Marketing

Matomo vs Google Analytics

April 19, 2022
10 min

So you're looking for a web analytics tool that will fit your business size and give you raw data on the behaviour of your site visitors so that you can zero in and optimize for better conversion?

You might have been advised to choose a web analytics tool:

  • That is price-friendly to the size of your business.
  • That has advanced analytics features.
  • That allows mutual integration with a ton of marketing tools.
  • That gives you 100% data ownership.

Now, if you've searched for good analytics tools and you're looking for a well-detailed Matomo vs Google Analytics comparison before you make your final decision, then read on.

In this article, we've covered the core differences between these analytics tools; their key advantages, pros and cons, FAQs, and the best tool for different audience types.

So, let's get started by first understanding these basic questions; what are Matomo and Google Analytics?

What Is Matomo Analytics (Formerly Piwik Analytics)?

Matomo Analytics Page
Source: Matomo Dashboard

Matomo Analytics (formerly called Piwik) is open-source software that is used for real-time user information, and event tracking on your website to discover; who your visitors are, what marketing channel they come from, the pages they navigate to, and how they convert... or drop off.

With this, you will gain insight on what to adjust on your marketing funnel to drive the best conversion.

More importantly, Matomo gives you 100% ownership of your data.

This simply means that you're not sharing your analytics data with any third-party platform, unlike Google Analytics which uses data collected to serve Google ads to its advertising platform.

What Is Google Analytics

Google Analytics Page
Source: Google Analytics Dashboard

Quite similar to Matomo, Google Analytics is one of the most popular and widely-used analytics tools from Google that provides a wide range of useful data for a basic fee of $0.

More importantly, with Google Analytics, you can:

  • Discover the most visited pages on your website.
  • See which devices your visitors are using.
  • Find out where your visitors are coming from; channels and geographical locations.
  • And generate many more custom reports.

Despite sharing a similar analytical infrastructure with Matomo, there are core differences that digital marketers look out for before choosing any of these tools.

Now let's look at these differences and discover their core strengths for different audience types.

The Core Differences Between Matomo And Google Analytics

Aside from other features, the core differences between Google Analytics and Matomo are differences in their pricing models, hosting and trackable metrics.

Matomo Paid Version Vs. Google Analytics Premium (Google Analytics 360)

To get started, Google Analytics is totally FREE for basic users but has a paid version for advanced features like access to 1 Billion+ hits per month.

Google Analytics 360
Source: Google Analytics Website

The advantage of using Google Analytics over Matomo is that Google Analytics' free version provides more than enough insight that any business type will need to scale its marketing efforts.

The Key Differences Between Matomo On Premise And Matomo Cloud

For Matomo, you can choose between the Matomo on Premise hosting which is free or you can opt for Matomo Cloud.

Matomo On Premise

Though Matomo On Premise is absolutely free, and all you need to get started is to install Matomo on your server, you can purchase specific bundles for better analytics.

These bundles are SEO web vitals (from $86.67/year), multi-channel conversion attribution (from $86.67/year), Roll-Up reporting (from $218.33/year), etc.

Matomo Pricing Model
Source: Matomo Website

Matomo Pricing Page
Source: Matomo Website

Matomo Pricing Model
Source: Matomo Website

Matomo Cloud

Matomo cloud has a pricing model that ranges from $0(21 Day free trial) to $15,250 according to TrustRadius.

Also, the process of installing Matomo Cloud is similar to the process of installing Google Analytics because both are cloud hosted.

Integration With A WordPress Plugin

Both Matomo and Google Analytics have similar WordPress integration processes because they are both cloud analytics tools.

Though, because of Google Analytics' popularity, there are tons of WordPress plugins that can be used to host the tool on any WordPress site.

One of the recommended WordPress plugins that integrate Google Analytics with any WordPress site without requiring any coding knowledge is MonsterInsight.

You can click here to read WPBeginer's detailed blog post on its installation.

The WordPress-Matomo integration uses Matomo API to give you data on your sites' visitors and their behaviour on your website.

