data-led decision making

The Best Ethical Google Analytics Alternative For Data-Led Decision Making

Although we’re primarily a marketing communications company, our work intersects with many disciplines – business consulting, development and design, coding. Key to working smart in these industries is good intel. For us, “ethical” data is just as important – so, how do you start leveraging your data and ensure it’s ethical?


We’re going to tell you how to do this in a simple fashion – first though, a quick rundown of what you’ll learn:


What’s the point of this blog?

To inform our clients on how we’re evolving our ethical data-led storytelling approach.


What will the knowledge do for me?

This knowledge will help you prepare for the challenges which an ever-hastening digital environment brings. Even if you aren’t ready to start implementing data-led decisions just yet, you need to start collecting the data for later – starting five minutes ago.


What does this product cost? Is there an installation charge?

The product is free for Purpose Communications clients, though you can buy it and install it yourself. There’s no installation charge, it’s now a standard part of our offering regardless of what plan or monthly charge you’re on.


How do I interpret the data?

We’ll help you with this using simple storytelling methods and examples – just ask and we’ll give you a live demo of how it can best work for you.


Okay, give me the proper lowdown!  

So, everyone knows that data is everything. What most people don’t grasp is HOW to leverage that data. It’s easy – even for small websites. The main thing I want to impart on you is to START COLLECTING YOUR OWN DATA.


Own Your Data: it's a non-negotiable

data collecting

You need to own your data.


As they tend to do, Google recently turned the digital marketing world upside down by “sunsetting” (that’s the fancy Silicon Valley term for canned) their Universal Analytics platform, replacing it with the simply terrible GA4 (Google Analytics 4).


Aside from the dubious (read: non-existent) ethics of the corporation, and aside from their eponymous search engine, all their other tools are unnecessarily complicated and fussy.


After having spent about six months wrestling with GA4, due to having spent the last decade leveraging Universal Analytics for all sorts of functions (most of you will be familiar with elements of it from our reporting for you), we finally waved goodbye to Google.


First though, we had to find a replacement – so we embarked on an epic quest of researching, testing and implementing a dozen different platforms. This was about as much fun as you’d imagine. Wait though…!


IT PAID OFF. One of the contenders was the clear champion – Matomo.


The best thing we’ve done this year is implement Matomo on all retainer client accounts. We’re seeing keen insights, increasing conversion rates by huge percentages and uncovering simple-yet-staggering insights for our clients. Now this part IS fun.


You simply can’t argue with these kind of results:

Why We Love Matomo

Why is Matomo so good? Here’s a little rundown off the top of my head (not copy-pasted from the internet):

  • Their interface and design is intuitive, simple to adapt to your needs and easy to build into a simple dashboard that gives you all your most valuable data in one view
  • Their tutorial videos are simple, effective and done by a very charming Frenchman. Indeed, they’re a French company (don’t hold that against them but) 
  • They use 100% real data from your website, owned by you (Google “samples” data, meaning their insights are derived from measuring just a small amount of website traffic and assuming the same is true for all visitors, which is a cheaper and less accurate way to do it – plus they own your data)
  • They take an ethical approach to what is becoming an increasingly creepy and resolutely amoral digital environment
  • Their customer service is responsive and human.

Here’s their own little blurb:

“Don’t damage your reputation with Google Analytics. Matomo is the ethical alternative where you won’t make privacy sacrifices or compromise your site.”

Here’s a simple example – a basic dashboard I use to quickly drive decision making around Purpose Comms and how we’re making money, gaining clients, building influence:

A – Country: where our visitors are coming from, geographically. We do have a couple of American clients, but perhaps not as many as we could given this traffic. We should focus more on this segment given how big a market it is and how many visitors we’re getting – how can we convince the Americans to convert? 

B – Device type: what device are our visitors using? Our website is optimised for Desktop, which is 80% of our traffic – happy days.

C – Visits Over Time: are there spikes or troughs? Yes – in mid October. This bears further investigation – was it a viral social post, a blog shared, a word-of-mouth mention at a conference. What caused this? The answer may be profitable.

D – Channel Types: how does one compare to another? We’re getting low volume but great quality traffic from Social, with over 5 minutes on-site on average per visit, many actions taken and a very low Bounce Rate (people who left the site without taking any action). This tells me we better bolster our social strategy with at least one post a week as we’ve been leaving it by the wayside in recent times.

E – Outlinks: where are people going from our site? Mainly LinkedIn in our case, so we better make sure it’s up-to-date.

F – Visitor Map: the same as A above, it’s just fun to have the visual reference too (plus it makes us feel like we’re in a spy movie).

G – Visits Overview: lots of diagnostic info to see how well things are working.

This is just an extremely basic overview as, to be honest, most of our longterm clients come from word-of-mouth, which is still the ultimate marketing channel regardless of industry.

When you actually sell things online, it’s even more fun! We can see the full purchase journey of each customer including:

  • the first page of the website they arrived onto and where they came from
  • how long they spent looking at various pages and what they clicked or dwelled on
  • the pages non-purchasers left from
  • how many times they came back before purchasing – in this case, it took four visits as they shopped around and made their mind up before they converted:

When we do this with hundreds of sales, we start to see clear trends – for example, visitors who were encouraged to visit a specific page and offered a deal at a certain stage of the journey were 50% more likely to convert to a sale.

Through this and thousands of other metrics, we develop a comprehensive picture of everything our customers are doing. With this data, we optimise the site to continuously improve the conversion rate – the percentage of visitors who are “converted” into a customer.

Strategy and tactics don’t need to be complex, but they do need to be data-driven. 

If you’re not already benefitting from these insights for your business, installation is simple – just hit reply and we’ll get you set up, or check out the Matomo site here.

Even if you don’t currently have the space, mindset or budget to implement the learnings right now and start conversion optimising, you NEED to start collecting the data so that when it’s time to gear up, you’re ready to improve.

Best of luck and happy optimising!

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