Top Options for WordPress Site Owners Who Do Not Want Google Analytics
Google Analytics may be the default go-to software for website analytics, but not everyone wants or needs it on their websites.
This post introduces several alternatives to Google Analytics for WordPress. All of these are easy to install and use, and are credible options for GA avoiders.
Last Updated: May 28, 2020
Google Analytics Pros and Cons
Great for Many… But Not for All
For perhaps most website operators, Google Analytics (or just GA for short) offers many advantages that make it the easy choice for their website analytics needs.
- The free version is more than good enough for most websites
- It’s reasonably easy to set up
- Basic GA visitor metrics are easy enough to understand
- Lots of support available worldwide… from Google, various courses and books, YouTube tutorials, analytics consultants, agencies, etc.
- Easy to connect GA to Google Ads and Google Search Console data
- And for WordPress users, there are a huge number of plugins available that make Google Analytics easier to use and more valuable
Other people, however, have various good reasons for not using Google Analytics. They have some of the following concerns and objections.
- Google Analytics can still seem overly complicated to some users who don’t use it frequently. Proper setup can be an issue. And the variety of reports and options can seem daunting.
- Website analytics data is stored in the Google cloud. This is a data privacy and ownership concern for many.
- On a related note, some site owners want analytics solutions that are “privacy first” focused… with GDPR compliance, etc., as a core design principle.
- GA uses data sampling in some cases, not always the full data set from all visitor sessions. So data accuracy is a concern for some.
- GA’s data retention period may not be long enough for some sites.
- The sending of GA data can easily be blocked by browser extensions and some ad blockers. Google Analytics metrics are lost for these visits.
- GA may lack essential functionality for some situations and use cases.
- Some site owners don’t need GA’s functionality re: Google Ads metrics, remarketing support, etc.
- The paid (“Enterprise”) version of Google Analytics is really expensive. There’s no middle paid tier priced right for small-medium businesses.
- Some people just have an anti-Google philosophy and try to avoid using Google tools wherever possible.
Google Analytics Alternatives for WordPress
Good Non-GA Options Exist for WordPress Sites
Website owners have many options for gathering visitor statistics while still avoiding Google Analytics. WordPress makes this easy with a number of plugin providers helping out.
Some of these GA alternatives are still cloud-based, while others will keep the data stored “locally” on your website host server.
The following sections cover several of the top contenders that should be on your list for consideration.
Note: I’ve embedded short intro videos from YouTube where I could find them for specific vendors / plugins. Not all of them have good intro videos available.
Matomo (formerly Piwik) is an open-source analytics platform that is focused on its customers having 100% ownership of their data, along with user privacy protections. It is certainly one of the primary alternatives to using Google Analytics.
Matomo is used on over 1.4 million websites in over 190 countries. They have cloud-based as well an on-premises options for data storage.
Matomo Intro Video
Matomo Core Features
- Comprehensive website analytics
- User behavior tracking and conversion optimization options, including heatmaps and session recordings, A/B testing, funnels, goals, and forms
- Visitor profiles
- Enhanced SEO features (e.g., better keyword analytics)
- Matomo Tag Manager
- GDPR Manager
- Roll-up reporting
- White label options for agencies
- 100% data ownership for customers
- User privacy protections
- No data sampling (unlike Google Analytics)
- Flexible hosting options (cloud or on-premises)
- Data export and migration options
- Marketplace for free and premium add-ons
- 100+ technology integrations
Matomo offers their own comparison with Google Analytics here.
Matomo pricing varies by tier level and also by cloud vs. on-premises hosting plan selected.
Cloud hosting comes at three levels: Essential, Business, and Enterprise. Pricing here ranges from US $19 per month to $TBD (customized) at the Enterprise level.
Cloud-hosted data is stored in Frankfurt, Germany.
WordPress installations are self-hosted (on premises), so everything runs on your WordPress server.
All core features are included for WordPress installations, including WooCommerce analytics.
Premium options include:
- Search Engine Keywords Performance ($79/year)
- Funnels ($99/year)
- Users Flow ($39/year)
- Heatmap and Session Recording ($119/year)
- Paid Advertising Performance ($89/year)
- Custom Reports ($119/year)
- Forms ($89/year)
- Media Analytics ($89/year)
- Multi-Channel Conversion Attribution ($39/year)
- Cohorts ($59/year)
Optional features that are *not* available for WordPress installations include Activity Log, White Label, A/B Testing, Roll-Up Reporting, and the SAML and LDAP integrations.
