DEV Community

Lorina Balan
Lorina Balan

Posted on

Why Google Analytics is problematic, and you should move away from it

The Pro Apps team from XWiki brings a major release in terms of Pro applications — Matomo web analytics integrated in your XWiki instance. 🎉 This has been a very requested application that we've worked on for the past year, and we're happy to present it to you today. So let's take a look at why you should opt for an open-source Google Analytics alternative and explore all the functionalities the Analytics Application (Pro) brings.

Why Google Analytics is problematic, and you should move away from it

  • It's owned by one of the biggest tech giants in the world: Google Analytics is a product of Google, one of the largest tech giants globally. Entrusting your data to an external entity raises concerns about data ownership, privacy, and potential exploitation for commercial purposes. At XWiki SAS, we emphasize the importance of maintaining control over your data rather than giving it to corporate entities that have been in public debate over the ethicality of their product.
  • It's a proprietary software: Google Analytics is proprietary software, meaning its source code is closed and inaccessible to users. This lack of transparency hampers customization, limits innovation, and fosters dependency on a single provider. Furthermore, you are locked in with the vendor, meaning that you must accept any changes if you want to continue using the product. As you might already know, because we never lose the chance to speak about this, XWiki SAS advocates for open-source solutions that promote collaboration, transparency, and community-driven development. What's more, we believe in always having the freedom to choose where your data is stored and how it's handled.
  • It's non-GDPR compliant (along with other regulations): Google Analytics collects a significant amount of user data. This has raised concerns about compliance with privacy regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the U.S.. Organizations using Google Analytics must ensure they comply with these regulations, which can be complex and adds additional workload to potentially multiple teams.
  • It's too complex for some use cases: Apart from the learning curve with the new GA4 which makes adoption painful, sometimes companies need basic data easy to find and read, without building extensive reports. Here is where our new Analytics Application (Pro) stands out — you have a default dashboard with main KPIs that you can check. If the need arises, you can customize your dashboard with the desired macros or integrate a specific macro into a wiki page to have easy access only to the essential metrics.

Image description

Why Analytics Application (Pro) is such a game changer

People have been looking for Google Analytics alternatives in order to avoid all the regulatory issues and the difficult transition to GA4. We think the new integration answers a good part of an organization's needs:

  1. Easy to find and understand your data: One of the downsides of the new GA4 is that data retrieval is simply put painful. The significant change of the interface and reporting means that you need to learn a new tool and erase everything you used to know how to do — because now it's just different. Even for someone seasoned, it's overwhelming. In the Matomo extension from XWiki you can see at a glance how your intranet or public website is performing while also focusing on doing the things that really matter in your organization.
  2. Open source & compliant with privacy regulations: Both products are open source and privacy-friendly. If you need only the essential information about what pages are the most visited, keywords searches, returned visitors, countries etc., you can configure Matomo in order to avoid collecting any personal data.
  3. **Own & control your data: **You can maintain full control of your data, through a self-hosted Matomo server. This way, you protect your users' privacy while deciding how the data is used, without any third-parties involved.
  4. Default or customized dashboards: The application comes with a default main dashboard that you can customize to your needs, by adding macros. Each macro comes with its own set of relevant metrics. Additionally, you can create multiple analytics dashboards for each section of your wiki to see easily the most important KPIs related to that section. Last but not least, you can insert specific macros in wiki pages for tracking or reporting. Right now, at the launch, the application offers 15 different macros (in other words, metrics) such as:
  • Time range
  • Visits overview
  • Returning visits over time
  • Site search keywords
  • Most viewed pages after a keyword search*
  • Entry pages
  • Exit pages
  • Countries
  • Browsers
  • and a few others.
  • If some entries do not have a link to a page and have "Others" in the title, you can modify the Matomo configuration according to this page.

Image description

"Does this app fit my organization?" Check for the answer below.
This is a question that only you and your team can answer. What we'll do instead is provide a series of use cases that we thought of when working on the Analytics Application (Pro).

💼 Administrators or marketing specialists of public websites that require insights into customer behavior and content effectiveness.
🌐 Administrators of companies intranet networks that look to enhance decision-making processes, improve the level of adoption of new tools or procedures, and know what pages have the most and least traction in their organization.
🎯 Administrators of support documentation that want to identify popular pages or topics, improve content discovery, and track the success of their self-help customer centers.
🫶 NGO public website or internal wiki to understand user behavior, measure the success of their campaigns, and use the data to improve the UX.
Besides all the use cases, we think that industries that require self-hosted solutions, total ownership and control of their data can take into consideration this app.

How to test our Analytics Application (Pro)

For an XWiki Cloud demo

For XWiki Cloud demos, we have created a dedicated Matomo server for testing purposes. This being said, when you create a demo, you will find in the left corner of your instance the Analytics application installed and ready to take for a spin. Start exploring your instance, create pages, and use the search bar in order to start seeing data in the Analytics Application (Pro) default dashboard.

If you enjoy the app and want to use it as web analytics for your website or for your company wiki, we recommend you configure a self-hosted Matomo instance or use Matomo Cloud. Afterward, you will need to purchase the application as listed below, and then link the Matomo server to the Analytics Application in your instance to start displaying data in your XWiki instance.

For XWiki on-premises

In order to test this application on your premises, you will need to configure a Matomo instance.

Next, install the extension follow these steps inside your XWiki instance:

  • Go to the Extension Manager of your XWiki instance, in the Extensions subsection
  • Search for the Analytics Application (Pro)
  • Click on the "Install" button
  • Go to Extensions Manager, Licenses subsection, and get a trial license (or an extension of the trial up to 30 days)
  • Last step is to link your XWiki instance with the Matomo instance according to this documentation.

*For clients

If you already have XWiki Pro on-premises or on the cloud, go to the Administration section in your XWiki instance (Extensions), install it, and test it out.

How to purchase the app

You can purchase the Pro App individually or as part of the XWiki Pro package.

  • Go to the Administration section of your XWiki instance in Extensions -> Licenses
  • Find the Analytics Application (Pro)
  • Click on "Buy" next to the application
  • You will be redirected to the XWiki Store, where you have to select the user tier
  • Click on "Create Purchase Order"
  • You will be redirected to the XWiki Network, where you will be able to complete your online purchase

What are your thoughts about Analytics Application (Pro)?

We would greatly appreciate your support as it helps us grow and perfect the app. Therefore, if you have suggestions for future improvements, you can leave them in this CryptPad survey or, if you have technical knowledge, you can open a ticket with improvements on GitHub.
#opensource #analytics #wiki #knowledgebase

Top comments (0)