Best Google Analytics Alternatives (Updated 2024)

Note: This post is currently in progress and will be updated weekly as we continue to review all possible Google Analytics alternatives. You're welcome to check back to this post or follow our YouTube channel for the latest reviews of GA alternatives. 

Since Google Analytics Universal will stop working, you need an alternative. The Data Driven team handpicked 42 potential candidates and compared them. This resulted in a fair and objective ranking.

Then we divided the tools into categories. Not every business needs the same features in an analytics tool, but we all need a UA alternative.

This is a big post and there's a lot to cover from self-hosted options to enterprise GA alternatives and everything in between. This post is intended to work as a reference tool which means the table of contents below will be very useful for navigating and getting the most out of this post.

Table of Contents show

10 Hosted Universal Analytics Alternatives

For our first category of UA alternatives, we selected 10 hosted web analytic tools. We gave each of them a score for our 7 criteria and then ranked them according to their overall score. The goal is to find the tool that's the closest to UA.

Watch the video to find out which tool is the best candidate to dethrone Universal Analytics. If you prefer reading, you can see our ranking for UA hosted alternatives below the video.

Follow us on YouTube to learn more about GA4.

What are hosted web analytic tools?

Hosted web analytic tools are all-in-one suits that are hosted on the servers of the software provider that built the tool. The collected data of your visitors is sent to the servers after you have installed a tracking code on your website.

This is exactly the same as how it’s been done with Universal Analytics for years. Some tools we selected for our comparison are copy cats of Google Analytics 3. Others position themselves as more privacy focused alternatives.

What follows is our top 10 UA alternatives in reverse order.

#10 Gauges

Gauges is a real time analytics tool that claims to be easy to use and understand. Every time a visitor views your site, the analytics are updated. The primary focus is visitor metrics.

Overall score: 35/100

Website: Gauges

Pros of Gauges

  • Free tier so you can test it out before paying

Cons of Gauges

  • Fairly expensive to use if you want more than what the free tier offers
  • Much harder to install features compared to UA
  • Little focus on privacy
  • Low-quality reports
  • No integrations with 3rd-party tools

Our conclusion about Gauges

We don’t recommend looking further into Gauges. From all the analytics tools we investigated, it has the lowest score.

#9 Clicky

Clicky is a hosted analytics tool that tracks the same metrics as other analytic tools, but it offers features that others don’t have. Its real time heatmaps are, for instance, useful to quickly understand which parts of your web page earn the most attention from your visitors.

Overall score: 55 /100


Pros of Clicky

  • Real time heatmaps
  • Backlink analysis
  • Mobile compatibility
  • Low pricing (starting at $10/month)
  • Easy to install tracking code

Cons of Clicky

  • Not privacy focused
  • Lack of analytics features compared to UA
  • Low-quality reports that look outdated
  • Little integrations with other tools
  • Rather steep learning curve

Our conclusion about Clicky

The real time heatmaps are probably the most powerful feature of Clicky. Compared to UA and other hosted analytic tools, it doesn’t impress us.

#8 Oribi

Oribi is a tool aiming to replace Google Analytics by providing insights and trends in one report. It was acquired by LinkedIn and at this moment, you cannot sign up for the tool. But we kept it in our list of UA alternatives because it certainly has a future.

Overall score: 55/100


Pros of Oribi

  • Easy to install

Cons of Oribi

  • Currently not available
  • Unclear if LinkedIn is going to turn it into a tool for heavy LinkedIn advertisers, rather than a web analytics tool

Our conclusion about Oribi

We will keep an eye on the future of Oribi, but as far as it looks now, this tool is probably not your best option to replace UA.

#7 Simple Analytics

Simple Analytics has a clean design that makes navigating easy.

Overall score: 60 /100


Pros of Simple Analytics

  • Advocate for user data privacy
  • You can email reports
  • View of Tweets
  • Bypass ad blockers
  • Export data with an API
  • Dark mode (for Apple computers)
  • Satisfactory integrations with other tools

Cons of Simple Analytics

  • Expensive
  • No free tier, but they offer a free trial (21 days)
  • Fewer features than UA

Our conclusion about Simple Analytics

The name Simple Analytics is a bit misleading. Navigating the tool is easy, but you need a lot of expertise to get started. Since it’s on the higher end of the pricing matrix, we would expect the reports to be of a better quality than they are now.

#6 Fathom Analytics

Fathom Analytics is built with privacy first in mind. It went the extra engineering and pioneering mile to comply with the complexity of GDPR, CCPA and CPRA regulations. Despite that, it tracks the most important metrics so you can optimize your marketing efforts.

Overall score: 66 /100


Pros of Fathom Analytics

  • Privacy first policy
  • Bypassing ad blockers and respecting privacy
  • Cookieless technology
  • Easy to install
  • Integrates with 3rd party tools

Cons of Fathom Analytics

  • Expensive
  • Less features than Universal Analytics

Our conclusion about Fathom Analytics

Fathom Analytics is your best option if you are looking for an analytics tool that’s truly privacy centric. The pricing is on the higher end and you only have access to the most vital website metrics.

#5 W3Counter

When you add W3Counter to your website, you can do a lot more than track your website visitors, the languages they speak, the devices they use, the customer journey to and on your website, etc. This analytics tool also offers widgets that can help you build an audience and promote sales.

Overall score: 66/100


Pros of W3Counter

  • Free tier
  • Paid plans are affordable
  • Easy to get started

Cons of W3Counter

  • Limited data retention (30 days in the free version)
  • Not transparent about privacy
  • Limited features compared to UA
  • Limited integrations with 3rd party tools

Our conclusion about W3Counter

W3Counter is more than an analytics tool. Combined with a free plan, it can be appealing for some website owners. But it is not the best alternative for UA. The lack of privacy focus and limited reports are its biggest disadvantages.

#4 Matomo Analytics

Matomo Analytics is basically a privacy friendly Universal Analytics alternative. The tool protects your data and privacy of your visitors. Nowadays, this is an enormous advantage to earn the trust of online customers.

Overall score: 69/100


Pros of Matomo Analytics

  • Privacy focused
  • 100% data ownership
  • Easy to install as hosted tool

Cons of Matomo Analytics

  • Pricey
  • Less universal than UA
  • Reports are visually not as good as UA
  • Requires effort to get used to the tool
  • Hard to install on your own server

Our conclusion about Matomo Analytics

Compared to UA, the biggest advantage of Matomo Analytics is its privacy focus. Besides being a hosted analytics tool, you can own 100% of the data when you install it on your own server. This requires, however, some technical expertise.

#3 Wix Analytics

Wix Analytics may come as a surprise to you. After all, it is a tool that is a part of the Wix platform. Unless you have a Wix website, you cannot use it. And yet, we included it in our list of hosted UA alternatives, because it has some serious resemblances with UA.

Overall score: 75/100


Pros of Wix Analytics

  • Actionable insights about your website
  • Visitor behavior analysis
  • Automatic integration (with Wix websites only)
  • Key metrics in clear overview
  • Excellent reporting qualities
  • Privacy friendly

Cons of Wix Analytics

  • Works only for Wix websites
  • Unclear if integrations with 3rd party products is possible

Our conclusion about Wix Analytics

Although Wix Analytics is part of the Wix ecosystem, it scores high on our list of hosted UA alternatives. The reason for this is that it offers even non data driven website owners clear insights. However, switching your CMS (Content Management System) for the sake of an analytics tool alone is not something we would recommend.

