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Cloudflare Announces Free Web Analytics – Even for Non-Customers

Cloudflare announces a free privacy-first web analytics service. It’s free to all, including publishers who are not customers.

Cloudflare announced Cloudflare Web Analytics, a free privacy first analytics service. Cloudflare’s new analytics service available to anyone, including businesses who aren’t Cloudflare customers.

What Users Can Expect

Cloudflare Web Analytics is a feature packed service that offers near real-time end-user behavior within seconds of a server request. A future update will enable the dashboard to auto-update refresh in real time.

Screenshot of Cloudflare Web Analytics

Some of the metrics featured in the analytics service are:

  • Visits by country
  • Visits by source (referrers)
  • Hosts
  • Click paths
  • Browsers
  • Device type

The dashboard itself features a drag and zoom feature that allows users to focus on a specific time period as well as investigate changes in traffic.

Animated GIF screenshot of Cloudflare Web Analytics

There is also a Web Vitals diagnostic included in the free service. Web Vitals is a Google metric that will become a ranking signal in 2021.

Screenshot of Cloudflare Web Analytics showing features of the dashboard

“Our analytics can show you the top hostnames, URLs, countries, and other critical metrics like status codes. You can filter on any of these metrics with a click and see the whole dashboard update.”

Cloudflare Web Analytics will currently store data for one month and does not yet support conversion tracking.

Privacy First Web Analytics

Cloudflare’s new analytics service is privacy first. That means it won’t track site visitors across the Internet. This means that site visitors do not have to be concerned about being tracked.

That means Cloudflare does not use IP addresses for the purposes of serving web analytics.

However customers of their security products may still see top IPs associated with security events in Firewall Analytics.

According to Cloudflare:

“Cloudflare’s business has never been built around tracking users or selling advertising. We don’t want to know what you do on the Internet — it’s not our business.

So we wanted to build an analytics service that gets back to what really matters for web creators, not necessarily marketers, and to give web creators the information they need in a simple, clean way that doesn’t sacrifice their visitors’ privacy.”

I asked John Graham-Cumming, CTO of Cloudflare if Cloudflare would use the analytics data and he confirmed that Cloudflare does not use the analytics data.

Cloudflare Versus Google Analytics

I asked the CTO of Cloudflare about how Cloudflare Web Analytics compares with Google Analytics and who will find it useful.

He answered:

“Cloudflare Analytics was built for anyone who relies on core analytics to run their site, but does not want to compromise user’s privacy to do so. While the initial feature set will be more focused than some analytics tools, Cloudflare Web Analytics solves three prominent pain points.

First, most analytics tools track visitor browsing behavior to help retarget them with ads later. This may benefit the ad-tech companies, but most websites don’t need or want this. Cloudflare Analytics’ privacy-first approach addresses this.

The next pain point is accuracy. Consumers today are becoming more and more privacy conscious, and using ad-blockers at an increasing rate. Most analytics tools can’t accurately capture these users within their metrics. Our offering has no pixels that track user behavior, resulting in more accurate metrics.

Lastly, most analytics tools are overly complex with many knobs and whistles that are often never used by the website owner. In addition to being privacy-sensitive, Cloudflare Web Analytics is easy-to-use, offering essential stats that can be viewed right from our dashboard.

Cloudflare Analytics is for everyone—from hobbyists, bloggers, and resource-constrained non-profits to SMBs and enterprises that rely on their websites for their business. Web creators, developers, and digital marketers can all benefit from the essential stats that Web Analytics offers.”

Cloudflare Web Analytics

There are still some features like real-time updating that may arrive at some point and conversion tracking is not available at this point. Nevertheless, this may be a useful tool to check out for analyzing traffic to help improve your marketing and SEO.

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