Piwik PRO vs. Google Analytics: The Most Comprehensive Comparison

Published: November 23, 2018 Updated: June 18, 2019 Author , Category Analytics, Comparisons, Data Privacy & Security

According to the latest statistics provided by W3Techs.com, Google Analytics is used by 86% of all websites with detectable traffic analysis tools. This makes up 57.4% of all websites. Sounds impressive, right?

However, a host of businesses don’t want or simply can’t afford to settle for the so-called market standard.

There are numerous reasons why you might want to consider an alternative to Google Analytics. For instance:

  • You feel uneasy sharing your data with anyone else – you don’t want to disclose information about your clients to other companies, or you are not legally allowed to do so.
  • You want to have more than one analytics tool at your disposal – to look for discrepancies between reporting in Google Analytics and other platforms.
  • You are seeking features that GA doesn’t have – after all, every organization has its unique needs.
  • You want to take advantage of a rich set of marketing tools backed by premium-level support for each and every one of them.

Privacy compliance issues

Another reason could be related to data privacy. The new data privacy laws (the EU’s GDPR, Brazil’s LGPD, or California’s CCPA) obligate you to do business only with compliant partners. Otherwise, you expose yourself to severe fines – we’re sure you’ve heard about this a lot already.

Unfortunately, Google Analytics doesn’t necessarily fit the bill.

Why not? Let’s take the example of GDPR, a new gold standard in data privacy. It seems like the strategy adopted by Google Analytics towards GDPR is to get rid of all the information that can be classified as personal data and oblige you to anonymize every piece of information you collect using their tool.

You might be okay with that – maybe you’re not interested in processing any kind of personal data anyway.

But what you must know is that there’s one catch. Although all your data will be anonymized, you can’t escape the fact that GA stores a visitor online identifier in a cookie, which according to GDPR is considered personal data.

It means that you still need to collect valid consents from your visitors in order to process their data. And you’ll have to do this entirely on your own since Google doesn’t provide a tool to help you with the task.

So, if you’re really interested in anonymizing your data in an efficient and privacy-friendly way, you might consider an alternative that prioritizes privacy and data security, such as Piwik PRO.

And what if I don’t want to anonymize my data?

Also, you have to remember that removing any and all traces of personal data is not the only option you have. What’s more, by doing so you’re depriving yourself of valuable insights you can gain with more detailed information about your clients.

Sometimes it’s worth going the extra mile to provide your users with enhanced levels of security and transparency, so they’re not scared to share their personal details with you.

For that reason you may want to consider switching to a tool that will allow you to collect personal data from your clients, but process and store it in a way that protects your company from privacy threats.

Piwik PRO guarantees you full data ownership and control over your data. Also, it allows you to store your customers’ data on servers located within the EU or on your own infrastructure. You don’t have this choice when it comes to Google Analytics. When you’re using GA, your data is stored on a randomly selected public cloud located in the US, EU or Asia.

Also, with Piwik PRO, you get a tool that helps you fulfill GDPR obligations. Piwik PRO Consent Manager allows you to collect visitor consents and process data in alignment with their choices.

Here’s how Piwik PRO and Google Analytics fare when it comes to GDPR and privacy compliance:

Data Ownership and Privacy Piwik PRO Google Analytics
100% data ownership Your data is shared with Double Click & Google Ads clients and other Google products
GDPR compliance out of the box GDPR compliance Partial compliance (no data anonymization mode, PII are collected, no integration with consent collection solution)
Data backups and redundancy
Data Centers Based on client’s preferences data is processed & storred in Germany, the Netherlands or US Data can be stored randomly in data centers across the US, EU or Asia
Recommended for data-sensitive industries:banking, governments, telecoms andhealthcare

Piwik PRO vs. Google Analytics – a comparison of functionalities

We realize that privacy compliance is not the only thing you look for in an analytics tool. From the practitioner’s point of view, it will be equally important to know what the tool offers in everyday tasks. Let’s have a look at what you can expect from both vendors:

Number of features and tools

The first important thing to consider is the number of tools offered by each platform:

Features Piwik PRO Google Analytics
Custom, ad-hoc reporting
Segmentation
Tag Manager (cloud & on-premises)
Secure Member Area Analytics
CDP (audience manager)
GDPR-friendly data anonymization
App Analytics (cloud & on-premises)
Single Customer View Reporting partially present
GDPR Consent Management
GDPR Data Subject Request Management
On-site retargeting & personalization

As you can see, Google offers essentially an analytics and tag management system. Piwik PRO gives you more with CDP, On-Site Retargeting and GDPR Consent & Data Subject Request Manager. These are tools that will allow you not only to collect detailed data, but also to create accurate user profiles (also known as single customer views) and take advantage of them in your on-site campaigns.

When it comes to features, the tools have a lot in common. They both offer ad hoc custom reporting and segmentation capabilities. Key differences, however, derive from the previously discussed security standards. Third-party scripts used by GA make it unfit for analyzing traffic in secure member areas and inside applications. Those are the places where Piwik PRO gets the job done thanks to a high level of data security.

Data collection flexibility

The next thing is the ways you can collect and store your data. With more options, you’ll have more freedom in using your analytics platform.

With Piwik PRO, among other things, you will have access to customizable access log analytics and support for mobile SDK. You can also count on unlimited data retention and keep data on your own infrastructure. Google Analytics doesn’t give you any of these options.