#2 Piwik Pro Analytics Suite

Piwik Pro Analytics Suite resembles UA a lot. But it clearly outperforms UA when it comes to privacy and data security. You can optimize the customer journey where it was previously impossible and Piwik Pro gives you more flexibility to handle data privacy.

Overall score: 80 /100


Pros of Piwik Pro

  • Free version available
  • Built-in cookie consent bar
  • Integrations with third-party tools
  • Easy to install
  • Clear and clean reports

Cons of Piwik Pro

  • Paid version required for big websites
  • Smaller community than UA, so less documentation available

Our conclusion about Piwik Pro

Piwik Pro is the best hosted UA alternative that is not built by Google itself. It focuses on privacy. As far as installation, features and reporting are concerned, you will quickly get up and running when you are familiar with UA.

The biggest disadvantage is that for bigger sites, it’s not free.

#1 Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 is your best hosted alternative for Universal Analytics. There are many reasons it got the highest score in our category of hosted analytics tools. And yet, as you can see below, it’s not a 100% perfect alternative.

Overall score: 86/100


Pros of Google Analytics 4 compared to UA

  • Complete understanding of visitors’ journey across devices and platforms
  • Free forever web analytics tool
  • Rather easy to install (with Google Tag Manager)
  • Similar features as UA
  • Google ads new features on the flow
  • More privacy centric than UA
  • GDPR compliant, unlike UA

Cons of Google Analytics 4 compared to UA

  • Reports don’t look so good as in UA
  • New tool, not documented as well as UA

Our conclusion about GA4 as an alternative for UA

Google Analytics 4 scored the best in the category of hosted UA alternatives. Since it is built by Google, you can assume that it will remain free for many years. GA4 is privacy focused, unlike its predecessor, GA3. It will take you time to get used to the new interface and reports, but Google improves the tool and expands it regularly with new features.

Bonus: How does UA compare to UA in our comparison?

Universal Analytics will stop collecting data on July 1st, 2023. Our aim is to look for the best alternative, based on objective criteria.

After all the hard work that went into our research, we were curious about how UA itself would score compared to itself. And this is the result:

Overall score: 92/100

Of course, no tool can beat itself when you compare its features, expertise needed, ease of installation, etc.

So where did it lose 8 points?

The biggest answer is the same as why Google will cease to develop, maintain and have it collect data: privacy.

And yes, it was about time that a web analytics tool caught up with technology.

Key takeaways about hosted UA alternatives

  • Google Analytics Universal will stop working
  • You need an alternative
  • Hosted analytics tools are hard to compare, so we did the research for you and selected 10 alternatives for Universal Analytics
  • The best hosted alternative for UA, based on objective criteria, is Google Analytics 4
  • Piwik Pro is the best alternative if you want to move away from Google products
  • If you have a Wix website, you are best served with its built-in analytics

If you are interested in how we came to this conclusion, I invite you to scroll down and have a look behind the scenes of our thorough Data Driven research.

Convinced to switch to GA4? This free guide will come in handy to set up GA4 correctly on your site.

5 Enterprise Analytics Alternatives For GA 360

We included 5 enterprise analytics platforms in our UA alternatives research. This time, we evaluated their potential to serve as replacements for Universal Analytics 360. That’s the paid version of Google Analytics.

The pricing of enterprise analytics platforms can go up to 6 figures annually. Paying for a tool that has a free version may seem crazy.

Although that may be true for smaller websites, for corporations and big organizations, the reality looks different.

Data is gold. Putting it automatically at work is priceless.

You can find out what that means in the video below.

Jeff Sauer, founder of Data Driven, also guides you through the maze of advantages and disadvantages of 5 enterprise analytics tools. And he picks a winning platform… If you prefer reading, just scroll a bit further.

Follow us on YouTube to learn more about GA4.

#5 Woopra

The advanced analytics of Woopra go further than tracking everything your users do. The power of this platform is that it unifies data cross product, marketing, sales and support touch points.

In the reports, you can find answers to all your questions about customer journeys, trends, retention segmentation, etc. Besides, you can set up all kinds of triggers that will guide your users to boost your revenue.

Overall score: 55/100

Website: Woopra

Pros of Woopra

  • +50 integrations
  • Unify data
  • Real time action with built-in triggers
  • Advanced reports and insights

Cons of Woopra

  • Expensive (starting at $349/month)
  • Limited free trial
  • Not privacy focused

Our conclusion about Woopra

Woopra is a rather expensive analytics platform.

In contrast to some other enterprise analytics platforms we selected, you can integrate it in popular content management systems, such as WordPress and Shopify.

Keep in mind that Woopra tracks to the individual level. That’s clearly going against the growing trend towards respecting the privacy of users.

#4 Marketo

Marketo is a marketing automation platform. The built-in analytics are extensive and some features are not available in other platforms, such as predictive analytics about user content preferences across campaigns and channels.

Marketo claims you can automatically attract buyers and nurture them with personalized campaigns. Once visitors are engaged, your sales team can step in and close the deal.

Overall score: 63/100

Website: Marketo

Pros of Marketo Analytics

  • Part of the famous Adobe family
  • Unique features
  • Integration between marketing and sales

Cons of Marketo Analytics

  • Only available within the Marketo marketing platform
  • Expert level to install it properly
  • Privacy: One-on-one tracking and measurement
  • Pricey

Our conclusion about Marketo

Marketo is a robust marketing platform. If you are looking for an all-in-one solution with advanced analytics, this is a good choice. Marketo was acquired in 2018 by Adobe Analytics and that says a lot about the quality you can expect.

To profit from the magic of Marketo’s marketing automation features, you need Marketo analytics experts who can set up the platform properly.

#3 Google Analytics 4 360

GA4 360 is the successor to Google Universal Analytics 360, aka GA3 360. If all those different versions and names of Google Analytics products are confusing to you, this scheme will hopefully clear things out.

Google Universal Analytics 360 is tailored for the unique measurement needs of large enterprises and advanced organizations. Included in the paid plan are top-notch support and customizable scalable tools that unlock customer centric measurement across sites and apps.

The platform untangles the complexity of the entire lifecycle with the help of machine learning and advanced predictive analytics.

Overall score: 66/100

Website: Google Analytics 4 360

Pros of GA4 360

  • Easy to understand reports
  • Shareable reports
  • Team collaboration
  • Export with BigQuery (which you can also do in the free GA4 as explained here
  • Connect with Business Intelligence and other enterprise analytics tools
  • Less expensive than GA3 360

Cons of GA4 360

  • Less developed than the free GA4 version
  • Hard to install
  • Experts required to implement it properly

Our conclusion about GA4 360

GA4 360 somehow disappoints us. At this moment, GA4 360 is lagging behind its free alternative GA4. Google will need to do some serious efforts to convince enterprises to invest their resources in GA4 360.

The future of Google's enterprise analytics platform is uncertain. It seems that all the cool GA 360 features, such as predictive metrics, will trickle down into the free GA4 version. For smaller websites, that could be a huge win.

