Web Analytics

8 reasons why you should consider Matomo as an alternative to Google Analytics

After 10 years in January 2018 Piwik underwent a rebranding and was renamed to Matomo. Today Matomo is a free, open source web analytics platform, and has worked hard to offer an open source alternative to Google Analytics for users who seek more privacy. Matomo continues to improve and make sure that issues get solved with every update. Matomo has been launching release after release, packed with features that make it a powerful rival to other web analytics tools. Matomo has also been offering a cloud version as a paid premium service where they will host the data on their servers for you.

1. Privacy

The most compelling reason to use Matomo is the privacy that it offers. It can be configured to follow even the strictest of privacy laws – Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and e-privacy directive, Swiss Data Protection Act (DPA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) from the USA and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Typical users of Matomo are organizations that are sensitive to privacy issues and do not want to send data to a third-party service (like Google Analytics). These may be organizations like universities, governments, financial institutions, or enterprise portals.

When you host your own analytics platform, you retain full control of your data within your own infrastructure. Also, Matomo’s cloud hosting services guarantee privacy compliance, so that even if you opt to have Matomo hosted in the cloud, you can know exactly where your data is stored and that it is not used by anyone else. Additionally, for those who need to store data in a certain country and want extra data sovereignty, you can achieve this with Matomo On-Premise.

2. Rich data about visitors

While Google Analytics only provides aggregate user data, in Matomo’s Visitor Log you can see users’ individual visits and the actions they take.

To see more detail, you can use Visitor Profiles, which show rich information about the individual user like their locations, operating systems, first visit date, and which pages they visited and on which visit. Looking into your Visitor Profiles can give you some important and sometimes surprising insights about how different types of users act differently on your site.


3. Open source

Want a feature that isn’t yet offered? Since Matomo is an open source project, you are free to let your best developers co-develop on it. It also means that there is a vibrant community of users and developers constantly working on improvements, who will listen to your questions and suggestions.

Because Matomo is open source there are a large number of plugins available in the Matomo Marketplace to expand both the functionality, security and integration possibilities of Matomo. The Matomo marketplace offers a wide range of different plugins. Some of these are free and others you can get by buying the premium version. These plugins include things like Media Analytics, Roll-Up Reporting, SAML integration and White Labelling.

4. Easy integration

Matomo has made integrations easy by providing their own open source, built-in tag manager. The Matomo tag manager helps you to set up all the tracking you need for websites and apps for your Matomo instance as well as allowing 3rd party tags to be set. You can natively implement other tools like Visual Website Optimiser and advertising tracking, such as the Facebook Pixel or LinkedIn Insights tags.

5. Intranet analytics

Matomo is a great tool for intranet analytics because it can be hosted within an organization, eliminating the need to send any data to Google or any other third-party analytics platform. Keeping analytics data within a company protects intranet users’ data. With this security, it is possible to use personally-identifiable data like real names (which is expressly forbidden in Google Analytics).

The enterprise-level Matomo cloud, is a particularly good option for corporate intranets. Matomo provides support, maintenance and expert advice for enterprises using Matomo. They also provide premium plugins and integrations like Matomo Sharepoint Analytics, a solution that “lets you easily integrate Matomo web analytics with your SharePoint service and learn more about the productivity of your employees and overall user engagement”. Besides Sharepoint, you can also create a better experience for intranet sites and portals like Confluence, Sitecore, Liferay, Alfresco, NextCloud and Open Atrium.

6. Full access to your data

With web analytics platforms like Google Analytics, you send all your website traffic data to Google, but then you are not allowed to have full access to that data unless you purchase a premium level plan. With a self-hosted Matomo implementation you have direct access to your data in the Matomo database but you can also export your data from the reporting interface in a variety of formats: CSV, TSV, XML, HTML, JSON or RSS. Quite simply, you own your own data.

7. No data limits

Matomo places no limits on how data is collected and stored. There is no sampling of data, no limit on the number of websites, goals, custom variables, etc. that you can track. There are also no limits on pageviews. With a good server 100,000 pageviews are no problem and Matomo can handle over 20,000 websites. As mentioned, the only limits are those of the infrastructure where you host it. This is a big advantage over Google Analytics, which places limits on free users’ accounts for all of the features listed above. (There are a few default limits in Matomo for performance, but you are free to change these as needed.)

8. Opt-Out

In order to protect the privacy of your visitors, with Matomo there is an option of implementing an Opt-out iframe on your website for users who do not want to be tracked. This iframe will show your users a short text that allows them to opt-out with one click. You can find the code for the iframe in your Matomo account under Administration and then under Privacy > Users opt-out. The iframe is customizable. You can change the font color, font family, font size and background color. Here is an example of what the iframe could look like.

These are only a few of the great reasons to choose Matomo. Amazee Metrics is a partner of Matomo. Our experts are happy to discuss with you whether Matomo is a good choice for your web analytics needs.

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