Are you seeking a detailed guide to Fathom Analytics – the privacy-focused Google Analytics alternative? If yes, keep reading this article till the end.
In July 2023, Google Analytics bid farewell to its Universal Analytics (UA) and started shifting all its users to the new GA4.
Some users were confused with the migration process, while some were overwhelmed with the new GA4 UI and the unnecessary renaming of essential metrics. This urged many users to look for a different tool.
Fathom: An Overview
Fathom Analytics, or simply Fathom, is a privacy-focused Google Analytics replacement.
Due to its privacy-focused framework, you don’t need to show that annoying Cookie Banner on your website. You also get all the crucial metrics you need to map the success of your website – page views, website visits, traffic sources, conversions, etc.
You can do all this without violating the privacy of your website visitors.
In this detailed guide, I will share all the information about Fathom and why it is the best website analytics tool if you want to move away from Google Analytics.
Fathom is used by thousands of companies, from small and medium enterprises to Fortune 100s, to manage their website analytics.
Why? Because they want to comply with various data protection laws such as GDPR, PECR, CCPA, etc., and they care about their customer’s data.
Let’s glance at some of the most significant features of Fathom.
#1. Google Analytics Importer
If you’re already using Google Analytics, like most businesses, then Fathom makes it easy to import your Google Analytics data to your Fathom dashboards with their built-in Google Analytics importer.
Google Analytics users can access their old Universal Analytics data until July 2024. After that, the data will most probably be deleted. Fathom’s GA importer lets you import all your historical data into Fathom. The tool doesn’t charge for historical data imports (regardless of the amount of data).
Fathom also retains your data forever, meaning you can view or export data right from when you started using Fathom to any date.
#2. Cookie-less Website Tracking
Fathom website analytics is not cookie-based. So, no cookie consent banners. These banners annoy your visitors, clutter your webpage, and even slow down your page loading speed. (more details in the next point)
Fathom fully complies with data protection laws. As a frequent internet user, you must have encountered annoying cookie banners on websites. While some websites allow you to manage the cookie consent, some force you to accept the cookie consent, or else you just can’t proceed.
Here’s an example of a cookie banner, just for illustration purposes.
Fathom is a fully GDPR-compliant product. It anonymizes all the website visitors’ collected data, does not ask your website, visitors, or customers, to accept/reject cookies on a cookie banner, and doesn’t source from the terminal equipment.
Terminal equipment is third-party servers (companies or devices) that collect and/or process data subjects’ data. Fathom is the data controller and data processor of your data, so no third party (advertisers, ad exchanges, etc.) is involved.
Fathom doesn’t fingerprint your device by installing browser cookies. Instead, they collect data via an IP Address assigned by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), not stored on your Terminal Equipment, and User-Agent sent to Fathom’s servers by your browser; again, these are not accessed from your terminal equipment.
Let me simplify it for you.
Fathom uses pseudo-anonymized hashes and salts to identify unique page visits by a unique user. A hash scrambles data into a series of numbers and letters, and salt adds a layer of pre-defined data to the hash, making it even tougher to crack.
Fathom aims to be a powerful, privacy-focused alternative to Google Analytics software that gives customers detailed insights into their website without invading their visitors’ privacy.
#3. Intuitive One-Page Dashboard
One of the biggest complaints of Google Analytics is its convoluted dashboards. You have to go to this menu, then click on that, and then you will see the data you want.
This has prompted many users to look for a Google Analytics replacement, and Fathom solves this issue precisely.
In Fathom’s one-page dashboard, you can see all your page views, top-ranking pages, traffic sources, devices, countries, browsers, and events (if any).
#4. UTM Campaign and Event Tracking
Want to analyze how your ad campaigns or newsletter campaigns are performing? Fathom lets you collect information via UTM parameters. If you’re an eCommerce store, then you can set up Events to collect sales and conversion-related data.
Fathom lets you collect important marketing details without crossing the boundaries of digital privacy. You can assess your most profitable campaigns, product sales, mailing list signups, software trial conversions, and more.
Fathom Performance Tracking
One thing I like the most about Fathom is how it keeps website analytics simple. You can track all the important metrics without going to any other menus, sub-menus, categories, etc.
On the left, you will see your website name. On the right, you can select the period for which you want to know the website data. The green dot beside your website name denotes that your website is up.
Fathom monitors your website’s uptime for free. The tool monitors your website 24/7 and sends you a text, email, Telegram, or Slack message the second your website stops responding.
In the above screenshot, we’re only looking at the visitors and views. Hence, the purple and light purple dots beside their names. Once you click on other metrics (average time on site, bounce rate, and event completions), you will see a more detailed graph.
Furthermore, you can even see your top-ranking pages, the amount of traffic they bring to your site, unique visitors, and views. You can see referrers, i.e., your traffic sources.
Also, if you want to know the details of your traffic sources, such as devices, browsers, countries, and the completion rate of your events, you can do so easily.
You can also see how your UTM links are performing by analyzing your campaigns.
Fathom Customizations and Filtering
Fathom makes it easy to filter your website data, like really easy. You don’t even have to leave the dashboard.
For example, I want to see how many people visited the website’s About Page in the last 30 days. I will simply click on /about under Pages.
And here it is. A filter will be added at the top for your understanding.
Similarly, you can click on various parameters and add filters without leaving your dashboard. Here, we see today’s About Page visitors who came from Google, are using Chrome browser, and are from Canada.
Also, you can click and drag a particular period to see analytics for only that period.
