Why I chose Matomo over GA4 for an Online Travel Agent website

In today’s digital landscape, web analytics is crucial for understanding user behaviour, optimising conversions, and driving business growth. As a web analyst in an online travel agency (OTA), accurate and insightful analytics are paramount. Initially transitioning to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) after the sunset of GA Universal Analytics, I soon discovered that GA4’s e-commerce function wasn’t flexible enough for our diverse range of services. This realisation led me to explore alternative solutions, ultimately leading me to Matomo On-Premises. Let’s delve into the reasons behind my decision and highlight the advantages that Matomo offers over GA4 in the realm of web analytics for OTAs.

Understanding the limitations of GA4 for OTAs

GA4, although designed to provide enhanced tracking and analysis, falls short when it comes to the complex ecosystem of OTA websites. The e-commerce function in GA4 lacks the flexibility required to effectively capture and analyse the diverse range of services offered by OTAs, including flights, accommodations, and transfers. The standard e-commerce setup in GA4 is primarily geared towards traditional retail scenarios and fails to capture the intricacies of the travel industry. This limitation hinders the OTA’s ability to gain accurate insights and make data-driven decisions crucial for their success.

Similarities between Matomo and GA4

Both Matomo and GA4 share several similarities that make them attractive options for web analytics. One such similarity is their ability to utilise a data layer, a structured data container that holds relevant information about user interactions on the website. Implementing a data layer allows for consistent and accurate data collection, enabling detailed analysis and insights. With the right implementation, both Matomo and GA4 can effectively leverage the data layer to track and measure crucial metrics for an OTA website.

They both offer event-tracking capabilities, letting web analysts monitor and measure specific user interactions on the website. Events can include button clicks, form submissions, video plays, and more. This enables a deeper understanding of user engagement and behaviour beyond standard pageviews.

Both shift the focus from session-based analytics to user-centric analytics. They provide insights into individual user behaviour across multiple sessions, giving a more comprehensive understanding of user journeys and segmentation based on user attributes.

GA4 and Matomo support cross-domain tracking, which is crucial for OTAs that operate across multiple domains or subdomains. This functionality ensures that user interactions and conversions are accurately tracked across different parts of the website, providing a unified view of the customer journey.

Like in GA4, we can integrate Matomo with advertising platforms, such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and other third-party ad networks. This integration lets me track the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns, measure conversions, and optimise their marketing efforts.

Tag managers

Tag managers serve as an essential component in the implementation and management of our web analytics solutions. Both Matomo and GA4 offer tag managers that simplify the process of deploying tracking codes and managing tags across the website. However, Matomo’s tag manager stands out for seamless integration with the Matomo analytics platform and the multiple environment container feature that simplifies the process of tracking multiple environments such as Staging, Development, or Production (Live) websites using a single Tag Manager Container. This streamlined approach significantly reduces the time and effort required for implementing and maintaining tracking tags, providing me and the dev team with a more efficient workflow.

Unveiling the advantages of Matomo

Unlike GA4, Matomo offers unparalleled flexibility in tracking and analysing various components of an OTA website. It allows customisation of tracking parameters and e-commerce events, ensuring accurate measurement of conversions across flights, rooms, transfers, and other travel-related services.

User privacy is prioritised by offering self-hosting capabilities, enabling us to retain full control over our data. This aspect is vital in an era where data privacy and compliance are paramount concerns.

Matomo provides robust customisation options for creating dashboards and reports tailored to the unique requirements of an OTA. This level of customisation enables stakeholders to focus on the specific metrics and insights that matter most to the business, facilitating informed decisions and driving growth.

The platform goes beyond traditional website analytics by offering multi-channel tracking capabilities. This holistic view provides a comprehensive understanding of user behaviour across touchpoints such as mobile apps and email campaigns, optimising the entire customer journey.

Real-time analytics help me monitor and respond to user activity as it happens. This immediate feedback empowers timely adjustments to marketing strategies, website content, and user experience, resulting in improved conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

The integrated A/B testing plugin lets me conduct experiments directly within the analytics platform. This streamlines the testing and optimisation process, eliminating the need for external tools or platforms.

Its advanced segmentation and cohort analysis features let me dive deeper into their data, uncovering valuable patterns and trends. This granularity allows for targeted marketing campaigns, personalised recommendations, and tailored user experiences, improving customer engagement and loyalty.

