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Google Analytics 4: drawbacks and limitations—is it value sticking round?


The free model of Google Analytics, Common Analytics, is probably the most broadly used net analytics resolution. The platform is so widespread that it dominates 86% market share, making Google the market chief. However regardless that many contemplate Google Analytics the usual, there are causes to ask if it’s the excellent alternative on your advertising and marketing setup—particularly since Google introduced the sundown of Common Analytics.

On July 1, 2023, Common Analytics properties will cease processing new hits, forcing customers to change to its successor, Google Analytics 4. Whereas this will likely seem to be a pure development, entrepreneurs shouldn’t be fooled.

The training curve might be steep—Google Analytics 4 is sort of a completely new platform and nonetheless growing. On prime of that, Google Analytics dangers dropping the customers’ belief as a result of grey areas across the likes of privateness and information possession.

With a privacy-focused future forward, now could be the time to hunt alternate options that higher steadiness information assortment with compliance. With a correct analytics platform, entrepreneurs make your information assortment correctly: predictable and sustainable. In spite of everything, entrepreneurs and analysts wish to course of user-level information whereas constructing belief with their guests.

On this article, we’ll dive into the problems with Google Analytics 4 from a person perspective and from a privateness and compliance standpoint, so you can also make an knowledgeable determination earlier than switching platforms.

Consumer perspective: Google Analytics 4 is a step within the fallacious course

 Google Analytics 4 introduces an altered reporting and measurement expertise that’s neither properly understood nor broadly accepted by the advertising and marketing neighborhood.

From a person expertise perspective, many discover GA4 difficult to navigate. However past that, there are a number of challenges with the characteristic units. Allow us to dig deeper into these limitations: 

There is no such thing as a easy technique to migrate your information

 Migration is a fancy course of and ought to be deliberate rigorously. Sadly, Google Analytics 4 doesn’t make it any simpler. With out information or tag migration, all historic information from Common Analytics won’t be transferred to the brand new platform.

The problem solely grows with the group’s measurement—you possibly can have a whole lot of tags to maneuver. So, if entrepreneurs should begin accumulating information from scratch, they may as properly swap to a brand new analytic software program.

Not-so-intuitive person interface

Probably the most outstanding problem entrepreneurs and analysts will possible encounter with Google Analytics 4 is the unfamiliarity with the brand new interface.

A brand new dashboard has a number of instantly obvious variations from what entrepreneurs are used to working. Hit varieties are important to how Common Analytic properties deal with all stats. Hit varieties embody web page hits, occasion hits, eCommerce hits, and social interplay hits.

GA4 doesn’t have any idea of a success kind like Common Analytics makes use of. All the things in Google Analytics 4 is categorized as an “occasion.” This can be a enormous distinction.

To ensure that entrepreneurs to have success on the brand new platform, they must adapt shortly to take care of the identical momentum that they had with this earlier platform.

Limits on customized dimensions

A customized dimension is an attribute that entrepreneurs can configure of their analytics instrument to dive deeper into their information. It provides the choice to pivot or section this information to isolate a particular viewers or site visitors for deeper evaluation.

GA4 certainly permits for customized dimensions to section stories, however there’s a strict restrict. You possibly can solely have as much as 25 user-scoped customized dimensions and as much as 50 event-scoped customized dimensions per property.

Lack of customized channel grouping

Channel groupings are rule-based groupings of selling channels. When custom-made, these groupings enable entrepreneurs to trace the efficiency of these channels effectively.

In contrast to Common Analytics, GA4 doesn’t let you create customized channel groupings within the new interface. As an alternative, entrepreneurs will solely be capable of use their default channel groupings.

Motivations behind the quick deadline

 The deadline Google has left the analytics neighborhood to behave is startling. There are numerous speculations as to why this could be, together with:

  1. Google could have been disenchanted with the velocity of adoption for Google Analytics 4 and determined to behave decisively.
  2. Google circumventing among the authorized warmth that Common Analytics is dealing with within the EU.
  3. Google wanting to chop prices and rid itself of technical debt related to hundreds of internet sites with legacy options put in. Since GA4 is designed to assist Google’s promoting community, it ensures extra income than the competitors.

Now there’s a concrete deadline to make the swap, entrepreneurs might want to resolve whether or not they wish to begin adjusting to Google Analytics 4 or begin afresh with a brand new platform.

Privateness and compliance: Google Analytics 4 has a protracted technique to go

If an organization operates in a number of nations, advertising and marketing groups will want to pay attention to the quite a few challenges ensuing from the obligations of each native information privateness legal guidelines and worldwide laws.

Information safety laws always altering and tight safety laws solely complicate issues additional. Studying the tea leaves, we consider GA4 won’t final lengthy in Europe. Right here’s why:

Google Analytics violates European regulation

Google makes it troublesome to gather information according to the Common Information Safety Regulation (GDPR), which goals to revive management of non-public information to customers and clients. The regulation requires you to acquire express consent when processing private information. Failure to adjust to this provision may end up in hefty fines and even prosecution.

The latest determination of the Austrian Information Safety Authority (DSB), states that using Google Analytics constitutes a violation of GDPR. Because of this organizations engaged in gathering, storing, and processing information about EU residents have to regulate their insurance policies and introduce severe technological modifications to be GDPR-compliant.

There is no such thing as a clear guideline the place the info is related by way of Google Analytics

A Google information implies information is transferred to the closest Google Analytics server hub. Nonetheless, the info could also be saved in a geographic location that doesn’t have ample privateness safety to the EU.

Newly launched options in GA4 partially deal with this concern by permitting the primary a part of information assortment (and anonymization) on European servers. Nonetheless, information can, and almost certainly will, be despatched to the U.S.

 The way forward for advertising and marketing requires customers’ consent

Whether or not it’s the info high quality, instrument limitations, lack of privacy-friendly options, or transparency in dealing with information, we consider entrepreneurs will possible contemplate switching platforms.

Piwik PRO excluds the privateness and compliance points related to Google Analytics, permitting entrepreneurs to gather information predictably and sustainably. The person interface and have units are much like Common Analytics, so entrepreneurs and analysts really feel at dwelling when switching to our platform.

If you want to be taught extra about Google Analytics alternate options or get extra data on the Piwik PRO Analytics Suite, go to piwik.professional.

Nonetheless undecided? Try our article on addressing the issues about switching to another analytics resolution and the analytic mindset you have to be taking: Switching from Google Analytics—right here’s what it’s essential know.

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