Google Analytics is the world's most widely used tracking solution for websites. This is not only due to the large scope of services, but also because Google makes the tool available free of charge for small and medium-sized websites. With the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), however, the use of Google Analytics is no longer permitted without restrictions throughout Europe - and already today it no longer delivers the best results. In this article you will find out exactly what speaks against the use of Google Analytics and which alternatives you can use on your website in compliance with data protection regulations.
Ad blocker, track blocker, private mode: The technical enemies of Google Analytics
2019 was not a good year for all website operators who rely on tracking user data. Because in September of that year, Apple started a new "trend" with the introduction of version 13 of the Safari browser. The version included the ability to block tracking cookies and tracking pixels for the first time. Just a few weeks later, Mozilla followed with version 70 of Firefox. And since January 2020, the Chromium version of Microsoft's Edge has also included a tracking blocker provided by the manufacturer. Mozilla provides specific figures on the number of blocked tracking cookies. Firefox blocked an incredible 3.4 trillion tracking cookies between October 2019 and July 2020.
The ECJ, the European Court of Justice, also targeted tracking in 2019. A judgment stipulated that website visitors must explicitly agree to the storage of cookies. The so-called cookie opt-in has been an integral part of websites ever since. Users may consent to the use of tracking cookies, but all too often do not. There are two reasons for this:
- Choosing which cookies to allow interferes with visiting a website
- Users have a greater awareness of the protection of their personal data and, accordingly, a significantly reduced willingness to leave their data to the providers
What does this technical upgrade in recent years mean for Google Analytics? The tracking tool still collects data - but significantly less than before. This produces gaps in the evaluation of user behavior on a website and leads to less precise analysis options for website operators. To make matters worse, browsers are getting better and better at anonymizing users online and covering up their tracks. A real plus for data protection – a real drama for tracking.
Users are becoming more and more sensitive when it comes to data protection
Matomo instead of Google: What does the analysis alternative do?
Google Analytics may be the most popular tracking tool in the world. But it's not the only one! If you want to continue to carry out your marketing strategies without data loss despite tightened data protection laws and changing user behavior, we recommend you take a look at Matomo. Matomo emerged from the open source web analytics platform Piwik, is based on PHP and uses a MySQL database. This can be downloaded and installed on your own web server. The big advantage of Matomo: The tracking tool can be used without the consent of users within the meaning of the General Data Protection Regulation - and still ensures the privacy of visitors!
Matomo and Google Analytics in direct comparison
- Matomo stores data on your or a secure EU server. Google Analytics sends the data to a third country.
- Matomo is open source. The source code is open, can be viewed and edited. Google Analytics is proprietary.
- Matomo does not pass on any personal data to third parties and thus guarantees comprehensive data protection. Google Analytics passes on data without providing any information about what is really happening with the data.
- Matomo may be used without the consent of the visitor. Google Analytics, on the other hand, requires explicit consent.
- If Google Analytics is used on a large scale on large websites, a fee must be paid to Google. This fee is quite high. As a rule, the use of Matomo is significantly cheaper here.