Google Analytics – or, instead, Universal Analytics – is an excellent tool for businesses of all sizes. Whether you want to check how your content ranks in the search engines, what your customers are looking for on your website, or find new keywords for an e-mail marketing newsletter, Google Analytics is usually the platform.
And to keep your e‑commerce website competitive and your marketing campaign performance or Google Ads effectiveness as high as possible, you need to keep your finger on the pulse – or the key metrics.
But even though it’s one of the most popular platforms on the market, Google Analytics (both free and the premium Google Analytics 360) also has a few drawbacks that often make companies look for other analytical suites for real-time analytics.
So in this blog post, we will discuss some of the best Google Analytics alternatives available and help you make an informed decision about which tool is right for your business.
What is Universal Analytics?
To ensure we are on the same page, let’s take a step back and talk about what Google Analytics or Universal Analytics is.
Introduced in the fall of 2012, Universal Analytics is a new version of the well-known Google Analytics suit. Compared to the classic version (often called GA), the tracking code has been completely rewritten, and Google also added plenty of back-end improvements.
The reason for the change? Since every one of us now uses at least 2 (and often more) devices to surf the web, Google needed to find a way to track a customer’s journey across all the devices they might be using.
Even if a mobile user switches to the desktop or the other way round, businesses should be able to mark them as the same visitor – and that’s something Google Analytics couldn’t do.
The most significant change between Google Analytics and Universal Analytics is that the latter analytics platform uses a “User ID” to track user behavior across multiple devices and platforms.
Simply put, in GA, an individual visitor that browsed a website on two different devices was noted to be two separate visitors. UA, meanwhile, will display the activity as coming from a single user, only using another device. That means you can get a more user-centric view of your traffic and, this way, far more actionable insights to help you build a more tailored experience for your customers.
Other key features that were added in UA:
- Creating custom metrics (for better customer journeys and drawing actionable insights)
- Designing custom dashboards with advanced features (custom events, sales funnel, real-time user analytics)
- Google Analytics SDKs designed for mobile analytics
- Offline data gathering (like point-of-sales data)
- Custom session and campaign timeouts
Do you need to use Google Analytics?
As an online marketer, you might be wondering now whether you even need to use Google Analytics. Tracking, gathering, and comparing several metrics related to your website performance and customer behaviors sound like a lot of work, after all. The answer depends on a few factors, such as the size of your business, your budget, what data you want to collect, what custom analytics dashboards you need, and how you want to use them.
You should also answer a few questions on whether you need session recordings, predictive analytics options, additional features for active users, responsible customer support team, integrations with a customer data platform, and real-time data monitoring for deeper insights – or not.
It would help if you also thought about whether you only need a simple analytics solution that can help you with conversion tracking, user experience, and traffic analytics. Instead, you are looking toward more powerful web analytics platforms.
Google Analytics has two plans – free and premium. The free one has most of the basic features small and medium companies might need – conversion rates reporting, product insights, visitor analytics, keyword tracking, advanced segmentation, multiple devices tracking, and real-time analytics. If you’re a small business with a limited budget, then the free version might be just enough for you, though the wide range of features might be slightly confusing initially. But the free version also comes with several restrictions – for example, it will allow only 10M hits per month. You don’t have access to raw data, either.
On the other hand, if you’re a large enterprise with a complex website and multiple touchpoints, you may need a more powerful tool to handle your data tracking needs and provide valuable insights. And here’s where a premium version of Google Analytics, Google Analytics 360 might be more useful for you. It has no limitations in the free version and adds plenty of advanced web analytic features to the standard analytics set. The price range of the premium version can be pretty shocking, though – it starts from $150,000 per year or $12,500 a month.
Too much? In this case, it might be worth looking at some Universal Analytics alternatives instead.
Why should you look for a Google Analytics alternative?
While Google Analytics is undoubtedly one of the most popular analytic suits, there are a few reasons why you might want to look for a different platform.
First is that Google already announced that it will retire the Universal Analytics solution in 2023 and will instead focus on Google Analytics 4. As with Universal Analytics in 2012, almost everything is changed in G4, so moving from UA to Google Analytics 4 might be difficult. The second thing is that the number of features Google Analytics can offer might be too much for smaller businesses and, instead of helping, be confusing for both the users and digital marketers.
And well, if you want to deliver a bespoke customer experience, your marketing team may need more than that.
Finally, customizing the dashboard will require a bit of effort, so for users new to analytics, it would be better to look for a simple analytics tool rather than an all-in-one tool like Google’s one.
There also are a few privacy concerns associated with Google Analytics vs search engines. Google was already criticized several times for not respecting privacy policies. And what’s worse, you don’t exactly have any control over how the data is collected, where it is stored, and how it’s used. Privacy concerns are one of the main reasons why companies nowadays decide to look for alternative analytics services – especially since, for internet users, their privacy online is their top concern.
