Google Analytics vs. Adobe Analytics — that’s a question that many businesses struggle with.
Both offer robust platforms, but which analytics tool is better when it comes to actually mining insights from visitor and customer data? And are there any additional options worth considering?
Let’s take a look at some of the key differences.
Google Analytics Pros & Cons
First, we should point out that there are really two versions of Google Analytics:
- Google Analytics, the free, self-serve web traffic reporting tool that anyone with a Google account can access easily.
- Google Analytics 360, a more powerful version of the free tool with some additional features for enterprises that costs upwards of $150,000 per year.
Google Analytics, the free tool, is actually quite powerful. With a wide variety of reports on user acquisition, user behavior, and conversions, there are more than enough data points to answer questions such as:
- “Is social media traffic increasing?”
- “Are unique visitors trending up or down?”
- “Which pages are driving the most conversions?”
- “Which marketing channel is giving us the best ROI?”
The free version of Google Analytics still offers plenty of features that let you dig far below the “page view” surface of your analytics data, including a variety of visualization options as well as custom reports and data export.
Another argument in favor of Google Analytics and Google Analytics 360 is that they might be easier for non-analysts to learn to work with.
Because it is free, Google Analytics is widely used, which means there are plenty of tutorials and help articles to show new users how to get what they need.
Additionally, because it’s part of Google’s ecosystem, Google Analytics integrates smoothly with tools like Google Ads and Google Data Studio. Implementation of Google Analytics in tandem with other Google products should be quite straightforward.
The biggest problem with Google Analytics is that you have to choose between incomplete data with the Free version or a very hefty price tag for Google Analytics 360.
The free version of the web analytics tool uses only a sample of your site’s real data to generate its number. If you get a lot of traffic, it can be a fairly small sample, which means you could be missing out on insights in the data that wasn’t included in the sample.
In other words, in the free version, if you look at data points like traffic, what you’re seeing is a calculated metric. GA takes a sample of your real traffic data and uses that to estimate your total traffic volume.
The paid version, on the other hand, doesn’t use sampling, so you get all of your data, and it’s available in real-time. However, it is quite expensive from the perspective of a startup or small business. (That said, it’s often still cheaper than Adobe Analytics.)
While Google Analytics 360 offers a deeper feature set than Google Analytics, its focus is still web analytics. It doesn’t have robust predictive analytics features, for example.
If you’re interested in machine learning, Google Analytics can work as part of that tech stack but don’t expect to be building models inside of GA itself.
Google Analytics does allow for a good amount of customization though, including the ability to add custom dimensions, custom metrics, and more. It also offers good support for more customized attribution modeling.
As an analysis workspace, Google Analytics also handles some kinds of data better than others. While its familiar interface is reasonably intuitive, many users complain that some of its more unique visualizations, such as user flow reporting, can be difficult to follow.
Additionally, particularly in the free version, some of the interface cannot be customized.
If you want, for example, a line chart visualization with equal space for the X and Y axis, you’ll have to export the data and make it yourself, because Google Analytics’s default chart won’t let you adjust axes.
Finally, if you want to dig into the behavior of individual users, Google Analytics probably isn’t the right tool. It’s designed for reporting data in aggregate, and it’s not really possible to track a specific user’s behavior in its report suite.
Adobe Analytics Pros & Cons
Adobe Analytics is an _enterprise website analytics tool _that’s comparable to Google Analytics 360.
Adobe's pricing model is a bit more complex. They have three different plans starting at $2,500 and go up to $25,000, mainly depending on the feature set and the number of integrations.
In addition to the plan costs, they also charge for data migration, training sessions, and varying amounts of data limits. These charges are anywhere from $500 up to over $25,000, which are additional fees.
The extra money can be worth it, however, depending on what you’re looking for. While Adobe Analytics doesn’t offer as much real-time data as Google Analytics 360 can, it does offer a more robust suite of advanced digital analytics tools.
It comes with built-in predictive analytics tools including anomaly detection, contribution analysis, and more.
Adobe Analytics is also better equipped than Google Analytics for helping you track specific user behavior. It stores user cookies for 15 years and makes it comparatively easy to dig into individual user data.
In addition to that, all customer data is stored for the entire customer lifetime — you essentially get a huge data warehouse, with no need to worry you’ll run out of storage.
Adobe Analytics’s visualizations of user paths are a bit more intuitive than Google Analytics, which makes it faster to analyze user behavior.
While the actual feature sets of Google Analytics vs Adobe Analytics don’t differ much in this area, the more intuitive layout of Adobe Analytics makes for a more enjoyable analysis workspace when you’re doing this sort of research.
Adobe Analytics also makes experimentation and custom report-building a bit easier. Again, most of the functionality is available in Google Analytics too (or Google Analytics combined with Google Data Studio), but Adobe’s web analytics tool just makes it easier.
Adobe Analytics may also be preferable for tracking conversions. Through its conversion variable, which can be implemented into your site to track different types of conversion, it’s possible to track and analyze 100 different conversion goals at the same time.