My decision to choose Matomo over GA4 was driven by the need for flexibility, insightful data analysis, and data ownership. While GA4’s e-commerce function falls short for an OTA website, Matomo offers a powerful and customisable solution that caters specifically to the complexities of the travel industry.
With robust data layer integration, an integrated tag manager, flexibility in tracking various services, and a privacy-focused approach, Matomo empowers me to gain accurate and actionable insights for driving business growth. By using Matomo’s advanced reporting capabilities, real-time analytics, and multi-channel tracking, I can optimise marketing strategies, enhance the customer experience, and increase conversions and revenue.

Embracing Matomo as the web analytics solution proves to be a strategic move in the pursuit of data-driven success in the dynamic landscape of the online travel industry.

Understanding Matomo On-Premise: a comprehensive introduction

As a web analyst, I understand the importance of having full control over the data collected from website analytics. That’s why I choose Matomo On-Premise, a powerful web analytics platform that offers complete data ownership and enhanced privacy. In this post, I will provide a comprehensive introduction to Matomo On-Premise and explain why it stands out among other analytics solutions.

Matomo On-Premise allows me to host the analytics platform on my own servers, giving me total control over my data. This means I am not relying on third-party servers, and my data is not shared with anyone else. By self-hosting Matomo, I can ensure data privacy and comply with data protection regulations, such as GDPR.

To get started with Matomo On-Premise, the installation process is straightforward. Here are the simple steps to follow:

  1. Choose the appropriate server infrastructure based on the system requirements provided by Matomo.
  2. Download the Matomo software package from the official website.
  3. Set up a database to store the analytics data.
  4. Configure the webserver to host Matomo.
  5. Run the installation wizard and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup.

Once the installation is complete, I have access to a wide range of features and functionalities that allow me to gain valuable insights into my website performance. Some key features of Matomo On-Premise include:

  • I can monitor website visitors and their actions in real-time, gaining instant insights into visitor behaviour and engagement.
  • I can set up specific goals, such as conversions or downloads, and track their performance over time.
  • Matomo provides comprehensive e-commerce tracking capabilities, allowing me to analyse sales, revenue, and other key metrics.
  • I can visualise user interactions on my website through heatmaps and screen recording: identifying areas of high and low engagement.
  • Matomo On-Premise offers A/B testing functionality, enabling me to compare different versions of my website and determine the most effective one.

By leveraging these features and functionalities, I can optimise my website performance, improve user experience, and drive business growth. Matomo On-Premise empowers me with the tools I need to make data-driven decisions and achieve success in my web analytics endeavours.

Matomo On-Premise is a robust web analytics solution that provides complete data ownership, enhanced privacy, and a wealth of features and functionalities. By self-hosting Matomo, I can ensure data security and comply with data protection regulations. With its easy installation process and powerful analytics capabilities, Matomo On-Premise is the ideal choice for web analysts who value control and privacy.

Unlocking insights and optimising website performance with Matomo On-Premises Premium Plugins and features

In today’s data-driven world, understanding user behaviour and optimising website performance is vital for businesses. As a web analyst working on a complex, custom e-commerce website, I use Matomo On-Premises analytics to achieve these goals effectively.

Traditionally, we had to rely on various tools like Hotjar, user behaviour tools, and A/B testing platforms to gather insights. However, with Matomo On-Premises Premium Plugins, we can consolidate all these features into one comprehensive analytics suite. This allows us to own and leverage our data more efficiently.

Matomo is a leading web analytics platform that empowers businesses to track, analyse, and understand their website visitors’ behaviour. With its on-premises premium plugins, Matomo offers an all-in-one solution for advanced user behaviour analysis, marketing campaign reports and A/B testing. By using these plugins, businesses can gain valuable insights, make informed decisions, and optimise their websites and marketing campaigns for better performance and user experience.

Campaign reporting

The Marketing Campaigns Reporting plugin provides in-depth insights into the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns and lets us track and analyse the performance of our marketing efforts. I am able to gain a comprehensive understanding of the impact various marketing campaigns have on our website. Armed with this knowledge, we can make data-driven decisions to optimise our marketing strategies and allocate resources more efficiently, ultimately driving growth by maximising the success of our marketing initiatives.