#2 Adobe Analytics

We have two winners in the category of enterprise analytics platforms, so we ranked them in alphabetical order. Adobe Analytics is a part of the Adobe Experience Cloud. It tracks your users across your sites, apps and brand channels.

With the help of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, the vast streams of web data are turned into actionable insights.

Overall score: 69/100

Website: Adobe Analytics

Pros of Adobe Analytics

  • 360 degree customer view
  • Data from multiple channels
  • Integrations with other tools

Cons of Adobe Analytics

  • No free trial
  • Expensive
  • Requires a consultant to implement it

Our conclusion about Adobe Analytics

Adobe Analytics is an award-winning platform, and that’s not a coincidence. Since it’s pricey and you need external help from experts, it clearly aims for the big players. In return for the investment, your team will have 360° insights into your customer’s digital journey

#1 HubSpot Marketing Analytics

The second winner of our ranking is HubSpot. The popular all-in-one inbound marketing platform has its own built-in analytics. The reports give you and your team deep insight into the performance of your marketing campaigns.

Key website metrics are linked to each of your marketing channels and that makes it a great platform for data driven marketers who focus on bringing in revenue.

Overall score: 69/100

Website: Hubspot

Pros of HubSpot Marketing Analytics

  • Reasonably priced compared to other enterprise analytics tools
  • Privacy focused
  • Integration with other tools
  • Works out of the box (within the HubSpot platform)

Cons of HubSpot Marketing Analytics

  • Free trial limited to 7 days

Our conclusion about HubSpot Marketing Analytics

HubSpot Analytics is equally good as Adobe Analytics, but HubSpot offers both enterprises and small businesses a more affordable marketing solution. The analytics are a part of the content and lead management system and require little to no installation and configuration expertise.

Conclusion: What’s the best GA360 alternative platform for enterprises?

We compared 5 enterprise analytic solutions and concluded that the following 3 are the best ones, depending on your specific requirements.

  1. GA4 360 is ideal if you like Google Analytics. The price has dropped compared to the previous version, but at this moment, so have the features. That may change in the future, but it’s risky to choose a paid platform that has not revealed its full potential yet.
  2. Adobe Analytics is Google’s biggest competitor in the field of enterprise analytics. It has proven its value and did not shake up analytics as much as GA4 has done. Adobe Analytics is a safe choice for organizations and businesses that deal with tons of data.
  3. HubSpot Analytics is included in the popular all-in-one marketing platform, equipped with acronyms that please the ears of digital marketers. SEO, CRM, CMS, inbound leads, it’s all there. If you want more data, you can integrate GA4.

We sincerely hope our research and ranking will help you choose the best enterprise analytics platform. If you want to find out how Jeff came up with this list and ranking, you can watch the video in this section.

4 Open Source Analytics Alternatives For GA

For this category of Google Analytics alternatives, Jeff and his Data Driven team selected and evaluated 4 open source web analytics tools.

If you are unfamiliar with open source, here is a brief introduction.

What is open source analytics software?

The code of open source analytics software is publicly available. This is an immense difference compared to proprietary software, such as Google Analytics, where you cannot fiddle with the code.

Since the code of these tools are out in the open, everybody can use it for free. At least, in theory. In practice, somebody needs to pay for it.

Clouds may float for free in the sky, storing data in them costs money.

Building upon existing code is faster than writing a program from scratch. The primary advantage of open source software is that a programmer can extend the functionalities.

As a downside, the installation and configuration of this type of software usually requires advanced technical skills.

Free. Extendable. Difficult.

Let’s find out if the 4 selected analytics tools live up to the reputation of open source projects.

Video review of open source analytics tools

Watch the video about the pros and cons of 4 open source analytics tools and discover if they stand a chance to replace Google Analytics?

Follow us on YouTube for more GA4 and data driven marketing videos.

What is the best open source alternative for Google Analytics?

Plausible and Snowplow Analytics are the best open source alternatives for Google Analytics. Both tools scored 66/100, based on 7 different criteria we used during our research.

Although some analytics tools that belong to different categories are better, these tools may be exactly what your organization is looking for.

Especially when you are hosting your site on your own server and you have sufficient technical know-how, Snowplow Analytics may be a decent option for you.

If you are curious about how we arrived at this conclusion, you can dive deeper into our review of every tool.

#4 Open Web Analytic

Open Web Analytics is a free open source framework that lets you stay in control of how you instrument the use of your websites and applications for your analytics.

You can host Open Web Analytics on your own domain, or as part of your own web application.

Overall score: 43/100

Website: Open Web Analytics

Pros of Open Web Analytics

  • Free
  • Customizable and extendable
  • Implementation possible on WordPress and Media Wiki based websites
  • API with extensive data access

Cons of Open Web Analytics

  • Difficult to install
  • Basic metrics and reports
  • Lacking features compared to UA
  • Some issues with GDPR compliance
  • Little integration with other tools

Our conclusion about Open Web Analytics

Open Web Analytics is one of the lowest ranking tools in our research. Although it’s completely free, compared to Universal Analytics and other open source analytics tools, we would not recommend it.

#3 AWStats

AWStats is a log analyzer and creates reports based on data from server logs. Those are files that register everything that hits and takes resources from your website. This includes visitors, as well as bots crawling your website.

Even small sites can collect huge amounts of data, and AWStats only uses a small part of it. The reports are generated in the blink of an eye. As you may have experienced yourself, that’s not the case in Google Analytics 4, where you sometimes need to blink dozens of times.

Overall score: 46/100

Website: AwStats

Pros of AWStats

  • Free
  • Easy to install
  • Compatible with different servers (web, proxy, mail, ftp)
  • Pre-installed on CPanel and some other hosting dashboards
  • Privacy friendly

Cons of AWStats

  • Limited reports
  • Difficult to install (and not worth the effort)
  • Outdated graphical presentations
  • Inaccurate filtering of bots and human visitors
  • No client-side library to enhance the statistics
  • No traffic and pathway analysis
  • No integrations with 3rd-party tools

Our conclusion about AWStats

AWStats is one of the established analytics tools. That is to say, it has been around for a while, but it hardly changed in 20 years. The Internet did, and this gives you a good idea of what to expect from AWStats.

The reports lack features and are not reliable. Although many web hosting providers still offer it, we recommend avoiding it completely.

At the beginning of his career as a digital marketer, Jeff moved away from AWStats the moment Google Analytics entered the market. No eye blinking, no regrets.

#2 Plausible

Plausible is a lightweight open source analytics tool that works without cookies. And yet, it can track events, campaigns and goal conversions.

Overall score: 66/100

Website: Plausible

Pros of Plausible

  • Compliant with GDPR, CCPA, PECR
  • Cloud-hosted in the EU
  • No cookie banner needed
  • Not slowing down your website
  • Team collaboration
  • Decent quality of reports

Cons of Plausible

  • Not free
  • Hard to install

Our conclusion about Plausible

Plausible is a paid alternative for Google Analytics. It loads fast and is fully GDPR compliant. The installation is not out of the box. Although it had the same total score as the following tool, we endorse Plausible to a lesser extent.

#1 Snowplow Analytics

Snowplow Analytics allows you to collect, manage and operationalize your behavioral data. Its strongest point is that you can power multiple use cases with a single unified data set generated from web mobile and other sources.