And lastly – the price. Google Analytics 360 is one of the most expensive analytics packets on the market, and it’s only available to large companies who can afford to spend over $10,000 a month on it. Google Analytics 4 will most likely be in a similar price range, making both platforms basically out of reach for most businesses.
What are the best Google Analytics alternatives?
Despite its popularity, Google Analytics may not be the best solution for every business. In the free version, the data is heavily sampled, and the user interface comes with a steep learning curve and plenty of limits regarding what you can do. Add to it the privacy issues, no SEO tools for SEO performance measures, and the staggering cost of the premium version, and you might start to doubt whether Google Analytics is really the tool for you.
So now in this blog post, let’s look at some of the best product analytics tool options available when finding Google Analytics alternatives for your store.
1. Luigi’s Box
Luigi’s Box is a site search engine and analytics software that uses artificial intelligence to analyze customer behaviors and help them find the products they need.
It also gives you plenty of analytics features in an intuitive dashboard with real-time data on your user actions. Your most significant issues on the website are lost opportunities, bounce rate, most popular search terms, what visitors do on your website, and even what searches gave your visitors zero results – all of them make splendid product insights. The customizable dashboards also help you put the essential information at the front – your visitors’ activity, average time on your website, or any custom variables you’ve set. And as custom analytics dashboards are the future, you can really make the most of an impressive suite of features to enhance online experience, improve real-time user analytics, and reach more potential customers.
Compared to Google Analytics which might take a moment to implement and set up, Luigi’s Box is a far more lightweight product analytics tool – there’s no need to ask an IT specialist to install the platform; you can easily do it yourself. The customer support team is always at your disposal, too.
Pricing: Luigi’s Box uses a custom quote model to tailor the monthly/yearly pricing plan to the business needs and ensure active users pay only for the services they use. So to know more about the pricing, you need to contact the sales team for a custom quote. Or you can start by using a 14-day free trial.
2. Hubspot Marketing Analytics
Hubspot’s website offers several marketing-related and pretty popular tools – from marketing automation to CMS. And marketing analytics tools are also a part of their offer. Inside it, you can find virtually anything you might need to measure and optimize your website. From basic metrics like traffic sources and quality, sales funnels performance to conversion tracking, and all your marketing channels’ performance to detailed insights on what’s trending right now.
You can also customize the dashboard to have the most important metrics for you visible at a glance – and create custom reports from the data as well.
Pricing: Hubspot analytics are only available as a part of the HubSpot marketing or sales platform – and unfortunately, starting from the higher pricing plans. While Hubspot does have free plans, advanced analytics are only available starting from the Professional plan ($800/mo).
Mixpanel works differently than traditional analytics tools, focusing more on active user interactions and event tracking than page views, like Google Analytics. Through Mixpanel, you can see your users’ actions, how they engage with your product, and what features they use most often. What’s more, you can even check who is using your product regularly and who has stopped using it recently (and it could be a good idea to send them a custom message to bring them back). You can also set custom events or merge a few other events to create a custom one. All of that is to work towards better conversion rates and more informed user actions. It’s often considered a traditional analytics tool, yet there are more solutions you may want to test out.
Pricing: Mixpanel has a free version that can be useful for individual users, but it’s severely restricted. The paid core plan meanwhile starts from 25$ a month.
Woopra is a customer journey analytics and product analysis tool for companies, and so it mainly tracks four categories of data: people, journeys, trends, and retention rate. The idea is that the more you know about your customers and their entire user journey, the easier it will be for you to increase their engagement and retention rate, e.g. via Google Ads. For this goal, Woopra gathers and puts together the customer data from your company’s web, mobile, email automation, product, and more to build a 360 degrees profile for each user and update it in real-time. You will also find features like conversion tracking, user actions tracking, deeper insights into retention rate, and detailed reports with custom metrics there to give you detailed insights on how you should update your product or service to get better customer engagement and reach more potential customers.
Pricing: Woopra has a free plan with most of the simple analytics features (like trends and retention rate reports) available inside. For more detailed analytics, you’ll have to consider getting a startup($349 a month) or a higher pricing plan.
5. Fox Metrics
FoxMetrics allows you to create your custom variables data models and customize your dashboards to show you precisely the data you want to see at a glance. After you design your data models, FoxMetrics will convert those into visual reports. Better yet, they also offer tools like targeted ads and popups, surveys, and polls (for example, cart abandonment surveys). The problem is that building and managing the data models inside the application requires an understanding of SQL (Structured Query Language), so this is a suite of features for more advanced users.
Pricing: Their plans start from $399 a month (with the number of custom data models limited to 10) to $599 monthly for the Growth plan. Unfortunately, the platform doesn’t have a free version or even a trial – though you can ask the sales team for a demo.
6. Piwik Pro Analytics Suite
The privacy issues businesses have with Google Analytics have recently become infamous. So If you are considering getting a platform with similar advanced features as Google Analytics (e.g. real-time user analytics) but working as a more privacy-friendly alternative, Piwik Pro might be a good choice for digital marketers. The Piwik Pro Analytics Suite complies with privacy regulations worldwide (like GDPR in the EU, LGPD in Brazil, and CCPA in the US). It gives you complete control over how it’s stored and used, so for gathering and analyzing sensitive data, Piwik PRO might work far better than Google.
