A note from Lauren Layne

In May 2020, I quit using Google Analytics on my website, and switched to Fathom Analytics.

Here are the three reasons why:

01. Fathom is Privacy-Focused

I confess, I didn’t used to particularly care about online privacy. Or at least, I should say it wasn’t something I didn’t think about frequently. I was of the, “I’m not Googling or doing anything ‘weird’ on the Internet, so who cares?” That whole thing with Facebook and the Russians? *shrug.*

I’m not sure what changed. In hindsight, I think it was seeing one too many ads on Instagram for the shoes I’d been eyeing on Nordstrom a few days earlier. Or looking up a cauliflower taco recipe, and seeing an ad for the exact shampoo I’d just ordered in the sidebar.

Regardless of the trigger, I went down a rabbit hole of learning how the Internet works, specifically how our data on the Internet works. I came came away informed, and thoroughly creeped.

Recommended reading for those curious (these are Amazon affiliate links):

Data and Goliath, Bruce Schneier

Weapons of Math Destruction, Cathy O’Neil

Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, Jaron Lanier

The more I understood about data, the more careful I became with mine, and in turn, the more careful I wanted to be with my site visitors’ data. I was uncomfortable by how much information Google Analytics gathered on me and you, site visitor. So I switched to Fathom, which respects your privacy while you’re on my website.

02. Fathom’s Dashboard is Simple

One of the side-effects of Google Analytics gathering so much data is that there is a lot of information to sort through. As a result, looking at the analytics for my website always felt like a major chore.

The Google Analytics Dashboard was ugly, confusing, and overwhelming, so I generally preferred to put my head in the sand, rather than actually understand which pages my visitors actually used, so that I can provide the best website experience (spoiler alert: this one and this one are my most-visited pages).

Fathom simplifies my analytics. It shows me top content, top referrers, the break down of mobile vs. desktop vistors, and … that’s about it. That’s all the info I need or want, and Fathom shows it to me on a single, simple screen.

03. No cookie pop-up

You know those annoying popups that have started to appear on almost every website, that most of us click without reading? That’s because websites that use Google Analytics (estimated to be 70% of websites) gather personal data about you.

Because of this, they’re legally required to inform you if you use their website, they’re gathering and passing on data about your location, your interests, what website you came from, what you just searched for, which posts you like on Instagram, etc…

Fathom doesn’t track that stuff, which makes it GDPR, CCPA or PECR compliant. As such, you don’t have to provide a “cookie” notice, because you’re not using a cookie. Maybe you don’t care what a cookie is, as it relates to the Internet. But I bet you love the idea of not having to include a popup on your website (no? just me?).


In Closing

You can read more about why Fathom Analytics is a compelling alternative to Google Analytics here.

I do want to be candid about one thing: unlike Google Analytics, Fathom is not free.

Google Analytics is free because it can afford to be. Instead of charging you a monthly fee, it gathers data about you, and shares that data with advertisers, who then pay Google to target you.

Fathom Analytics is not free, because it does not make your information available to advertisers for purchase. You pay a monthly fee, and in exchange, make the Internet a slightly less creepy place.

If you want to try Fathom Analytics, using my affiliate link (I get a commission) gives you $10 off your first invoice.

Why I Don’t Use Google Analytics