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Matomo Analytics is an open-source alternative to Google Analytics in a world where privacy now matters. It has more than 1.4 million websites in over 190 countries. In addition to being open-source, it is extendable and can be customized. And just like Google Analytics, it helps marketers get a good understanding of the website performance and customer behavior.
Matomo was developed by Matthieu Aubry along with some of his friends in late 2007. It was known as Piwik and offered full API support, a cleaner UI, modern graphics, better architecture, and better performance. Here's a timeline of the key milestones of Piwik's evolution into Matomo.
Matomo Analytics plugin allows WordPress users to host Matomo directly in their WordPress. I'll explain this feature here later.
If you're familiar with Google Analytics, Matomo will look very familiar. After installation, you can reach Matomo's main reporting screen via WordPress' admin navigation to access the following views:
Below is the Dashboard view that is customized to display relevant widgets.
You can also create segments, change the format of some of the reports such as charts, and export data sets.
As mentioned, the UI is similar to Google Analytics. If you compare features and reports, Matomo will fall behind. But the main website KPIs are all available here. The interface is easier to navigate and clear. And it's just available within your WordPress install. You don't have to sign up for a Google account to access it.
Just like Google's version, Tag Manager is a little hard to implement. For those who are unfamiliar with the former, it's a tool that allows you to centrally manage scripts. Say you're running Hotjar, ActiveCampaign, and ZenDesk scripts; rather than installing them individually, you can manage them all from the Tag Manager UI. It also gives you more control over the scripts. For instance, you can set a rule so that your helpdesk chat window doesn't appear on a contact page. More advanced users are able to leverage variables and data layers, just like with Google Tag Manager.
Please note: Tag Manager does not work in a WordPress multi-site setup.
Google has brought a new ranking factor in their algorithm named Core Web Vitals, which emphasizes on load speed. With Matomo, you will be able to optimize your pages to rank better according to the Core Web Vitals ranking factor.
Matomo may be a 'lite' version of Google Analytics but its paid add-ons gives it superpowers. There are quite a few of them available in the marketplace. Here are some of the more popular ones;
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Matomo’s mission is to give control and data ownership back to users. It offers web analytics on your own servers. There are no third parties taking ownership, no on-selling of data, and no one looking in. In Mathieu Aubry's own words:
Your Matomo Analytics data is 100% yours to own, with no external parties looking in. Unlike Google Analytics which uses your data to serve its advertising platform, Matomo users can safely use analytics without worrying about data being used for marketing or any other purposes. Data ownership gives you the power to protect privacy. You’re in the driver’s seat with the power to decide what happens to your data, and to protect your user’s privacy.
This is how they position themselves, and while it shares common features, its philosophy is completely different. Here I outline why Matomo is a better alternative to Google Analytics.
Matomo never uses your data for their “own purpose” or any other purpose as Google does. When using Matomo, you don’t need to ask for specific consent from visitors to collect their information. With Matomo On-Premise, Cloud, and Matomo for WordPress, the data collected is completely owned by you. The CJEU ruled US cloud servers don’t comply with GDPR. Matomo’s cloud-hosted data is stored in Europe and your On-Premise data can be stored in any desired country.
Matomo encourages data anonymization. In other words, by carrying out data anonymization techniques, you can avoid showing users a consent screen. This is good for both you and your users. After all, they need not worry about feeding their browsing behavior into the Google machine.
When using Google Analytics, there can be a penalty of up to 4% of your yearly revenue. It is applicable for data/privacy breaches or non-compliance, according to Article 83 of the GDPR.
While most websites use the free version of Google Analytics, larger businesses that require more accurate reporting are charged USD $150,000 / year. Matomo's premium features, instead, cost under USD $2,000 / year when bundled together. Moreover, Google Analytics is a hosted service. As a result, there are no associated infrastructure costs. On the other hand, high-traffic websites running on Matomo, factor in its impact on server resources.
Matomo has recently announced their new event but no date has been set yet.
The goals of the online event, as mentioned on their website are:
This is a great opportunity for people to learn about the solution and meet with like-minded people. Think of it as the WordCamp of the web analytics world. Sign up for the event here: https://matomocamp.org
Over the past year, privacy and compliance have become hot topics. Moreover, organizations have become increasingly aware of related legislation and penalties for non-compliance too.
Google Analytics is a better option if you need to use its more advanced features. Or if your hosting environment isn't powerful enough to handle the additional 'weight' of Matomo's plugin.
If you're managing a high-traffic site Matomo will need to work harder to record, crunch and present data.
Convesio was designed to handle traffic, scaling resources automatically when needed. This makes it a great fit for a plugin like Matomo.
Test Matomo on Convesio - we offer a free trial that gets you going with a test instance of WordPress in minutes. Just add the Matomo plugin and explore its many features. Feel free to reach out if yourself.