Data Collection Flexibility Piwik PRO Google Analytics
Standard JavaScript tags and mobile SDKs Only JavaScript, no support for SDK
Customizable access log analytics
Tag builder, remote configuration and SDKcontrols
Data freshness 15 minutes – 24 hour 15 minutes – 1 hour
Data retention Unlimited (no additional charge) GA can delete aggregated data after 24 months
Variables are collected once and can be used inany number of dimensions and reports
Unlimited number of collection variables
On-Premises (self-hosted)
Cloud

Data Processing, Connectivity & Openness

Other important aspects are data processing and openness options.

Piwik PRO Google Analytics
Unsampled data Data sampling
turns on after
500K session per month
Raw data access via SQL port
Reporting API to extract aggregate report data
Streaming API of sessionized visitor-level details
Streaming API of user-centric information
Connectors to common BI and datavisualization software

When it comes to data connectivity, there are some differences between Piwik PRO and Google Analytics. The biggest is the capacity to access raw data through a SQL port. Here Piwik PRO has the upper hand.

Still, it’s worth noting that both products have a few API-related features. You can take advantage of a reporting API to extract aggregated report data or apply the API to enrich your reports. But Piwik PRO again allows you to do more, as you can stream API of visitor-level information. Both vendors also provide you the option of integrating with popular BI and data visualization software to enhance and speed up your reporting.

Another thing is data sampling. In tools such as Google Analytics, your data is aggregated and delivered to you as a random data set, which means you cannot be sure if your reports are displaying overall traffic and meaningful trends, or if the selected data set is off the mark.

With Google Analytics, sampling occurs automatically when the monthly limits of 500,000 (Google Analytics Standard, free version) or 100 million (Analytics 360) sessions are reached.

With Piwik PRO, on the other hand, you get unsampled data every time, all the time.

Support

Let’s discuss client support. The better it is, the faster you solve problems with the tool and find answers to burning questions. After all, not everyone has to be an outstanding analytics specialist from day one. But the help of an experienced support team will certainly bring you closer to this goal.

In the case of Google Analytics, you will be able to take advantage of vast online documentation and help from the community. However, apart from that, you’ll have to rely on your own expertise. Implementing the tool, learning all its features and handling all the possible issues are also burdens you’ll bear.

In turn, as a Piwik PRO client you can take advantage of some seriously helpful services:

Premium user training and customer success program – provides you with a dedicated Customer Success Manager that will assist you in defining your needs and translating them into actionable advice for using the platform.

Detailed documentation – provides detailed infrastructure guidelines to ensure optimal product performance for on-premises installations.

Enterprise support and onboarding – helps set up and configure your web analytics instance, including an SLA ensuring all your needs are met as you use the product. Such services can be provided on-site in cooperation with your internal team.

Dedicated technical project coordinator – gives you a first point of contact in case of emergencies or web analytics performance issues.

24/7 monitoring and incident handling – monitoring of platform performance and data collection processes around-the-clock plus backup management.

So if you want solid support, pay close attention to what vendors are offering you.

Flexibility

Finally, let’s take a look at the flexibility of the tools:

Piwik PRO Google Analytics
Number of user accounts no limits 100
Number of properties/views no limits 50/25

This shows that Piwik PRO is much more adaptable when it comes to the needs of enterprise-level organizations. It allows them to create multiple user accounts and take advantage of a considerable number of properties and views. Meanwhile, Google Analytics offers far more limited capabilities in this respect.

Piwik PRO vs. Google Analytics Comparison

The features we’ve discussed are just the tip of the iceberg. In our comparison of Piwik PRO and Google Analytics you’ll find more than 100 technical aspects of both tools. We’ve focused on such issues as:

  • Data collection flexibility
  • Reporting features
  • Data processing & connectivity
  • Data ownership & privacy
  • Flexibility, limits & customization
  • Reporting possibilities
  • Support
  • Integrations
  • And much, much more

The comparison is available to you below – just a few quick clicks and it’s all yours:

Piwik_Pro_vs_Google_Analytics

Piwik PRO vs. Google Analytics

The Most Comprehensive Comparison

Or maybe you would like to learn more about the differences between the tools during a conversation? If so, our team will be happy to schedule a call to answer all your questions.

Some additional materials

Google Analytics Alternatives: 4 Sound Reasons to Consider

Google Analytics has established a dominant market position and helped many organizations enhance their online presence. However, there are many reasons why you might prefer a different platform. In this blog post we address four of the most important issues with GA.

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How to Overcome Data Loss And Latency Using Web Analytics in China

Google is one of the companies deeply affected by the “Great Firewall” – China’s internet laws. As a result, Google Analytics is no longer allowed to operate in China. While it’s true that Google Analytics is used in a clandestine manner in China, organizations deploying this tool encounter a range problems like data loss and latency. To tackle this challenge, you first need to be aware that there are better solutions than Google Analytics for use in China. Read on to learn about them.

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Author:

Karolina Lubowicka, Content Marketer

Content Marketer and Social Media Specialist at Piwik PRO. An experienced copywriter who takes complex topics of data privacy & GDPR and makes them understandable for all. LinkedIn Profile

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Author:

Marek Juszczyński, Head of Marketing

His areas of expertise include Conversion Optimization and B2B marketing. Apart from his every day duties he publishes web analytics and conversion optimization related articles on Piwik PRO blog.

See more posts of this author
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