With Data Privacy Day on January 28th, European Business Magazine caught up with Matthieu Aubry (pictured) , Co-Founder of Matomo, a data analytics company who recently won the W3Tech Traffic Analysis Tool of the Year award, to unpack current data privacy trends for businesses and his journey with the company.

Tell us about Matomo and what sets it apart

Matomo is the leading open-source web analytics solution, allowing users to track and analyse online visits and traffic, trusted by over one million websites across the globe.

In a crowded web analytics space, Matomo stands above the competition by prioritising privacy and empowering users at every level. Users also have complete control over how their data is collected, used, and stored either via the Cloud or self-hosted. Granting users 100 per cent ownership of their data provides them with the peace of mind that no third parties have access to or are using their data for other purposes – like advertising or direct marketing, for instance.

As our code is open source, it is available for anyone to review, modify, improve, or customise, and this degree of flexibility and transparency is unmatched by proprietary solutions. Matomo also provides unparalleled data accuracy that is unsampled and doesn’t rely on AI to fill gaps. All of our features come together to empower users in an ethical way.

What inspired you to found the company?

I was driven by my passion for software engineering and the internet. Matomo is fuelled by both my enthusiasm for measurement to understand things with data, as well as my concerns with mass surveillance. When I realised that true privacy was hard to achieve online because web measurement technologies weren’t being built for privacy, I knew something needed to change – and so Matomo was born.

How is data privacy influencing tech companies currently?

We’re starting to see more privacy-focussed technologies emerge, which, in combination with global regulations, is starting to put pressure on existing tech companies to start implementing privacy respecting methods. While some of these methods appear to be smoke and mirrors, others are genuine, and it’s starting to make a difference and giving hope that this movement is creating real change for the future of data privacy.

The recent W3Tech awards was a significant moment for data privacy, with Matomo beating out the likes of Google Analytics to win the Traffic Analysis Tool of the Year 2022. It highlights the current market shift towards privacy-focused solutions to the benefit of users across the world.

What lessons have you learned as an owner and as a business?

Stay true to your values no matter what. As both an owner, and a business, this has been one of the most important lessons I’ve learned. When Matomo was founded 15 years ago, we could have easily chosen to follow the unethical practices that much larger and more successful technology companies were implementing to generate more sales. But I wouldn’t have been staying true to my values.

It’s been a long-term approach but, ultimately, people want to support businesses that prioritise values and ethics over short-term gains.

What advice would you give business owners when it comes to privacy?

My advice to business owners is to make sure privacy is top of mind for all of your staff and all of your processes. Start with an audit of your existing tools and practices, then audit the data you store already on your customers and leads, hire a Data Protection Officer and start training staff on privacy best practices.

You’ll gain more trust and greater loyalty with your customers when you prioritise privacy, your business will be better positioned to comply with new regulations, so you’ll avoid fines, and you’ll be better protected from data breaches. It’s a long-term investment in the future of your business, and one that is well worth the effort.

Where do you see the company in the next five years?

In the next five years, we anticipate that Matomo will be used by 2 million websites or around 2.5% of the internet. As for the product itself, it will be more approachable, user-friendly, and feature-rich. For instance, we’ll be introducing more features to make compliance with global privacy regulations even easier for our users.

But for any developments that arise in the coming years, we’ll never lose sight of our community and early adopters. Along our growth journey, we’re ensuring that our community continues to feel supported and valued throughout our expansion. All too often, businesses forget about their community when they start to expand but that’s core to Matomo and will hold true in 2028 as well.