Frankly, the amount of information our devices give away is scary. Amongst other places, it ends up in the dashboard of a company's analytics app. For product people like us, many of these data points turn out to be irrelevant when making important product or marketing decisions anyway.
Even Google's Head of Insights & Analytics, Janneke van Geuns, said that "The biggest misconception is the perceived need to capture and measure everything and anything." "A common belief is that if you capture every type of metric, it will tell you magically what works and what doesn't. Unfortunately, that is not how we get to insights, and would be comparable to having to find a needle in a haystack."
So, not only does harvesting data without intent can invade your users' privacy, but it can make your work more challenging. Keep it simple they say!
NOTE Analytics/tracking were never included in our apps (mail.missiveapp.com, iOS, Mac, etc). This post is exclusively about our homepage and marketing site hosted at https://missiveapp.com .
We asked ourselves if it was time to switch to a less invasive analytics app than Google Analytics; one where lengthy privacy policies weren't needed to figure out their compliance with privacy laws of various countries (GDPR, CCPA, or PECR).
We realized that the answer was yes, a change was needed. Here are a few reasons why:
We looked at three potential replacements: Fathom Analytics, Plausible.io, and Simple Analytics.
After some due diligence, we decided to go with Simple Analytics , a product run by a small independent team from the Netherlands.
They were the only one not using fingerprinting to track users in between page views. The upside is better privacy protection, the downside is the unique visitor metric can’t really be trusted.
But as seen here in this exchange between Rafael (our CTO) and the Fathom Analytics team, even with fingerprinting, the unique metric is not so reliable:
After a few days of using Simple Analytics, I'm happy to say it’s a far less overwhelming experience than the Google Analytics dashboard. You get a straightforward single-page dashboard with all the metrics they offer.
Let's explore what makes Simple Analytics a privacy-first analytics service:
Simple Analytics currently offers these metrics: page view count, visitor count, referrals, top pages, screen widths, browsers, and countries. Seven metrics versus dozens in regular analytics apps. Is that a disadvantage? Not for us at the moment.
Since we don't plan to run ads anytime soon, we don't need to profile our audience, get their demographics, likes, interests, behavior patterns, etc.
Also, they don't crunch any data for you, so you will need to calculate ratios and percentages for traffic metrics manually. But again, not a problem for us.
They just rolled out cookie-less event tracking, which we will use to manually track some events like downloads.
On the other hand, they seem pretty engaged and are continually developing new features. You can see the whole roadmap .
And they were great at answering all our questions before the transition.
We traded a ‘free’, privacy-less, and complex analytic dashboard to a paid, privacy-first & simple one. We couldn’t be happier.
Also, thanks to this change our DuckDuckGo privacy rating was upgraded from C+ to B+