Alternatives to Google Analytics 4

Are there viable alternatives to Google Analytics 4?

If you’ve been keeping up to date with the latest news in SEO and SEM, you’ll know that Universal Analytics won’t be with us for much longer. On July 1 2023, Universal Analytics will stop processing new data, and users will have to either switch to using Google Analytics 4 or another analytics tool.

Many marketers will simply switch to Google Analytics 4 without thinking because if you’re already working with Universal Analytics it might seem like the most obvious solution. However, there are alternatives to Google Analytics 4 that marketers should consider if they have concerns over the new GA4 switch.

Why consider alternatives to Google Analytics 4?

While GA4 will undoubtedly be a fantastic analytics tool for many businesses, it lacks certain features that can be a game-changer in some sectors. For example, GA4’s privacy protection has been deemed insufficient in several EU countries, with the Schrems II decision being perhaps the most prominent here. The European Court ruled that the protections afforded under US law (where GA4 data is transmitted) is not equivialent to those afforded in EU law.

Privacy concerns aside there are other, practical reasons to consider an alternative to GA4:

1) Data Ownership – Nowadays data is big business and monetising data is key to the “Big Tech” business model. Google uses data to improve targeting and ad targeting and your data could be used to help your competitors improve performance. If you’d like ownership over your data then an alternative to GA4 could be for you.

2) Data Hosting – If you’re based in Europe then the GDPR sets out that data should really be housed in Europe. Alternatively your business may have strict data residency policies meaning you need a solution that doesn’t put your data in a public cloud or allow it to be transferred outside of Europe.

3) PII usage – You may have a use cae for working with personally identifiable information (PII) and Google doesn’t give you this option. Of course there are responsibilities for keeping this data completely secure but if you need PII then Google Analytics isn’t for you.

4) Data retention – Retaining data can be important for analysis or compliance reasons. Google Analytics 4 offers you two options for retaining data – 2 or 14 months so if you need something more customisable then you’ll need to look at an alternative

5) Data Sampling and Freshness – With GA4 it takes approximately 8 hours for data to be “ready” and if you have larger than average reports with more than 10M records in a query you’ll only see a sample. If your business moves quickly then waiting 8 hours for your data can be too long,

If you’ve ever felt that Google Analytics was less than perfect, it could be worth shopping around ahead of the sunset of Universal Analytics in July this year. Let’s take a look at some of the alternatives to GA4 and consider the pros and cons of each tool.


Matomo developed from Piwik and is without a doubt one of the most popular analytics tools available on the market today, with over 1.4 million websites around the world using Matomo to track visitors and monitor user behaviour.

Matomo offers just about all the same functionalities that you can get from GA4, in addition to extra features including heatmaps, session recordings, and A/B testing. Matomo is generally considered to be one of the best analytics tools for companies concerned with privacy and security, and because it complies rigidly with various privacy laws including GDPR, you won’t have to obtain consent from website users to use their data with the platform as long is the data isn’t “personal”.

Matomo offers two versions, a free self hosted version and a paid for version hosted on Matomo servers.  

Pros of Matomo

Cons of Matomo

Piwik PRO

Piwik PRO developed from the Piwik platform, the same as Matomo above, but became a separate entity in 2013 . Piwik PRO is a proprietary analytics suite that offers similar tools to Matomo and infact Google Analytics, but it’s focus on data freshness and importantly privacy, make it a great consideration as a GA4 alternative.

Piwik PRO puts privacy at its core and you own your own data which can be managed on-premise or in the cloud and users can manage their preferences via the built-in consent manager. This is invaluable for compliance and user protections.

For web and product analytics teams, Piwik Pro offers a free plan (called “Core plan”) which offers 500,000 monthly actions and an Enterprise plan for larger businesses. Interestingly Piwik PRO say the majority of websites find ample capacity on the free plan, which gives access to Analytics, Tag Manager and Consent Manager. 

Pros of Piwik PRO

Cons of Piwik PRO


Heap is another extremely popular analytics tool that could be a viable alternative to Google Analytics 4, especially for companies wanting to understand what makes their users tick. As an analytics tool, Heap focuses on helping marketers to understand how and why customers engage with your website and how you can use this knowledge to create a better, more effective online presence.

A key play from Heap is their Autocapture funtcionality, which helps capture what your customers do automatically. This is great for less technical marketers and helps lower the burden on development resource. As with Matomo and Piwik PRO, Heap is GDPR compliant and gives you access to user privacy controls on all plans.

Speaking of plans, currently there are 4 plans  ranging from the free plan to the Premier plan with bespoke pricing. This could be of interest to you if you are likely to have increasing needs in the future but want to increase your package in stages rather than large jumps.


Pros of Heap

Cons of Heap

Are you considering a Google Analytics alternative?

Matomo, Piwik PRO and Heap are three very good alternatives to Google Analytics and because they provide a free tier, they’re viable for businesses to test them out before investing in deeper integrations. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the changes to Google Analytics, I can help you find some clarity and move forward with your marketing analytics. This might be configuring your GA4 instance or deploying a new platform altogether. A key consideration should be user privacy and data security, and if these are top of your list then I definitely recommend considering one of these alternatives.


Related Posts