When we evaluate the implementation of a tool in a web analytics project, one of the first choices that is usually made is the measurement tool. In most cases, a free tool is chosen, among which Google Analytics (in its basic version) and its main alternative, Matomo (OpenSource Tool) stand out. In this article we are going to compare both options so that you can choose the most appropriate for measuring your project.
Table of Contents
1. What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is the most widely used Web Analytics tool worldwide that provides grouped and segmented data about visits and users browsing the web. It provides real-time information, measurement with page views and events, as well as reports such as demographic data, traffic sources, bounce rate, duration of sessions, conversions…
1.1. Advantages of Google Analytics:
- It is free in its basic version
- It has a very intuitive interface and good usability
- There are many tools that include the Default Google Analytics API and allow easy connection, which greatly simplifies data extraction
- Google Analytics is by far the most widely used tool in the world… when you have any questions, surely someone will have had it before and you will find the answer on the internet.
1.2. Disadvantages of Google Analytics
- Less privacy: Although there are several options to configure to what extent you want to share your data with Google, in the end, your data will always be hosted on an external server owned by Google.
- It uses third-party cookies, which obliges to notify the user of its use.
- In the free version there is a limit of 10,000,000 hits (sum of page views plus events)
- As the volume of hits on the account grows, sampling increases, decreasing the accuracy of the data.
- Google only guarantees a 25-month data history (although in most accounts you will find multi-year history)
- There is a limit of 20 targets per view.
- Export limit of 5,000 rows of data.
2. What is Matomo?
Matomo is the leading Open Source platform in web analytics, and will provide you with valuable information about the visitors to your website, your marketing campaigns so you can optimize your online strategy and the experience of your users. It allows you to obtain information in real time, as well as measure page views and events… Matomo respects users’ privacy and gives you full control of your data.
2.1. Advantages of Matomo:
- If you have more than 10 million monthly hits, you won’t have to pay the thousands of dollars that Google Analytics 360 costs a year.
- In large projects, Matomo is an alternative to Google Analytics Premium, since no matter how high the server expenses are, they will always be lower than the cost of the Google tool, there are hosting options by Matomo.
- If you have a small blog, with less than 10,000 visits per month, your server consumption will be negligible.
- 100% ownership of the data.
- If you like to program, being open source, you can customize its functionalities to a large extent.
- There are no target limits.
- There is no data export limit.
- In the face of privacy, it uses first-party cookies, so that the user’s data is not exposed to third parties.
2.2. Disadvantages of Matomo:
- Although Matomo is an open source tool, it is not as free as it seems, since it entails a server consumption. In Google Analytics, the servers are run by Google.
- Despite having an active community, its size is much smaller than what you will find relative to Google Analytics.
- It does not allow you to cross data with a secondary dimension via interface.
- The date picker does not allow you to compare data with a previous period.
3. Common features in Matomo and Google Analytics
- Real-time data analytics.
- Customizable integrated dashboards.
- E-commerce measurement module.
- Custom dimensions.
- Monitoring of objectives.
- Measurement through page views and events.
- Analysis of internal searches.
- Geolocation of users.
- Automated reports by email.
- App on both iOS and Android.
- Access via API.
- Campaign tracking.
- Both have a Tag Management System (TMS): Google Tag Manager in the case of Google Analytics and Matomo Manager in the case of Matomo.
4. Summary of the comparison
- If privacy and data ownership are a determining factor, we have a clear winner: Matomo
- Nothing is free in this life… with Google Analytics you are providing all your data without knowing for sure what you are going to do with them… with Matomo all the information is yours and yours alone.
- Google Analytics is still the most used web analytics tool. Regardless of whether you’re going to implement it or not, you should know about it.