How important are session analytics?

I'm thinking of dumping Google Analytics on all of my sites and instead using Matomo, which can be self-hosted

The data obtained isn't quite as useful, but should be good enough for what I need, at least for now.

And it respects a users privacy considerably more than GA does.

The main sacrifice is in losing session analytics, so I can't see a users flow throughout the site, though I'm not sure how important it is to understand this anyway.

Unless I set a cookie, I'm also sacrificing knowing whether or not a visitor is returning or unique, this metric is perhaps more of a sacrifice than the flow, but I'm still not convinced its the be-all and end-all.

I think it's worth it though, I feel like we feed far too much data to the likes of Google, and I'd like to do my bit to protect my users from this.

What do you think?

Good idea :)! I've removed all Google stuff from and so far I don't miss it. I do use Amplitude for some key metrics but I'm thinking about tracking events myself and do aggregation queries to get some insights.

I've always avoided Google Analytics from sheer paranoia they're going to eat my affiliate sites.
I've not looked at Matomo/piwik in years but I'd be very surprised if session analytics isn't in there somewhere, its just a confusing UI. But I've been very happy with for small websites, which will let you see individual user's paths (though not in aggregate), track goals, campaigns etc, and I've also been playing more with Mixpanel on larger event driven sites. I think we need more options, and hopefully this backlash will lead to more choice, but for now I'm pretty happy with one simple option and one that is above my needs.