The best Google Analytics alternatives

Even though Google continues to reign when it comes to search engines and online marketing, it doesn’t mean as a website operator that you’re necessarily bound to this service. There are actually many programs similar to Google Analytics available, even though many see it as a compulsory program with no alternatives. One thing is clear: every webmaster needs a professional web analysis tool they can use to optimize their own website and monitor all relevant key figures. We will introduce you to some good Google Analytics alternatives, highlight usability, cost, functionality, and privacy.

What speaks for Google Analytics alternatives?

Judged merely by the merits of its functions, there isn’t much that speaks against Google’s flagship tracking tool: the offered features deliver exactly what they promise, and the delivered results provide webmasters with excellent information on which content of a given web project needs to be optimized and which content is performing well. And have we mentioned that it’s free? Despite all these strengths, chinks can still be found in the armor of the internet giant’s most hardy analysis tool if you look carefully. For one thing, the staying time of a visitor is only measured if that individual accesses another site while visiting the page. Should he or she opt to close the window instead, then Google Analytics incorrectly measures visiting time by delivering a stay length of zero seconds. As is the case with comparable tools, Google Analytics only rarely delivers data that is precise down to the minute. This shortcoming is compounded by the fact that many browser plugins actively block Google Analytics (i.e. JavaScript, its programming language).
But it is the actual application of the web analytics tool that delivers the strongest blow to the California-based concern. Much of the user data is collected by Google and stored on its servers. By using Cookies, the software sends user data directly to Google. Years can go by before the digital juggernaut finally deletes this data from its servers. To what extent Google continues to process user data is unclear. It is conceivable that such information is used to fine tune its search algorithms, however. Traces of users presiding over a Google account, who by extension have integrated Google Cookie in their browser, can be used through analytics results to directly connect to that same account. Here is a summary of the abovementioned disadvantages of Google Analytics:

  • all data is sent to Google
  • user data can be stored on the company’s servers for years
  • length of stay can only be measured after a user accesses another site
  • analysis data is not measured down to the minute, as is the case with comparable services
  • analysis of social networks and mobile traffic is not optimal
  • many browser plugins block Google Analytics

Piwik

Piwik is an open source project and can be downloaded by developers for free. The advantage it has over Google is that is that all Piwik data is saved on your own server, which is good for data protection. The program is therefore hosted independently and means that you have complete control of your data.

Piwik’s range of functions is similar to that of Google’s, but there are some areas where a compromise needs to be reached. The functions are usually less detailed, for example, geolocation is less precise than Google’s. A free program code usually means more extensions and plugins developed by the community, which is the case with Piwik. This is why you can use plugins to expand many of the missing functions. Due to the complex configuration and expansion possibilities, however, the program quickly becomes confusing and the menu navigation could be a little more intuitive.

Just like with Google Analytics, you also need to build a tracking code into your website in order to retrieve the statistics. There is a special campaign and target tracking for e-commerce available.

Advantages Disadvantages
Data protection (data on own servers) Complex configuration options
Open source solution Unstructured menu navigation
Expandable with plugins Less precise analysis tool than Google

Open Web Analytics

There are more options than just Piwik when it comes to open source alternatives for Google Analytics: Open Web Analytics. The structure, layout, and functionality are very similar to Google’s. There is an integrated heat map function. When a user clicks on the map, website operators can see how users react and behave depending on the design of the page or landing page. You can also define e-commerce goals and get specific statistics on how to use the site conversion and user-defined results.

Open Web Analytics is available free of charge and there are no restrictions regarding the amount of data sets and the number of websites you want to test. When it comes to the app’s performance, Piwik is the better Google Analytics alternative. Further cons are how unreliable the development process is, and that updates are rare and irregular.

Advantages Disadvantages
Free Poor performance
Heatmap feature Slow development
  Irregular updates

Clicky

Another free option as an alternative to Google Analytics is Clicky. The free account provides users with general analysis and tracking features. The analysis of real-time data is very clear in the individually customizable dashboard. API access is also available for retrieving data in your own applications. In the basic version, Clicky impresses with its simple design, which provides the most important functions at a glance. If you want more functions, you have to pay for them. They include heat maps, split tests, and uptime monitoring. You can only export data if you’re willing to pay the monthly fee of around $10.

Advantages Disadvantages
Simple and clear dashboard Limited functions in the free version
Good, free solution for small websites Fee-based for large websites with over 3,000 visitors daily
Detailed real-time analysis  

Mixpanel

With Mixpanel, you get more than just simple webtracking. In addition to comprehensive real-time analysis, the tool offers a very detailed customer-journey analysis, which means whatever needs optimizing is broken down to the last detail, should you require it.

Webmasters can use the program for websites as well as for mobile pages and apps. A practical data segmentation function reduces the complexity of the analysis by automatically analyzing data based on specific questions.

Mixpanel is a member of the EU-US Privacy Shield, which regulates the protection of personal data coming from EU member states to the US.

Mixpanel is a powerful Google Analytics alternative for very large web projects with a wide reach. Well-known customers include Airbnb, Spotify, and Uber. In addition to the impressive amount of functions available, users also receive a high-quality interface. There is a free account for smaller web projects. The Freemium model is free for websites with a data volume of 25,000 'data points' per month (1 data point = 1 view, download, etc.). The packages start at around $100 per month.