Pricing: Piwik Pro Analytics Suite has free (if limited) core and custom plans for enterprises. You need to ask the sales team for a quote for the Piwik Pro Enterprise cost.
7. Matomo Analytics
Another tool for companies that takes data security and ownership seriously is Matomo, an open-source alternative to Google Analytics.
The data is stored either on-premise or on a private cloud, and Matomo doesn’t use the browsing information themselves, so it’s better for privacy policies. They don’t sample the data like Google Analytics, guaranteeing accurate reports on your website performance. And the advanced features included in their plans, like web analytics, heat maps, and SEO tools for SEO performance, can give you precisely the data you need for your marketing campaigns without worrying about how secure your customer data is and what kind of online experience you deliver.
Pricing: Matomo pricing depends on your website’s monthly hits. For 50,000 hits, the pricing for the Matomo Cloud core plan is 19EUR per month, but it can grow to 13900 EUR monthly for large enterprise websites. You can also pick the forever free Matomo On-premise plan – here, though, additional features are available as paid plugins only.
Whatagraph gathers data from any sources you need (including Facebook, Twitter, Google Analytics, and many more) and compares it together, so you can see everything happening at a glance. You don’t have to worry about manually creating reports; the platform can automatically compile the data into a report and send it to your clients at the scheduled time. But the best part is that you can create customizable reports in a few minutes, for example, by adding clients’ logos and brand colors and then sending them to the clients straight away.
Pricing: Unfortunately, Whatagraph doesn’t have a free plan, only a 7-day free trial. Their pricing core plan starts from 199 euros a month to 299 euros monthly for the premium.
Of course, there are even more platforms to test out – Google Analytics 4 doesn’t have to be your only choice. You may want to take a look at a traditional analytics suite built for your own company, analytics services within SEO tools.
Why you need an analytics suite in your business is evident. With the right analytics tool (or combination of those), you don’t need to guess what your customers like or want and instead make data-driven decisions on how you should optimize your website or upgrade your product. But is Google Analytics the only tool for the task of amazing product analytics?
Not always – sometimes it’s better to look in the direction of other systems that can do what Google Analytics can but faster and cheaper. Additional features? Better compliance with the privacy laws? AI‑powered search features? Far more intuitive custom dashboard with custom metrics? Those are the things that Google cannot offer – but other tools, like Luigi’s Box, can. So maybe it would be an excellent time to make the switch?
We hope that our blog post will help you make an informed decision and take both product analytics and user experience on your website to a brand new level!
Q: Do I need a Google Analytics alternative?
A: Well, that depends on whether Google Analytics fits your current needs and expectations. If the platform has everything you need now, it might not be a good moment for a switch. But if you need more core features, higher data limits, or better privacy security and don’t want to pay the hefty price for the enterprise version of Google Analytics, it’s definitely worth considering.. One of the platforms we mentioned in the article might be a much better fit for digital marketers.
Looking for alternatives might be especially worth it if you are looking for features such as predictive analytics, in-depth analysis of your sales channels’ performance, SEO performance custom metrics, or content analysis. But if you are just starting with analytics, then picking a platform with a simple interface, customizable dashboards, and essential features might also be a better idea.
Q: Why should I look for a Google Analytics alternative?
A: As popular as the platform is, it does have a few serious drawbacks. The recent criticism of how Google stores and uses customer data is one. The fact that the platforms are pretty complicated for new users and it takes time to learn how to use them daily is second. Most of the alternative analytical platforms are also far, far cheaper than Google analytics is. Whatever the reason, deciding on your expectations and doing thorough research before settling on one platform is crucial. If you are looking for something with far better privacy protection than on our list above, you can find two platforms that pride themselves on strict privacy and compliance laws. And if you need something both to boost your website user experience and to give you a convenient to use set of product analytics, then AI‑powered Luigi’s Box should be the solution for each online marketer.
Q: Is there a free alternative to Google Analytics?
Technically, most of the analytics platforms have a forever free plan. But you need to keep in mind that all those plans are heavily restricted in what you can do with them. Some limit how many websites hits a month you can have, and some only allow you to use key features after you add them as paid plugins. Free plans of many traditional analytics tool solutions usually don’t have detailed reports, in-depth analysis of your campaign performances, custom metrics, or any SEO tools included and mostly just offer simple analytics tools for monitoring your customer base.
So before going straight for the free plan, you should first check its features and consider whether it’s even worth it.
Barbora does magic with words in Luigi's Box as a product marketing specialist. She got into writing while studying at university as a volunteer for various civic associations. Besides being part of Luigi's Box marketing team, she co-organizes the TEDxBratislava conference, where she cares about marketing and PR.More blog posts from this author