Overall score: 66/100

Website: Snowplow Analytics

Pros of Snowplow Analytics

  • Avoids poor quality of data eroding
  • Reliable reports
  • Well-structured data (saves time to create valuable insights)
  • Customizable
  • Easy to install
  • Privacy focused

Cons of Snowplow Analytics

  • Not free
  • Complicated to configure
  • Less integrations with other tools compared to GA

Our conclusion about Snowplow Analytics

Snowplow Analytics is definitely the best open source analytics tool to replace Google Analytics. It has the same total score as our number 2 open source alternative for Google Analytics, but it has more potential.

Jeff met the people behind the tool in person and can confirm that they are as awesome as their analytics solution.

As other open source analytics tools, you can customize it further to your needs. Besides, you and your users have full control over data.

The biggest hurdle is that you will need technical expertise to configure it properly.

5 Data Visualization Tools That Are Better Than GA

Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 are not the best tools to visualize web analytics data. Google Analytics is good to collect and store web data, but the reports are dull, ugly and confusing.

Jeff has been using GA for 2 decades and witnessed the reports going “abysmal”. Here is an example of a monster you can encounter in GA4:

A GA4 event report

Instead of accepting the nightmare for data-driven marketers, Jeff selected 5 data reporting tools that are much better than Google Analytics.

But before we reveal them, let’s answer an important question first.

What is a data visualization tool?

A data visualization tool doesn’t collect and store data itself. You can connect the tool with an analytics tool, or import data into it with e.g. excel sheets. A visualization tool then organizes the information and creates custom reports so marketers and decision makers can quickly understand the story behind the raw data.

Typical features of data visualization tools are:

  • Customizable dashboards
  • Connections with data sources
  • Charts (bar, bubble, pie etc.)

Bar, bubble, pie.

Let’s get the party started.

Video review of 5 data visualization tools

In the video, Jeff compares 5 tools that outperform data presentations inside UA and GA4. He has used all of them to a certain extent and that made it challenging to pick the ultimate visualization tool.

On YouTube you can find more videos like this one.

What is the best web data visualization tool?

Owox is the best data visualization tool, according to our research. All the selected tools scored high in our overall ranking of GA alternatives, but none of them collects data.

You will either need Google Analytics 4, or any of the other analytics tools we reviewed.

Owox won, but that doesn’t mean it will be your best option. Feel free to browse through the pros and cons of the reviewed reporting tools.

#5 Klipfolio

Unlike what Klipfolio claims itself, it is debatable that it’s “the first and only analytics tool you need”. It cannot pull in base data itself. No data, no reports.

But when you feed Klipfolio with data, the reports look good. Instead of struggling with dull static spreadsheets, you can use Klipfolio and have a dynamic reporting platform that contains everything you need to validate your business decisions.

A Klipfolio report example

Overall score: 72/100

Website: Klipfolio

Pros of Klipfolio

  • +100 of curated metrics
  • Import data without coding
  • Extensive integrations with other tools
  • Data modification with robust data modeler
  • Segmentation and filtering for precise analysis
  • Data history storage: historical trends and comparison between time periods
  • Privacy friendly

Cons of Klipfolio

  • No data collection
  • Relatively expensive ($99/mo for a small – medium site)
  • No free trial
  • Technically difficult

Our conclusion about Klipfolio

Klipfolio is a great data visualization tool with lots of integrations that are easy to set up. The reports are impressive, but it takes technical expertise to create reports. Even for an expert like Jeff, that can be mind-boggling and confusing.

However, if you want to invest in acquiring deep technical expertise, Klipfolio might be the perfect data reporting tool for you.

#4 Tableau

Tableau is a visual analytics platform that helps people see and understand data to solve problems. There is a community of more than a million members and you can connect with like-minded people to learn from each other.

An example of a Tableau report

Overall score: 78/100

Website: Tableau

Pros of Tableau

  • Extensive community of users
  • Cloud, on premises or native integrations with e.g. Salesforce CRM
  • AI and machine learning capabilities
  • Governance and data management
  • Free tier
  • Privacy friendly
  • Good-looking reports

Cons of Tableau

  • Rather expensive ($72/mo for a small site)
  • Easy installation and connection with data sources
  • Fewer features than other visualization tools
  • Less suitable for marketers

Our conclusion about Tableau

Tableau has been around for a while and with over a million users, it’s a safe choice to present your data with clear reports.

However, if you choose Google Analytics 4 as your web analytics tool, you may face some challenges. Unless this changes, Tableau will remain our fourth ranking visualization tool.

#3 PowerBI

PowerBI is a Microsoft product that reveals insights that are deeply hidden in data. The tool is suitable for both individuals and enterprises.

A customized PowerBI report

Overall score: 80/100

Website: PowerBI

Pros of PowerBI

  • Scalable
  • Lower security risks compared to using multiple solutions
  • Built-in AI
  • Share insights with team members
  • +100 data visualizations
  • Tight Excel integration
  • Custom data connectors
  • Industry-leading data security
  • Affordable
  • Easy installation

Cons of PowerBI

  • Not free
  • Doesn’t collect data itself

Our conclusion about PowerBI

PowerBI can grow with your business and help your business grow. Since it’s a Microsoft product, it works perfectly together with Excel.

Although PowerBI doesn’t collect data, the way it protects it is impressive. Sensitivity labeling, encryption, real-time access monitoring…

#2 Google Data Studio

In our research, Google Data Studio received the same score as PowerBI. It unlocks the power of your data with interactive dashboards and reports that look more beautiful than the ones in Google Analytics.

A Google Data Studio report based on a template

Overall score: 80/100

Website: Google Data Studio

Pros of Google Data Studio

  • Free
  • Easy to start using it
  • Integrations with Google Marketing Cloud and 3rd party tools
  • Fast report generation
  • Share with your team or in public
  • Collaborate in real time

Cons of Google Data Studio

  • No date storage
  • Less features than other tools in this category
  • Steep learning curve if you dive deeper into it

Our conclusion about Google Data Studio

Although Jeff is a big fan of Google Data Studio, it did not make it number one in our ranking.

Fair is fair. We use objective ratings and 7 criteria to rank each tool and there is one that beats Google Data Studio.

If you are familiar with GA, Data Studio is an excellent data reporting tool. The interactive reports are rather easy to set up and they look stunning compared to the reports in UA and GA4.

#1 Owox

Owox gives you a complete overview of your marketing performance. You can audit and implement an analytics health check and privacy checks. This highly reduces risks of flawed data and privacy violations.

Example of a customizable Owox report

Overall score: 83/100

Website: Owox

Pros of Owox

  • Privacy friendly
  • UA and GA4 measurement configuration (with Google Tag Manager setup)
  • Cookie list device tracking cross device tracking
  • Trustable and timely data analysis
  • Unlimited customization visualization
  • Attribution modeling knowledge and insights
  • End-to-end project implementation management
  • Dedicated analysis insights
  • Hands-on training
  • Easy installation

Cons of Owox

  • Not free (starting at $55/mo)

Our conclusion about Owox

Owox righteously deserves the number one spot of our ranking of data visualization tools.

Owox focuses on privacy while maintaining reliable data to create amazingly good-looking reports. You will need to train yourself, or your team, to make reports look exactly how you want them to.

