Should You Switch to a Privacy-Focused Analytics Service?

Before we can answer that question, we need to understand what’s involved with such a service. No doubt you know what website analytics are. They allow you to dig deep into the information about your website – who visits, where they’re from, how long they spend on your site, and so on. By analysing this information, you can tweak your site to ensure you get the best results from it.

In truth, few people think much about how analytics services and software get the information they use. Yet as time goes on, it’s likely that many webmasters will need to think about the analytics they gain… and where they come from.

With plenty of free services around, why pay for something else?

That’s the question, but you are likely beginning to see the answer. Google supplies millions of people around the world with countless free services. It won’t come as a huge surprise to know they glean endless reams of data from these services.

Everyone loves a free service. But you do need to think about what you’re getting from that service – or in this case, what you’re giving away. You know that various free email services are going to gain plenty of information and data from you using those services to send and receive emails.

The same applies to analytics services. If you use a free analytics service for your website (or sites), you’ll be aware of just how much data you can get out of it. It’s quite the offer – countless ways to sort and assess information and data about your visitors. You can get a basic overview of your audience, right through to discovering where they’re from, how they reached your site, which keywords are performing best… and we could go on.

You want your website to perform at its best. Website analytics can help you achieve this aim. If you can get a powerful analytics service for free, why would you pay for one?

With many website owners looking to trim costs on the running of their website, it seems to make sense to go for powerful free services wherever you can. But you must think about what you’re giving up in the process. Nothing is truly free, and in this case, a free analytics service could give up something far more costly – the privacy of your visitors.

Google Analytics in violation of GDPR laws in Europe

2022 did not get off to the best start as far as Google is concerned. As those in Europe will know, GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation, a law that is now in force across the continent. It focuses on protecting the data held by and sourced from visitors to and users of websites.

The Austrian Data Protection Authority (DPA) ruled that Google Analytics is in violation of GDPR rules. This could be the first of many similar rulings, with the Netherlands also currently looking at cases relating to Google Analytics. Could we soon reach the stage where this in-depth and free service will no longer be allowed? While it may seem hard to believe, this could be exactly where things are heading.

We should make it clear that Google doesn’t stand alone in terms of companies and services that do not adhere to the terms laid out in the GDPR legislation. Nor is it the only company likely to find itself faced with such a ruling. The remainder of 2022 could lead to many other similar headlines to this one.

What’s the solution?

Clearly, there is only one solution here, and that is to comply with the legislation. This means using an analytics service that is compliant with GDPR and privacy laws. If you use a service that supplies you with website analytics, you must make sure the service you choose puts privacy at its heart. If it doesn’t, you could leave yourself open to problems as the courts begin to consider which services comply with GDPR laws… and which ones do not.

GDPR compliant analytics don’t just stay within the strict confines of the law. They also act as a strong selling point for your website. We’re all becoming more aware of the information we give away online. If you’re able to show your visitors that you take this seriously, by investing in compliant and privacy-focused analytics, you’ll put yourself ahead of the competition.

While you’ll likely need to invest in a service that adheres to privacy laws, you can see the obvious benefits in doing so. You’re protecting your business, the privacy of everyone who visits your website, and building a stronger case for people to come to you instead of the competition.

That’s why we have migrated from Google Analytics to Fathom Analytics. Fathom is a Google Analytics alternative that doesn’t compromise visitor privacy for data. Fathom is easy to use and respectful of privacy laws (like GDPR and more). Their privacy-first approach, easy to understand dashboard and easy to configure options whilst protecting visitor privacy makes using Fathom a no brainer. You get the full picture of your Website visitors, whereas ad blockers block up to half of the website visitors for Google Analytics and other analytics products. Fathom lets us have complete control over what data we collect: we can block IP addresses and/or countries, as well as white-list domains, right from the dashboard.

We feel it’s our responsibility to not only help protect and guide our clients but to be good custodians of any internet real estate we manage. We are currently offering to migrate our Care Plan clients over to Fathom at no extra cost. For clients not on a care plan, contact us for a discount or visit the Fathom website for more information.