Differences In Their Tracking Features

The two analytics tools have basic tracking features that track similar metrics like real-time users, user locations, device and operating system, best-performing landing pages, top exit pages, traffic sources and referrers, etc.

Narrowing down to their basic tracking features, let's look at their tracking limitations and the tool among the two that offers advanced tracking abilities.

Number of Metrics That Can Be Tracked.

If you opt for the basic Matomo Cloud, you'll be able to add only 30 users, track 150 goals, 100 segments, 30 websites, and 30 custom dimensions.

But with Google Analytics, you can add unlimited users, goals, segments, and custom dimensions all for free.

This is one of the reasons why Google Analytics is one of the most preferred analytics tools for Digital Marketers.

Matomo provides both server log analytics and intranet analytics.

You can gain access to your intranet analytics and at a glance, you will see the unique website visitor data of people in your intranet network.

While tracking visits on your intranet website, Matomo uses first-party cookies to track visits of people that have similar system configurations like IP addresses, Computers, etc.

100% Ownership Of Your Analytics Data

If privacy is key in your business, then choose Matomo over Google Analytics because Matomo lets you own 100% of your data and not share it with any third party or advertising platform.

On the other hand, Google Analytics serve ads to their users by using data collected from web visitors' behaviour on sites like yours.

If you're guessing that Google Analytics is a freemium software because their alternative source of revenue is ads, then also consider that Matomo's on premise hosting gives top-tier services all for free.

Matomo Key Advantages Over Google Analytics

There are so many key advantages that the Matomo analytics tool has over Google Analytics.

For instance, one of the key advantages of Matomo is that you can host Matomo on your server and track the data inside your MySQL database, unlike remote-hosted analytics tools.

Because of the analytics infrastructure, you can access the data using Manoto's API, create custom dimensions by assigning custom data to your visitors or actions, create segmentation, or even run manual queries on the database in order to build advanced reports.

Additionally, with the Matomo analytics tool, your form analytics is set automatically.

From the overview report, you can discover your form metric; how long it takes people to fill your form, how many people are filling your forms, etc.

At a glance, you can also see your forms conversion rate so that you can find more ways to increase conversion.

Matomo's Form Overview
Source: Matomo Website

One of Matomo's advantages over Google Analytics is that Matomo uses a heat map tool to give a visual presentation of how your visitors navigate your website.

Matomo cloud hosted business plan gives you this feature by taking records of clicks and mouse movements on your web page, records of scroll activities of your visitors and pinpoints the places on your pages your visitors find most useful.

Matomo Heatmap on a Homepage
Source: Matomo Heatmap on a Homepage

In addition to heat map tool, Matomo uses Scroll Map tool to also give you insights into how far down your web pages your visitors are scrolling.

Matomo Scroll Map
Source: Matomo ScrollMap on a Homepage

If you determine that your visitors are not scrolling down to 90% of your page where your CTA is placed, you can optimize the page and reposition your CTA towards the top part of your page to encourage your visitors to take action before bouncing off.

One of the most important advantages Matomo web analytics tool has over Google Analytics is that your visitors' privacy is prioritized over advertising needs.

Unlike Google Analytics which serves ads to users using analytics data of your web visitors, Matomo's data ownership is yours alone and not shared with advertising companies or third parties.

The Best Alternative to Google Analytics

There are loads of web analytics tools that offer similar services like Google Analytics, with paid and free versions.

However, if you're looking for a user-friendly web analytic tool that is void of analytics jargon, then you should check Abralytics.

Abralytics Interface
Source: Abralytics Dashboard

Abralytics has a simplified UI/UX interface that is easy to use even for non-techies.

The simplicity of the interface is to address the complexity of the Google Analytics web interface and Matomo dashboard.

In addition, Abralytics is built on the Pareto Principle that 20% effort yields 80% of the results needed.

This simply means that with Abralytics, you'll gain access to all the data you need to perform better optimization on your page while dishing other jargon that is confusing analytics data that are present on other analytics dashboards.

