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Hackernoon logoTen Reasons You Should Remove Google Analytics From Your Site, and I'm Building a Competitor by@metmarko

Ten Reasons You Should Remove Google Analytics From Your Site, and I'm Building a Competitor

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@metmarkoMarko Saric

On a mission to help you share what you love and get discovered.

I'm working on a leaner and more transparent alternative to Google Analytics without all the privacy baggage. It's called Plausible Analytics and you can see the live demo here.

Here’s a look at why I believe you should stop using Google Analytics on your site and help create a more open, independent web that’s more friendly to your visitors. Let's start.

1. It’s owned by Google, the largest ad-tech company in the world

53% of all sites on the web track their visitors using Google Analytics. 84% of sites that do use a known analytics script use Google Analytics. It’s the most popular third-party request on the web accounting for 0.64% of all network requests.

Google Analytics is run by the largest ad-tech company in the world. A company with a business model that loves to devour all the personal
data it can get access to. Google’s products are free to use because
Google has built its wealth by collecting huge amounts of personal
information and using these personal and behavioral insights to sell
targeted advertising.

2. It’s a bloated script that affects your site speed

Web analytics like any other element add extra page weight. Google’s
Global Site Tag and the Universal Analytics script can be considered
bloat if you only care about the most useful website stats and want to
make your site as lean and fast as possible.

Global Site Tag, the recommended way of integrating Google Analytics, weights 28 KB and it downloads another JavaScript file which adds an
additional 17.7 KB to your page size. Every KB matters when you want to
keep your site fast to load.

3. It’s overkill for the majority of site owners

For most site owners, the amount of data Google Analytics collects is overkill. Most people find real and regular use for only a fraction of
the metrics it measures.

Google Analytics has more than 125 different reports and more than
290 different metrics you can gather your insights from. Analyzing these is a full-time job that requires a lot of time, effort, expertise and experience to do well.

4. It’s a liability considering GDPR and other privacy regulations

Different personal data and privacy regulations have been introduced such as the GDPR in Europe, CCPA in the US and PECR in the UK. All these privacy regulations are a good step towards a better web and are a necessary thing in the world of surveillance capitalism.

Google Analytics collects a lot of personal data. Many Google Analytics users also enable different advertising features such as remarketing, demographics reporting and interest reporting. All this collection of personal data is a liability for your site.

5. It uses cookies so you must obtain consent to store cookies

Google Analytics is a cookie-based analytics tool and it's not possible to use it without cookies. It sets multiple cookies and it “uses cookies to identify unique users across browsing sessions”.

Privacy regulations have a say about cookies too. PECR, for instance, requires a site owner to tell their visitors about cookies that they use to track personal data and give visitors the choice of whether to accept them or not.

6. It requires an extensive privacy policy

In addition to the cookie notice and the GDPR consent prompt, Google has further requirements for your use of Google Analytics:

“You must post a Privacy Policy and that Privacy Policy must provide notice of Your use of cookies, identifiers for mobile devices or similar technology used to collect data. You must disclose the use of Google Analytics, and how it collects and processes data”.

7. It worsens your user experience due to the annoying prompts

To abide by the privacy regulations while collecting the personal
data, you need to compromise the visitor experience by displaying
annoying cookie banners and GDPR or CCPA consent notices. You also need to present comprehensive privacy policy regarding analytics tracking.

Google Analytics makes the user experience on your site more inconvenient. And if you’re simply using Google Analytics for basic web
statistics, it’s worth considering the dramatic effect it has on the
visitor experience and the loading time.

8. It’s blocked by many so the data is not very accurate

Google Analytics script is blocked by millions of people who use adblockers such as the uBlock Origin and by users of popular browsers such as Firefox and Brave.

There’s no definite answer on how many people block Google Analytics
as that depends on the audience of your site, but for a tech audience,
you shouldn’t be surprised to see 50% or more of the visitors blocking
Google Analytics.

9. It’s abused by referral spam that skews the data

You may have noticed referrer URLs in your dashboard that are spam.
Bad actors send fake visitors to your site which then shows their URL on your referral sources list. The intention is to get you to get curious and visit their site.

This referral spam has been going on for years and it can really skew the stats you see. Many site owners put a lot of effort and spend a lot of time blocking the referral spam. Some do it manually one domain at a time while some use more automated systems.

10. It’s a proprietary product so you need to put your trust in Google

As it says on the very top of the Google’s privacy policy: “When you use our services, you’re trusting us with your information”. In the case of Google Analytics, you’re not only trusting Google with your information but also the information of all your website visitors.

Google Analytics is a closed source, proprietary product. There have
been many rumors for years on what Google uses all the data for. Google
has denied many of the accusations and rumors but there’s no way of
knowing what’s going on behind the scenes. You have to simply put your
trust in Google, the world’s largest ad-tech company.

Plausible Analytics as an alternative

Plausible Analytics is not designed to be a clone of Google Analytics. It is meant as a simple-to-use replacement and a privacy-friendly alternative that we believe can help many site owners.

  • It's quick, simple to use and understand with all the metrics displayed on one page
  • Lightweight script of 1.4 KB so sites load fast. Our script is 33 times smaller script than the Google Analytics one
  • Doesn't use cookies so there's no need to worry about cookie banners
  • Doesn't track personal data so it's compliant with GDPR out of the box and you don't need to worry about ask for data consent
  • It's open source with the code available on GitHub

Sign up for a free trial and give Plausible Analytics a chance. And if this message resonates with you, do spread the word to your favorite site owners. Friends don’t let friends use Google Analytics.

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