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.

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39 Comments

  1. Aurélien Debord
    Nov 18, 2013

    Hi! I actually will try Piwik. I have used this solution a few months away but your post make me curious about this tool.

  2. Aldo Giammusso
    Jan 28, 2014

    I never really thought about what you are saying. Good blog post. I always felt it might be a little sketchy. One thing i always worried about was, how they can track your visitors time spent on the site. Would they really know otherwise?

  3. Jonas Rasmussen
    Jun 15, 2014

    There are many great wordpress plugins to take care of tracking visitors behavior on your website. Some can even be better than Google analytics if used right.

  4. Lakshmi
    Jul 3, 2014

    Feel that PIWIK is indeed a better option in terms of security. It is always good to have couple of analytical tools for any company. So I am enjoying both GA & PIWIK!

    Enjoy!

  5. Chad
    Nov 28, 2014

    I have been on Piwik for about 2 years now. Love it! I have even migrated the whole thing accross servers 3 times now. Really easy to do.

    FWI gett off Google search engine too try duckduckgo.com I think it is better, and the odd time I can’t find what I want in duckduckgo I just add “!G” to my search and do it on google.

  6. Mads Pakker
    Mar 23, 2015

    GReat article, need to know facts. and piwik just works for me to

  7. Apache SEO
    Feb 12, 2016

    Interesting. I never even thought about Google Analytics like that. I’ll have to check out Piwik as that first point really made me think.

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  1. 10 Predictions for Inbound Marketing in 2013 « MindCorp | Newsfeed - [...] read Russ Jones' post on Dropping Google Analytics for Piwik and it struck a chord. I think we're going…

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