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Change in Privacy Landscape Forces Innovation: Google Analytics Alternatives

By: Jake Patterson    August 31, 2020

Over the past four to five years, internet privacy has been in the spotlight of both advertising industry and consumers alike. Since the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) were announced in 2016, and enacted in 2018, advertisers have been trying to get ahead of these changes to understand how their targeting and reporting will be affected. Shortly after GDPR came into effect in 2018, California passed the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) that went into effect in June 2020. These continually increase the difficulty of targeting and tracking advertising efforts across the digital landscape.

Additional changes have come from laws, browsers and operating systems. Third-party cookies seem to be on the way out for good. Publishers and vendors have been scrambling for solutions that will retain the state of the industry as we have known it.

There are fears that Google Analytics tracking is growing increasingly less accurate as consumers are opting out of cookies at a higher rate. Apple’s iOS 14 is expected push these discrepancies further by giving the users more and more chances to opt-out of tracking. But there are companies that embrace change and the need for transparency.


Plausible is not a complete Google Analytics alternative, but its features are growing. The program is an open-source, web analytics tool that collects completely anonymized data without using cookies. They use a daily-changing identifier using an IP address and a selected user agent; then Plausible runs that through a hash function that is a randomly generated string. This does lose the ability to track new versus returning users.

The best thing about Plausible, in my opinion, is that it cannot be blocked so you can get a true sense of what your traffic looks like after ad and cookie blockers. Read about their privacy compliance to get more information. This option is great for smaller businesses or large agencies trying to scale how much website traffic they are losing from consent management tools.


Matomo is more of an all-purpose Google Analytics alternative and packs a lot of options into one tool. The platform is not only an analytics tool, but also offers events and goals, heatmaps, A/B testing, tag management and much more.

The platform’s (formerly known as Piwik) primary purpose is to offer data where you have 100% ownership. You can either have your data hosted on servers on in the cloud, based on privacy reasons. Matomo has worked to be compliant with all privacy laws and minimize the use of consent screens.

What tools should I use?

The diamond in the rough of the stricter privacy laws and browser updates is that we are seeing more innovation with new techniques. More competitors are rising to challenge the big players in advertising. Plausible and Matomo are only two of many different analytics tools that offer a variety of solutions. But now there are so many options, which is right for you? The decision is becoming more difficult as well.

You’ll have to do your research. You’ll have to reach out and request demos. You’ll have to realize what tool works best for the needs of your business. It can be overwhelming to try and keep up with all the changes. But it is exciting keeping up with all the innovation.