For those interested in a non-GA approach to website analytics, Matomo is a full-featured top option.
With strong data privacy protections, flexible hosting options for WordPress and non-WordPress sites, and a menu of paid add-ons, Matomo will continue to be one of Google Analytics’ primary competitors.
Visitor Analytics IO
A Google Analytics Competitor from Europe
Another alternative to Google Analytics on WordPress sites, Visitor Analytics IO is worth a look. The development team is based in Germany and Romania, so they are highly tuned in to the data privacy needs of the EU and elsewhere.
This is a multi-platform app that supports WordPress and many other popular website builders. They have a total of over 2 million installations worldwide.
Visitor Analytics Intro Video
Visitor Analytics Core Features
- Independence from Google Analytics and the GA cloud
- Essential website visitor stats coupled with user behavior analytics
- Session recordings and heatmaps
- Funnel and conversion analysis
- Strong focus on data privacy. Completely GDPR and CCPA compliant
- Instant data processing and real-time visitor stats
- Well-organized metrics dashboard
- Simplified, intuitive interface vs. typical GA-based reports
- Free of advertising
- No data sharing with 3rd parties
- 100% data ownership (you own your data, not Google)
- Chat, polls, surveys, and other customer interaction data (in development)
- SEO tools (in development)
- Whitelabel options for digital marketing agencies
Visitor Analytics Pricing
Visitor Analytics offers a limited free option (up to 1000 site visits per month), followed by four paid plans:
- Basic – up to 100,000 visits/month with 15 visitor recordings and 1 heatmap for under US $6 monthly
- Advanced – up to 250,000 visits/month with 25,000 visitor recordings and 15 heatmaps for under US $10 monthly
- Pro – up to 500,000 visits/month with 50,000 visitor recordings and 30 heatmaps for under US $20 per month
- Pro Plus – up to 750,000 visits/month with 75,000 visitor recordings and 50 heatmaps for under US $30 per month
The four paid tiers include all the core product features and full online support.
Visitor Analytics Conclusion
I like Visitor Analytics as a credible alternative to Google Analytics. It’s very privacy focused and has a solid core feature set that includes access to session recordings and heat maps.
Pricing is reasonable for the functionality provided. The whitelabel options are attractive for agencies as well.
Built by VeronaLabs, WP Statistics is another strong option for website owners who want comprehensive user stats that are stored locally on their own WordPress server / installation.
The plugin currently boasts over 500k WordPress installations and an overall rating of 4.3 stars from several hundred users.
VeronaLabs has a basic YouTube channel here. They do not currently have a brief video overview of WP Statistics, though some other videos there may be helpful.
WP Statistics Core Features
Feature highlights for this plugin include:
- Visitor data records (IP and location, referring site or search engine, OS and browser)
- Country and city level recognition (based on IP)
- Page-level activity
- Search engine and referrer activity
- Visual graphs and statistics reports
- Taxonomy-based statistics, e.g., categories, tags, and authors
- Data filters
- Data export in common file formats
- Email reports
- Premium add-ons for use on single or multiple websites
WP Statistics Conclusion
WP Statistics is a highly-rated, straightforward WordPress visitor stats plugin for those who want essential website visitor analytics without the added complexity of learning Google Analytics.
With a good basic free level and a handful of low-cost premium add-ons, WP Statistics fits in nicely as a self-hosted WordPress website analytics option.
Website Stats from a Mega WordPress Plugin
When I first started working with self-hosted WordPress sites several years ago, Jetpack was one of the very first plugins I encountered and used.
Built and maintained by a large dev team at Automattic, Jetpack does many many things. It’s a big, multi-purpose plugin.
It’s sort of an all-in-one master plugin, covering website security, performance, management, visitor stats, content promotion, and other things important to WordPress site owners.
Jetpack’s core features are always free. Of course, there’s a paid upgrade path as well.
Jetpack’s services are provided and hosted by WordPress.com, so a free account there is also required in order to connect your WordPress.org site to Jetpack.
Jetpack Stats Features
As mentioned above, Jetpack is an extremely broad plugin that covers lots of WordPress website needs.
