Online marketing without measurable data? Unimaginable! Whether insights into buying behavior, visitor numbers or dwell times – web analytics tools provide all the important information for process optimization in marketing. And as of July 2023, Google is setting a new standard with GA4, which offers contemporary solutions. Artificial intelligence is at the heart of the new version, but the focus is also on user experience.
Besides the “big player”, however, there is another solution in the field of web analytics: Matomo. Many have never heard of the application, but it offers a promising alternative. Below we compare the two applications and answer the question whether either Google Analytics or Matomo is the better web analytics tool. We also contrast the strengths of both tools.
A duel at eye level
Both Matomo and Google Analytics essentially fulfill the purpose of a web analysis tool: Evaluate user data. Matomo is more practical here because everything happens within the application. To evaluate media, for example videos, with GA4, on the other hand, the link to the Search Console is required. However, this is not an elaborate process.
Google Analytics is completely free, while the use of Matomo costs from 19 € / month. While there is a free plan, it severely limits usage. The good news: for the price, your company gets a lot. One of the most interesting features is the heatmap – it shows where users spend the most time on the website. And the Session Recording even reproduces users’ stay in video form.
Furthermore, Matomo promises more independence, because the application runs on its own servers and data is stored indefinitely. In addition, Matomo attaches great importance to privacy, data protection and security. The display in your own branding is also a nice feature.
With Google Analytics 4, the focus is primarily on sustainability, user experience, and the use of AI to analyze relevant data. The latter is particularly interesting because machine learning creates a better understanding of users’ buying behavior. In terms of AI analysis, Matomo does not yet offer an in-house solution.
Google Analytics 4: The problem with data protection
“What about data privacy?” – it’s probably one of the first questions you ask yourself before using a web analytics tool. And with Google Analytics 4, there is no satisfactory answer. Tracking is permitted via the user’s explicit consent, but this is not always granted.
The use of Matomo is theoretically possible even without consent, because the tool works with reach analysis through log file analysis, whereby stored data remains only with the provider. In addition, Matomo does not store IP addresses and offers tracking without cookies.
The Google universe is a power
Google is the undisputed number 1 in the world of search engines and the evaluation of user activities. And this position promises advantages. Google Analytics 4 can be easily linked with other Google applications. Among them the Search Console, Search Ads and the own cloud storage. Matomo offers regular linking with Google Ads.
Since Google does not want to push other search engines, integration with Bing and Yahoo, quite unlike Matomo, is not possible. A disadvantage? Hardly. Yahoo is currently pushing its return, but the search engine lost its importance years ago. And Bing has yet to prove itself competitive either – while the hype around ChatGPT enabled a stronger competitive position, Google’s market share remained at nearly 88% as of May 2023.
Matomo and Google Analytics 4 in comparison
|Matomo||Google Analytics 4|
|Location||Own server||Own server or cloud|
|Price||19 € / month||Use free of charge|
|Duration data storage||unlimited||24 months|
|Campaign & Website Tracking||Yes||Yes|
|Media tracking (e.g. video)||Yes||Only when linked to Search Console|
|Bing & Yahoo Integration||Yes||No|
|Integration Google Marketing Platform||No||Yes|
Google Analytics 4 and Matomo are among the best web analytics tools and offer companies sustainable solutions for process optimization in marketing. Matomo is much more compact and also offers solutions for keyword research or video tracking. For these functions, you have to use Google’s (free) Keyword Planner or link Google Analytics with Search Console. Matomo is also ahead in terms of data protection and storage.
However, Google Analytics offers a cost advantage and GA4 takes into account metrics relevant to marketing such as user experience and sustainability. GA4 is also pushing the use of AI to deliver efficient solutions. So there are advantages on both sides.
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