By allowing for the use of a custom variable to track conversions, Adobe Analytics provides more leeway for companies with less common business or conversion models. Adobe Analytics also supports other types of custom variables, including a custom traffic variable.
Of course, there are also some downsides to Adobe Analytics, even beyond the fact that it’s typically more expensive, and sometimes much more expensive (depending on your traffic volume and the features you require).
First, the fact that there’s no free version means that it’s far less widely used, so learning materials and third-party help are a lot less easy to find. (Adobe does promise fast responses from its in-house support team, though).
Additionally, Adobe’s attribution model options are limited, even if you combine Adobe Analytics with Adobe Data Workbench.
If you’re doing something traditional like first-touch or last-touch, Adobe will work fine, but Google makes doing your own attribution modeling easier.
Finally, while Adobe Analytics is extremely customizable, this has the downside of making implementation a challenge. Tag management will be key, and a third-party tag manager is often necessary. Google Tag Manager, which is widely used, does work with Adobe Analytics.
Woopra Pros & Cons
While Google Analytics vs Adobe Analytics is a common topic of debate in the world of digital marketing, those are far from the only analytics solution.
As marketing analytics matures and the marketing cloud expands, there is room for digital analytics tools to take a more targeted approach.
Woopra is a marketing analytics platform that’s focused squarely on one thing: helping you better understand your users. It’s built for digging into user behavior analytics, funnel analytics, and product analytics to help you better visualize your customer journeys.
While it doesn’t offer the breadth of either Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics in terms of miles-long feature lists, it does make it easier to analyze user-specific data and do things such as segment users by behavior patterns or compare churn rate vs. retention rate.
It can also generate user journey reports and maps, dig deep into cohort analyses, and find and flag trends related to product analytics that show how users are engaging with your product over time.
One major advantage of Woopra is its pricing model, which will be much friendlier to startups, small businesses, and medium-sized enterprises who aren’t ready to dump six or seven figures into a digital analytics tool right off the bat.
Like Google Analytics, Woopra is available for free, albeit with limitations on things such as the number of user actions recorded each month, and the amount of time user data is stored. Beyond the free tier, it offers several paid tiers with prices that rise as features are added.
With the paid versions of Woopra, you can have enterprise-level functionality at a fraction of the cost compared to Google 360 or Adobe Analytics.
There's no hidden fee, and training on the product is included. Woopra's price is strictly based on action count. An action is essentially an event tracked in Woopra, such as page views, downloads, property changes, and any custom actions you configure. Simple, straightforward pricing.
With additional access to historical data in SQL database and CRM data, Woopra's integrations can enrich your data to help make the best data-driven decisions.
Woopra integrates with many popular third-party tools and data sources, including mail providers like Mailchimp, ad platforms such as Google Ads and Facebook, databases such as MySQL, Postgres, Snowflake, and much more.
B2B customers love Woopra for how it integrates with Marketo, Hubspot and Salesforce, enabling analytics and tracking for the complete customer journey.
These engagements also allow for automated workflows — you can use user actions and other triggers to automate marketing emails, report generation, Slack notifications, and much more.
Finally, the analysis workspace in Woopra may be more intuitive for most users. Because it’s not saddled by legacy design or by the need to display an interface that works for hundreds and hundreds of features, it’s got a cleaner, more modern look.
In a discussion of Google Analytics vs Adobe Analytics, the most obvious downside of tools such as Woopra is that they don’t offer the lengthy feature lists that Google and Adobe can.
They also don’t have first-party tools such as Google Ads under their umbrella, meaning that your marketing tech stack is likely to be more varied. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, of course, but it can sometimes add some complexity to implementation.
Of course, this doesn’t have to be an either-or discussion. Woopra can use Google Analytics data, getting the web reporting power of the free Google tool and then adding Woopra’s powerful customer analytics features on top of it.
Conclusion — Which Analytics Tool Is Best?
When it comes to a digital marketing analytics solution, there’s no way to pick a single winner. All of the options we’ve discussed have their place.
Google Analytics (the free version) is probably the best option for hobby projects or heavily bootstrapped startups that are looking for an analytics platform that doesn’t cost them anything.
It’s powerful enough to be helpful, and although it does have some major shortcomings, it’s hard to complain when the price is free forever.
Woopra is probably the best option for startups, SMEs, and other companies that don’t need a gigantic buffet of analytics options.
If you’re laser-focused on understanding your customers, Woopra gives you the tools you need to do that at a price that’s quite reasonable because you don’t have to pay for a bunch of other tools you won’t use.
Google Analytics 360 is probably the best choice for large enterprise companies that need a data tracking, data analysis, and reporting tool that allows lots of customization and enough features to please the hundreds of different people who’ll be using this tool across the company.
Adobe Analytics is probably the best choice for large enterprise companies with an interest in predictive analytics and machine learning and a desire for predictive features that are parceled together with their analytics tool.
It’s also preferable for companies with particularly complex, multi-step conversion processes since it allows for the tracking of more conversion goals than Google Analytics.
Ultimately, the winner of the Google Analytics vs. Adobe Analytics debate depends entirely on what your company needs. The best analytics solution for you might not be either one of them!