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Why We Stopped Using Google Analytics and Use a Private Alternative Instead

Why We Stopped Using Google Analytics and Use a Private Alternative Instead

Many businesses and startups alike immediately look at google analytics for the ability to track their users and gauge the success of their website. Often not being aware of alternatives such as Fathom Analytics

Realistically, the only thing we look at during this stage, is the number of users, location and devices to understand if our users are mobile or desktop first.

Unfortunately, google analytics captures a lot more than this from your website visitors and the sacrifices from a privacy perspective can jeopardise your brand.

Security and privacy is such an integral part of what we do at mappd that we switched over a more security and privacy focused solution – we thought it would also be an interesting topic to explore for others concerned about their analytics capabilities and have put together a comparison guide looking at both solutions and the pro’s and con’s

Why use privacy focused tools?

We are seeing more and more tools that are privacy focus and putting security first, however adoption for these services are still a minority.

We are advocates for using secure alternatives to day to day products and services as this supports our ethos of giving people control and visability over what happens with their data – more importantly we do not believe that people should be forced to sacrifice their privacy due to having no alternatives.

Here are some of the top reasons for using privacy friendly tools;

Competitive advantage

Not enough businesses understand that privacy and security gives you a competitive advantage. If a user has the option between two similar services but one promotes security, it is likely that it will be chosen.

It’s important now more than ever to make your security and privacy practices public to give users a reason to trust your brand.

We use a single cookie for our security tooling to protect our website, app and visitors – we make sure that it is clear that we only use a single cookie for this purpose. Visitors often give good feedback about the transparency that we provide.

Clean UI and customer experiences

Users do not like having cookie banners and preferences getting in the way of their experience, but we have to provide them in order to be compliant with various laws and regulations. If you don’t use any cookies, you don’t need to have the banners and can subsequently offer a better user experience.

Easier to manage

Less data stored, means less data to manage. There are a number of regulations which give requirements around how to manage and capture data correctly. Privacy focused tools often remove or reduce the amount of data captured which gives you lower overheads.

The reality is that a lot of tools had been created without consider privacy in the first place. If google started again with privacy in mind, they probably wouldn’t do it in the way they do.

Why do we use analytics tools?

Analytics tools are great for showing us information that we want to see – the key thing here is only seeing what you need to, unfortunately analytics in general tends to overwhelm you with excessive amounts of data that is’t really needed.

For our specific example, and something that applies to a lot of organisations, startups and bloggers, we want to keep track of how many people visit our website, which pages are most popular, device types and location.

It’s important to ensure that you are capturing data points for a reason, so we justify ours with the below;

Website numbers

Page Views within Fathom Analytics
This shows us a quantitate measure of how successful the website is, we can identify which times are best and see trends in growth

Page numbers

Page numbers show you clearly which pages are producing the best traffic – we can see that our complete data guide produces the best results which tells us to focus on detailed blogs for traffic.

Device types

Understanding device types is great to chose how to optimise your site, in general it is always best to build mobile first, especially for consumer apps and websites

Location

This shows the general location of your users, great to work out user bases and whether you need to consider translations and what regulations you need to meet.

Referral locations

Referral links within Fathom Analytics
Referral channels aren’t something we thought that we needed but this is a key metric within Fathom which has been a great help for us to understand where to focus our marketing efforts. In this case, Instagram is our best performer

Fathom Analytics vs Google Analytics, the comparison

Here are some comparison notes between Fathom and Google Analytics. in summary Google have a lot more features however for 90% of use cases they are rarely used and are outweighed by the clunky and complicated UI.

Fathom Analytics

  • Incredibly simple
  • Clean UI and design
  • Privacy friendly
  • Open Source
  • Self hosting options
  • No cookies
  • Unlimited websites
  • Paid plans for hosted

Google Analytics

  • Complex features
  • Lots of pages and difficult UI
  • Intrusive and lack of privacy
  • Closed source
  • Stuck within Google Ecosystem
  • Analytics cookies
  • Unlimited websites
  • Free at the cost of your data

Should I use Google Analytics in 2020?

We truly believe that 2020 and beyond will be the years where privacy and security becomes expected from users. As a result of this, not being transparent can have a significant impact on the trust of your brand and it’s never been so important to consider more private options.

In addition to this, technology stacks and services are becoming more complicated by the day and often suffer from feature bloat, making them difficult to optimise which affects your focus.

Private often means more simple, simplicity ties in with better experiences and better experiences ultimately mean better business.

It’s a no brainer? Start looking for privacy and security first products now to make the most of the benefits – share you’re favourites in the comments!

You can visit Fathom and take a look on their site for more details

Fathom Analytics website

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