Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics are the two giants of the marketing analytics world.
With rising concerns over GDPR compliance, the removal of third-party cookies and other marketing challenges (such as the lingering impact of iOS 14.5), many marketers are beginning to take a serious look at their existing set up – and assess if what they have is the best fit for them.
So, in this blog, we’ll take a deep dive into the two most popular marketing analytics tools and compare them to help you understand if either is the best fit for you.
Keep reading to learn:
- What is Google Analytics?
- What is Adobe Analytics?
- Adobe Analytics vs Google Analytics
- 3 things to consider when looking for an analytics tool
- Corvidae: an Adobe and Google Analytics alternative
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics (GA) is an analytics tool that enables you to track and analyse the user interactions and engagement of visitors on your websites and mobile apps.
By reporting and analysing audience and trend data it can be used to monitor and develop the performance of your marketing by analysing the effectiveness of customer acquisition activity, customer behaviour and engagement and conversion metrics.
GA is part of a broader Google Marketing platform ecosystem that includes other products, including:
- Google Ads
- Google Tag Manager
- Google Search Console
If you are thinking about using GA as your analytics tool it is likely that you are going to be considering one of two packages on offer:
- Google Analytics (GA4) – this is the free to use version of Google Analytics. Historically users of GA would have used the Universal Analytics (UA) version but concerns around the illegality of the solutions – and a lack of compliance with GDPR – caused Google to move users across to newer version, GA4, in May 2023.
For existing users of GA the transition wasn’t a painless one, with a lack of data portability being just one of the issues they encountered. But despite it being free to use, GA4 is actually a relatively powerful tool in its own right.
- Google Analytics 360 (GA 360) – is the paid-for enterprise version of Google Analytics and provides advanced features and higher-level thresholds on usage etc. If you are making a comparison with Adobe Analytics it is likely that you would be looking at GA360 as a closer match for comparison purposes.
What is Adobe Analytics?
Adobe Analytics is a powerful web and marketing analytics platform which is part of the Adobe Experience Cloud suite of products (formerly Adobe Marketing Cloud).
It enables you to mix and match and analyse data from any point right across the digital journey.
By bringing data together under one roof, it enables you to get real-time insights based on a holistic view of your target customer – providing a clear picture of website traffic, customer journeys and the effectiveness of your paid and other acquisition channels.
It provides powerful integration with other tools in the Adobe Experience Cloud stable which includes a fairly large and complex list from CDP capabilities to Ecommerce functionality.
Adobe Analytics vs Google Analytics
A side-by-side comparison
So, how do they compare?
One of the easiest ways to show this is the direct comparison we have laid out below, which considers some of the key aspects that are likely to be front and centre as you go through your decision-making process.
|Google Analytics 4||GA360||Adobe Analytics|
|Cost||Free||upwards of $150,000 per year||No free plan. 3 plans starting at $2,500 and go up to $25,000, mainly depending on the feature set and the number of integrations, data migration requirements etc|
|Ease of implementation||Relatively easy to get started and expand out, particularly if you are using other Google Ecosystem apps||More complex implementation that GA4||Complex implementation. Experienced consultants and dedicated resource needed to implement|
|Ease of use and interface||Easier for non- expert analytics team members to use and because GA is widely used there is a lot of free to use third-party content that you can leverage in your learning and set up process||Easier for non- expert analytics team members to use although as you dig into some of the more complicated GA360 set up it does need more analytics knowledge||An Enterprise level solution that potentially makes the interface a little more difficult to use and ‘technical’. And is much less widely used which means that third-party help content is thinner on the ground – and documentation is less accessible|
|Tracking||Simple to set up and use||Potentially more complex to configure than GA4||Complex to configure but offers granular flexibility|
|Attribution model||Offers a choice of multiple attribution models and the potential to select primary and second dimensions||Offers a choice of multiple attribution models and the potential to select primary and second dimensions||Multiple attribution model choices but the choice of additional dimensions is limited|
|Reporting||Out of the box reporting is easy to get up and running with some customisation||Advanced level reporting is possible with customisation||Advanced level reporting is possible with customisation|
|Visualisation||Third party tool is required||Third party tool is required||Integrated visualisation tool|
|eCommerce integration||Has dedicated Ecommerce tracking capability built into the monetisation feature in the Lifecycle Area||Has dedicated Ecommerce tracking capability built-in to the monetisation feature in the Lifecycle Area||Integrating Adobe Commerce and Adobe Analytics provides a unified view of customer ecommerce interactions|
|Integrations||Seamlessly integrates with the tools in the wider Google tech stack which includes Google Ads, Search Ads, Display & Video 360, Campaign Manager, Data Studio etc.|
However, as you begin to grow the free version of GA is going to place limits on your ability to scale
|Seamlessly integrates with the tools in the wider Google tech stack which includes Google Ads, Search Ads, Display & Video 360, Campaign Manager, Data Studio etc.||Adobe Analytics provides end to end integration with a wide range of business applications in the Adobe Experience Cloud solution set.|
However, it also offers integration with over 200 3rd party applications via the Adobe Exchange Library of Apps, Extensions and plugins.
