- Normative e Privacy
The stop of Google Analytics by the guarantor was only a matter of time, in fact the transfer of data to the USA makes this product incompatible with the GDPR. It is useless to anonymize the IPs, and above all the Guarantor holds the owner of the site responsible and not Google LLC. Mountain View has not yet replied to the Guarantor, no official note is rumored that GA4 compared to UA solves the problem, but this is not the case.
It is the transfer of data to the USA , not the level of security and privacy of the service, but due to American regulations that are more permissive than European ones.
A perfect storm: no agreement between the US and Europe
What we hope is that there is an agreement between the USA and EUROPE to solve the problem as there are many services at risk, not having been considered compliant with the GDPR for some time. In practice, any service that transfers and / or processes data outside Europe. We are talking about many services, some without even European alternatives with which to replace them, we are talking about many social platforms such as Facebook , Instagram, TikTok , etc. .. or Mail Marketing services such as MailChimp , klaviyo , etc. .. The problem is not the location legal status of the supplier company, but the physical location of the servers or the transfer of data (even a simple backup) to servers not located in Europe. And here another problem arises, many companies, including Italians, use Cloud services that are physically located in the United States or Canada, the data are therefore processed and managed in countries that, according to the Guarantor, do not guarantee the minimum requirements for the protection of the same.
Not least CDN or DNS services such as Cloudflare , even if the Guarantor seems to be mainly focused on tracking for marketing purposes. However, attention should be paid that the recent recall reaffirms an important concept: it is the site owner who must assess whether the service in use complies with the GDPR . And right here could be a perfect storm that puts every SEO and SEM activity in Europe in serious crisis. Which will have a very drastic impact especially on small shopkeepers and small agencies.
We were already excited about the upcoming Universal Analytics shutdown in July 2023 and the necessary migration to GA4 - which we talked about here.
The problem is that switching sa UA to GA4 is not easy, many software and platforms dedicated to SEO and SEM campaigns, not just Google products, require connection with UA and are still not updated to use Google Analytics 4, let alone a varied ecosystem of alternative solutions. Only recently the PrestaShop Metrics module has become compatible with GA4, but it is not compatible with alternatives such as Matomo and Shinystat .
We can certainly do without the PrestaShop Metrics module which is not essential, but what about the advanced features of Semrush or SeoZoom ? UA metrics are also used by services such as 58,1is, Link Building and Getfluence , which allow the meeting between publishers and / or Influencers and companies.
However, we will bring as users to be followed by foreign advertising, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), is in my opinion a blatant witch hunt, which places regulatory duties and does not solve anything.
It also seems a blatant technical ignorance mixed with paranoia that which guided the legislator.
Anonymization of IP addresses
The supervisor was very clear, anonymizing IPs is not enough. Google can complete the data with those already in its possession, making the truncation of the user's IP address vain. In reality it is not a question of making the IP anonymous, but only of truncation; in practice UA truncates the three final numbers, thus maintaining an excellent ability to detect the user's position. This is why it would be better to talk about masking.
In the image an example of how the IPs are made anonymous in Matomo Analytics . Google uses the same system, at 1 Byte.
Google Analytics 4 does not solve the problem, however, making the IPs completely anonymous is not enough, on the contrary GA4 makes it worse in my opinion , as it is able to track the user even when he changes device, for example I am on the train and use the mobile phone for a search via an APP, I arrive at the office and refine the search from the PC, then at home I finalize the order with my notebook. In the aims of Google GA4 should trace my entire purchase path. Here the European Guarantors will have a lot to say.
Alternatives to Google Analytics
After this long introduction and digression, let's see what the alternatives to UA and GA4 are. There are several European and open source projects, certainly the most valid is Matomo , for which we have developed a free module for PrestaShop, which allows its integration. The simplest, but more limited (in the free version) than UA is certainly ShinyStat : an all-Italian project. Also for ShinyStat we have developed a free module for PrestaShop, which you can find here . Other alternatives I won't talk about are: Pimik Pro, AT Internet, Fathom, Plausible. You find many articles that mention them as alternatives, but I don't know them in depth.
Among the alternatives it is the most complete and promising project. The strong point is certainly the scalability, that is the possibility to activate and add advanced functions through the Plugins , some free others for a fee. Matomo is very focused on respecting privacy and can be downloaded for free and installed on your own hosting.
Strengths of Matomo :
- Open Source project that can be installed and managed internally, thus having complete control of the data.
- High scalability and possibility to add functions via Plugin
- Importing data from Google Analytics , through a free plugin it is possible to import all the historical data from Google.
- Compliance with the GDPR and a lot of attention to privacy
Weaknesses of Matomo:
- Installing Matomo on your own Hosting is not very difficult, but it requires technical skills and the MySQL configuration is not standard, it requires you to set some parameters, especially for high traffic sites. However, it is available in Cloud configured and with assistance, in case you do not have your own VPS or Dedicated Server, the Cloud solution can be less expensive for low volumes. For a volume of 50,000 visits / month we are talking about 19 euros / month.
The price list of the Cloud solution and the main Plugins can be found here: https://matomo.org/pricing/
The reason for using Matromo Amalytics is the exclusive ownership of the data, Google gives us a lot for free, but we share that data with Mountain View, these data will then also be used by our competitors and are worth much more than the economic savings obtained by sharing them.
ShinyStat Marketing Automation and Data Management
Before the dominance of Google Analytics it was one of the most widespread statistics products in Italy, being also one of the first, it appeared in 1997. It is certainly the simplest and most immediate to integrate, in the absence of technical skills. The Free version is very limited and the Pro versions may seem expensive, but they offer very valid tools, and assistance in Italian, in fact ShinyStat SPA is an Italian company based in Milan.
The free solution can be valid for a small ecommerce, perhaps with our free module for PrestaShop .
The ShinyStat interface is much more pleasant and simple than Google Analytics and Matomo as well.
- 100% Italian solution, born in 1997.
- Assistance in Italian.
- Ease of implementation, even simpler than Google Analytics
- Good Scalability with Pro packages and advanced functions for Marketing Automation
Weaknesses of ShinyStat:
- As with Google Analitycs you have no ownership and complete control of the data unlike Matomo.
- The free version is considerably limited, but the annual cost of the PRO versions is not excessive. For a site with 10,000 page visits / month we are talking about € 58.80 + VAT per year. There is also a subscription for 3000 page visits / month which costs exactly half the price.
Unfortunately, we insiders have been talking about it for some time, but the marketing needs, the perfect integration with the platforms, made us hope for limbo, but the Guarantor seems willing to quickly put an end to any circumvention of the legislation and has started with the new provision regarding cookie consent and is now focusing on GA. Even Facebook is in the crosshairs, so much so that Meta has threatened to leave Europe.
Since the introduction of the GDPR, I speak of regulatory duties, because this is, there is no user protection. However, it may be the push for companies to take back ownership of statistical data , hoping that we will be given the time to migrate and above all develop alternative SEO and SEM solutions. Personally I have an aversion to Mountain View solutions, confusing, unnecessarily complex, with ever-changing, and above all monopolistic interfaces. But one is forced to use them due to the degree of integration they offer.
[PrestaShop Module] ShinyStat AnalyticsVersion: 1.0.2 (29 Giugno 2022)
On Tecnoacquisti.com we have decided not to use Google Analytics and also the Facebook Pixel anymore, using Matomo and testing ShinyStat Pro.
Author: Loris Modena