Introducing Koko Analytics Pro
Nearly 4 years after the initial release of the Koko Analytics plugin, I have the pleasure to finally announce a much requested feature: custom event tracking.
Personally I believe this feature to be just as important (if not more) as tracking general pageview counts, at least for certain types of websites. More pageviews is nice and all, but usually a website has other goals besides just attracting eyeballs.
So why did it take us 4 years to end up incorporating this feature? For that, we’ll have to go down memory lane for a bit.
Why I started building privacy friendly analytics
Some time during the winter of 2016 I was playing with Golang to build a self-hosted alternative to Google Analytics that did aggregate visitor and pageview counts only, so not tracking anything visitor specific.
About a year later, Paul Jarvis and I joined forces and started Fathom Analytics. Our goal was to create a beautiful privacy-friendly and open-source alternative to Google Analytics that people could self-host on their servers or pay us a small fee to host it for them.
Fathom got a huge amount of traction right away, which was great but also proved hard to combine with my life as a new dad. Sleepless nights followed by jumping on the computer at night to talk to Canada while simultaneously trying to keep Mailchimp for WordPress afloat and my lack of experience hosting software at scale. I was burning out a rapid rate. Since this wasn’t sustainable for me in the long term, I made the tough decision to leave Fathom and handed it over to Paul so he could continue our work.
A year or so later my daughter started sleeping better and I found some energy for side projects again.
Since I still cared about open-source and privacy friendly website analytics I decided to take my experience building Fathom and build a solution on top of WordPress. It would come with several benefits:
- Not having to host any critical infrastructure for others.
- Giving a lot of websites (~40% of the internet as we speak) a very easy and more private alternative to Google Analytics.
- Running something on the same server as the website it’s counting visitors for will always be more private than having to rely on a third-party.
Enter Koko Analytics
In November 2019, I announced Koko Analytics on my personal blog.
At first I considered it my gift to the internet. Some of you wanted to help ensure the plugin’s longevity so asked for a place to donate some cash, but I always refused.
This worked out fine for a few years but also meant I wanted to keep the plugin simple, since I wasn’t ready for the increased support burden of anything complex. So whenever I was asked for event tracking, I mentally put it on the “maybe later” board.
Meanwhile, I was still paying Harish and Arne (who have been helping me out for nearly a decade now, by the way!) to handle WordPress.org support topics for the plugin though.
A year ago one of our users asked for us to put up an initiative for Koko Analytics on OpenCollective to help cover some of these support costs. Right now, we receive donations that sum up to a yearly budget of about $80 USD. Enough to cover the hosting costs of the server this site is running on, but still a long way off the costs for supporting the plugin.
Then this happened.
This comment triggered me to rethink my approach to Koko Analytics.
A paid add-on for Koko Analytics
I decided to clear out a few months of my schedule to start working on a paid add-on for Koko Analytics. The plan was to have it include some of the more complex features like custom event tracking, periodic email reports and maybe some form of geo-location or device counts in the future.
Fast forward up to today and we’re ready to share Koko Analytics Pro with you! It currently supports custom event tracking, which you can see in action in our live demo here.
Over the past few weeks we have extensively tested it on this website with the help of an amazing group of beta testers.
Pricing for Koko Analytics Pro starts at a yearly fee of €59 with a heavily discounted bulk plan available for our power users.
Over the next few months we will be working on expanding the feature set of the Pro plugin, with periodic email reports first up on the list of things to add.
We hope you will consider becoming a Pro user even if not currently in need of any of the features it provides. It helps cover development and support costs of the free plugin as well.
Our main goal still stands stronger than ever: provide a privacy friendly, fully open-source, locally hosted website analytics tool that focuses on the essentials.
We’re excited about the next few months and hope you are too. Let us know what you think about all this in the comments below or contact us over email with your thoughts.