Advantages Disadvantages
Huge range of functions E-mail and push offering is quite basic
Automatic data retrieval possible  
High-quality interface  
Free for small projects  

Chartbeat

The browser-based web service, Chartbeat focuses on website analysis in real time. All important information about visitors and visitor behavior can be found in the clear dashboard in the live view. Testing options and optimization options are also available. By linking site analysis and social media monitoring and management, the tool stands out from the others, and puts emphasis on the involvement of social channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

After a free trial, you will have to pay a monthly fee of around $10 to use Chartbeat. Users do not have a binding contract with this pay-as-you-go alternative to Google Analytics and so can opt out at any time if they wish.

Advantages Disadvantages
Pay-as-you-go alternative More suitable for sites with high traffic
Detailed real-time analysis  
Social media integration  

Adobe Analytics

As part of the Adobe Marketing Cloud, the US software company also offers a web analytics solution. However, Adobe Analytics, which was originally known as 'Omniture', is more than a classic analysis tool for websites; it offers by far the most functions when it comes to the Google Analytics alternatives.

In addition to web analysis, the Adobe solution also integrates social analytics, personalization and testing, campaign management, advertising expenses optimization, and content management. Despite there being so many features, the dashboard manages to remain intuitive and can be customized.

Special features of Adobe Analytics include real-time problem and opportunity detection, social media integration, and a data work bench that marketers can use for analysis, whether they’re offline or online. To find out how much this Google Analytics alternative would cost, you need to get in touch with them to request the prices.

Advantages Disadvantages
Huge range of functions No visible prices
'Predictive Analytics' No free version for small websites
Business solution  

Inspectlet

What Inspectlet offers isn’t quite an exact alternative to Google Analytics since its focus is different, but it nevertheless proves to be interesting for many website operators. The tool makes sure that the website visitor is the center of the analysis, which enables you to see your website through the eyes of the user. Numerous features are available for this purpose, including detailed recordings of the movements on your website such as eye tracking and scroll heat maps, as well as form analysis.

Inspectlet is free of charge for up to 100 sessions, but the manufacturer also offers various packages starting at approx. $40. It’s more a case of additional software, rather than a replacement for Google’s analysis software. It can also be used together with other tools like Piwik or etracker without any problems.

Advantages Disadvantages
Visitor-oriented analysis tool Not a fully adequate Google Analytics alternative
Free up to 100 sessions  

StatCounter

The penultimate option when it comes to alternatives to Google Analytics, is StatCounter. With StatCounter you get simple analysis software with similar functions to the 'original'. The tool is free up to a certain number of page views (25,000 per month). Google AdWords campaigns can be integrated, which is very practical. StatCounter is basically a good entry-level solution for small sites that don’t want to make a big investment, but are looking for a solid alternative to Google Analytics. The dashboard, however, is quite unclear and the whole layout isn’t very attractive.

Advantages Disadvantages
Free up to 25,000 page views per month Interface not very attractive
Simple beginner tool  

KISSMetrics

KISSMetrics focuses on tracking your visitors, their origins, and their behavior on your site. This tool aims to optimize your conversion rate by giving you information on the most frequently used paths so you know where is the best place to intercept users and hopefully increase the chances of them making a conversion. KISSmetrics just makes it easier to focus on funnels and conversions in a much easier way than Google Analytics. The installation might prove a bit tricky, but there are plugins provided for most popular systems. The disadvantages of KISSMetrics as an alternative to Google include the real-time functionality only showing basic data on current events, which might not be enough information for some users. The layout also isn’t very attractive and the pricing quite steep (from $220 per month), but a free trial is available for you test its suitability for your needs.

Advantages Disadvantages
Especially suitable for small and medium businesses Interface not very attractive
Free trial available Tricky installation
Plugins available Basic information shown
  Quite expensive

An overview of the Google analytics alternatives

Our overview shows that there are plenty of good alternatives to Google Analytics. You can keep track of your web statistics and use the information to analyze and optimize your website without feeling like you’re obliged to use the market leader. If you want to keep full control of your own data and also search for a fully-fledged and free alternative to Google Analytics, the Piwik open source program is certainly a good choice. Other tools have some very interesting features and provide valuable insights, but first make sure they take data protection seriously.

Provider Price Advantages Disadvantages
Piwik Free Open source, Data protection, Many extensions Complex structure
Open Web Analytics Free Open source solution, Practical extra functions e.g. heat maps Unreliable support and development, Poor performance
Clicky Free for up for 3,000 page views per day, then $10 per month Detailed real-time analysis, Simple and clear dashboard Limited functions in the free version
Mixpanel Freemium model, large websites from $100 a month Many functions, Automatic data retrieval, High-quality interface Expensive solution beyond Freemium model
Chartbeat Free trial, then $10 per month Detailed real-time analysis, Social media integration More suited to sites with high traffic
Adobe Analytics Fee-based, prices only on request Huge range of functions, Can be linked with marketing cloud and numerous other areas Expensive, Intransparent price model
Inspectlet Free up to 100 sessions Supplementary tool, Visitor-oriented web analysis Not a full-fledged Google Analytics alternative
StatCounter Free up to 25,00 page views a month Generous Freemium account User interface isn’t very intuitive nor appealing
KISSMetrics Free trial available, then costs from $220 per month Good for small and medium businesses, Plugins available Expensive, Interface not attractive