With Google announcing in March that Universal Analytics will be gradually phased out from July 2023, many brands are beginning to look around and panic. It’s an exciting and scary time with brands considering measurement options beyond UA for the first time. Today, we’re going to explore the advent of some new, “privacy-conscious” tracking solutions that are making a storm.
What Is Privacy-Conscious Tracking?
Privacy-conscious tracking is the term given to the new wave of measurement platforms that are built with privacy at their core. They’re designed to work with legislation such as GDPR, PECR, and CCPA. They provide the brand with as much relevant and useful data as possible, without infringing upon a user’s data privacy rights.
Universal Analytics on the other hand, collects a lot of data that could be interpreted as PII (personally identifiable information). As a result, this can cause a lot of headaches when considered against the aforementioned pieces of legislation. Due to Google’s very business model though, and the relationship between user data and targeted advertising, it’s been a known problem for a while.
These new privacy-conscious tracking technologies have gained popularity as brands look for a lightweight, alternative solution to Google Analytics that simplifies their relationship with GDPR and PECR, rather than complicates it.
How Has It Come About?
The natural successor to UA is undoubtedly GA4. It’s where Google would like most of its UA-customers to head to, and we’d now say a majority of brands have set up and explored GA4. If you haven’t dived into GA4 yet, you can read more about the platform here
There are teething issues with the platform though. Whilst some users are praising the new UI and metrics available in GA4, others are complaining that the platform looks unfamiliar and moves away from standard terms and reports that they have relied upon for years.
However you feel about GA4 though, the less-than ideal rollout of the platform has caused many brands to explore the market and see what other solutions are available. For the first time in a long time then – many brands are considering turning away from Google, and seeing what else the market has to offer.
In many cases, the same old alternative solutions are being mentioned. For example, search interest in Adobe Analytics has risen hand-in-hand with the advent of GA4, and peaked shortly after Google’s “UA Sunset Announcement” in March 2022.
However, the UA-sunset announcement has come along at the same time that many brands have been facing measurement challenges caused by GDPR and PECR. Most companies have implemented a CMP, and have seen a resulting loss of data. Naturally then, there is a market opportunity for so-called “privacy-conscious” tracking solutions.
These tools are becoming increasingly popular, with Matomo perhaps being the most well-known of the three. All three offer brands the ability to report upon their website’s usage in a fashion that is compliant with GDPR and PECR.
At the minute, all three tools are in their infancy – with Matomo perhaps being the most developed solution for measurement specialists looking for an alternative solution. However, they’re rapidly developing and releasing new functionality all the time.
We have several clients that are running one of Matomo, Fathom, or Plausible alongside either UA or GA4, and we can see this becoming an even more popular mix in the future. The fact that these tools offer self-hosted solutions also appeals to privacy-conscious brands who are looking to maintain a greater control over their data.
These brands are clever too – they know that many people are moving over to them from Google Analytics, and they’re tailoring their messaging accordingly. Matomo even offers users the ability to import their historic GA data into the platform when they move.
If you haven’t already, we’d suggest you take a look at Matomo, Fathom, or Plausible! At the time of writing, all of these tools offer free trials, and there is no harm in adding one to your website and configuring the setup to work with your CMP.
Whilst it’s unlikely that these platforms will replace UA or GA4 anytime soon, it’s great to see new products enter the measurement and analytics market and offer a genuine alternative to the Google products we’ve all become so reliant upon. If anything, it’ll also force Google to be on their toes and improve their products too!
Have questions about your tracking set up? Please feel free to get in touch through our contact form and we’ll get back to you shortly!