4 User Behavior Tools To Complement Google Analytics

User behavior tools are an important part of a web analytics stack. These tools cannot replace quantitative analytics tools, but they give you a thorough understanding of how users experience the customer’s journey on your website.

Jeff reviewed 4 user behavior measurement tools. He has first-hand experience with most of them.

Before we get to the details, let me explain why none of these tools is a replacement for Google Analytics, or any of its alternatives.

What is a user behavior tool?

A user behavior tool collects, stores and visualizes all interactions of users on your website. The data is then presented as a heatmap, but you can also watch individual session recordings.

Binge watch what your users did on your website, season 101, episode 78,956

There is an overlap with web analytics tools. You can, for instance, measure scrolling depth in GA4 too. But a heatmap is a different experience for a digital marketer or web designer.

On the other hand, there is a good reason these tools integrate with Google Tag Manager, or Google Analytics. You need qualitative data from a tool that is close to the industry standard, Universal Analytics and GA4.

There are many ways to collect and visualize the good, the bad and the ugly parts of your website. The competition in this niche is fierce and not all tools offer the same functionalities.

Besides our ranking, you may want to have a closer look at what is exactly included in which tool.

  • Session Recordings: you can replay a video on how people moved their cursor and on which elements they clicked.
  • Heatmaps are a static or dynamic screenshot of web pages that reveal hotspots where your users click most. They also show you how visitors move through your homepage, or sales pages.
  • Surveys give users an easy way to provide feedback to marketers.
  • A/B testing can help you optimize landing pages quickly.

Behavioral tracking tools are like a theme park for marketers

There is a lot to explore and discover in these tools, but as with analytics tools, you can get the best results if you know beforehand which questions you would like to be answered.

Video review of user behavior analytics tools

In the video review, Jeff explains the pros and cons of 4 user behavior analytics tools. He also reveals which tool could be the most valuable asset to complete your analytics stack.

Follow us on YouTube and never miss an episode.

What is the best user behavior analytics tool?

Microsoft Clarity, CrazyEgg and Mouseflow are the best user behavior analytics tools. They scored equally well in our research, but there are some differences between them.

If pricing is your primary motivation to choose a tool, you are best served with Microsoft Clarity, because it is… free.

On the other hand, the paid tools will pay themselves back. That can be it either in time saved to detect errors, or in an improved path to conversions.

Below, you can read the details of the 4 tools that Jeff reviewed.

#4 Hotjar

Hotjar helps you understand “how your site visitors behave, what they need and how they are feeling”. The heatmaps are the biggest strength of Hotjar. Where do users click and how deep do they scroll on your site?

Overall score: 66/100

Website: Hotjar

Pros of Hotjar

  • Live playbacks of visits on your site
  • Mouse movements, rage clicks, U-turns
  • Real-time suggestion box on your site
  • Targeted surveys for immediate feedback
  • Free limited tier
  • Easy to install with Google Tag Manager
  • No specific knowledge required to get started

Cons of Hotjar

  • Not cheap ($79/mo for a small website)
  • Not a full-fledged analytics tool
  • Recording sessions are privacy risky
  • Clunky interface

Our conclusion about Hotjar

Hotjar does everything you can expect from a behavioral analytics tool. It’s easy to install and get started with.

We have used it for many years on our site and that made us better aware of some of its flaws. This is reflected in its overall score.

In general, Hotjar is a great tool in addition to Google Analytics and if you are using it already, there is no reason to switch to one of the 3 number one tools.

#3 Microsoft Clarity

Microsoft Clarity is ranking on the same spot as the next two tools, but we kept the ranking of this category in the same chronological order as we reviewed the tools.

Overall score: 75/100

Website: Microsoft Clarity

Pros of Microsoft Clarity

  • Free
  • Integrates with GA4
  • Heatmaps for all your pages
  • Recording sessions
  • Click rage statistics to reveal user frustrations
  • More privacy focused than some other tools in this category

Cons of Microsoft Clarity

  • More complicated than the other tools
  • No GTM tag template to install it
  • The reports are okay, but not visually attractive

Our conclusion about Microsoft Clarity

Microsoft Clarity is free. If you are starting out with user behavior analysis, this may be your best option to get a quick and better understanding of the value of these kinds of tools.

It has fewer features than its competitors. If user feedback, for instance, is important to you, you may consider one of the following tools.

#2 CrazyEgg

CrazyEgg positions itself as a tool to ”improve what’s working, fix what is not working and test new ideas”. That’s a refreshing way to imagine what user behavior tools can mean for your website.

Compared to the other tools in this category, CrazyEgg is closer to a quantitative analytics tool.

Overall score: 75/100

Website: CrazyEgg

Pros of CrazyEgg

  • Snapshots heatmaps, recordings
  • Insights in your customer journey
  • Detection of errors and conversion blockers
  • Compare and analyze traffic sources by channel
  • Free trial period
  • GTM template tag to install it
  • Easy to use
  • A/B testing
  • Collection of user feedback

Cons of CrazyEgg

  • Not cheap (starting from $99/mo)
  • Not clear if the recordings are GDPR compliant or not

Our conclusion about CrazyEgg

We have used CrazyEgg for years on our own website and even partnered up with them.

They provided Jeff an account to train his student, and he is very appreciative of the generosity and support of the team.

Although it’s not the cheapest tool in our comparison, the investment is low compared to what it reveals about the behavior of your visitors.

#1 Mouseflow

Mouseflow tied for one with the previous two tools and allows you to optimize your website with certainty.

That differs from assumptions and gut feeling. You know exactly what’s happening at every touch point of your user's journey.

Overall score: 75/100

Website: Mouseflow

Pros of Mouseflow

  • Easy to install
  • Clear and beautiful reports
  • Integrates with 3rd-party products
  • No specific knowledge required
  • A/B testing
  • Recordings
  • User feedback collection

Cons of Mouseflow

  • Pricey ($159/mo for small – medium site)
  • Limited data compared to analytics tools

Our conclusion about Mouseflow

Mouseflow is an excellent tool to deeply understand your site visitors and optimize your ROI based on how users interact with your site.

Although it’s the most expensive tool of our 3 winners of this category, you will not regret choosing Mouseflow as a complement to Google Analytics, or one of the alternatives that are listed elsewhere on this page.

8 Specialty Analytics Tools That Complement GA

A quantitative analytics tool, such as GA, reveals what happens from the moment visitors land on your site.

As a digital marketer, you know that this is only the last stage of a journey that took you a lot of preparation. Alas, GA cannot capture, analyze and present all data for all the stages that result in successful marketing and sales campaigns.

Since the Data Driven U team is fully committed to making your life easier, Jeff reviewed 8 marketing analytics tools that don’t compete with Google Analytics. And yet, these tools can give you a huge competitive advantage if the following processes are part of your marketing strategy:

  • SEO and content creation
  • Lead generation
  • A/B testing and website optimization

Make sure you watch the video, or read the details below to learn which tool fits your needs best.

Video review of 8 marketing analytics tools

In the video, Jeff discusses 8 analytics tools that can help you create more successful data-driven marketing campaigns and at the same time cannot replace GA.

You can find similar videos on our YouTube channel.

What is the best specialty analytics tool to complement Google Analytics?

SEMrush scored the best in our comparison research. The tool supports your content creation flow for both social media and organic search.

