Piwik Vs Google Analytics: A Quick Comparison
Both Piwik and Google Analytics provide metrics which form the heart of any marketing strategy. The core difference between these two platforms is that Piwik allows you to remain in sole control of your visitor’s data, while Google Analytics is remotely hosted. Piwik gives you compact rich tables, supplying detailed analytics and some rather robust privacy features. Google Analytics is the most widely used form of visitor tracking in the world. Yet both platforms carry unique benefits. Here we will be giving you a concise comparison of Piwik & Google Analytics, identifying the strengths of each analytics platform and helping you decide where they can help your business.
A Brief Overview Of Google Analytics
Google Analytics lets you to track custom variables that allows for the segmentation of data. From here you are afforded a customised overview of your metrics which is both easy to understand and straightforward to setup. One major advantage which Google Analytics holds over Piwik is its ease of use. In as little as 15 minutes, you will have it up and running, supplying you with a diverse range of valuable visitor data. There are also countless third-party integrations available that extend the functionality of data reporting and manipulation. Here are some of the most notable advantages of Google Analytics:
- Ecommerce tracking
- Connection to AdWords
- Deep geographic data
- Site overlay
- Customisable dashboard
- Privilege control
- Keyword source tracking
- Connection speed data
- Bounce rate tracking
- Custom reporting
- Enhanced real-time tracking
- Comparative metrics
Real-time tracking from Google Analytics is far superior to that of Piwik. The design reflects a presentation which communicates the total number of visitors live on your site. Piwik gives a confusing real-time display which does not let you know which visitors are live and which have left. Comparing metrics with Google Analytics is far easier to accomplish than with Piwik. Cross-screen data is always accurate and consistent. The custom reporting feature on Google Analytics is completely absent from Piwik by default, but can be programmed in through custom code.
Piwik Advantages Over Google Analytics
Referral spam with Piwik is virtually non-existent, making the data harvested much more reliable without extensive filtering. The biggest reason that there is almost always a discrepancy between Piwik and Google Analytics data, is that most data harvested by Google requires refinement and sorting. Piwik and PiwkiPro, however, offer the following advantages over Google Analytics:
- 100% data ownership
- Opt-in and opt-out functionality
- Compliance with EU cookie law
- Unlimited hits per month
- Unlimited properties tracked
- User-centric reporting
- White labelling
- Un-sampled reporting
- Respect of ‘do not track’ preferences
- Unlimited user accounts
- Unlimited data storage time
- Possibility to add unlimited number of goals
- Unlimited data export
- Funnel attribution and analytics
- Default real-time reporting
- Concurrent visits
User-level tracking from Piwik is exceptionally useful for businesses who want to understand the behaviour of their users. Google Analytics introduced ‘User Explorer’ in March 2016, which gives similar functionality. However, Piwik still gives deeper individual data. Another advantage over Google Analytics is how the Piwik core team continually evolves their antispam measures. Piwik also tracks cart abandonment, outbound links and file downloads – useful for ecommerce businesses. The data harvested is always clean, with little-to-no spam.
Which Is Best For My Business?
There is no definitive answer to this question. Both Google Analytics and Piwik have their strengths. The metrics provided by Piwik are reputed to be far more accurate than Google Analytics. However, the scope of filters and reporting supplied by Google makes their tool a must have for any marketing endeavour. Most users find that once they have been exposed to the data supplied by Piwik, they only resort to Google’s service for the ease-of-use in quick-reference situations. Piwik is free from much of the spam that needs filtering in Google Analytics. However, drawing informative reports from your data is far more time consuming. Piwik Pro solves most of these usability issues, albeit at a cost.
When You Should Switch To Piwik Alone
If you are a growing SME with large volumes of marketing data but are reluctant to pay the steep annual fees for Google Analytics Premium, then Piwik could work for you. It is also the number one choice for sensitive data that you need to maintain complete control of. Piwik has a highly customisable source code and a huge community of talented professionals who frequently release mods and upgrades. Given time and an investment into custom dashboards and reporting, there is no limit to the functionality which Piwik can provide. Similarly, if the Google Analytics API can simply not keep up with your demands, then it may be time to turn to Piwik. It gives you the maximum degree of flexibility to modify code.
Analytics To Suit Your Business
Piwik has a steep learning curve but it comes with the added peace of mind of knowing that you alone are in control of your data. For most users, it is best to begin using Google Analytics, while slowly learning the powerful platform provided by Piwik. It is of course possible to use both packages, although most businesses prefer the simplicity of working with only one analytics package.
Piwik and Google Analytics are not the only analytics options on the market. Marketing automation platforms such as Hubspot also come with powerful analytics apps that rival both Google and Piwik for their range of functions. Working with a marketing agency like JDR can help you set up the best balance of analytics to give you access to the information that you need, in the way that is easiest to understand. Once you have struck a balance between the reporting functions of Google Analytics and the clean data of Piwik, you will find that every aspect of customer interaction is measurable and forecastable.