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Exact Metrics VS Google Analytics VS Independent Analytics

When it comes to analytics, there are more options now than ever.

If you’ve narrowed your choice down to Exact Metrics VS Google Analytics, then you’re nearly finished.

However, there are some critical distinctions you need to be aware of, and those differences will be highlighted plainly in this article.

You’ll also discover one more alternative that you may prefer to both of these solutions.

Let’s dive into the comparison.

Exact Metrics VS Google Analytics

Exact metrics logo

When comparing Exact Metrics with Google Analytics, there is an important distinction to be made:

Exact Metrics isn’t really an alternative to Google Analytics. In fact, it’s powered by it.

The Exact Metrics plugin requires you to create a Google Analytics account, and that’s where it gets all its data. All it does is display reports from this data inside your WordPress dashboard.

In other words, your choice is between using Google Analytics or both Google Analytics and Exact Metrics.

This may leave you wondering why you would want to install Exact Metrics at all, so let’s cover some of the benefits now.

Why use Exact Metrics?

Exact metrics

There are a handful of reasons why many WordPress users prefer to use Exact Metrics with GA, so here’s what makes it beneficial.

Simpler reports

The reports in Google Analytics can be complicated, especially in the new GA4. One reason to install Exact Metrics is that it adds simple analytics reports directly in the WP admin dashboard.

These reports are much easier to read, and the fact that you can see them inside the WP admin is a nice bonus. The Overview report, in particular, is very useful and includes data like your total pageviews and sessions, new VS returning visitors, and your top ten pages.

Automatic integrations

Google Analytics can record downloads and eCommerce transactions. However, the complexity of these integrations varies, and things like eCommerce tracking require custom development.

Exact Metrics can automatically track sales for popular plugins like WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads. This is a huge benefit when considering the challenge of integrating these tools with GA yourself.

Those are the two main benefits that Exact Metrics brings to the table. Now let’s look at why you might not want to install it on your site.

Why you shouldn’t use Exact Metrics

While Exact Metrics was installed on over a million websites, installations have declined over the past year as it accrued hundreds of one-star reviews.

Exact metrics ratings

It was sold to a new owner who implemented a number of changes that upset the existing user base. Here are the reasons why people are upset.

Too much upselling for premium version

Exact Metrics has always had a premium version, but now the free version is stuffed with intrusive ads asking users to upgrade to the paid version. People feel overwhelmed by these ads to the point of leaving one-star reviews in protest.

Linking with another service

Another concern from users is that the plugin now requires them to link an account with Exact Metrics in addition to Google. Some users find that this is over-complicating what should be a simple process, and the data privacy implications are unclear.

These are the two primary reasons that Exact Metrics has gathered so many one-star reviews recently, but there are a couple of other concerns you should be aware of.

Data privacy issues

Since Exact Metrics is powered by Google Analytics, it inherits all the same privacy issues. Namely, it’s not GDPR compliant. This makes it illegal to use in numerous EU countries, and that trend will likely continue into the future.

In terms of specifics, the issue is that GA uses cookies and uses your site’s data internally with other Google projects, and you have no control over how your data is used.

Performance cost

One other issue is that the use of Google Analytics slows down your site. Ironically, Google themselves warn you against its use in their Lighthouse performance testing tool.

If you add outbound click tracking and other features, it slows your site down further due to the additional scripts that are loaded.

With those downsides in mind, let’s look at another alternative that can address these pitfalls.

Exact Metrics VS Independent Analytics

Another plugin you should consider is Independent Analytics.

Independent Analytics plugin page

Unlike Exact Metrics, it’s a true alternative to Google Analytics. Independent Analytics is a standalone analytics platform that tracks your visitors and displays a complete dashboard inside WordPress.

Simple yet advanced reports

Like Exact Metrics, Independent Analytics adds reports to the WP admin.

Independent Analytics dashboard in WordPress admin

The reports in Independent Analytics are easy to read but more capable than the ones in Exact Metrics. This is because there are filters included that allow you to drill down into specific data, so you can see, for instance, your top posts separately from your top pages or podcast episodes.

There are loads of optional table columns, including ones like Visitor Growth, allowing you to see the pages on your site that have grown or shrunk the most.

Privacy friendly

Independent Analytics does not use cookies at all. Furthermore, it doesn’t communicate with any outside servers. Instead, when someone visits your site, it fires a single REST-API request to your own site, where it saves the data.

This means your data is stored securely alongside the rest of your WordPress data without ever being shared elsewhere.

Virtually zero performance impact

The tracking script is only 2kb and is inlined to the page, so there isn’t a single file request. The REST-API request is triggered asynchronously, running silently in the background without affecting the visitor experience or impacting your site’s Core Web Vitals.

WordPress integrations

One last benefit of using Independent Analytics is its unique integrations with WordPress. For instance, the Pages report can show you the Page Type, Author, Publish Date, and more for each post.

WordPress analytics

There’s also a WooCommerce integration available in the Pro version that can show you how much revenue you’ve earned from each traffic source.

Which analytics tool is best?

Now that you’ve seen what each tool has to offer, here are some final notes to make it easy for you to choose the best one for your website(s).

If you want all the power of Google Analytics, there’s nothing else like it. It’s highly advanced and has many powerful features. As long as you know how to use it effectively and aren’t concerned about privacy issues, it will be a good choice.

If you want to use GA but find it difficult to navigate, you should consider installing Exact Metrics. It gives you a simpler interface right inside the WP dashboard.

Lastly, if you want to comply with GDPR and other privacy laws and you’d prefer something simpler than GA, check out our plugin, Independent Analytics.

Get started with Independent Analytics

Learn more Click to download

It starts tracking in seconds and is completely free to use, so there’s no risk in trying it. You might also enjoy the WooCommerce plugin integration and other features in the Pro version.

Thanks for reading this comparison of Exact Metrics VS Google Analytics VS Independent Analytics. If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment below.

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