Google Analytics Alternatives
If you've ever wanted to find out how many people are visiting your website then you've probably heard of Google Analytics. It's a free service from Google that allows you to collect a plethora of information when a user visits your site. However, it also gives the world's largest digital ad seller access to a trove of data too. That digital ad seller, in case you're wondering, is Google and DoubleClick (its advertising arm).
The Markup has found Google Analytics in use on 69% of the top 800,000 websites they scanned with their Blacklight website privacy inspector. If these sites want to access user demographics through Google Analytics, they have to allow that data to be collected by DoubleClick as well.
But there are alternatives that both keep you user data private, and aren't regularly blocked by ad-blockers (which is another problem Google Analytics presents). Here are just a few:
Website (affiliate link, starts from $14/month for 100,000 pageviews)
I've been using Fathom for about 6 months now, and I'm really glad I made the switch. Fathom markets itself as privacy-focused analytics, and that's something which they take very, very seriously. Fathom has a simple dashboard which is easy to digest, making it ideal for sharing with different teams within your company. The team behind Fathom are working on Version 3 release for April which will include the ability to drill down data, track campaigns, provide an API, and more.
Another bonus of using Fathom is that 2% of all the revenue they make goes towards environmental endeavours. 1% of our gross revenue is funding next-generation carbon removal technologies in partnership with Stripe. 1% of our gross revenue is being donated to the Rainforest Trust.
Website (starts from $4/month for 10,000 pageviews)
Plausible Analytics is much like Fathom, in that they are an analytics service with privacy front of mind. Plausible can be used as a service or can be self-hosted. One of the most promising things about Plausible is the size of its tracking script - less than 1kB.
The folks behind Plausible Analytics also contribute 5% of their revenue to a combination of environmental efforts and open source project sponsorships.
Website (Currently invitation only beta)
Cabin is analytics with a difference. Besides being privacy-first, it's also carbon-aware. So beyond just page visits and events, you can use Cabin to track the carbon footprint of your website. As more companies become carbon conscious the ability to track and identify energy intensive pages will definitely be a plus.
At the time of writing access to Cabin is only via invitation only.
Self-hosted solutions give you total control over your data and analytics setup. They do, however, also require you/your team to have the technical know-how to set them up. You'll first need to find hosting services for the analytics dashboard and database. Once you've registered for these services you'll then need to setup the database, and connect it to the dashboard. Most self-hosted analytics packages have scripts and clear instructions you can follow to get started.
I've listed a couple of self-hosted analytics options below, but a quick search on Ecosia will give you a few more choices if you need.