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Last time we left off talking about how to secure the data that we care so much about related to our websites. For those who missed the first part, you can find it here.

Alright, the data is safe… now what?

Do we necessarily have to switch to Analytics 4? As we write this article, the legislative situation is still very unclear. Will there be an agreement between Europe and Google? Yes, no? We don’t know.
What we can do is be prepared for any eventuality. If Google and Europe were to reach an agreement, we would all be happy, there would be no problem, and we would all continue to work using the tools we know.
But in case these agreements do not materialize, what alternatives do we have:

Use Google Analytics with Server-Side Configuration

What does it mean?

It means that the tool remains the same, but we need to configure it so that the statistics it measures stay at home (and under the responsibility) of those who manage the site, without sending them to Google.

Analytics is free and is a tool that everyone is familiar with. It’s the warm and reassuring solution like Linus’ blanket that makes us feel good in our comfort zone.

The CONS of this solution

The Server-Side configuration of Analytics requires specific skills that are not so easy to find around. Don’t think that the same IT manager who installed the previous version of Analytics on your site can also carry out this operation. The required skills are completely different.

So, you need a systems administrator capable not only of configuring Analytics but also of maintaining the tool.

A few lines ago I used the term “responsibility.” Yes, because with this solution, the browsing data of your users will be yours, and you will be responsible for their custody. Your company’s Data Protection Officer (DPO) will be responsible for the custody of this data, and it will be necessary to set up all the activities required by law to ensure the security of this data for your users.

Use an alternative monitoring tool

Although not everyone knows it, Google Analytics is not the only web traffic monitoring tool out there. There are many alternative tools, some even much better. Google Analytics has simply become popular because it’s free and well-documented/supported.

The PROS of this solution

The alternative Analytics options we refer to almost always involve cloud solutions. This means that we will not be responsible for the custody of the data, one less thing to worry about.

These alternatives often provide even more interesting data than those provided by Analytics. Some allow for simpler and more effective funnel analysis, others provide information that Analytics keeps to itself… some very useful for marketing purposes. Of course, things vary from platform to platform, but in general, they all have something to offer.

The CONS of this solution

Change can sometimes be traumatic. A new tool can be a valuable resource, but you have to learn to configure it and you have to learn to use it, and not everyone is willing to take this step.

Documentation, support, and ability to manage. Google Analytics works well mainly for one reason: everyone uses it, so guides to do everything are available almost everywhere. Do you have a problem? Just do an online search, and you will find someone who has solved it and is willing to explain how. When you switch to a more “niche” tool, inevitably the communities become smaller, and the documentation scarcer. So, you need to research very well on the support service and available documentation (both provided by the vendor and created by the community).

These alternative systems to Google Analytics are paid. That is, there are free ones, but those that cost zero are worth zero. The tools of this kind that are released for free may be fine for “monitoring” what happens on your blog, but they are certainly not suitable for corporate environments that use their website as a sales tool, for branding, or as a landing point for marketing campaigns.

The ones that work well, have a cost. This cost can be negligible and translate into a few hundred euros per year for relatively small companies, or it can soar to very significant amounts. At this point, the tool you decide to use must be seen as an investment to be capitalized on. And perhaps it’s not a bad thing, it may be a way to stop taking certain numbers for granted and start valuing reporting and data analysis.

Conclusions

2023 will certainly be an important year in the world of web traffic data analysis and reporting analysis. It will be a year that will surely have an impact on companies, both economically and in terms of acquiring new skills. Companies will hardly be able to do without investing something, whether it be money to invest in an alternative tool, for the purchase of external skills, or the training of human resources.

I strongly advise you to evaluate the pros and cons of each scenario, perhaps with the help of a professional who illustrates each fork in detail. Above all, I recommend not wasting a single minute to make a good backup of your data! Think ahead and try to be prepared for every eventuality!