You probably don’t need Google Analytics. Ask yourself 8 questions…

There are a lot of reasons to use Google Analytics, but there are just as many not to.

Answer these few questions below and see what is the best option for you. It will take you just a few minutes.

#1 Is it important for your site to comply with cookie law and GDPR (privacy law in the EU countries)?

Yes (continue to the next question)

No (continue to question 3)

#2 Will your site be visited by people from Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, or France?

Yes (read below and do not use Google Analytics)

According to the rulings of courts in these countries*, Google Analytics does not comply with their privacy regulation and its use is illegal. Use Matomo – a great alternative to GA. You will get a similar set of features while staying compliant with GDPR.

*Information on rulings in Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands. Plus, here’s a great article that may answer the questions you may be having.

No (continue to the next question)

#3 Is it important for you to use Google Analytics to track everyone – no matter whether they agreed to cookies?

Yes (read description)

Google Analytics uses a solution called “consent mode” to track people who didn’t agree to cookies. However, the way it works is very questionable, and in the future, it may be illegal to use it in the EU – even in countries that still allow to use GA.

If you are OK with that, continue to question 4. Otherwise, think about using Plausible Analytics or Fathom to track people who do not agree to cookies (use GA or Matomo for the rest). These tools do not use cookies (by design) so they can track without cookie consent.

No (Continue to the next question)

#4 Do you have a new website?

Yes (read description)

New websites generally have very small traffic, where you can’t see weekly trends (no “waves” in report graphs). If your website is like that, then you will not make any use of advanced features of Google Analytics. You may use it, but other, simpler analytics tools like the above-mentioned Plausible Analytics or Fathom may be more to your liking.

Also, think about using a session recorder tool like Microsoft Clarity or Crazy Egg. They will give you a lot of insights that you wouldn’t find by viewing traffic data.

No (continue to the next question)

#5 Do you use or want to use Google Optimize?

Yes (read below)

Google Optimize requires Google Analytics to run. You will need GA if you want to use this A/B testing tool.

Important! Google Optimize (and other A/B testing tools) generally don’t comply with privacy laws and require special treatment.

No (continue to the next question)

#6 Do you need Google Analytics only to measure the basic traffic numbers?

Yes (read description)

By “basic traffic numbers” I mean the number of visitors, most visited pages, popular traffic sources, etc. In other words, everything that does not require you to create custom reports or use advanced traffic segmentation.

If you are going to need Google Analytics only for these basic statistics, then other tools will also be fine for your needs. Continue to question 7 if you want.

No (read below and continue to the enxt question)

The current version of GA – Google Analytics 4 – is difficult to use and does not have many useful reports like the previous version did. If you need these reports, consider using Matomo analytics, which is very similar to this previous version.

Continue to question 7 if you decide to stick with GA.

#7 Are you an advanced user of Google Analytics 4 or do you plan to employ one?

Yes (continue to the next question)

No (read below)

You need a lot of experience and knowledge to actually find actionable insights using Google Analytics 4. Matomo, which is the closest alternative, is a bit easier to use and has a set of ready-made reports that you will find very useful.

If it is too complicated, you may need a simpler alternative.

#8 Is it important for you to track visitors who use ad blockers?

Yes (read below)

Google Analytics is blocked by most ad blockers, hence you will not be getting the most accurate traffic numbers if you choose to use it.

In such situations, you should use a different tracking tool that is not blocked by ad blockers. One option is to use Plausible Analytics or Fathom that I mentioned above (they require some custom configuration to bypass ad blockers, but it is doable) or set up server tracking (expensive!).

No (read below)

Use Google Analytics! It will be a great choice for you!

Before you leave this page

Please take a look at other articles in the blog. You may like something.

Also, what do you think about this “guide”? Did I miss anything? Please leave a comment.