Google Analytics vs Adobe Analytics: The Battle to the Top Web Analytics Spot

Google Analytics vs Adobe Analytics: The Battle to the Top Web Analytics Spot

When you’re searching for web analytics help, you’ll typically see that each expert specializes in Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics. Not both. So when you’re starting, how do you decide on which tool is best for your business? Luckily, you’ve come to the right spot as we’ve dealt with both web analytics tools for all types of industries. 

Google and Adobe Analytics both have its pros and cons, and must I caveat neither are a one-size-fits-all. You’ll need to figure out which can bring you the most value in answering your biggest business questions. But don’t worry, we’ll lay it all out for you right here to get you started.

Core Web Analytics Features: Who Will Win?

Attribution Modeling

Intention: Find out how much each marketing channel affects the full user journey. Link all multiplatform and multichannel data all to each individual user. We’ll want to drill down the best combination of marketing channels that create a personalized user experience to grow traffic and sales. 

Winner: Google Analytics

With Google Analytics 360, you’re able to pull in both online and offline behavior and attribute it to individual users. Then, you can create your own attribution model that best fits your business.Think of it like the omni-channel journey where users are being tracked from any device and from any platform. Wherever they engage with your brand, all the data gets captured into Google Attribution 360 and linked to each individual user. So all Google-owned platforms are integrated in one place to give you a holistic view of your marketing successes.

Why Not Adobe Analytics?

In order to achieve close-to-similar capabilities of capturing the full marketing journey, you’ll need to expand your toolset to include Adobe Data Workbench and create more customized channel tracking. Though, Adobe Data Workbench is still limited to default attribution models like First Touch and Last Touch. 


Pathing

Intention: Discover the common paths that users take to achieve website goals ie make a purchase or subscribe. Pathing helps you identify the best website elements to create a successful user experience on your website. 

Winner: Adobe Analytics

Pathing is best shown within Adobe Workspace as they provide easy visualizations to help you find your answers. Either choose a certain event or page as the checkpoint and see what users did before and after. You can also apply segments to drill down on specific behaviors in just a few clicks. Once your path is created, you can continue to click through checkpoints to get a more detailed view.

Why Not Google Analytics?

Google Analytics offers some form of pathing through their “Flow” reports, but it’s not as flexible to use as Adobe Analytics. The visualization is a bit clunky to distinguish which paths are most popular and can only see events or pages in separate views. It’s also important to know that Google Analytics won’t show pathing of more than 100,000 sessions. 

Reporting Functionality

Intention: Have the ability to manipulate and view the data in different ways to perform ad-hoc analysis. The web analytics tool should have plugins or export options that pull data instantly and on a scheduled basis. 

Winner: Adobe Analytics

Adobe Analytics is the premier tool in allowing analysts to do extensive analyses within the user interface. Adobe offers Workspace, Report Builder, and Ad Hoc Analysis to pull any type of data all in one view without having to navigate through individual reports. Workspace and Ad Hoc Analysis relies on pivot and drag-and-drop functionality to give you flexibility in seeing anything you want in a report. Report Builder is an Excel plugin that uses the pivot functionality to automate data extraction, so you can manipulate the data however you’d like afterwards in Excel.

Why not Google Analytics?

Google Analytics doesn’t have a built-in easy-to-use reporting feature, but you can use Google Data Studio as an extension of your reporting. Data Studio also relies on drag-and-drop functionality, but is not as robust as Adobe Analytics with multiple segmentation, advanced calculated metrics, and more. The reporting feature within Google Analytics also is limited to two dimensions for one report, which you can aggregate into a dashboard afterwards.

User Interface Usability

Intention: Self-explanatory, but you want the user interface to be easy-to-use. The purpose of a web analytics tool, rather than using a data warehouse, is also to have data accessible to all types of teams.

Winner: Google Analytics

The Standard Google Analytics stays the same for all accounts, no matter what business you have. So once you learn the default reports, you can pretty much navigate through the reports if you jump businesses. Most of the reports are intuitive where they are labeled according to the content it shows, so anyone well-versed in digital will know where to go. 

Check out my guides for each Google Analytics report group:

  1. Real-Time
  2. Audience
  3. Acquisition
  4. Behavior
  5. Conversion

Why not Adobe Analytics?

Adobe Analytics provides customization for every business. There are out-of-the-box default reports to reference, but the custom reports are the ones used the most by each business. For that, it’s hard for anyone to find a specific data set without prior training and knowledge of the data infrastructure. 

Implementation

Intention: Find the tool that’s the easiest to integrate into business processes. It should take as few resources as possible to build a basic web analytics infrastructure. 

Winner: Google Analytics

Google Analytics implementation is standard for all businesses where you can choose from either a manual tagging process or an automated tag manager. Once you know the key elements of what a tag is, you can follow them for pretty much anything you want to track. The most amount of attributes one tag can contain are 3, so it keeps your measurement plan clean and simple. 

Check out the fundamentals of how to install Google Analytics on your website here.

Why Not Adobe Analytics? 

Because Adobe Analytics is highly customizable, each event or page can include up to 50 different characteristics or attributes. You can use an external tag manager tool to help with implementation, but the tricky part lies in how many attributes each checkpoint includes. A page can include up to 50 different props and eVars, so you must account for all of them when creating a new page. 

Cost

Intention: Well, this is assumed. Lowest cost for the most valuable features!

Winner: Google Analytics

Google Analytics offers a standard, very useful suite of web analytics tools for free. It’s great for any business that’s just starting or even with a small budget. It’ll get you what you need to understand your website activity and effects of your online marketing initiatives. 

Google Analytics 360 is also a more affordable option compared to Adobe Analytics. Google Analytics 360 starts at $150,000 a year, but can increase according to how much traffic you have and what other tools you want to include in your package.

Why Not Adobe Analytics? 

Adobe Analytics has no free version, and can cost more than $100,000 a year depending on how much hits you have. Even when you want to add additional tools, it can easily cost you up to the 7-figures, so usually large enterprises will use Adobe Analytics for comprehensive customer data integration.  


How to Pick the Right Web Analytics Tool For Your Business

Assess Your Status Quo

When you’re starting to focus resources on building your online brand, you’ll need to first figure out what you have now. 

What types of business tools is your team using? Start listing out the pros and cons of each tool and how each one provides value to your business. This could be an opportunity to weed out some unnecessary tools (and make room for budget), but also bring focus on what you’re missing, too. 

Now if you were to bring on a new web analytics tool, it’s going to take some resources to implement. Are there people in place that can help with the full integration of a new web analytics tool? You’re going to need to involve developers at some point, so keep that in mind.

Identify Your Biggest Business Questions

Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics, as we’ve discussed, are very strong in different areas. You’ll need to figure out what your team has been needing, and which tool can help you get those answers. To quickly recap, Google Analytics is the strongest in multi-channel attribution, while Adobe Analytics is the strongest in user pathing and reporting. Is your team more focused on how to get more users to your website or how to get users to reach a goal on your website? Whichever is the higher priority, go with that tool for easy accessibility. You can always complement your data by pushing it to your data warehouse to access the other priority. 

Budget

Last, but not least, budget is the most important factor. Adding in the costs for resources and the tool itself, which one can you afford as a business? What features bring you the most value and is it worth paying for them? 

Summary

So the battle between the top two web analytics tools goes to… I hate to say it. I can’t answer that for you unless we talk. But, I’ve given you a primer on the core features you should look into. Use this knowledge to make the best decision for your business. Happy hunting!

Any questions? Just contact us to help you further.