Not all businesses thrive on content creation and promotion. Therefore, we didn’t review only all-in-one SEO tools (Search Engine Optimization). You will also discover lead generation and website optimization tools.

Here is how they ranked, compared to Google Analytics.

#8 Chartbeat

Chartbeat is a content analytics and insights tool, focussed on editorial decision making. It helps digital publishers improve audience engagement and loyalty.

Overall score: 58/100

Website: Chartbeat

Pros of Chartbeat

  • Real-time analytics insights
  • Collaboration for global content teams

Cons of Chartbeat

  • No price listed (so probably expensive)
  • Demo only upon request
  • Limited features
  • Vague about privacy and integrations

Our conclusion about Chartbeat

Chartbeat received a low overall score in our research. This is mainly due to their lack of transparency about major characteristics: pricing, privacy, features and integrations.

The other tools in this category mentioned key characteristics pretty openly, which made it easier to assign the non-default scores we had set at the beginning of our research.

#7 Foxmetrics

Foxmetrics is an analytics tool geared towards restaurants and food

and beverage brands that sell both online and offline.

Overall score: 58/100

Website: FoxMetrics

Pros of Foxmetrics

  • Common e-commerce segmentation tracking
  • Card abandonment functionality
  • Combination of offline and online vendor data
  • Optimize pop-ups
  • Online customer surveys

Cons of Foxmetrics

  • Demo upon request
  • Rather expensive ($299/mo)
  • Hard to install
  • Not privacy focused

Our conclusion about Foxmetrics

Foxmetrics targets the food and beverage niche market. That makes it useless if your business focuses on industries.

The combination of online and offline data is one of its strengths. But then again, it takes expertise to integrate different data with multiple integrations of all kinds.

#6 Serpstat

Serpstat is an all-in-one SEO tool. The data about your competitor’s SEO content efforts gives you a shortcut to improve your own rankings in search engines.

Overall score: 60/100

Website: Serpstat

Pros of Serpstat

  • In-depth analysis of organic searches and keywords
  • Competitor content analysis
  • Rank tracker
  • Backlink analysis
  • Site audits
  • Privacy focused

Cons of Serpstat

  • Rather expensive
  • Easy to install
  • Fewer features than GA and some of its direct competitors
  • Limited integrations with 3rd-party tools

Our conclusion about Serpstat

Serpstat provides data about different aspects that have an impact on how your site appears in search results. From keyword research, to technical errors and backlinks, you can find it in Serpstat.

While all of that sounds great, it is less advanced than the other SEO tools we reviewed. If your business heavily relies on organic traffic, you will be better off with another option.

#5 Optimizely

Optimizely is an established platform for enterprises. Besides analytics, it also includes web testing and personalization of the user experience on your website.

Overall score: 60/100

Website: Optimizely

Pros of Optimizely

  • Enterprise-level platform
  • Open extensible platform
  • Content Management System to create, tailor, and scale your content
  • Multiple shops, catalogs
  • AI feature testing and personalization
  • Privacy focused
  • Extensive list of integrations

Cons of Optimizely

  • Very expensive
  • Expert knowledge needed for installation and configuration

Our conclusion about Optimizely

Optimizely is a robust web analytics and optimization platform for enterprises, which makes it less attractive to smaller businesses.

Its biggest power lies in the combination of a CMS, analytics and the possibility of improving the digital experience of your visitors for every digital touchpoint.

If you have the resources and are willing to assign a part of your budget to internal training, or support of experts, this platform is a splendid choice.

#4 Ahrefs

The Ahrefs dashboard gives site owners a clear view of their website’s SEO performance. The tool is best known for its intense crawling, extensive keyword research, technical SEO error detection and extensive backlink library.

Overall score: 66/100

Website: Ahfrefs

Pros of Ahrefs

  • Key aspects and features to boost your rankings
  • Website audit
  • Competitor website analysis
  • Easy to find industry top performing content
  • No installation needed
  • Feature rich

Cons of Ahrefs

  • Expensive (starting from $99/mo)
  • Little integrations with other marketing tools
  • Reports are visually not optimal
  • Steep learning curve

Our conclusion about Ahrefs

Ahrefs evolved from a backlink tool to an all-in-one SEO suite. Many experts swear by it.

If you can afford it, Ahrefs gives you all you need to monitor, audit and improve your SEO. You don’t need to install anything. But the lack of integrations with other tools can be a burden if you need more data in your dashboard.

Ahrefs is a safe choice, but its main competitor scored better in our research. It even made it to the first ranking, so make sure you keep reading on.

#3 GoSquared

GoSquared offers subscription businesses multiple growth tools in one powerful integrated platform. You can opt for live chat to boost sales and/or analytics to understand your customer’s journey to your website.

Overall score: 69/100

Website: GoSquared

Pros of GoSquared

  • Check browsing activity of users that led to your site
  • Social activity check based on email of users
  • Flexibility to use chat/analytics separately, or combined
  • Dedicated support team
  • Fully GDPR compliant
  • Fast feature development based on user requests
  • Easy to install

Cons of GoSquared

  • Not free (starting at $79/mo for the suite)
  • Analytics features are limited compared to GA

Our conclusion about GoSquared

GoSquared offers SaaS (Software as a Service) businesses an interesting combination of live chat and analytics. It’s certainly worth giving it a try and see if the features drive you more trial sign-ups and actually engage your users.

The platform is scalable. If your business grows, you can easily extend it.

If a seasoned data-driven marketer, like Jeff, gets intrigued, that’s a good sign. He will further investigate its potential and we recommend giving it a try.

#2 Leadfeeder

Leadfeeder integrates your marketing and sales data. Its most impressive feature is that it shows you which companies visit your website.

To achieve this, it uses a huge database of static and dynamic IP addresses that are linked to companies.

Overall score: 69/100

Website: Leadfeeder

Pros of Leadfeeder

  • Email notification when dream companies visit your website
  • Integrated CRM
  • Combination of sales and marketing data
  • Reasonable pricing
  • Integrations with other tools, like GA

Cons of Leadfeeder

  • Installation is harder than it used to be, due to GDPR regulations
  • Privacy compliance: in the gray area because of IP addresses

Our conclusion about Leadfeeder

Leadfeeder shows you which companies are looking at your web pages. Instead of anonymous traffic, you know who is interested in your services or products.

Without doubt, that is an insight that can highly boost your sales. If you do account based marketing, this tool will make your life a lot easier.

In the past, Jeff partnered up with Leadfeeder. They did some presentations for our data-driven community and Jeff did some work for them. The collaboration even resulted in a highly enjoyable visit from Jeff to their offices in Helsinki, Finland.

This did not influence in any way their high score. As for all the other tools, we used the same objective criteria. We also don’t get a commission, but it feels good to see the product of a great team rank this high.

#1 SEMrush

SEMrush gives you access to data of SEO content, PPC and social media marketing of your competitors. The tool helps you create content to boost organic traffic, as well as visits from social media.

Overall score: 75/100

Website: SEMrush

Pros of SEMrush

  • User-friendly workflows
  • Complete set of SEO tools
  • Unveil competitors’ marketing strategy and tactics
  • Saves time in your content creation process
  • Privacy focused

Cons of SEMrush

  • Relatively expensive

Our conclusion about SEMrush

SEMrush got the highest score in our category of specialty analytics tools. If your business relies on organic and social media content, you will 100% profit from this tool.