Content tracking

One of the key features I rely on within Matomo is Content Tracking. This feature allows me to assess the effectiveness of specific content pieces in generating user interactions across our website. It provides insights into metrics such as content impressions and content interactions and calculates an interaction rate.
Content Tracking goes beyond just ads or banners; it helps me understand how often a particular content block, whether it’s an ad, banner, or any other element, is displayed and viewed by visitors. By comparing the number of content impressions to content interactions, I can determine the level of engagement with each content block.
One of the advantages of Content Tracking is the ability to create segments based on content interaction. By segmenting visitors who have interacted with specific content, I can tailor our marketing strategies and optimise the user experience. For example, if I identify a content block with a high interaction rate, I can create a segment of users who have interacted with that block and target them with personalised offers or follow-up campaigns. This targeted approach increases the chances of conversion, as it focuses on engaging visitors who have already shown interest in a particular content piece.
Segmenting based on content interaction allows us to deliver more relevant content and experiences to our visitors, enhancing their overall journey on our website and increasing the website’s conversion rate by providing users with tailored offers and improving their satisfaction and engagement.

Heatmaps and session recordings

Heatmaps and session recordings are powerful tools for understanding how users interact with our website. Matomo’s premium heatmap plugin enables us to visualise the areas of our web pages that receive the most attention, without traffic limits. This helps us identify hotspots and optimise our content accordingly. With heatmaps, we can easily spot areas where users click, scroll, or hover, enabling us to make data-driven design decisions and improve our conversion rates.
Session recordings provide us with deeper insights into user interactions. Matomo’s session recording plugin captures real-time user sessions, allowing us to replay them and gain valuable insights. By observing how users navigate through our website, encounter obstacles, or abandon certain pages, we can identify pain points and optimise the user journey. This leads to enhanced conversions and user satisfaction.

A/B testing

A/B testing is a proven method for incrementally improving websites. Matomo’s A/B testing plugin enables us to conduct experiments by comparing different variations of web pages or features. We can make data-backed decisions to refine our website’s design, layout, and functionality by measuring user responses, conversion rates, and other metrics. This ultimately improves our business results.

One of the standout advantages of Matomo On-Premises Premium Plugins is the consolidation of essential analytics features into a single platform. Instead of juggling multiple tools and platforms, we can access heatmaps, session recordings, content tracking, and A/B testing within a unified interface. This streamlines our workflow, saves time and effort, and allows us to analyse and interpret our data seamlessly. Having everything in one place eliminates the need for disjointed integrations and simplifies the process of extracting valuable insights from our website analytics.

Data Ownership

Another significant advantage is that we have complete ownership and control over our data. Unlike third-party analytics tools that collect and store data on external servers, Matomo allows us to host the analytics platform on our own servers. This ensures that our sensitive user data remains secure and compliant with data protection regulations. By owning our data, we can implement robust security measures, maintain data privacy, and have full visibility into how our data is managed.

By consolidating these powerful analytics capabilities into one platform, we eliminated the need for multiple tools and integrations, simplified our workflow and saved us time and effort. Additionally, owning our data and hosting Matomo on our own servers ensures data security, privacy, and compliance.

Collaborating with social media specialists to optimise Facebook campaigns

As a web analyst, I work closely with our social media specialist to optimise our Facebook campaigns. One of the key tools I provide is a customised dashboard in Looker Studio, which enables us to analyse the performance of our campaigns in greater detail. In this article, I will explain the metrics we track, the types of charts we use, and how this I customised approach helps us gain deeper insights. Additionally, I’ll discuss how we use Matomo to examine website conversions and optimise the conversion rate of social media campaigns. Let’s dive in!

Metrics and charts for deeper insights

Our customised dashboard in Looker Studio is designed to focus on the metrics that are most relevant to our Facebook campaigns and business objectives. Here are the key metrics we track and the charts we use for deeper insights:

  1. Reach and Engagement metrics
    The social media specialist closely monitor metrics such as reach, impressions, clicks, likes, shares, and comments. These metrics help us understand the overall visibility and engagement of the campaigns. We visualise these metrics using line charts and stacked bar charts to identify trends over time and compare performance across different campaigns or ad sets.
  2. Conversion metrics:
    To measure the impact of our campaigns on website conversions, we track metrics like click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and cost per conversion. These metrics allow the social media specialist to assess the effectiveness of the campaigns in driving desired actions on our website. We visualise conversion metrics using conversion funnels and scatter plots to identify potential areas for improvement and optimise our conversion rate.
  3. Audience insights:
    Understanding our target audience is crucial for campaign optimisation. We analyse demographic data, interests, and behavior of our Facebook audience. Visualisations like pie charts and heat maps help us identify audience segments with higher engagement and conversion rates. This information guides the social media specialist in refining the targeting strategies and tailoring the content for maximum impact.
  4. Ad performance:
    We closely examine the performance of individual ads within our campaigns. By tracking metrics like click-through rates, cost per click, and ad relevance scores, we can identify top-performing ads and optimise our ad creative accordingly. We use bar charts and heat maps to compare ad performance and identify patterns that resonate with our audience.

