Google Analytics has been one of the most used tools for understanding website performance, revealing visitors’ and users’ insights to its account holder since 2005 (Source: Wiki).
Since 2018, Jack Ellis and Paul Jarvis have been on a mission to break bad analytics habits. They believe one can protect visitors’ privacy while making web analytics easy.
Introduce, Fathom Analytics.
Aspect to compare
Data accuracy, data richness, easy-to-understand-ness (userfriendly), price, installation
I’ll break this down into 5 different aspects, including:
- Depth and richness
- GA: 97
- Fathom: 138
- GA: 668
- Fathom: 293
- Average time on site
- GA: 1m26s
- Fathom: 0m38s
Considering both analytic tools could be using different definitions for their respective metrics, it is not surprising to see differences between similar metrics. However, it is highly likable that the reason why GA is getting fewer visitor counts is that GA is usually blocked by ad-blocker extensions like uBlock.
Depth and richness
Although Fathom does a great job at highlighting some of the most important metrics for measuring the success of websites, it lacks depth for those who are looking to take data insights to another level.
Some of the questions that Fathom couldn’t answer but Google Analytics can are:
- How good is the website retaining its visitors?
- How well is the website monetizing its visitors?
Overall Fathom did an exceptional job at keeping things simple. It requires little to no effort to understand how is the website performing on a very high level.
However, it could be pretty overwhelming for someone like a business owner who only wants a bird-view of his/her website to set up a view in Google Analytics without any prior training in data visualization or dashboard design.
If you are using WordPress like myself, installing Fathom is like a walk in the park.
You only need to copy and paste your site ID provided by Fathom Analytics into the plugin.
However, if you wish to install Google Analytics into a WordPress site, you could either choose to install it through Google Tag Manager or insert the tracking code into the site’s header and body by modifying the theme code. Usually, this requires the help of a developer to do this properly.
Compared to Google which is free to use, Fathom comes with a price tag starting from $14 per month.
Plus, this price scales with how many pages views the site is getting.
Speaking as a small business owner myself, paying for analytics is something that really puts me off.
Not because it’s not useful, but simply because I could’ve better spent that money on something else that will allow me to increase my profitability.
The differences between the data are something that I can overlook easily because the goal of analytics was really about understanding how I can improve the odds of getting more leads, and I can accomplish that by just looking at how many leads have reached out to me.
- For serving clients and looking for a simple, yet accurate overview – Fathom is a decent alternative
- For in-depth analytics or just starting somewhere – Google Analytics is the clear choice