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Why is Scale8 a good Google Analytics alternative

Google Analytics dominates the market when it comes to website owners wanting to gain insights about visitors to their sites. It’s a tried and tested service, not to mention free, so it’s easy to see why many people may not bother looking for an alternative.

It’s also common practice to sign up for Google Tag Manager to help with the management of Google Analytics and other 3rd-party offerings. The two services complement each other, meaning that by signing up to one, you’re able to get more out of the other. It’s also common for Google Data Studio to be used in conjunction with the Analytics tool.

But is it worth searching for a better alternative? What if there was an open-source, privacy-friendly solution that is also simple, lightweight and easy to use?

Scale8 can offer exactly this. So why not see for yourself if our service can offer you all of this, while you also help to break the cycle of Google Analytics being installed on websites as a default?

Scale8 vs Google Analytics comparison: What are the core differences between the two services?

Data ownership

We’ve put data ownership first for a reason. When using Scale8 products and services, you retain the ownership of your data. We help you store and process that data, but it never becomes property of Scale8 and we will never sell or share your data with anyone.

We will not use your data for the development of our own products or services. Your data will never be shared with third parties, advertising companies or otherwise.

The same can’t be said for Google Analytics. It is often unclear how your data will be used and processed. Since the Google Analytics product is free, it’s reasonable to conclude that Google is making a profit from your use of their services in some other way.

Simple analytics

In previous roles, both the co-founders of Scale8 helped clients to set up and configure Google Analytics. For the vast majority of website owners they simply do not require all the functionality that is offered by the service. It is a complex tool and can take a long time to learn how to use.

Scale8, on the other hand, provides simple analytics straight out of the box. Our intuitive product can also be run in analytics only mode - a super lightweight version without our tag manager included. Even then, the installation process and the analytics offering is the same.

We provide a simple dashboard that provides the website owner with just the important information they require. For those who want to go beyond our offering, we make it easy to configure your own data management endpoint and stream your data to another storage backend ready to be analysed.

Visitor’s privacy

Our analytics product aims to reduce the tracking of website visitors. We aim to provide the optimal balance between providing much needed analytics to website owners, but without compromising the privacy of their website visitors.

Our ready to go analytics tool does not collect any personally identifiable information (PII). We don’t use cookies to track your website’s visitors either. We anonymize your website visitors and collect only basic information that can’t be used to track them.

It’s clear that Google benefits from and takes advantage of your data, and this is reflected in their Google Analytics product. This is why using Google Analytics will require you to notify your users before tracking them.

User Experience

If you include Google Analytics on your website, you are obligated to inform your users about this. This can lead to a poor user experience, and means that the user is forced to understand what data is being collected, by who, and what data is being processed. Cookie banners and consent management platforms (CMPs) can be off-putting for visitors, and can often lead to a higher than expected bounce rate.

Scale8 is different and there is no requirement to include a prompt for GDPR or CCPA. We do not use cookies and we do not store any personally identifiable information (PII) by default. This means that your visitors can land on your web page and immediately focus on your great content without any distracting consent prompts.

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.

Regulatory compliance: Is this compatible with GDPR, CCPA and PECR?

A recent GDPR judgement that came from the Austrian Data Protection Authority (DPA) concluded that Google Analytics had violated the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This was the first time the law was tested with regards to EU-US data transfer and a decision likely to be replicated when tested by other EU member states. Since this ruling, several other data protection authorities have released similar findings.

Scale8 data is only processed and hosted on servers in the EU. Furthermore we do not store any personally identifiable information (PII). We believe that the strict data protection laws from the EU are unparalleled and we adhere to GDPR guidance.
Please note that it is possible to send your data anywhere you’d like using our Data Manager service. It is also possible to gather more information about your users such as their IP address and in doing so you must make sure that you adhere to any and all rules and regulations that apply.

Tag Management

While tag management is at the core of the Scale8 offering, we do not force you to use it. We allow you to run just the website analytics on its own. The installation is the same, but the analytics offering is kept completely separate and we will not load any extra JavaScript to support our tag manager.

On the other hand, Google Analytics does not provide any form of Tag Management. Instead, you will need to use a separate Google service, Google Tag Manager, to add that functionality.

If you do later decide that you would like the Scale8 tag management tool, you can easily enable it with no extra account requirements or associated costs.

Error tracking

While it is possible to track errors using Google Analytics, that’s not what the service was primarily designed for. It needs extra configuration and the tools available fall short of many other products on the market. Website owners that are serious about tracking errors will turn to services like Sentry, Rollbar, Airbrake or TrackJS to plug the gap.

Scale8 provides basic error tracking which is enabled by default. We’re investing in our error tracking capabilities as we look to push the boundaries of what is possible. As of today it’s possible to automatically capture and track JavaScript errors occurring on your website and visualise these in a dedicated dashboard. We also enable the ability to drill into these errors and display the line of code responsible for triggering the error.

Open-source: Can I run this for free?

Unlike Google Analytics, Scale8 is completely open-source and free to host yourself. We believe in the open-source community and the value it brings to software developers.

Our code is available to view on Github and we have no plans to stop there. We are in the process of adding multiple deployment options for our self-hosted version via Terraform. We believe this will help us grow even quicker and help us drive the product forward for the benefit of all website owners.

Pricing: Why do we have to charge?

Google is a data driven company and a very large portion of their income is directly derived from collecting, analysing and processing data. By using Google Analytics and agreeing to their terms of service they are free to use your data for other business activities (good and bad!).

Scale8 does not sell your data or use your data for any other purposes. We unfortunately have costs to cover for running our commercial offering and this is why we have to charge for our service.

Our conclusion: A good alternative to Google Analytics is Scale8

Our product is fully compatible with GDPR, CCPA, PECR and other privacy regulations. We help you take ownership of your data and protect your users’ privacy.

You will benefit from having error tracking at your fingertips without having to install additional services on your website.

Just switch on the tag management service when you are ready to use it. There is no extra cost!

If you have a blog, a forum or a website and want to give your visitors a better experience then give Scale8 a try. We offer a free 30 day trial and there is no credit card required.

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vs Google Analyticsvs Matomovs Cloudflarevs Fathomvs Plausiblevs Simple Analytics
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