Google Analytics vs Snowplow Analytics

Image of Iron Brands

Published on Jul 26, 2023 and edited on Jan 5, 2024 by Iron Brands

On July 1st, 2023, Google shut down Universal Analytics in favor of GA4 Analytics - a huge blow for marketers that have relied on the previous version for a long time.

The less-than-ideal experience with GA4 has led to more interest in GA4 alternatives. If you've ever considered exploring alternatives to Google Analytics, this is the perfect opportunity to look at other options.

In this article, we compare Google Analytics vs Snowplow Analytics, a popular website analytics tool that could be a good replacement for Google Analytics. We'll also introduce a third alternative.

  1. What is Snowplow used for?
  2. How does it compare to Google Analytics?
    1. Data Collection:
    2. User Interface:
    3. Usability:
    4. Compliance with GDPR and HIPAA:
  3. Snowplow Pricing
  4. Simple Analytics as an alternative for both
  5. What to look for in an analytics tool
  6. Final Thoughts
Logo of the Government of the United KingdomThe UK Government chose Simple AnalyticsJoin them

What is Snowplow used for?

Snowplow is a product analytics tool that helps companies gather and monitor customer data. The software explains how clients engage with your product, from the initial contact point to the last transaction.

For example, you can record user behaviors and events on your website or app. You can use this information to understand how customers use your products. This will help you make better decisions to improve the customer experience.

Snowplow analytics (3).png

How does it compare to Google Analytics?

There are a few metrics worth looking at when comparing two alternatives. First, we'll dive into the data collection process, then the user interface, usability and compliance.

Data Collection:

GA4 focuses on event-based and user-level data collection with a lot of flexibility, tracking a wide set of engagements. Advanced features like "Enhanced measurement" track users' activities. However, the data collection method, especially event tracking, may be a bit challenging for beginners to understand and implement.

Snowplow Analytics provides event-level data collection, but with complete ownership of data. It allows unified logging across platforms and detailed event tracking. It is however less suitable for website analytics.

User Interface:

GA4 is a complex analytics tool with a complex interface. It can be overwhelming if you're used to Universal Analytics, especially for beginners.

Snowplow Analytics has a relatively lower level of abstractions with data tracked directly into your data warehouse. The interface and data querying depend on your data warehouse.

Usability:

GA4 is a powerful, user-centric analytics platform that has a steep learning curve. You will probably require training or work with a developer to get the most important insights form it.

Snowplow Analytics favors a more technical audience, providing raw data with the flexibility to slice, model, and store data. It also requires some more technical knowledge.

Compliance with GDPR and HIPAA:

GA4 aims to be adaptable to cookie-less future, with mechanisms for GDPR compliance. However, various counties have banned the use of Google Analytics based on the data transfers to the U.S. Also GA4 indicated that is not compliant with HIPAA. We wrote about this in depth as well here

Snowplow Analytics allows you to own all the data, which makes it easier to manage GDPR, and HIPAA compliance, assuming adequate safeguards in your data warehouse.

Snowplow Pricing

There is an self-hosted option to build and manage your own infra. Paid plans start from $800/month. In this plan you are limited to 80M events. If you need more you must contact the Snowplow staff for the Enterprise plan.

Snowplow Pricing (4).png

As we know, Google Analytics is free. There is a paid option, called Google Analytics 360, but this is more enterprise focused.

Simple Analytics as an alternative for both

There is a third alternative that you might want to check out. Especially, if you are fed up with GA4.

Simple Analytics is a privacy-friendly and simple analytics tool, that is 10x easier to use than Google Analytics. It's also one of the few analytics tools that is completely GDPR-compliant with EU-hosted servers.

Also, simple doesn’t refer to a lack of features. It's a robust web analytics tool that doubles as a minimal product analytics tool too, with capabilities such as event and goal tracking.

PS: If you are looking for a Google Analytics replacement, check out a direct comparison with Google Analytics

Now let's review a few benefits of using Simple Analytics.

Pros of using Simple Analytics

  1. Simplified UI - Simple Analytics offers a straightforward user interface that makes analysis easier. It's 10x easier to work with than GA4. Checkout the public dashboard to see what that looks like.
  2. Affordable Pricing- Simple Analytics starts at a reasonable price.
  3. No cookie banner- Simple Analytics gives you the insights you need without using cookies or trackers. Hence, no need for an annoying cookiebanner on your website.
  4. Chat with your analytics- Simple Analytics AI is the latest features that lets you chat with your analytics and get insights directly.

Cons of using Simple Analytics:

The user interface of Simple Analytics is made to look simple and easy to understand so everyone, be it the founder or marketing teams, can use it easily. A Product Manager may need a few more screens, but that is something that can be quickly built with the goals feature.

Pricing of Simple Analytics:

Simple Analytics is a paid analytics tool unlike Google Analytics. Why? Well, Google Analytics earns money on selling your visitor data. Simple Analytics doesn't do that. We keep your data secure and don't sell it to third-parties.

It comes at a cost, starting at $9/month, making it a pocket-friendly tool for all businesses. There is no reason why website analytics needs to be blantantly pricey.

Simple analytics pricing (5).png

What to look for in an analytics tool

Selecting a tool for your analytics is a crucial decision. Be sure to go through this checklist before making a choice. You're good to go if the tool provides these:

Ease of Use: You shouldn’t spend your time on a complex web analytics tool that takes time and experience to get familiar with.

Accuracy: Getting an accurate picture of what’s happening on your website is important.

Straightforward UI: Most of the time, you don’t need 75 custom dashboards (looking at you, Google).

Lightweight: Installing an analytics script has an impact on your page speed. Choose an analytics tool that doesn’t slow your website down.

Privacy: The world is moving in a direction where privacy is becoming increasingly important.

Integration: Your analytics should be able to integrate with other tools.

Pricing: Consider the tool's pricing and ensure it aligns with your budget.

Although this checklist can assist you in getting started, there may be other factors for your organization that you need to consider.

Final Thoughts

If you want a tool that checks these boxes, then check out Simple Analytics. It provides the insights you need in a straightforward dashboard while being 100% GDPR compliant.

Want to see what that looks like? Check our public dashboard here

We believe the internet should be an independent place that is friendly to website visitors. By opting for Simple Analytics, you’ll be supporting us in our mission and protecting the privacy of your website visitors. If this resonates with you, feel free to give us a try.

GA4 is complex. Try Simple Analytics

GA4 is like sitting in an airplane cockpit without a pilot license

Start 14-day trial