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An Open-source alternative to Google Analytics

15/04/2022 - written by: David Gondelle

When building a website, one of the first things owners will be encouraged to do will be to get an analytics tool. These handy tools can be used to learn more about who your audience is, how they behave on your site, and how best to convert them from a browser to a buyer.

But which tool is best?

Google Analytics is hands down the most popular tool, but there have been some questions in the last few years about whether it meets GDPR standards in the EU.

This is obviously not something that would inspire confidence in any website owner, and for good reason. What owner wants the risk of running afoul of data protection laws and being hit with a large fine?

While it is possible to make changes to the Google Analytics tool to make it GDPR compliant, there are other options out there, including our own Scale8 analytics tool.

But why does a website owner even need an analytics tool in the first place?

Why do you need an analytics tool?

Analytics tools are used to analyse user behaviour across your site. Different tools will offer different features, but by using them effectively, they can:

  • Provide audience insights – learn more about what kind of people are visiting your site, where they’re clicking from, and what pages they’re spending the most time on.

  • Be used to create a better user experience – the user journey can be optimised by changing up pages with high bounce rates, or reformatting pages to make them easier to navigate

  • Help drive conversions by understanding customer behaviour – by analysing which pages are most visited before a conversion, you can optimise the path to purchase for your site

  • Give feedback on online marketing campaigns – which campaigns were most likely to lead to a visitor to the page, or to a conversion?

All of these insights would clearly be beneficial to any website owner that was looking to get more visitors, and more purchases, on their website.

Why look at alternatives to Google Analytics?

Many website owners will go straight for Google Analytics without doing any research. They hear “Google” and unsurprisingly trust that the product will be the best on the market and unquestionably reliable.

However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Several European data protection authorities have stated that the Google Analytics tool does not comply with GDPR. Google has even been handed fines on numerous occasions.

While Google has made some changes to bring its analytics tool up to GDPR standards in the eyes of the EU data protection authorities, there’s still some legwork to be done by website owners to make sure that you’re compliant with data protection laws.

So which tool should you use?

There are many Google Analytics alternatives out there, so it’s worth researching other options to find the best one for you. However, we believe that Scale8 can offer you a great open source alternative.

Why Scale8?

There are many reasons why we believe that our analytics tool is one of the best on the market for website owners who want to optimise their websites.

Simple analytics

You’ll find that many tools on the market will give you a host of functions. In our experience, a lot of these functions are never used and just create a cluttered and more complicated product.

Our easy to use analytics tool has been streamlined to provide website owners with all that they need to get the insights they’re looking for, without having any unnecessary functions to navigate.

Data ownership and privacy

We’ve designed our analytics tool with both performance and privacy in mind. Because of this, our ready to go analytics tool does not collect any personally identifiable information (PII), while still providing you with detailed insights into your audience.

While we help you store and process your data, it never becomes the property of Scale8, and so can never be shared or sold onwards to 3rd parties.

Our code is open source

We strongly believe in the value that open-source software brings to the community. That’s why our code is free to use and host yourself, unlike the Google Analytics tool. Our code is available to view on Github.

While many companies may not see the value in open sourced software, we know that there are many benefits, such as:

  • Having expertly written code available for anyone to view and use makes it more reliable and transparent, since anyone can flag errors or concerns.
  • It’s possible to modify the code if you wish, so that it better suits you and your specific needs.
  • Open source software can easily be scaled up or down
  • You won’t have to deal with any of the procurement or licence barriers that you might get with proprietary software
  • It’s free

We’re also in the process of adding multiple deployment options for our self-hosted version via Terraform. We believe this will help us expand, and so help even more website owners.

User experience

Most analytics tools will require you to have a CMP (consent management platform) on your site. CMPs can be distracting and could potentially lead to a higher bounce rate. Since we don’t store PII or use cookies, there’s no need for a CMP when you use our analytics tool. This creates a much more fluid experience for visitors to your site, meaning they can get to enjoying your site content as soon as they land on site.

It is important to check with your legal team before using Scale8. Our code is open-source and we are completely transparent about how we build our analytics product.

Free 30 day trial

We know that there are a lot of options out there when it comes to web analytics tools, and it’s hard to know which is best. That’s why we offer a 30 day free trial with no credit card needed, so that you can easily find out for yourself if our analytics tool is the best one for you.

What licensing is Scale8 under?

Scale8 is under a AGPLv3 licence, our client platform code is released under an MIT licence to enable use over a network, since AGPLv3 prevents use over a network.

Test out the Scale8 analytics tool

With all of these performance and privacy benefits in mind, plus a 30 day free trial with no commitments, we can’t think of a reason why it wouldn’t be worth testing out our analytics tool. So why not see if we can help you get the most out of your site, without compromising on the privacy of you and your site visitors?

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