This category contains a few other SEO tools, but SEMrush outperforms them. Although the pricing knocked down the overall score, agencies and businesses with internal content teams will profit from SEMrush.

Instead of thinking from scratch about your content strategy, you can build upon the strategies that work for your competitors and other players in your industry.

5 Best Product Analytics Tools For Customer Retention

As a digital product manager, you can use a product analytics tool instead of Google Analytics to understand how users interact with your solution.

However, to get an overall view of your website and marketing, we recommend you use such a tool as a complement to Google Analytics data. After all, your web pages are often the entry points that lead visitors to your product. And that is something you can better measure with GA.

So, what do the tools of this category actually do?

What is a product analytics tool?

A product analytics tool tracks how well your digital products match the needs of your users. You can use the insights to focus on strengths and weaknesses of your product, after people have purchased it. This will help you improve the customer experience and thus the retention rate.

Happy users fill your bank account.

These tools are closely related to user behavior tools, but they are designed to analyze apps, rather than websites or ecommerce stores.

Video review of 5 product analytics tools

In the video, Jeff discusses 5 product analytics tools and ranks them according to objective criteria.

Visit our YouTube channel for similar videos.

What is the best product analytics tool?

Smartlook ranks as number one in our category of product analytics tools. Its secret weapon are the filters for session recordings. They help you discover in no time where your users get stuck and leave your app.

Below, you can find a more in-depth review of Smartlook and the other 4 tools.

#5 Mixpanel

Mixpanel is a powerful self-serve product analytics tool to help you engage, convert and retain more users. The tool reveals the most popular features of your product.

It also shows how many users you have and which types of users stick around for how long. A nice surplus is that you can even build retroactive funnels with it.

That all sounds cool, and yet, Mixpanel scored the worst in this category. Why is that?

Overall score: 58/100

Website: Mixpanel

Pros of Mixpanel

  • Conversion rate analysis on the flow
  • Free for small sites

Cons of Mixpanel

  • Not privacy focused
  • Limited features
  • Outdated look and feel
  • Complicated to install
  • Hard to use

Our conclusion about Mixpanel

Mixpanel caught Jeff’s attention years ago. He used it in his company before it became Data Driven U.

Although he is technically skilled, he “felt sort of dumb” (his words, not mine) while trying to set it up and get it working properly.

The recent version hasn’t changed a lot. Therefore, it is no big surprise that this tool ranked the lowest in this category.

#4 Amplitude

Amplitude gives your team self-service product data. This helps you better understand your users, increase engagement and drive conversions, along with revenue growth.

Overall score: 63/100

Website: Amplitude

Pros of Amplitude

  • Revenue loyalty of users
  • Lifetime value
  • Pretty generous free trial length
  • Excellent report quality
  • Useful for different departments: marketing, product development

Cons of Amplitude

  • Expensive after trial period
  • Limited features
  • Hard to install

Expensive after trial period

  • Limited features
  • Hard to install

Our conclusion about Amplitude

Jeff has heard a lot about Amplitude, and it made him eager to check out the tool. The features look promising, such as predicting which combination of features and user actions will lead to success.

Amplitude allows you to innovate your product without taking bets or colossal risks. The main disadvantage is its price. This factor prevented it from reaching a shared second position in this set of tools.

#3 Heap

Heap is a product analytics tool that automatically collects all data of how your customers interact with your product.

Overall score: 66/100

Website: Heap

Pros of Heap

  • Low-code solution
  • No need for engineers or data analysts
  • No free trial
  • Intuitive visualization of data
  • For both individuals and teams
  • Privacy focused

Cons of Heap

  • Expensive
  • Expertise needed to use and understand it

Our conclusion about Heap

Heap and the next tool made it to position two in this category. Installation requires little to no experience. However, to use it, you will need to put in some serious effort.

The tool pinpoints events and behavior with the highest impact on your users. These insights quickly reveal the biggest potential wins of your product.

#2 Countly

Countly is a great product analytics tool. It tracks users across all your apps and their devices. It also helps you understand your customers and their actions in detail.

Overall score: 66/100

Website: Countly

Pros of Countly

  • Reasonably priced
  • Privacy focused
  • Easy to use
  • User profiles
  • Custom events
  • Heatmaps
  • Page views

Cons of Countly

  • Hardest to install in this category
  • Disappointing report quality

Our conclusion about Countly

Countly scored equally well as Heap. The combination of custom events and user profiles allows you to track all important actions and transactions.

Its pageviews and heatmaps allow you to easily visualize customer behavior with flows.

#1 Smartlook

Smartlook is a user behavior tool that records sessions on site and in mobile apps and games. The powerful filters save you time by detecting crucial moments in your funnel.

Overall score: 73/100

Website: Smartlook

Pros of Smartlook

  • Rather easy to install features
  • Plenty of integrations
  • Decent report quality
  • Advanced session recording filters

Cons of Smartlook

  • Not as easy to install as GA4

Our conclusion about Smartlook

Smartlook is the clear winner in this category. The recordings give you insights, but what is really clever is that you can jump straight to crucial moments of user interactions.

With one click, you can get all recordings of your drop-offs. That makes it easy to plug the leaks in your funnel and increase user loyalty and, hence, your revenue.

Searching for an alternative tool for Google Analytics Universals is easier said than done. Where do you start your research? How do you even compare analytics tools objectively? Which features matter most to your business? Luckily, you can skip this time-consuming step. Jeff Sauer and his Data Driven team did the research for you.

In the video and article, you will discover how we selected and ranked 42 Universal Analytics alternative tools.

Researching Google Universal Alternatives

If you prefer reading, you can continue below the video.

Follow us on YouTube to learn more about GA4.

Why look for a GA Universal alternative, anyway?

Switching from Google Analytics Universal is not an actual choice you can make. After 15 years, the popular web analytics tool will stop collecting data. On the 1st of July 2023, Google will replace UA with GA4.

This is not an automatic transition. You need to install GA4 or let an expert do it for you.

Our free guide will help you do this effortlessly.

Ultimatums put pressure on your shoulders. But they also force you to reflect. And that’s not a bad thing.

Replacing a business critical tool, such as UA, is not a typical daily agenda item in your organization. It requires serious thinking before taking the final strategic decision.

This is exactly what Jeff and our team did with the help of two peer data experts.

The result?

An exquisite selection of 42 GA alternatives.

That’s still a lot to choose from, so we will gradually narrow it down during our search for the ultimate question of life, the universe and… analytics.

Follow us on YouTube and join us on an exciting adventure through a Galaxy of Tools with Jeff as your guide…

Selecting 42 alternative tools for GA

What happens when you put a team of data experts together?

There is a high probability you thought this was the opening line for a joke.

But as I mentioned above, this was a serious research to find ultimate answers.

The project kicked off with a discussion between Jeff, Fred Pike and Ahmad Kanani about the very definition of “UA alternative”.

  • Does the tool need to have the same features as Google Analytics?
  • Will we include or exclude tools that have other features than UA?
  • Can we consider a data marketing suite as a true alternative for GA?
  • Do we need to take past and future possibilities of the tools into consideration?

In the end, we selected tools on a broad basis.