Purely from a visitor stats perspective, Jetpack provides the following:
- Easy setup and connection to WordPress.com, with no additional scripts or coding required
- Doesn’t require Google Analytics, but can easily co-exist alongside GA
- Reports all the most important visitor metrics, including page and post stats, time period metrics, visitor geographic locations, referrers, search terms, etc.
- Stats are available on your hosted WordPress dashboard and also on WordPress.com
- Also available via mobile app
Jetpack starts with an “always free” level, followed by three paid tiers: Personal, Premium, and Professional. Site stats are available at all levels.
The paid tiers range from $39 to $299 yearly cost. Plans can be modified at any time, and there’s a 30-day full money-back refund guarantee.
Features vary per pricing tier, of course. They are organized into 6 areas: WordPress Security, Performance, Traffic & Revenue, Site Activity, free WordPress Themes, and Support.
Generally, you get more in most of these areas as you bump up from one tier to the next.
Sometimes using a single multi-function plugin from a trusted developer is better and easier than cobbling together a bunch of single-purpose WordPress plugins from various developers.
That’s when Jetpack warrants serious consideration.
If *all* you want at the moment is good visitor analytics data that doesn’t require Google Analytics, then Jetpack may be overkill for you. It does a lot more than just provide site visitor stats.
But, if you value non Google Analytics stats and many of the other capabilities provided by Jetpack, then by all means give it a go.
A Privacy-First Alternative
Built by a small distributed team based in The Netherlands and other corners of the globe, Koko Analytics earns a solid 5 stars so far and has 5000+ active installations.
This is a privacy-friendly WordPress analytics platform that does not rely on any 3rd-party services.
So… no Google Analytics required.
It is GDPR-compliant by design and does not share analytics data with outside parties.
Koko Analytics Core Features
Feature highlights for this plugin include:
- Easy to install and get started immediately. “Plug and Play” activation and data collection
- Gathers all the standard visitor metrics, including visitors, pageviews, and referrers
- Intelligently designed to easily handle traffic bursts
- GDPR compliance built in. No visitor-specific information is tracked. Also offers cookie-free options
- You own all the analytics data collected. The plugin does not send data to 3rd-parties. Also respects ‘Do Not Track’ settings in browsers
- Referrer spam filtering via built-in referrer blacklist (a very nice touch!)
- Works with pages served from cache
- Tracks AMP powered pages too
- Open source code released under GPL 3.0 licensing
Koko Analytics Summary
Koko Analytics is a straightforward, ‘minimalist’ solution for any WordPress site owner wanting core analytics functionality without giving up data ownership or visitor privacy.
The spammy referrer blacklist is a nice addition, too. Seems like something that Google Analytics should have built in long ago!
I expect to see the user base for this plugin grow nicely. Hopefully, they can keep their current very high star rating along the way.
A Visual Approach to Visitor Behavior Analytics
Hotjar aims to be “the fast and visual way to understand your users”, with a focus on heatmaps and session recordings as the primary measurement tools. They also offer several interesting user feedback tools.
Hotjar’s target market includes marketers, product managers, and UX designers.
Hotjar is multi-platform and works with many website builders and CMS platforms. WordPress users can implement it quickly using the Hotjar WordPress plugin to connect the WP site to a Hotjar customer account.
Hotjar uses its own tracking code and is completely independent of Google Analytics.
Many websites have Hotjar implemented in addition to Google Analytics or other core website metrics platforms.
Hotjar Intro Video
Hotjar Core Features
Hotjar’s main features include:
- Heatmaps – Visualize user clicks, taps, and scrolling behavior
- Visitor Session Recordings – For on-screen visitor behavior analysis, including mouse movements, clicks, taps, etc.
- Conversion Funnels – Identify key points where content and process improvements can boost conversion rates
- Form Analysis – Boost form completion rates by understanding why visitors abandon forms and form pages
- Feedback Polls – Add targeted questions to identify opportunities for website improvements
- Incoming Feedback – Provide an easy way for site and app users to leave quick visual feedback
- User Surveys – A flexible way to collect even more user insights about preferences, objections, and concerns
- Test User Recruiting – Identify and incentivize participants for user research and testing projects
Hotjar organizes product pricing into three categories: Personal, Business, and Agency. Pricing is on a per-website basis, though a single Hotjar account can manage multiple websites.