Using Matomo for website conversion rate optimisation

In addition to Facebook campaign analysis, I leverage Matomo, to gain insights into website conversions and optimise the conversion rate. I consider the role of social media within the marketing funnel and how different types of social media posts, engagement and targeting influence website conversions.

By examining various engagement types, we can uncover valuable insights that influence bounce rates, average visit time, website searches, add-to-cart actions, and ultimately, sales. Let’s consider some examples:

  1. Influence on bounce rates:
    To determine the impact of different post engagement types on bounce rates, I analyse the data collected from website analytics tools. By examining the bounce rates for each engagement type, I can identify patterns and correlations. This analysis helps the social media specialist make data-driven decisions on which types of engagement are more effective at reducing bounce rates.
  2. Impact on average visit time:
    By analysing the average visit time data associated with various post engagement types, I can identify trends and patterns. This data-driven approach allows me to understand which types of engagement tend to capture users’ attention for longer durations.
  3. Driving website searches:
    Through data analysis, I can examine the relationship between post engagement types and the frequency of website searches. By tracking user behaviour and identifying which engagement types prompt users to perform more searches on the website, the social media specialist can optimise the content strategy accordingly. This data-driven approach ensures that the content aligns with user preferences and information-seeking behavior.
  4. Encouraging Add-to-Cart actions and sales:
    To understand the influence of post engagement types on add-to-cart actions and sales, I analyse conversion data associated with different engagement types. By examining the conversion rates and sales figures for each type, I can identify which types of engagement are more effective at driving user actions and purchase, helping tailoring the content strategy to maximise conversions and sales.

Placing social media in the marketing funnel

By tracking metrics like referral traffic, bounce rates, and time on site, I gain a comprehensive view of the customer journey from social media platforms to our website and how social media impacts each stage of the marketing funnel. This understanding helps me identify potential bottlenecks or areas of improvement where we can optimise the conversion rate.

By collaborating closely with our social media specialist and using custom dashboards in Looker Studio, we have gained deeper insights into our Facebook campaigns. The tailored metrics, visualisations, and granular data exploration have empowered us to optimise our campaigns effectively. Additionally, by leveraging Matomo for website conversion analysis, we have enhanced our understanding of the role of social media within the marketing funnel and optimised our conversion rate. This collaborative and data-driven approach enables the social media specialist to continuously improve the campaigns and drive better results for our business.

Presenting email campaign performances to senior management

When it comes to presenting email campaign performances to senior management, it is crucial to ensure that the information is concise, visually appealing, and focused on the most important metrics. By using graphs, charts, and visual reports, such as those available in Iterable, you can simplify the data presentation process and make it easier for senior management to understand the results. In this article, we will outline a step-by-step approach to effectively present email campaign performances to senior management.

Clearly Define Campaign Objectives

Begin the presentation by stating the objectives of the campaigns. Whether it was to increase bookings, drive website traffic with content, improve customer engagement, or boost brand awareness, clearly articulate the goals that were set for each campaign.

Highlight Key Metrics

Present the most important metrics that demonstrate the effectiveness of the campaigns. Focus on metrics such as Open Rate, Click-Through Rate (CTR), and other metrics from your email marketing platform, comparing them to the previous month to measure progress.

In addition to presenting email campaign performances, it is also beneficial to report campaign performances on the landing page. Include time-based comparisons, like month-over-month or year-over-year, to show trends and progress. Focus on key metrics like content interaction, average time on page, pageviews, bounce rate, conversion rates, and revenue generated directly from email campaigns as well as goals specific to your website. Comparing these results month over month can provide valuable insights.

Show Revenue Generated

If applicable, show the revenue directly attributable to your email campaigns. While revenue from content emails may not be expected, emails containing offers should have a measurable impact on revenue as it demonstrates the tangible value of email campaigns.

