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Google Analytics 4 vs. Plausible Analytics

When it comes to web analytics, Google Analytics has long been the go-to tool for website owners worldwide. However, as technology evolves and privacy concerns grow, it's important to explore alternative options. In this blog post, we'll compare two popular analytics platforms: Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and Plausible Analytics. Our aim is to provide an informative and unbiased comparison to help you make an informed decision based on your unique needs.


Ease of Use and Clarity


GA4 introduces a range of new concepts and terminology, which can be overwhelming for users accustomed to the previous version. It utilises events as the primary tracking method, replacing sessions and pageviews with engagement time and page view events. The new data model and reporting interface may require a learning curve, and finding essential metrics can be challenging, requiring custom reports or the use of Google Data Studio.


On the other hand, Plausible Analytics prioritises simplicity and user-friendliness. Its dashboard presents all the essential metrics in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. From site traffic and bounce rate to average time on page, referral sources, landing pages, and more, Plausible Analytics offers a comprehensive view without the need for complex navigation or custom reports. Its language and terminology are familiar to website owners, making it accessible for users of all levels.

Plausible Cookiesless Analytics Dashboard
Plausible Cookiesless Analytics Dashboard

Performance and Resource Impact


GA4's script adds approximately 45 KB to your website's load size, potentially impacting site speed and performance. Additionally, due to the extensive data collection from visitors, GA4 requires more requests to be sent to Google's servers, resulting in higher bandwidth consumption.


Plausible Analytics, in contrast, excels in efficiency and performance. The lightweight nature of its script, weighing less than 1 KB, ensures minimal impact on your site's speed and performance. By collecting only essential visitor data, Plausible Analytics significantly reduces the number of requests made to its servers, conserving bandwidth in the process.


Privacy Considerations


Privacy has become a paramount concern in today's digital landscape. GA4 relies on cookies and persistent identifiers to track visitors across different websites and devices. Additionally, it shares site data with Google and third-party services for advertising and personalisation purposes. Consequently, website owners are required to comply with privacy regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, and PECR, and implement measures such as cookie banners or consent forms.


Plausible Analytics takes a privacy-friendly approach. It does not employ cookies or persistent identifiers to track visitors, ensuring a more privacy-conscious experience. Furthermore, Plausible Analytics does not share site data with any external entities. This means you can bid farewell to the hassle of compliance requirements or the need to display cookie banners and consent forms.


Conclusion: Making an Informed Choice


Both Google Analytics 4 and Plausible Analytics offer unique features and capabilities, catering to different user preferences and requirements. GA4 presents a powerful and comprehensive analytics solution, particularly suited for advanced users seeking customisation options. However, it may require a learning curve and comes with potential performance and privacy trade-offs.


On the other hand, Plausible Analytics shines with its simplicity, lightweight nature, and privacy-conscious approach. It provides a user-friendly experience, delivering essential metrics without compromising site performance or user experience.


Ultimately, the choice between GA4 and Plausible Analytics depends on your specific needs and priorities. If you prioritise flexibility, customisation, and are willing to invest time in learning a more complex system, GA4 might be the right fit for you. However, if simplicity, performance, and privacy are your key concerns, Plausible Analytics offers an excellent alternative.


To explore further, consider trying out both platforms. GA4 offers an extensive set of features and integrations, allowing you to dive deep into advanced analytics and leverage the power of the Google ecosystem. Meanwhile, Plausible Analytics provides a refreshing and intuitive approach, focusing on essential metrics and a streamlined user experience.


To make an informed decision, consider your specific needs and priorities. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What level of customisation and flexibility do I require?

  • How important is site speed and performance for my website?

  • What are my privacy concerns and regulatory obligations?

  • Do I prefer a simple and user-friendly interface or a more comprehensive analytics solution?

By evaluating these factors, you can determine which platform aligns best with your goals and values. It's worth noting that some website owners may even choose to use both platforms simultaneously, leveraging the strengths of each for different purposes.

Conclusion

Google Analytics 4 and Plausible Analytics are both great web analytics platforms. The best platform for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you are looking for a simple, privacy-friendly option, Plausible Analytics is a good choice. If you need a more powerful platform with more features, Google Analytics 4 is a better option.


Here is a summary of the key differences between the two platforms:


Ultimately, the best way to decide which platform is right for you is to try both of them out and see which one you prefer.


Plausible Analytics Pros

  • Simple and easy to use

  • Privacy-friendly

  • Lightweight and has a small impact on website performance

  • Affordable

Plausible Analytics Cons

  • Fewer features than Google Analytics 4

  • Not as well-known as Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 Pros

  • Powerful and feature-rich

  • Well-known and trusted

  • Integrates with other Google products

Google Analytics 4 Cons

  • More complex to use

  • Less privacy-friendly than Plausible Analytics

  • Can have a larger impact on website performance

  • More expensive than Plausible Analytics

I hope this blog post has been helpful in comparing Google Analytics 4 and Plausible Analytics. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch.

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