Piwik PRO vs. Google Analytics: The Most Comprehensive Comparison

Published: November 23, 2018 Updated: March 21, 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 the websites whose traffic analysis tool we can discover. This makes up 57.4% of all websites. Sounds impressive, right?

However, there are still many businesses which don’t want to 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 – you want to check if there are any discrepancies between reporting in Google Analytics and other platforms.
  • You are seeking features that GA doesn’t have – after all, every organization has its own unique needs.
  • You want to take advantage of a set of marketing tools and receive premium-level support for each and every one of them.

GDPR compliance issues

GDPR, Data Protection, Teamwork concept.  Businessman and businesswoman character Vector illustration in flat style.

Another reason could be related to GDPR. After all, the new data privacy law obligates you to do business only with the partners who also comply with the regulation. Otherwise, you expose yourself to severe fines – we’re sure you’ve heard of them many times before.

Unfortunately, Google Analytics doesn’t necessarily match the description.

Why? 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 have to 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 is considered as personal data under GDPR.

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 that would help you with the task.

Quite a burden, right?

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.

Piwik PRO guarantees you full data ownership, which gives you control, access and transparency of data. But, what’s more important, with Piwik PRO you can store your customers’ data on servers located with the EU or on your own infrastructure. You don’t have such a choice when it comes to Google Analytics, which is only cloud based, are where data can be stored randomly in data centers across the US, EU or Asia.

GDPR compliance is another issues, where Piwik PRO outmatches Google Analytics. It provides all necessary features in an integrated package along with a consent management system. Piwik PRO Consent Manager allows you to collect visitor consents and assures that other parts of the platform collect solely data in alignment with those consents.

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

Piwik PRO Google Analytics
GDPR compliance Out of the box compliance Partial compliance
(no data anonymization mode,
no integration with
consent collection solution,
collection of PIIs)
Integrated consent manager
On-Premises hosting
Secure Cloud hosting
Data centers Located in Germany, the Netherlands and the US Data can be stored randomly
in data centers across
the US, EU or Asia
100% data ownership Data is shared with Double Click, Google Ads clients
and other Google products

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

Also, you have to remember that removing any traces of personal data is not the only option you have. What’s more, by doing so, you deprive 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.

First-party data is one of the biggest assets in every marketer’s arsenal. We’ve written a lot about this in the following blog posts:

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 such way that it won’t impose any threat on your company, GDPR-wise.

In that case, one of the most useful additions to your web analytics stack would be GDPR Consent Manager. If you’re not familiar with the term, be sure to read more about it here.

Piwik PRO vs. Google Analytics

Fortunately, there are many analytics platforms available on the market that make a great alternative to GA. One of them is Piwik PRO. Let’s have a look at what you can expect from both vendors when it comes to the most important features.

Data Collection Flexibility

When you take a closer look at the tracking methods of Piwik PRO and Google Analytics, you can clearly see the differences, which will impact your capabilities as a data analysist. In our comprehensive comparison, we really dig deep to show you several features of both solutions, and where the differences lie. Just take a quick look at data collection limits when it comes to data sampling and data retention:

Piwik PRO Google Analytics
Hits per session No limits 500
Hits per user per day No limits 200K
Data sampling No sampling No sampling for less
than 500k sessions per
Data retention No limits Data can be deleted
after 24 months

Data Processing, Connectivity & Openness

Other aspects that need to be analyzed are the data processing and openness options. These might not seem important at first, but the more you do with your data, the more important they become. Especially having the ability to freely access, import and export any type of analytics data.

When it comes to data connectivity, there are some differences between Piwik PRO and Google Analytics, but both vendors have much more in common. The biggest difference related to the ability to access raw data any time you want 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 aggregate 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 user-centric information. Both vendors also provide you the option to have use connectors to popular BI and data visualization software to improve and speed up your reporting.

Piwik PRO Google Analytics
Raw data access through a SQL port
Reporting API to extract aggregate report data
Streaming API of sessionized visitor-level details
Streaming API of user-centric information
Streaming API of user-centric information
Connectors to common BI and data
visualization software

Piwik PRO vs Google Analytics Comparison

The features we 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 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.

You can find it below. Just a few quick clicks and it’s all yours:

The Most Comprehensive Comparison
Piwik PRO vs. Google Analytics
Download NOW

Some additional materials:

In case you’re still thirsty for information about Google Analytics and Piwik PRO, here’s some food for thought:

Google Analytics Alternatives: 4 Sound Reasons to Consider

Read NOW

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.

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

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Google is one of the companies deeply affected by the “Great Firewall” – Chinese internet law. 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 way 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.


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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Julian Jeliński, CRO Copywriting Expert

Writing sparkling words and dazzling headlines, creating intriguing content, specializing in issues of online privacy and security. LinkedIn Profile

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