Sudden spike in overall traffic in Matomo, coinciding with drop in traffic in Google Analytics

Hi everyone, I hope you’re all doing well. I’m encountering a very strange issue surrounding traffic data that I’ve not encountered before and I was hoping someone here may be able to help.

I started using Matomo a couple of months ago, installed via Google Tag Manager. It’s worked great, and the traffic has largely squared up nicely with the data in Google Analytics (we have both Universal Analytics and GA4 running), which is also installed via Google Tag Manager. GA typically recorded 5-10% more visitors a day, but I put this down to just a general anomaly.

However, starting last Friday, our traffic in in GA dropped significantly (although not to 0 - it’s still live and collected some data, just not to levels it was). I’ve checked everything I can think of that could usually show what’s happened - the traffic drop is across all acquisition channels (so not a drop in SEO visibility or paid traffic spend), all devices, all geo locations, all pages (we’ve not got a subdomain where the tracking code has been accidentally removed, for example), and user metric levels (users, sessions and pageviews all affected). As far as I know, nothing new has been rolled out to the site and nothing has changed significantly.

The only possible clue I have is that around the time the traffic drop began, our Matomo traffic increased significantly. I have been through our visitor logs and there’s no evidence of bot traffic. Just as with GA, there’s no clear hint why the traffic has increased - traffic is equally spread across pages, devices, locations, acquisition channels.

Any ideas on what could possibly be happening here would be hugely appreciated!