|Data retention||Has an upper limit of 14 months (default is set to 2 months) which may have implications if you are trying to look back at annual event comparison data (for example, Black Friday sales data over a number of years)||50 months||Default retention is 25 months (with additional costs for extending this up to 10 years and 1 month)|
|Number of user accounts||100 maximum||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Account structure||There is a ceiling in terms of the depth of structure you can create within your GA4 account which sets an upper limit on data control and the depth of insights you get||Provides much more flexibility than GA4 in terms of the ability to create more customized properties||Offers a high degree of flexibility around customisation to meet very specific use cases in specific industries|
|Data sampling||Has a ceiling of 10 million events as a data sampling threshold and limitations in custom dimensions audiences which might constrain you and mean you are working with incomplete data||The ceilings inherent in GA4 are removed with data sampling thresholds of up to 1 billion events||There are data sampling limits in some reports which strikes the balance between computational limits and analytics requirements|
|Customer support||Self-service support from GA plus community support||Access to a dedicated team of customer support specialists via chat and email based on priority system||Dedicated support via email, chat, call centre and knowledge base|
3 things to consider when looking for an analytics tool
Whatever way you decide to go, here are three things to bear in mind as you make your assessment.
1. Steer clear of solutions that rely on cookies
First up it is worth looking at cookieless solutions as you narrow down your analytics choices.
Products like Google Analytics and Adobe have historically relied on cookies to collect data and track customer journeys.
And, despite the fact that GA are deprecating third-party cookies, this doesn’t solve the underlying issue of the use of first-party cookies to collect data.
The issue is that cookies do a poor job of tracking multi-channel, multi-device journeys since as soon as the user switches devices the cookie splits the journey into two separate paths.
Which has serious implications for overinflated reporting, undervalued upper funnel activity and a knock-on effect on skewed and wasted marketing spend.
2. Remove AdTech bias from your analytics view
However, the issue of the poor tracking job that cookies do above is only one aspect of concern for marketers.
The impact of AdTech bias is also something that is keeping many of them awake at night with 80% indicating that they have real concerns of bias around reporting.
The issue has its root in the fact that big channel players like Google and Facebook are effectively marking their own homework via their own channel reporting.
And marketers are increasingly struggling to reconcile what they are being show in AdTech reporting with their own analytics data.
Take the example below where a client asked us to validate the figures they were getting from Facebook analytics around attributed revenue.
In this case, not only were Facebook reporting 68% more revenue than was properly attributed by Corvidae, but an incredible 34% of spend was not optimal and Corvidae was able to identify that re-allocating it would generate an additional £1.6m.
3. Stay on the right side of the compliance equation
We alluded to it earlier, but it is worth reiterating here, Google Analytics – which is one of the most widely used analytics packages on the market – has been ruled as non-GDPR compliant across Europe.
This is due to concerns about the inability of Google to stop US law enforcement agencies from gaining access to data for European instances of GA.
So, a north star in your analytics search is to ensure that you can compliantly track users and ensure that your solution doesn’t store any PII that might have issues associated with it.
Corvidae: an Adobe and Google Analytics alternative
It is 100% cookieless which avoids the issues of broken user journeys which are inherent in cookie-based solutions and:
- uses AI and machine learning to rebuild your broken cookie data
- removes the impacts of AdTech bias and data silos by analysing data right across the complexity of the customer journey
- boosts the accuracy of your marketing analytics from 20% to +95% is GDPR compliant ‘out of the box’