Click here to get started with Abralytics today.

Common Features In Matomo And Google Analytics

  • Both tools have the same Tag Management System: Google has Google Tag Manager while Matomo has Matomo manager.
  • Availablitly of mobile apps for Android and IOS.
  • Real-time analytics.
  • customizable dashboard.
  • Both tools have similar analytics infrastructure: They can track users' device, location, on-page activities, etc.
  • They share similar UI.
  • Free and paid versions

Why Should You Use At Least One Google Analytics Alternative

From the get-go, you should prioritize your visitors' privacy over anything else in your business, this is where Google Analytics is losing its market share to other alternatives.

Regardless of being one of the most used Analytics tools, Google Analytics and the mother company, Google LLC, have been charged because of questionable privacy practices.

Unlike many other analytics tools that grant 100% analytics data ownership, Google Analytics uses visitors' data to serve ads to their users.

Apart from having privacy concerns, Google Analytics has a complex user interface and many small business owners not only find it quite intimidating but agree that Google Analytics is a pro tool for advanced digital marketers only.

Frequently Asked Questions About Matomo And Google Analytics

Here are answers to some FAQs you might have about Matomo Vs Google Analytics comparison.

Is Matomo Better Than Google Analytics?

Most analytic tools have similar functionality and can be used to achieve the same analytics goals.

For so many reasons, digital marketers opt for more popular, user-friendly tools.

However, these are some of the reasons why Matomo is a better alternative to Google Analytics for some digital marketers.

  • Matomo is an open source software, which means that you can modify its functionalities without limitation.
  • You own 100% of your data.
  • If you prioritize users' privacy in your business, then Matomo is a better alternative to Google Analytics.

How Much Does Matomo Cost?

Matomo on premise is a free version, though you can purchase additional bundles for better results.

Some of these bundles are SEO web vitals (from $86.67/year), multi-channel conversion attribution (from $86.67/year), and Roll-Up reporting (from $218.36/year), etc.

If you want more results, you can opt for Matomo Cloud which has 0$ for a 21 Day trial plan to a $15,250 fee.

Is Matomo Any Good?

Overall, Matomo is a reliable open source alternative to Google Analytics with great premium features, however, there are limitations that question its position as a full replacement for Google Analytics.

Matomo Free Version

Matomo isn't as free as it entails because of its server demands.

For you to run Matomo on premise, you will have to run the software on your server, but for Google Analytics, the servers are run by Google.

Number Of Active Users

Compared to Google Analytics, Matomo has a relatively low number of users with much smaller community size.

Digital Marketers and business owners will get better help from a large community of users as in the case of Google Analytics than they will get from a Matomo community.

So if you're a marketer or a business owner who leans on communities for support, you might not thrive in a small-sized community especially if you need opinions from a wide number of active users.

Who Uses Matomo?

There are over one million businesses using Matomo for site visitors' analytics according to BuiltWith.

Some of these are established businesses like SmallPDF, Ahrefs, HubSpot, FlatIcon, etc.

This shows that businesses of any size can switch to Matomo to get useful insights into their campaigns and traffic.

However, if you're looking for a simple analytics tool with jargon-free analytical terms, then you can get started with Abralytics today.

Final Verdict

Deciding between Google Analytics or Matomo, your choice should be influenced by your organization's business goals and beliefs.

For instance, if your business prioritizes users' data privacy, then Google Analytics isn't the right option for you.

Aside from obvious features, these tools perform similar analytics tasks and generate useful insight into your visitor's behaviour on your site.

On the contrary, one of the many cons these two analytics tools share is the complexity of their interfaces.

If you're new to Digital Marketing, or you're a small business owner who is looking around for a simple analytics tool that will give you "reliable" results from a glance without confusing analytics terms, then check out how Abralytics.

You will be able to see all the useful analytics insights from our dashboard, be able to read all the data and make smart decisions in lesser time without having prior or advanced analytics experiences.

It's that simple.

Click here to get started with Abralytics

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