There are discounts available for non-profits as well.
Basic – A “free forever” plan for up to 2,000 pageviews per day. Limited reports, unlimited team members, and data storage for 365 days.
Plus – $29 per month for data collection on as many as 10,000 pageviews per day. Unlimited reports and team members, data storage for a year, and a free 15-day trial period. Also includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Hotjar’s business plans are all based on how much data collection is happening, based on number of website pageviews per day.
The pricing breakpoints start at 20,000 pageviews per day and can run as high as 2,000,000 or higher pageviews per day.
Business pricing starts at $89 per month for 20K pageviews per day. It increases at logical breakpoints along the way to $989 per month for 800K pageviews per day.
Custom pricing applies to anything higher.
All Hotjar business plans include:
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Unlimited reports
- Unlimited team members
- Data storage for a year
- Removal of Hotjar branding
- Access to advanced features
- 15-day free trial
For agencies and marketing consultants working with client accounts, Hotjar offers discount volume pricing and a few other important goodies:
- Unlimited client sites within a central agency account
- Client access to visitor data
- Rebrandable interface for agency branding purposes (“white label” approach)
As a website visitor analytics solution, Hotjar’s more visual emphasis stands apart from the other solutions highlighted in this post.
Many website owners use Hotjar in addition to other tools such as Google Analytics or its alternatives.
Some analytics tools also include some level of heatmap and session recording functionality, so those webmasters will need to see for themselves if adding Hotjar makes sense.
However, Hotjar’s other features, such as feedback polls and user survey tools, may tip the scale toward using Hotjar instead of, or in addition to, other analytics platforms.
Enhanced Analytics for Online Shops
Ecommerce is another area where WordPress plugin developers have built specific analytics tools and add-ons. Many of these connect directly into Google Analytics’ ecommerce functions, but some are independent of GA.
Note: For more on ecommerce measurement, see this related post on some of the top WordPress plugins for ecommerce analytics.
Metrilo is one good example that doesn’t require Google Analytics.
WooCommerce Growth Platform
Metrilo’s analytics platform for WordPress helps WooCommerce store owners measure and improve business performance with features ranging from sales and marketing analysis to customer journey tracking, engagement, and feedback channels.
Metrilo is a self-standing cloud platform that is independent of GA.
They offer three plan levels, including a free 14-day trial period.
Website Visitor Identification Software
Tools for B2B Website Sales Lead Generation
For many B2B firms with proactive direct sales teams, Google Analytics by itself doesn’t offer enough actionable data that sales staff can readily use to identify and engage new leads.
3rd-party software tools can help here, either in addition to, or instead of, Google Analytics. These visitor analytics tools help turn anonymous website traffic into actionable sales leads.
They’re much more sales-focused and sales user-friendly when compared to relying on GA alone.
If you’re a B2B marketer or website owner with a sales pipeline to feed, you may find this post on website visitor identification and tracking tools to be helpful.
It includes introductions and overviews for many of the top vendors in this area.
These tools almost always offer free 14-day trials. Some also provide WordPress plugins to make getting started even easier.
Other Non-Google Analytics Plugins
Special Cases and Honorable Mentions
WordPress has so many decent website analytics plugins that it’s impossible to capture all the worthwhile options in a single blog post.
Aside from the ones I’ve profiled above, these WP plugins may also be worth your consideration:
When Google Analytics Just Isn’t the Right Solution
As discussed above, sometimes GA just isn’t the best fit for a website owner’s analytics needs. Or for a firm’s marketing and sales teams.
There are many good and varied reasons for wanting to look at competing options.
Fortunately for WordPress users, we have many alternatives that make GA competitors even easier to test and use.
Most of these replicate the core functionality of Google Analytics just fine. Some are easier to use than GA, and some include enhanced functionality that isn’t built into Google Analytics today. (At least not the free GA.)
Almost all have more focus on GDPR compliance and other data privacy and data ownership matters.
And some are serious contenders to Google for ecommerce analytics, as well.
So, we WordPress fans have many good non-Google paths to consider.
Whichever way you decide to go, I wish you good luck with your analytics implementation!
Comments and Feedback
What’s your favorite Google Analytics alternative for WordPress sites?
Should I add any other tools to my discussion above?
Feel free to add your thoughts below!
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