Why You Should Be Using Privacy-Focused Analytics

Several businesses have started valuing their customers’ privacy by switching from free tools like Google Analytics to privacy-focused alternatives.
Last updated: July 14, 2022

It seems today that, everywhere you go, you’re offered a cookie. Soon after you take it, a lot of the products you’ve been thinking about buying are suddenly right in front of you.

At this point, most of us already know our data is being used for targeting purposes. And although we’ve gotten used to cookie pop-ups and targeted ads by now, they still make us wonder: is my personal data safe on the internet?

Depending on the analytics platform a website may rely on, the answer is…not very safe.

While data collection is necessary for businesses to gather data-driven information about their audiences, it can be invasive. Business owners are becoming conscious of their customers’ privacy concerns, and want to avoid being a “watchful eye” into their privacy.

Several businesses have started valuing their customers’ privacy by switching from free tools like Google Analytics to privacy-focused alternatives. The reason being: Google Analytics collects a lot of data, and perhaps you as a business owner don’t feel comfortable with that, or your legislative requirements now demand you dont use it (for example if your audience are in the EU).

These privacy regulations require website owners to tell site visitors that their data is being tracked. The visitor can either allow tracking or ask a website not to track their activity. Because it’s a matter of consent and privacy concerns, the data gathered isn’t very accurate when declined by the user, and marketers may not get the full picture about their audience.

Besides, websites that get visitors from overseas must comply not only with their own country’s privacy regulations – but also with their visitor’s country legislation. If your website receives visitors from the European Union (EU), your website must be GDPR compliant.

Especially right now, it’s essential that business owners make the switch to privacy-focused analytics. This will allow them to collect necessary customer data while being respectful of their customers’ concerns.

What are the Benefits of Using Privacy-Focused Analytics?

With the looming termination of Google Analytics Universal, business owners have two choices: sticking around for Google Analytics 4, or finally switching to privacy-focussed analytics tools. Yes, Google Analytics 4 will provide stronger privacy controls, but it will unfortunately remain GDPR non-compliant.

Besides international compliance, using privacy-focused analytics has several benefits. Here are some of them.

You’ll Only Gather Useful Data

Google Analytics has the impressive ability to gather a lot of data. While that may sound like a great thing, too much data also means less correct data. Not only will you waste a lot of time sorting through heaps of information, but the data points you’ll gather may not be accurate at all (Google Analytics Version 4 uses Artifical Intelligence to fill gaps that it cannot collect).

On the flip side, privacy-focussed analytics offer a straightforward path to data collection. On top of giving your visitors 100% data ownership, you won’t have to worry about gathering information that could hurt your marketing in the long term.

Your Audience Won’t Be Suspicious

When users visit a website and see an ad for that same business on another platform, they’re most likely thinking: “These people have access to my data.”

This passing thought is the gateway for even deeper questions, such as:

“What are they doing with my information?” 

“What other information do they have access to?” 

“Are they watching me?” 

“Should I trust them?”

Once prospects and customers wonder if they should trust you, your chances of attracting them go way down. Customer trust is the cornerstone of any business. If it’s eroded, they’ll double-check your ability to offer them what they need.

Plus, what if you could be the one website your audience visits that doesn’t have an annoying cookie pop-up? It could be a breath of fresh air amid so many businesses trying to push products onto their carts. Imagine giving them the freedom of owning their data, while enjoying their browsing experience. That’s rare these days, but privacy-focused analytics make it possible.

You Won’t Be a Part of the Privacy Problem

Owning a business and serving customers is about empathy, above all. Or at least it should be.

The insistent sales messages we get every day completely distort the overarching promise for a better customer experience. Ad after targeted ad, it becomes clear that some businesses don’t mind disturbing the privacy of their customers, as long as they’re selling products.

Though the elemental reason for using tools like Google Analytics is to find, understand and then target high-quality prospects, a lot of customers may think differently. Most of them will click “accept cookies” not because they’ve fully consented to data tracking, but because they want that pushy banner to go away. This “pushing away” has become second nature to us, and it shouldn’t be that way.

As a business owner who values your customers’ privacy, choosing privacy-focused analytics will remove you from this circle. The fact that you won’t be flooding your visitors with tracking messages is enough to help them understand that you truly value their privacy.

What are Some Alternatives to Google Analytics?

When it comes to privacy-focused tools, we suggest the following two alternatives:

Fathom

The greatest thing about Fathom is its simplicity. It’s beginner-friendly, easy to use, and easy to navigate. It solves the biggest pain point of traditional analytics tools, which is the time-consuming effort of trying to operate something that’s supposed to be helpful.

An European-based tool, Fathom starts at just $14 a month and is GDPR, CCPA, ePrivacy, and PECR compliant. Plus, their exclusive technology bypasses ad blockers, allowing businesses to collect meaningful, complete data.

Fathom is also conveniently included in our Care Plans, in case you’d like to combine privacy to 24/7 website maintenance. Or just in case you’d like us to do the grunt work for you.

Matomo

Based in Germany, Matomo lets users securely and ethically track personal data, thanks to the tool’s GDPR and CCPA compliance. What’s more: if you can run your own server, you don’t have to pay to use the platform.

If you’re already familiar with Google Analytics, this tool should be a no-brainer. Plus, you can import all of your existing GA data to the platform, with unlimited data storage.

You can start protecting your data and your users’ privacy right now, as Matomo offers a 21-day free Cloud trial. No credit card required.

Why Take Chances? Make Your Business Privacy-Focused Today

Even though current Australian laws don’t require a cookie consent pop-up, privacy laws are changing at an overwhelming pace. Those who are rain-checking their customers’ privacy are likely to be the same people who might forget to export their Google Analytics data in July 2023. Fail to do so, and GA will delete all of your data for good.

If you’re going to be exporting your data anyway, why not get ahead by exporting it to a privacy-focused analytics tool? Both of the tools we’ve mentioned will get you started at no cost. You’ve got everything you need to take the first step.

In closing, showing your customers that you value their privacy gives you an edge over the competition. Not necessarily because you’re selling better products or creating better campaigns, but because you’re the one who respects their space.

Duncan Isaksen-Loxton

Educated as a web developer, with over 20 years of internet based work and experience, Duncan is a Google Workspace Certified Collaboration Engineer and a WordPress expert.

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