The CNIL statement and its explanations
The CNIL recently analyzed the conditions under which data collected through the use of Google Analytics was transferred to the United States and the risks incurred for the persons concerned. The commission concludes that transfers of personal data to the United States are not sufficiently regulated at present.
As a result, every website manager is obliged to comply with the RGPD within one month, which can be renewed, if necessary by ceasing to use Google Analytics (under the current conditions) or by using a tool that does not involve transfers outside the EU.
Questions then remain:
• Should we change our website data analysis tool?
• If so, what are the best alternatives to Google Analytics?
The use of a properly configured proxy, which would avoid any direct contact between the Internet user's terminal and Google's servers, may be an operational solution. It would be a question of pseudonymization before exporting the data. However, these measures are costly, complex and do not always meet the operational needs of professionals.
This is why we have analyzed alternative solutions such as Matomo, AT Internet, Piwik Pro and Adobe Analytics Pro in order to study potential platform transfers following the CNIL decisions:
Matomo is a webanalytics solution proposed in open source which aims to compete with Google analytics. It allows to measure the audience of a website, to collect the data of visits, just like google analytics, while keeping the respect of the privacy of the visitors. Its main advantage over Google Analytics is that the user remains the only master of his data. The tool does not involve any data transfer outside the European Union, so it is a good alternative to Google Analytics
Matomo is free to use for the On-Premise version, however there is a cost for the use of a proprietary server and the security of the data. The solution therefore offers the choice of operating mode:
- either self-hosted or open-source mode is more suitable for companies handling sensitive data. The application is free to download, but you will need a server. You will also need to regularly update Matomo and your server to keep it fast and secure.
- or hosted on the Matomo Cloud (disadvantages: data is limited, you have to subscribe to a monthly fee and you have no choice for the country of data storage).
As far as features go, Matomo is no slouch against GA:
→ Conversion tunnel analysis
→ User session analysis
→ Heatmap (most clicked areas)
→ Connection with the main e-commerce CMS
→ Interconnection with Google's Search Console
The solution offers to retrieve the data you already have on Google Analytics and an interconnection to GTM is possible.
To summarize: Matomo is open source, free to use, provides support and can be adapted. It retrieves data from Google Analytics, tracks personal data and can interconnect with GTM. However, the adaptation time is high, some functionalities are slow (data import in particular) and the user interface is sometimes not very reactive (refreshment of date pages).
– AT Internet
AT Internet has several data tracking solutions including Analytics Suite Delta, which aims to provide high quality, RGPD compliant data in an ethical and eco-responsible approach. The solution offers full compliance with the regulation: all audience data is processed and stored entirely within the European Union and users retain ownership of it.
AT internet offers unlimited data processing and the price of the solution evolves according to the amount of data processed. One of the added values of AT Internet is the ability to import data from third-party tools: it collaborates with 63 partners. The reports and analyses are therefore enriched and consolidated. Unlike Google Analytics or other solutions, AT Internet does not use data for advertising purposes and the Analytics Suite Delta is RGPD compliant.
The solution allows you to benefit from automatic enrichment (e.g. geolocation and device type) to optimize the quality of your data. It is also possible to customize data processing rules for advanced and more secure management. You can import useful metadata (user profiles, campaign costs, product catalogs, etc.) that you can automatically incorporate into your analytics data.
Regarding features, AT Internet offers many of the same features as Google Analytics but also additional features:
→ Real-time data reporting
→ Tag auditing
→ Customized metrics
→ Audience and custom reports
→ E-commerce tracking features
Just like the previous solution, AT Internet offers to retrieve the data you already have from Google Analytics and an interconnection to GTM is possible.
To summarize: AT Internet is RGPD compliant and has support assistance and features similar to GA, if not more. The solution is complete and user-friendly. It retrieves data from Google Analytics, can interconnect with GTM and customize metrics. However, it is not free and the adaptation time is high.
– Adobe Analytics Pro
Adobe Analytics is a comprehensive, paid web marketing analytics software that measures the impact of campaigns across all channels, giving a complete understanding of the customer experience on your website. It gathers all your data, from web to mobile devices to your CRM system to get the most accurate representation of customers and business. Its main advantage over Google Analytics is the level of detail in the reports provided.
Adobe analytics can track and process all the data you want to collect, e-commerce transactions, form submissions, traffic ... But it is also possible to retrieve data from other external solutions like Google Ads or Facebook. The hosting is only on the Cloud and you have the possibility to import the data offline from your CRM system. With Adobe Analytics it is possible to know how many times users consult a product before buying it, or which search terms lead to the submission of data via a form, thus allowing you to optimize your marketing campaigns.
The solution offers a very long list of features, here are the main ones:
→ Multi-channel data collection
→ Advanced segmentation tools
→ Advanced customer journey analysis
→ Anomaly detection system
→ Smart alerts
The solution uses Dynamic Tag management, so there is no interaction with Google Tag Manager, or retrieval of Google Analytics data.
To summarize: Adobe Analytics is a very complete solution that allows performance monitoring of marketing actions and further interpretation of the user experience. However, it is very complex, the adaptation time is high and the interface is not very user-friendly.
– Piwik Pro
Piwik Pro is a website customer journey analysis platform that guarantees total confidentiality and security of all data. It allows its users to "measure, analyze and improve the user experience at every stage of the customer's relationship with the company." The solution, validated by the CNIL, offers a free (limited) and a premium (on quote) version of its platform.
Piwik Pro calls itself the web analytics solution offering "the highest standards of privacy and data security." It has a "Consent Manager" tool that allows you to create and implement consent requests, giving visitors the ability to give consent and tailor your data collection to their decisions. Your tracking tags will only be triggered if visitors agree to use them.
Piwik Pro offers full control over the data you collect. It is possible to choose the location of data and its hosting options, in order to meet the most stringent privacy needs and internal protocols. Piwik offers a freedom of choice regarding data usage that is unavailable with Google Analytics. Anonymizing data with Piwik allows you to stay compliant and gain valuable insight into visitors who have refused or ignored your consent requests.
The solution offers several features, here are the main ones:
→ Customer journey mapping
→ Data import/export
→ Customizable reports and analysis
→ Alert / notification systems
→ Tag management system without technical team intervention
Piwik has its own tagging solution, but it is impossible to retrieve data from Google Analytics.
To summarize: Piwik Pro is a CNIL approved platform with strong data protection. It gives users control over their data and has a user-friendly interface, so you can quickly adapt to it. Only, it is not connected to GTM and it is impossible to retrieve GA data.
Summary of the solutions:
- Matomo and AT Internet have a GTM interconnection, GA data recovery, an intuitive interface, a high level of data analysis, a user path and are validated by the CNIL (on prem is possible for Matomo).
- Adobe Analytics offers a high level of data analysis and a user path.
- Piwik Pro offers an intuitive interface, a high level of data analysis, a user journey and is validated by the CNIL.
According to our analysis, the best alternative to Google Analytics would be Matomo, the most complete and efficient solution, but also AT Internet, both being validated by the CNL. Adobe analytics remains too expensive and complex and Piwik Pro is less intuitive.