Share Campaign Highlights

Highlight the most successful email campaigns or initiatives that have achieved significant results. Provide examples of engaging subject lines, creative designs, or compelling content that contributed to their success. This will help senior management understand the elements that resonated with the audience and contributed to the campaign’s effectiveness.

Demonstrate the Power of Segmentation

If you have implemented a targeted segmentation strategy, showcase specific examples of how tailored content or offers have driven better results. Highlight the impact of personalised messaging and demonstrate how segmentation has positively influenced key metrics, such as Open Rate, CTR, or conversion rates.

Discuss List Growth Strategies

Share insights on list growth and discuss the strategies employed to acquire more subscribers. Highlight successful initiatives and address any challenges faced to demonstrate the potential for future growth and engagement.

Present A/B Testing Results

If you have conducted A/B testing to optimise campaigns, present the results and highlight the insights gained from these experiments. Show how testing different elements, such as subject lines, CTAs, or visuals, can improve key metrics. Emphasise the importance of continuous testing and optimisation to maximise campaign effectiveness.

Offer Insights and Recommendations

Based on the data and results, provide actionable insights and recommendations for future email marketing initiatives. Discuss opportunities for optimisation, new strategies to explore, or areas where additional resources or support may be required. Demonstrate your ability to leverage data for ongoing improvement and success.

Remember, the goal is to simplify complex data, facilitate understanding, and inspire confidence in the email marketing initiatives pursued. It is vital to present information in a concise when presenting email campaign performances to senior management. Visually appealing, and data-driven manner.

A step-by-step guide to installing Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

In October 2020, Google launched GA4, the latest version of Google Analytics. It has now become the default analytics property for new accounts, replacing Universal Analytics (UA). To ensure you stay up to date with future improvements, it is recommended to use GA4 alongside your existing UA properties. This guide will walk you through the installation process if you already have a GA UA installation.

Update: As a web analyst, I’m deeply disappointed with GA4 and its limitations for implementing e-commerce tracking on our custom website with multiple suppliers and no stock. Despite investing weeks of effort into the implementation, it became increasingly clear that GA4 lacked the necessary flexibility and failed to provide the insights for our complex e-commerce setup.
Exploring other analytics platforms became a priority in order to overcome the limitations we faced with GA4.

Create a new Google Analytics 4 property

  • Click on “Admin” and select an existing account.
  • Click on “Create Property.”
  • Enter the name of your new property, choose the reporting time zone and currency, and click “Next.”
  • Answer the business-related question and click “Create.”

Configure your Data Stream

After creating the property, set up a data stream to collect data. A GA4 property can have up to 50 data streams, including app and web data streams. For this guide, we will focus on the web data stream:

  • Enter your website URL and provide a name for the stream.
  • Select the features you want to activate, such as enhanced measurement for events.
  • Click “Create Stream.”

Install the tracking code on your website

To send data to the newly created data stream, you can configure your website using the following methods:

Method 1: New on-page tag with Global Site Tags (gtag.js): The Global Site Tag (gtag.js) is a JavaScript library that simplifies tag management for various Google products, including Google Analytics. Follow these steps:

  • Copy and paste the gtag.js code into the section of every web page you want to measure.
  • Replace “G-XXXXXXXXXX” with your GA4 property’s MEASUREMENT ID.

Method 2: Installation with Google Tag Manager (GTM): If you’re using Google Tag Manager, follow these steps:

  • In your GTM container, go to “Tags” > “New” and select “Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration.”
  • Name your Tag as GA4.
  • Enter the measurement ID from your GA4 property.
  • Select “All pages – pageviews” as the firing trigger and save your settings.

Installation with an existing on-page tag with Google Analytics

If you already have gtag.js for another Google Analytics property on your page, follow these steps to turn on tagging for the new stream:

  • Open the Google Analytics property controlling your on-page tag.
  • Go to “Admin” > “Tracking Info” > “Tracking Code.”
  • Under “Global Site Tag (gtag.js),” click on “Connected Site Tags.”
  • Connect your new Measurement ID.

Verify the implementation

To ensure that the new implementation is functioning correctly, access the real-time report:

  • In the Google Analytics user interface, choose your GA4 property from the drop-down list.
  • Go to “Real-time” reporting in the left sidebar menu.
  • Check the events and activity on your website in real time.

By following these steps, you can successfully install Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and start collecting data for improved analytics insights. Stay up to date with the latest advancements in Google Analytics by using GA4 alongside your existing properties.