Piwik Pro: session-based analytics and privacy compliance.

Why you should consider Piwik Pro before embarking on your migration from Universal Analytics (UA / GA3) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

In July 2024, Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) will no longer be available, and organizations need to migrate to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), Piwik Pro or another analytics suite before that time. Chances are, you are planning on doing this, or have already done this. The discontinuation of UA / GA3 is part of Google’s effort to adapt to the new privacy-focused landscape.

Many marketers relied on UA / GA3, a session-based analytics suite and will experience that the events-based Google Analytics 4 offers a less intuitive user experience, and nonidentical data collection. Since you need to migrate to a new analytics suite anyway, it makes sense to compare between alternatives. We recommend you to at least compare GA4 with Piwik Pro.

When comparing GA4 and Piwik Pro, it’s crucial for you to consider these three factors: platform synergy, usability, and privacy compliance

Platform synergy

We don’t want to waste your time, so at this point we want to inform you that if you run a business that uses Google Marketing Platform products, such as Google Ads, adopting GA4 may be the more strategic choice (regardless of the usability and privacy compliance considerations provided below). This is because GA4 seamlessly integrates with these platforms, enhancing the synergy between your advertising efforts and analytics insights. That said, there are many reasons to consider Piwik Pro.


One of the most important factors for organizations is using an analytics suite that the marketing team can use. Secondly, obtaining reliable and relevant data is of utmost importance for marketers who need to explain user behavior and guide their decision-making. This means that teams need to be comfortable in operating the analytics suite, and collect relevant insights. In this regard, migrating from UA / GA3 to GA4 will pose significant challenges. Let us briefly explain the differences between session-based (UA / GA3 and Piwik Pro) and events-based analytics (GA4), and why Google opted for a new data model.

According to Google, GA4 is designed to unify web and (mobile) app analytics to help businesses better understand the customer journeys between these platforms. Simply put, more and more organizations are creating (mobile) apps, and Google wants to ensure that the analytics suite has a unified method of measuring between these platforms. Since (mobile) apps rely mostly on button clicks and form submissions, an event-based data model gives organizations a more complete picture of how users engage with your content. However, if you don’t have an app, and only have a website, this may not be the most intuitive data model.

To clarify: in an event-based data model, everything is sent to your reports as an event. Instead of goals, you now have events and conversions. In a session-based data model the system collects data based on the user’s activity during a single session or visit to a website or an app. N.b. A session is a time period starting with the first interaction of a user with your website and ending as a result of inactivity or when a user leaves the website.

For example: in GA4, all of the user interactions which were previously neatly categorized as page views, transactions and social interactions, etc., are now simply categorized as events. Another example is about how bounce rates are measured in GA4. In UA / GA3, a bounce occurs when a user doesn´t view more than one page on your website. In GA4 however, engaged sessions are tracked, and anything that is not an engaged session will be considered a bounce (meaning bounces can be users who: did not view 2 pages, exited the page within 10 seconds, or did not click a conversion event). It tracks the same concept, but for analysis purposes the data will not be comparable.

The examples mentioned above represent just a few of the numerous differences and if you are interested in a full analysis you can check these sources:

What is obvious is that the differences present clear challenges for marketers who rely on their tools for analysis and reporting and now have to deal with data that is different, and incomparable.

Piwik Pro brands itself as an analytics suite for marketeers and analysts. If you are used to session-based analytics, like how UA / GA3 worked, Piwik Pro will be worth checking out before embarking on your migration journey to GA4.

Privacy compliance

Last, but not least. How important is privacy compliance to your organization in the broadest sense of the word? Government entities for example require a lot of control over their data. If you care deeply about control over your data, GDPR and HIPAA compliance, then Piwik Pro should be considered as it has all the tools to support you in complying with data security and privacy laws.

Want to read more about the platforms we love working with? Check out our toolkit.

About Marketing Engineers

Marketing Engineers are here to make your marketing technology work harder for you. We’ve been leading the implementation of server-side tracking for various clients. We are your geeky guides that help elevate your digital game. Don’t hesitate to reach out via the marketingengineers.nl contact form if you have any questions!