Although UA is still breathing data into your organization, we have already said goodbye to Universal Analytics.

For sure, we and many others will miss it and that’s not only because it’s a free web analytics tool…

7 key features of Universal Google Analytics

In our search for the ultimate UA replacement, we looked at 7 less obvious features of Universal Analytics.

As a business owner, you may not be aware of their existence, let alone their importance. And that’s fine.

You don’t need to know what a carburetor is (or does) to drive a car from A to B.

As part of our mission to help you steer your organization in the right data direction, we looked under the hood before short-listing the UA alternatives.

GA as Business strategy tool

Although Google Analytics Universal is a web analytics tool, many companies use it as a Business Intelligence (BI) tool.

There is, however, a tremendous difference between BI and web analytics tools.

Business strategy software must be able to accommodate your business strategy and not the other way around.

Adapting your strategy to what you can measure online with a tool is a completely different approach than outlining a strategy first and then trying to implement it in the software.

Universal Analytics was so easy that it tempted users to make vital decisions based on reports about, for instance, bounce rates and traffic sources.

You are not to blame. Nor is UA.

Besides, the past doesn’t last.

During our research, we filtered out tools that can’t bend to your business strategy.

Data collection

Data collection is at the heart of analytics tools.

A data driven mindset outperforms gut feelings in 99.99% of the cases. (See what I did here?)

As a data analyst, digital marketer or website owner, you want to make decisions based on reliable data.

That’s why we raised these questions:

  • Is it hard for you, a user, to collect data with this particular tool?
  • How is the data inserted in the tool? JavaScript tracking code, server-side data, imported from other sources, or directly from the analytics tool?

Some of the included UA alternative candidates don’t rely on JavaScript collection and some can even do the analysis for you.

If you are familiar with search engine optimization (SEO) tools, you can picture what that means. No sign up needed and yet, you can access reports with a thorough analysis of your website.

Data storage

Your collected data needs to be stored somewhere and you need to be able to retrieve it, as is the case with Universal Analytics.

Unlike many SEO tools, business intelligence suites and dashboard tools don’t have their own data storage. They pull data from other sources.

Although raw data is the basis for a reliable business analysis, it is hard to draw conclusions from it.

This leads us to the next UA feature.

Data processing and transformation

Data becomes valuable to your business the moment it is being processed and transformed into reports with, for instance, diagrams and pie charts.

You can drink raw eggs and milk and eat some flour, but that’s a different experience than eating pancakes.

The same goes for data.

In its purest form, you cannot digest it.

Data exploration

Exploring data means you can adjust reports and presentations to your needs. Altering the date range of an analytics report is a simple example.

Both humans and computers can do explorations. Although GA and other analytics tools are equipped with Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, we are still in the early stages.

Building AI on top of core elements to make automatic explorations for you will take more time. However, it is a vital criterion when selecting an alternative for Universal Analytics.

Our list contains some open source systems that give you access to BigQuery like Google Analytics 4. This allows you to export tons of data and run it through an external AI tool that gives you the business insights you may need.

Data visualization

Business intelligence tools excel at presenting your data visually attractively.

Admit it, it’s also really cool to spend some time in Tableau, Klipfolio or Data Studio.

In our comprehensive list of UA alternatives, we included a couple of free and inexpensive visualization tools.

You can use them in combination with GA4, or an open source analytics tool that allows you to export your data and compose visually impressive reports.

Access control

Controlling who has access to your data and analytics tool is important for a couple of reasons. Security and privacy are the most obvious ones.

But you also don’t want to overwhelm your team or customers with data they don’t need.

Access control is a more important criterion for enterprises than for small businesses.

During our research, we found out that not a single tool is perfect in this respect. Universal Analytics was not either.

This is an enormous opportunity for developers of analytic tools.

Can Universal Analytics be replaced with 1 tool?

For now, the best alternative for Universal Google Analytics is to string together multiple different systems, like you already probably did with UA and Data Studio.

There are many more opportunities out there to take your collected and stored data and run it through AI reporting and visualization tools.

Instead of choosing (and limiting yourself) to one tool, composing a data analytics stack may be the ideal way to move your business forward.

That was no longer the case with Universal Analytics. It stuck in the 2005 era because of the infrastructure choices.

Privacy, lightweight code and a minimalist approach towards data collection have become more important.

Times have changed.

That will never change.

Now is a good time for a Universal Analytics phaseout.

With the right analytics system, the right analyzing system, the right exploration and visualization system, your business can jump light-years ahead.

Now you know how we selected the players for the big UA Alternative League, it’s time to explain our scoreboard.

Scoring criteria for UA alternatives

Which analytics tool resembles Universal Analytics the most? Which tool is the best alternative for UA within your organization?

The game had begun.

But it had to be fair play.

That’s why we ranked the 42 tools based on the total scores spread over 6 categories.


Google Analytics Universal is free. It’s hard to beat that.

We included paid analytic tools and then assigned a score, depending on whether they were expensive, cheap or free.

Installation analytic tool

Do you remember how easy it was to install Universal Analytics? Although it is a one time process, it can be an immense burden.

That’s why we also paid attention to questions like

  • Is the web analytics tool easy to set up?
  • Can you implement it with a code and tag management system?
  • Is it technically complicated?


The GDPR, cookies, respecting the privacy of consumers. When you select an alternative for UA, this is also a key element you need to consider.

  • Is the BI tool built with privacy first in mind?
  • Does the software company mention privacy on its website?
  • Is the software publisher compliant with e.g. the GDPR?


The days of all-in-one analytic solutions are gone. For a tool to stand a chance in the competitive analytics industry, it must be able to connect with other tools.

  • Can it be integrated with other tools?
  • How many integrations are possible?
  • Are these easy or hard to set up?

Report presentation quality

You want to impress your manager, customers, the CEO, and stakeholders. Clear and beautiful data reports are the easiest way to achieve this.

  • Are the reports enterprise level data visualizations?
  • Or basic?
  • Or worse: ugly and confusing?

User expertise

Switching from UA to any other alternative will require patience and time. How much? This will partially depend on the tool.

  • Is it intuitive for new users?
  • How steep is the learning curve?

And the winner is?

The best way to prepare your business for the future of analytics is to incorporate multiple best-in-class tools on top of the groundwork that was laid by Google in universal Analytics.

If you are curious about the ultimate winner and the detailed analysis of every tool from our list, you can subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Key takeaways: looking for UA alternatives

Google Analytics Universal will stop working, and your organization needs an alternative.

A better approach than picking a tool blindly, is comparing different analytics tools. Alas, a fair and deep investigation requires precious resources from your team.

To help you save time, we selected 42 plausible alternatives for UA, based on 7 criteria for business intelligence tools. The tools needed to be able to adapt to your business strategy. Other features are data collection, storage, processing, exploration, visualization and access control.

To rank the tools, we gave them a score for pricing, ease of installation and use, privacy, connectivity with external tools and the quality of report presentations.

No tool can replace UA perfectly. And that is not even needed.

UA itself was hopelessly outdated.

Today, your best option is to build an analytics data stack and combine several tools with each other.

Final note

Thank you for being here. We sincerely hope our deep research will help you find the best possible alternative for UA.

Thank you, Fred Pike and Ahmad Kanani from for your valuable contributions.

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