Photo by @glencarrie / Unsplash.com

Disabling and removing Google Analytics tracking from my site

Today, I disabled and removed all Google Analytics scripts and injections from my website, https://jussiroine.com. I’ve had Google Analytics 3 running for as long as I can remember – and more recently, I upgraded to Google Analytics 4 on the side.

The idea with Google Analytics is that you can get a lot of data, which can be considered valuable for reaching new audiences, optimizing the content, and building a better service. I truly like Google Analytics, especially with GA4; the dashboard is spotless and easy to understand. There is a lot I also don’t really utilize, such as campaigns, behavior flow, conversions, multi-channel funnels, and such.

I’ve thought about the amount of data I’m handing over to Google. It is a lot. Early last year, the fine folk at Basecamp announced they removed all (third-party) trackers from their SaaS service. It resonated strongly with me, even if it took me a year to move forward with this.

Cloudflare announced their new Web Analytics solution previously, and I signed up now. It’s very similar to Google Analytics – you drop a small piece of JavaScript on each page, and Cloudflare does its magic. The difference, however, is that Cloudflare’s solution provides fewer data and arguably requires fewer data in return. They are also ‘privacy first’; thus, the analytics yields essential data: visits (number of people accessing the site) and page views. That’s it. Based on this, I can see visits by country (but nothing beyond that), visits by source (google.com, t.co, etc.), and what content was most viewed.

The script I’ve added is the following:

<!-- Cloudflare Web Analytics -->
<script defer src='https://static.cloudflareinsights.com/beacon.min.js' data-cf-beacon='{"token": "TOKEN-HERE"}'></script>
<!-- End Cloudflare Web Analytics -->

I had Cloudflare’s solution running side-by-side with GA3 and GA4. Perhaps Cloudflare’s scripts are less blocked, as they are pulling much less data, and the numbers I’m seeing are also much better. It’s super simple, and as far as I can tell, it’s free. Also, I don’t have to worry about the cookie for GA any longer.

I feel I am more defensive for my audience through this small change. Less data for marketers and ad engines to crunch. This provides an opportunity for a more fierce focus on proper content!