Don’t use Google Analytics try Snowplow instead

Alexander Shcherbak
3 min readJul 11, 2022

The world is moving at high speed into digitalisation. Companies are looking for more and more ways to make more money using the most advanced technology to capture as much of the market as possible. Companies from the era of dinosaurs are transferring their services to a digital format, and new ones are starting to build their companies as a digital business. What is necessary for both? Of course! This is business analysis, namely understanding the needs of your customers in a simple format and preferably in real time, because the competition is fierce!

First of all, when any company start trying to understand behaviour of clients in their platform teams start looking onto Google Analytics because it’s famous and fully managed by Google. Does it seems like the best solution on the market for your company? NOPE. I have an alternative for you.

Photo by Dan Cook on Unsplash

What is Snowplow?

De facto it’s a set of micro-services written in Scala language which capture, enrich and transform real-time data from apps on smartphones, web-sites or other applications. Then in your data warehouse you can use dbt modules to transform raw data into format specific for your use cases, some of dbt modules have been already wrote by Snowplow team and community.


Maybe you already have GA as part of your system or just want to implement behavioural platform in your company from scratch. It doesn’t matter. In this article I’d like to share my expertise of integrating Snowplow as a tool to capture data and why you should try it instead Google Analytics.

First I would like to say that GA is not bad, there are moments in which it clearly has its advantages:

  1. It’s fully manages by Google team, you just pay money and that’s all.
  2. It’s well integrated into Google ecosystem (AdWords).

So, ok, currently we know main 2 advantages of GA, so let’s look what we can get from Snowplow:

  1. It’s open-source technology, you pay just for using resources when deploy it on your provider.
  2. Currently you can deploy it on AWS or GCP easily. You have opportunity to use Redshift, Snowflake, BigQuery and some others data warehouses.
  3. Ownership data. Full control.
  4. You can enrich data as you want, it’s free and you not pay for additional enrichments of your data.
  5. Fork if you want to add any functionality or contribute to the community.

Main disadvantages of GA are:

  1. GA(license) plans cost a lot compare to Snowplow(open-source).
  2. Sessions ends after 30 minutes of inactivity.

Main disadvantages of Snowplow are:

  1. You need to have a qualified team to implement it. DevOps and data engineering skills are preferred.
  2. You are responsible for your platform. You must think about autoscaling, data security and a lot of other things when you work with data and distributed systems.


Purpose of this article is to say you that Google Analytics is not the exactly one solution on the market to solve your problems. There is a more flexible and cheaper solution. SO..

If you haven’t much money, don’t want to add to your stack GCP and BigQuery and want an alternative on AWS stack or maybe on Azure (in future releases)? Do you want to use your own data warehouse? Do you want to have full control of what happens? Does your team has software engineering skills?

Do you want to hear more about Snowplow capabilities, it’s architecture and the rest, put a few claps so that I understand that you are interested in it and of course try it, link on documentation and code is below.