Plausible Analytics is one of the new generation projects build around Privacy First/Cookie-less approach. It is an interesting alternative for Google Analytics users who need web analytics tools but at the same time respect their user’s privacy.
What is Plausible Analytics
Plausible Analytics is an Open Source web tool, an alternative to Google Analytics.
Plausible vs. Google Analytics
Let’s compare those two analytics systems by looking into their differences.
GA – Google Analytics (classic version)
GA4 – Google Analytcics 4 (latest version)
PA – Plausible Analytics
Cookies and User Identifiers
Free vs. Paid version
GA/GA4 is free (Except GA360) because it is a part of the whole Google network to exchange user data with products like Google Ads, DV360, etc. which is a main stream of revenue for Google.
PA It is not free. It has a subscription fee. You can check pricing here.
Complexity of data
GA/GA4 It is hard to tell precisely, but Google collects around 200+ basic metrics from the user as far we know. In Google Data Studio, we can see a total of 500 dimensions and metrics combine, which allows us to generate a very detailed reports.
PA collects only:
It seems that not much is collected, but on the other hand, it is enough for most website owners.
Lightweight vs. Heavyweight script
On my website, I’ve:
Google Tag Manager (GTM) – 39KB
Classic GA – 20KB
GA4 – 48KB
Plausible – below 1KB
Besides Google Tag Manager, which can manage conversions triggers for Plausible, we see that the size of the Google Analytics scripts is significantly more extensive, which might harm the website’s loading time.
Plausible with 1KB size, it is hard to imagine a scenario that would harm loading time performance.
I wonder what magic Google uses with GA4 that is 50% bigger than a heavy jQuery.
GA/GA4 thatnks to the persistant identifiers can potentially identify the user on cross-device/environment by many days.
PA can not identify the user on cross-device/environment, and it does not use user profile. User identification in the future is not possible.
User data collection
GA/GA4 creates a user profile, and all user activities are assigned to this user profile so that Google can use it across multiple of its platforms.
PA does not use user profiles. All collected (even-level) data are automatically assigned to dimensions/metrics. There is no logical connection between users and dimensions/metrics.
Google Ads / DV360/BigQuery integration
GA/GA4 has multiple integrations.
GA/GA4 is a bit complicated. Yes, you can remove/request the removal of your data, but Google still owns data (and backups).
PA We can erase everything, just press the button. If you want, you can install Plausible on your server so that you will be 100% owner of your data, and no 3rd party entities will be involved.
User consent / GDPR
PID – Persistent ID, assigned by the website/app for a single user with engagement data from one or more sessions initiated from one or more devices. (Read more)
Can Plausible track campaigns or events/goals?
Yes. You can define your own goals and use UTM parameters for campaign tracking (source, medium, campaign).
But Plausible offers not much detailed information in the reports.
Precisely that is the point. Less user data we collect, the more privacy safe/compliant we become.
On the other hand, if we compare classic GA and the latest GA4, reporting is simplified, with more general user data segments. Which, in my opinion, indicates the future direction of web analytics tools.
But Plausible does not have many features.
Yes, that is true. Plausible Analytics is a pretty new project, but it is getting more attention and support, and as a community, we can impact the development of the features we need.
A good solution for the future
We live now in exciting times, each ear user privacy regulations and restrictions are getting more and more difficult for the marketing and advertising industry. Everybody tries to find the best solution but at the same time keep the old-style business going. Unfortunately, it does not seems to be a thing.
Plausible Analytics offers a fresh approach which by design respects privacy regulations and also ignores technical limitations (cookies, device IDs, hidden IP, etc.).
Yes, it is a new project in the relatively early stage of development, which can be an adoption problem for a big company/institution. But in comparison, it gives the website owner what Google Analytics can not give, which fully controls user data ownership.
Google Analytics is a great tool, but privacy aspects are becoming more relevant than features software can give to you in the times we live.