By July 2023, Universal Analytics will be retired, forcing users to switch to the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) or another platform. While Google Analytics is the most popular tool for web analysis, it doesn’t meet everyone’s needs. It has its limitations, and data beyond 14 months now comes with a cost with GA4.
Google Analytics is also banned in many European countries, mainly for non-GDPR compliance. While GA4 made some changes to its privacy settings, it can still collect consumer data. Likewise, GA4 and Universal Analytics are quite different. Upgrading to GA4 will essentially make you learn a new tool.
So you might be thinking, what are better alternatives to GA4 you can turn to?
Here are a few options that our team has gathered:
Clarity is a free web analysis tool that Microsoft developed to provide website owners with valuable insights into how visitors actually use their sites. Its features include session recordings, heatmaps, and machine-learning insights.
Clarity is ideal for growing businesses. It’s easy to use and customize, and you can get data analysis in near real-time. Unlike GA4, Clarity doesn’t limit the volume of session recordings you can access.
It also has advanced customization and filtering options that allow you to segment your data; GA4 lacks that feature. You can filter recordings and heatmaps by traffic source, country, session duration, device type, and more. You can also add filter options to suit your key metrics.
Clarity’s UX metrics include rage clicks, dead clicks, quick backs, and selected text. These elements provide you with useful insights about your site visitors and how you can improve your site for a better user experience.
Matomo is an open-source web analytics platform quite similar to Google Analytics but with added features. You can have in-depth reports on website visitors, including how they engage with your pages. You can also learn about the most viewed page on your site and which keywords are driving traffic.
Matomo’s features that you can’t find on GA4 include A/B testing, session recording, and self-hosting. Matomo also allows you to use the platform without the cookie consent banners, giving your 100% ownership of your data. Google Analytics, meanwhile, may also use your data for its own analysis, although GA4 comes with a cookie-less option.
Since it’s open-source, you can customize its functionalities if you have the know-how. Likewise, you can transport Universal Analytics data using a free plugin.
You can use Matomo for free through self-hosting, which is a good option if you have the technical knowledge and a server. Meanwhile, the cloud-hosted version costs 19EUR a month, with a 21-day free trial.
With Heap, you gain both quantitative and qualitative analytics. It covers the traditional metrics, like page views, events, and engagement, as well as the newer digital insights, like heatmaps and session recording.
Heap also features advanced segmentation and categorization tools, including data foundation and data management. It focuses on visitors’ behaviors throughout their customer journey on your websites and apps. In contrast, Google Analytics is focused on pageviews and the “who” of the customer journey.
Meanwhile, Heap focuses more on product analytics and doesn’t track social analytics as much as GA does.
If you’re just starting and receive less than 10,000 sessions a month on your site, its free version is a good option already. But it also offers premium subscriptions that start at $3,600 a year. They are ideal for growing businesses with multiple projects.
You can use Plausible if you only want quick and simple website insights based on your key metrics. In comparison, Google Analytics collects too much data that might be complicated to understand or unnecessary for you.
Plausible also uses a lightweight script, which is great for your site speed.
You can try Plausible Analytics for free for 30 days, then switch to paid plans starting at $9 per month. The premium plan is customizable based on your site’s monthly pageviews.
If you want real-time website traffic analysis, Clicky promises to provide that. It allows you to generate reports quickly, and with real-time information, you can act on them fast.
Clicky also has most of the metrics you can find on Google Analytics and offers additional options.
Clicky can track your site visitors’ journey across your pages, launch heatmaps, monitor uptime, and aggressively filter referrer spams and bots for more accurate data insights. Other features include backlink analysis and mobile compatibility.
It’s also user-friendly and privacy-focused. It’s easy to install and implement.
Clicky has a free plan, but it’s limited to 3,000 daily pageviews. It has four other premium options with a 21-day free trial. Pricing starts at $9.99 a month, varying depending on your site’s pageviews.
Google Analytics 4 is a powerful tool with comprehensive analytics but with limitations. It’s not the easiest tool to learn and has missing features available from other platforms, so finding an alternative could work better for you. Although, it may require a little trial and error before you find one that suits your business needs well.
Still, most experts recommend transitioning to GA4, particularly because it’s free, and well, it’s from Google itself. Regardless, you know your business needs more than anyone else, so the best decision boils down to the factors that matter to you.