Plausible vs Fathom
I’ve recently gone through the process of choosing a web analytics tool for my Webflow plugin Flow Phantom. I wanted the tool to respect my visitors data while also revealing where qualified, or goal converting, visitors are coming from. Additionally, Flow Phantom is in a nascent stage, so granular analytics aren’t necessary. I’m mainly concerned about testing the best traction channel for beta signups. I looked at Fathom and Plausible which are both GDPR, CCPA, and PECR compliant. But, ultimately, Plausible was the best solution for me.
Fathom is a popular privacy focused analytics choice and at first glance seemed to fit my requirements. However, it doesn’t show where goal converting visitors are coming from. At the bottom of the Fathom dashboard are goals with conversion rates based on all traffic. Unfortunately, there’s no way to filter goal conversion by referrer, medium, source, or campaign. In 2020 the Fathom sample dashboard shows a visitor count of 529 and 412 from Facebook and Twitter, respectively. But it doesn’t show if Facebook or Twitter traffic has more converting visitors because there’s no filtering functionality. I did reach out to Fathom and they are working on solving the problem.
Clicking on the “Visit/register” goal at the bottom filters the top sources based on visitors who completed the goal. Now the top sources show Google at 2.4K visitors. Adding the “Google” source as an additional filter shows a conversion rate of 9%, which is some high quality traffic!
Deselecting “Google” and selecting “Hacker News” shows a 1.4% conversion rate.
Although there is more traffic from Hacker News, traffic from Google is higher quality. With Fathom I can’t do a similar analysis between its Facebook and Twitter traffic. With Plausible I know where my goal converting traffic is coming from while respecting my visitors privacy! Also Plausible is slightly cheaper for me. Here are the Fathom and Plausible pricing pages for comparison.
Plausible strikes a good balance between privacy and goal tracking with attribution, which works for my current situation. I do wish Plausible had a better way to export data, and I’m excited to see an api is on their roadmap. I’ll be keeping an eye on the Fathom changelog to see If I need to reassess my decision. In the future I may need a more granular tool, so I may reach for something like Matomo or roll out my own like Basecamp did. For now, those are overkill. As a solo founder building a simple plugin, Plausible is great and I recommend it to others in my situation.