Why Wide Angle Analytics
Traditionally, a lot of users default to using Google Analytics. That often feels like a natural choice given it is familiar, free to start with, and associated with a household brand - Google.
Today you have a choice. Numerous solutions range from self-hosted to managed, cloud-based services.
A self-hosted solution is often the one with the most control. You decide where the data is hosted, how it is collected, and who can access it.
The downside is you have to maintain infrastructure and take care of security and backups. In addition, web analytics is likely not your core business, so you will be spending people capital and actual money on services that you are better off buying elsewhere.
If you still want to explore a self-hosted solution, a go-to solution is Matomo.
Web Analytics as a Service
You decided you don't want the hassle of maintaining non-core service. You want to buy a managed service. You should take into account a few things.
Ask yourself, does the solution provide the features you need? But also, are you paying for things you will never leverage? Managed solutions differ in feature set but also in versatility and complexity. Google Analytics and Matomo offer some really powerful features but can feel overwhelming. Settings and tracker configuration might demand specialized knowledge and incur the cost of a consultant.
A smaller tracker script will load faster to take fewer resources in the browser. This, in turn, will translate to a better user experience.
Likewise, larger script, more data exchange is directly associated with computing resources utilization. The smaller script and lower data footprint will have a positive ecological impact in the long run and at scale.
From a compliance perspective, it is crucial to control where the data is being stored and who can access it. A lot of cloud providers, such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), offer European Datacenters. Based on Schrems II ruling, because these are still owned and controlled by US entities, their usage is problematic for companies that need to adhere to GDPR.
Likewise, the place of incorporation of the Data Processor matters. It is best practice to choose a provider that follows the same, or compatible, legal framework. When facing a legal challenge, the ability to exercise your rights in front of a local court is more straightforward and often cheaper.