, self-service, support depending on contract starts from $ 999/month

Each platform, as with the free version, gives you different features and services to fit your specific use case. Look for platforms that can scale – those that can easily support an ever-growing project. 

Flexibility of a Google Analytics alternative

Google Analytics users often face limitations they would like to overcome – be it in the area of data protection or detailed customer segmentation based on user-level data. Here, organizations want flexible alternatives that meet their unique high-end requirements. 
  
Also, an important aspect of those platforms is the way they store data. 

Cloud Private cloud On-premises
Google Analytics
(no control over data location)
Google Analytics 360
(no control over data location)
Piwik PRO Enterprise
(selected data centers in Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Singapore & USA)

(one of our 60+ private Azure cloud servers worldwide or a European-owned data center in Sweden provided by ElastX)
Matomo Cloud
(Germany)
Countly Enterprise
(USA, Brazil, UK, Germany, Belgium, India, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Australia)
Mixpanel
(USA, EU)
Woopra
(USA, Germany)

For many organizations, the standard data safeguards of public clouds are sufficient. However, those operating in jurisdictions with strict data privacy regulation or highly regulated industries, for instance, in finance or healthcare, might require a private cloud or on-premises hosting. In addition, multiple server locations give you more flexibility to work with data where you want. 

Learn more about options for storing data in our article: How to host your analytics: public cloud vs private cloud vs self-hosted

Discussing the basis of privacy-compliant analytics, you can’t forget about the data itself. As with the free Google Analytics alternatives, data quality also plays a role in enterprise plans.

Data timeliness Data sampling Data storage Access to raw data
Google Analytics 24-48 h
(see comparison of free analytics platforms for details)
2 or 14 months
Google Analytics 360 guaranteed by the SLA 4 h
(automatic sampling for more than 100M sessions per month)
unlimited
(via BigQuery)
Piwik PRO Enterprise 30 min
(possible on request, for very large traffic volumes)
25 months (more possible on request)
Matomo Cloud 15 min 6-24 months
Countly Enterprise 1 hr custom
(via plugin)
Mixpanel real-time 60 months
Woopra n/a 24 months

Google Analytics 360 also samples data. In some situations, this makes it difficult to reproduce results and analyze data accurately. 

Learn more about sampling and how it impacts your reporting in our article 5 key Google Analytics limitations

Integrations of Google Analytics alternatives 

As mentioned earlier, Google Ads and Google Search Console enrich your data set. So, let’s have a look at these integrations first:

Google Ads Google Search Console Create reports via API
Google Analytics
Google Analytics 360
Piwik PRO Enterprise
Matomo Cloud
Countly Enterprise
Mixpanel
Woopra

APIs enable automated and efficient reporting. A set of logs extracts structured data from your analytics software into custom scripts or programs. 

But what about in-depth analysis that requires processing user-level data? Integrations with BI tools, CRMs, and CDPs are an important factor in detailed analyses.

Integration with BI tools Export/import of user-level data CDP integration Custom integrations
Google Analytics
Google Analytics 360
Piwik PRO Enterprise
Matomo Cloud
Countly Enterprise
Mixpanel
Woopra

Analytics vendors ensure a variety of ready-made integrations. For specific use cases, a good analytics partner will set up custom integrations to connect the existing MarTech stack. 

read also
read also

Free comparison of 4 leading enterprise-ready web analytics tools

Compare over 30 features of web analytics software: Piwik PRO, Google Analytics 360, Adobe Analytics and Countly Enterprise

EU-based Google Analytics alternatives

Since the Austrian data protection authority (DPA) released its statement about the unlawfulness of using Google Analytics within the EU, more European DPAs have shared similar concerns. But what does this mean for your organization? If you’d like to know more about the GDPR compliance of Google Analytics and the pitfalls you may encounter, we encourage you to read this article

Maybe it’s time to think about a European-based Google Analytics alternative. We’ve prepared a selection of providers from different EU countries for you and focused on analytics capabilities as well as privacy.

Most Google Analytics alternatives provide an easy-to-use user interface. But do they provide a solution for small and large analytics projects alike? Some analytics vendors collect only non-personal data and concentrate on behavioral data. However, combining user-level data and anonymous data gives the insights you need for in-depth analysis.

Let’s take a look at the table below. 

Country Analytics capabilities Free version Privacy friendliness
Piwik PRO Poland
Simple Analytics Netherlands
Hotjar Malta
Statcounter Ireland
Plausible Estonia
Pirsch Germany
Friendly Analytics Switzerland
Splitbee Austria

The GDPR states that transfer to another country is only allowed when the same level of data security is met. That’s why we looked at data residency as well.

Cloud data residency Private cloud residency On-premises residency
Piwik PRO selected data center: Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the US or Singapore selected data center: one of 60+ Azure and AWS regions or Elastx servers in Sweden Depends on your location
Simple Analytics Netherlands
Hotjar AWS in Ireland
Statcounter Depends on your location or cloud service you choose
Plausible Germany
Pirsch Depends on your location or cloud service you choose
Friendly Analytics Switzerland and Germany
Splitbee Depends on your location or cloud service you choose

Why privacy-compliance is a must-have

Google Analytics makes it difficult to collect data in line with data protection regulations such as GDPR. This is where alternatives come in handy. They provide you with privacy features you need to comply with regulations and obtain the data you want.

Learn more about Google Analytics and data privacy in our article Is Google Analytics GDPR-compliant?

Once a company or organization is aligned with the rules laid out by the GDPR, they get more options to collect data. That means new marketing opportunities open up. Lisette Meij, the director of Privacy Verified B.V., even calls GDPR compliance a competitive advantage as it helps build trust between consumers and organizations. Lisette explains further that “by being transparent in how data is processed, and showing how you comply with the GDPR, you distinguish yourself in the market.”

What’s more, better privacy protection lets companies collect and analyze post-login areas. They contain valuable information customers leave. But it might be sensitive data, so only an analytics platform that handles such data appropriately can track those. 

That said, there are different tracking methods that allow you to gather such data and work in tandem with privacy regulations: 6 ways analytics software collects data online – plus a comparison of 5 popular platforms.

Google Analytics alternatives – final thoughts

There are many reasons why a company might consider a Google Analytics alternative. We hope our comparison gives you a decent overview on the options you have.

If you want to learn more about analytics platforms, we recommend the following materials:

Piwik PRO vs Google Analytics →
Piwik PRO vs. Google Analytics 360 →
Piwik PRO vs. Matomo →
Piwik PRO vs Adobe Analytics →

This comparison is based on the publicly available information gathered in January 2022.

Author

Sebastian Synowiec

Content Marketing Specialist

Sebastian throws user experience, web analysis and data protection into a pot and shakes it up with creative writing. At Piwik PRO, he delivers easy to read content about new developments and complex topics for various target groups.

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Author

David Street

Writer, marketer and data+stats specialist with a left and a right brain | LinkedIn profile

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Author

Karolina Matuszewska

Senior Content Marketer

Writer and content marketer. Transforms technical jargon into engaging and informative articles.

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