Why I am Dropping Google Analytics in 2013 – Piwik, Here I Come!
So, for 2013, I have officially dropped Google Analytics off of The Google Cache. There are a couple of reasons behind the decision, so I wanted to go ahead and drop them here…
1. It is not my data to give away. It took me a while to come to this conclusion. I always looked at Google Analytics as a trade off. I will let Google know about my site in exchange for a better way to visualize the usage on my site. But something kept nagging – and that was the reality that Google is not in the Analytics game for your site’s data. They are in the game for your users’ data. Chances are, your users have no idea that Google is collecting their usage data as they move through your site, and they definitely don’t understand the consequences of it. I think I deserve to know what my users are doing on my site, but do I deserve to be able to sell their data to a third party (in exchange for software)? That seems like a stretch.
2. It might help your competitor’s ad campaigns. If Google knows a user has been on your site, what is to keep them from retargeting advertisements for your competitors in the future based on that data point? I haven’t looked into this possibility at all, but I have a nagging suspicion it is one of the reasons why Google offers such a powerful tool set openly and freely.
3. Google Analytics doesn’t expose the raw data I hate having to go back to raw logs to try and understand exactly what is going on in a campaign.
4. Google Analytics is a closed environment If I want to tie rankings or links data into my analytics, I have to export the analytics data into either 3rd party software or a spreadsheet. I’d prefer to be able to improve the analytics program directly.
5. Information Parity As petty as this sounds, if Google isn’t going to give me the keywords from their site, why should I give them my entire site’s usage data? Why should I trust Google with my data when they won’t trust me with such a small amount of theirs? Why does Google think their users need to be protected from me, but for some reason I think my users don’t need to be protected from Google?
So, what is the replacement? Piwik
Piwik is a fairly robust open source analytics software. It is highly extensible which means I and my team can mod it to our hearts desire. Hopefully by this time next year we will have a unique, Piwik-powered SEO/Analytics hybrid which we can use on clients’ sites.