Fathom Integration and Compatibility
Fathom integrates with your website with a single line of code. This line of code works with various popular CMS and frameworks. WordPress users can add this code to their theme or use the Fathom Analytics WordPress plugin for the same.
Fathom’s single line of tracking code is much smaller than Google Analytics tracking code. This is why it is lightweight and loads much faster than the latter.
Fathom User Interface and User Experience
As I mentioned before, Fathom has a one-page dashboard. It only collects the data that matters and presents it on a single screen. The dashboard is simple, clean, and intuitive to analyze and filter.
Primarily, most marketers only care about ROI-impacting metrics, such as page views, number of unique visitors, average visiting time, bounce rate, event (goal) completion, top-performing pages, campaigns, etc., and Fathom gives you all this at a glance.
Most of the other data is used by Google. Advertisers use this data to geo-target or retarget a particular user with ads.
Ever wondered why something you left in your Amazon shopping cart showed up on a webpage you visited on Google Chrome?
The Fathom dashboard shows you straightaway which are your top-ranking pages and where your visitors are coming from. You can view/hide data by simply clicking on it.
The dashboard remembers your date range choice as you switch to view data for your other websites. It also retains the option if you exit Fathom.
Also, each data module has a search bar and pagination. Move to different pages quickly and search specific data about pages/countries/devices/campaigns/events.
You can even customize your Fathom dashboard. You need to be logged in to make these changes. Just click on the gear icon (site settings) next to your calendar icon.
Inside the Account settings, you can choose between Automagic, Dark, or Light mode. Automagic mode adapts the view of your OS.
If you have integrated multiple websites with Fathom, you can see the data of all of these sites next to each other – a great way to analyze quickly which website needs immediate attention.
Just click on All Sites under the websites dropdown.
And then, you can see all the relevant data of all the integrated websites at a glance.
You can even shuffle the data card by holding the drag icon on the top-right corner of the data card.
A few more things make Fathom a great Google Analytics alternative. Such as:
Send weekly or monthly user reports to self and/or other users
Export all of your data to CSV
Multi-domain analytics dashboard – a single view for all your Top Level Domains (TLDs)
Private sharing of analytics dashboard
Website uptime monitoring
These features up the user interface and user experience for Fathom users.
Fathom User Privacy and Data Protection
One of the biggest reasons behind the popularity of Google Analytics is that the tool is free to use. It doesn’t charge you at all, regardless of your website’s traffic.
However, remember the saying: if you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product.
Google Analytics produces revenue for Google by selling their user’s collected website data (personal data of visitors) to third-party data controllers and processors, advertisers, and ad exchanges.
This data is mainly collected by cookies and Google Analytics script on your website.
Fathom is a privacy-focused website analytics tool that is fully compliant with GDPR, ePrivacy, PECR, and CCPA. The company is always transparent about its privacy law compliance and data processing.
Fathom has repeatedly said on its website that they are in the business of selling software, not data. You get a 30-day free trial to try out its features, and after that, they charge you a fair and sustainable monthly fee of $14.
As your website traffic grows beyond 100,000 visitors/month, the monthly fee increases to $24, and so on. You need to contact their sales team if you have a website with more than 500,000 visitors/month.
No matter which plan you buy, you get all these features:
Up to 50 sites included
100% data ownership
No cookie banners
Unlimited email reports
Forever data retention
Unlimited CSV data exports
Privacy law compliance
If you want to add more than 50 sites, Fathom charges $14/m per each additional 50 sites.
Alternatives to Fathom
Fathom is one of the many privacy-focused website analytics tools. Here are a few Google Analytics alternatives that have similar features as Fathom.
Plausible is very similar to Fathom in terms of features. It gives you 100% data ownership, provides cookie-less data tracking, complies with data privacy laws, etc.
However, the starter plan is a bit more expensive than Fathom, as Plausible charges $19/month for 100,000 visitors while Fathom charges $14 for the same.
Matomo is a leading and globally recognized, privacy-focused website analytics tool. It is highly ranked on review websites like Capterra and Software Advice. Over 1 million websites use Matamo in over 190 countries.
The dashboard looks more vibrant and detailed than Fathom, but they charge you approximately $35/month for 100,000 visitors.
Mixpanel is an alternative to Fathom that you can check out if you want to delve into cookie-less tracking of your website visitors. However, the product is more event-focused rather than overall analytics-focused.
Google Analytics tool has come under scrutiny, especially in Europe, after various reports claimed that the tool has been collecting and misusing the user’s personal data for profit.
France’s DPA, CNIL, has slapped a $57M fine on Google for failing to acknowledge how the user data is processed. Even Spain’s DPA, AEPD, has fined Google €10M for serious breaches of the European Union’s GDPR privacy law.
In this ruckus, Google is trying to become compliant with European privacy laws by displaying cookie banners to accept user data. If you use Google Adsense, you must have received a notification about the same.
Along with this, users are unhappy with the migration to GA4, and some are facing issues acclimatizing to the new GA4 interface.
All of this has made users rethink Google Analytics tracking their website visitors and look for an alternative, and here, Fathom could be a great choice.
Rohit is a freelance SEO content writer and a B2B SaaS marketing copywriter. He writes about topics such as WordPress plugins for WooCommerce and SaaS tools such as sales funnel builders, email marketing automation, and WordPress marketing…. read more
Rashmi has over 7 years of expertise in content management, SEO, and data research, making her a highly experienced professional. She has a solid academic background and has done her bachelor’s and master’s degree in computer applications…. read more
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