When you start searching for a web analytics tool for your business, there are two seemingly similar options you’ll come across: Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics.
It may seem like these two tools are capable of tracking the same metrics and giving you the same results at first glance. But from a broader perspective, Google and Adobe Analytics have some evident differences, and your business will be better off when you choose the right analytics tool.
Today, we will compare web analytics tools by Google and Adobe and determine which one does better in key functionalities like web tracking, e-commerce tracking, attribution modeling, and reporting.
Google Analytics overview
Google Analytics is currently the most popular web analytics tool used by several websites to understand trends and patterns in user interactions.
There are two versions of Google Analytics: A standard free version that offers basic analytics capabilities and Google Analytics 360, which has advanced data analytics capabilities and offers much deeper data insights. The standard version is generally used by smaller websites, while Google Analytics 360 is used by large businesses and enterprises.
We are not going to compare Google Analytics vs. Google Analytics 360 since the paid version offers significantly better data analysis and associated functionalities. We will compare Adobe Analytics with Google Analytics 360 since both these tools have similar features and target the same kind of businesses.
Adobe Analytics overview
Adobe Analytics platform is a component of Adobe Experience Cloud, Adobe’s collection of products and services designed to help businesses manage customer experience. It helps marketers segment, mix, and match data from anywhere in the customer journey.
Adobe doesn’t offer a free version of Adobe Analytics but does offer a demo of the product for prospective customers. It is primarily aimed at enterprises, and you can go for their select, prime, or ultimate package depending on your data analytics needs.
Analytics tools comparison: Google Analytics vs. Adobe Analytics
1. Website tracking and analysis
If you have a simple website and your primary focus is on website traffic, Google Analytics might be the right option for you.
Being a Google product, you can integrate it quickly and seamlessly with other traffic generation and reporting tools like Google Ads and Google Search Console. Integration with these tools is a one-time process with Google Analytics, and data will flow between these tools until you remove the integration.
On the other hand, Adobe Analytics integration with Google Ads is a little time-consuming, and you need to import your Google Search Console data to Adobe Analytics manually. In fact, Google has deprecated third-party cookie integrations, so you need to set up a Google Customer Match integration. You also need to contact Google to put Adobe web analytics on the list of allowed data providers.
When it comes to traffic analysis, it’s a tie between the two since both these tools let you segment, compare, and analyze data in depth. The only difference here is that you can analyze all your organic, paid, and referral traffic seamlessly with Google Analytics, while you have to import data frequently to Adobe Analytics.
Google Analytics: 9/10
Adobe Analytics: 7.5/10
2. Ecommerce tracking
E-commerce websites need robust structured reporting to make the most out of data. And here, Adobe’s tracking mechanism works better than Google Analytics.
Segmentation is a critical process that helps you pinpoint potential customers and retarget them with more personalized and convincing campaigns. Adobe Analytics lets you closely track your marketing campaigns and performances, recognize different types of data segments, and get specific information on individual visitors. The highly flexible segmentation capabilities and individual event tracking help in identifying potential customers and remarketing your product to them.
Google Analytics is not as good as Adobe Analytics for e-commerce tracking because of the lack of advanced tracking and segmentation features. Google Analytics is not bad here and may be able to meet your needs; it’s just that Adobe Analytics is too good compared to Google Analytics. And too good is perfect for e-commerce growth.
Google Analytics: 7/10
Adobe Analytics: 9/10
3. Attribution modeling
An attribution model provides credit points to each customer touch point throughout the customer journey. It helps marketers measure the effect of each touchpoint and improve their marketing strategy accordingly.
Google Analytics has an attribution model and multi-channel funnels that can capture a full marketing journey. For example, a potential customer may see your ad on social media and check your website later to purchase the product. Google Analytics attribution model can capture such conversion pathways.
Adobe Analytics’ attribution model lacks advanced tracking; it is still limited to First Touch and Last Touch attribution models. The lack of an advanced attribution model can result in undermining the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns over different channels.
Google Analytics: 9.5/10
Adobe Analytics: 6.5/10
4. Pathing analysis
Google Analytics offers ‘Previous Page Path’ and ‘Next Page Path’ options to analyze the user path, but it’s not really up to the mark as it does not display the free flow for users. It also doesn’t support custom dimensions in path reports, so the pathing analysis feature in Google Analytics lacks a bit.
Another way to get the user path in Google Analytics is to create a custom funnel where you can see the drop-offs. But this option also doesn’t display the free flow for users. The pathing reports and visualizations also feel a little clunky, and it’s difficult to understand the different paths taken by users on the website.
Adobe Analytics, on the other hand, has a pretty good pathing analysis feature. The visualization and pathing reports are so easy to understand compared to Google Analytics. When you select a page or an event, the pathing report will show you all details about what users have done before and after it. Clicking on any touchpoint will expand the details even further.
Also, to get more information about a particular path, you can use the PathFinder tool in the Report Builder plugin. Once you specify the page path that begins with a certain page or event, ends with a certain page or event, and contains a specific page or event, the Report Builder will export all data into a spreadsheet.
Google Analytics: 5.5/10
Adobe Analytics: 9.5/10
The Google Analytics report builder does not have the drag-and-drop feature, making it difficult to share marketing reports with stakeholders. However, Google Data Studio supports drag-and-drop and connects well with Google Analytics and other data sources. So you can build reports quickly; you just have to use Google Data Studio for it.
Adobe Analytics reporting functionality is pretty robust and supports drag-and-drop. There’s also a plugin for MS Excel called Adobe Analytics Report Builder, so sharing marketing reports is absolutely effortless.
Google Analytics: 8.5/10
Adobe Analytics: 9/10
6. Data storage
From a business perspective, having access to data for longer periods of time is extremely important to understand how user behaviors have changed over time. It also helps you use predictive analytics to forecast future trends. In this case, Adobe Analytics has a clear advantage over Google Analytics.
The standard version of Google Analytics stores data for up to 14 months, while Google Analytics 360 stores data for up to 50 months, depending on your preferences. This can be a significant drawback, especially for businesses with longer customer life cycles and high-value products.
In contrast, Adobe Analytics provides customer lifetime data storage, helping you get data-backed insights into how your marketing campaigns have advanced over the years and what you should keep an eye on for future success.
Google Analytics: 5/10
Adobe Analytics: 10/10
As mentioned earlier, Google Analytics integrates seamlessly with other Google products like Google Search Console, Google Ads, Google AdSense, and even Google Play. When it comes to integration with third-party tools and bringing in third-party data, Google Analytics 360 lacks a bit.
You may still be able to integrate third-party tools with Google’s measurement protocol API, but it can be a very time-consuming process.
At the same time, Adobe Analytics cannot be integrated easily with most Google products but has built-in data connectors for both Adobe’s tools and other third-party tools. Integration capabilities of these tools come down to whether you’re using Google’s tools or other third-party tools.
Google Analytics: 6/10
Adobe Analytics: 8.5/10
Google Analytics interface has remained more or less the same over the last ten years, even though they’ve added several functionalities in this period. Even the most complex features are pretty easy to use and can be done quickly.
Whether it is Google Analytics tracking code implementation, setting up goal tracking, or integrating with other Google products, command over programming is not needed.
Adobe Analytics tool is comparatively harder to use because of its flexibility and customizability. It often needs the services of an expert professional with programming knowledge to plan, execute, and customize tracking in Adobe Analytics to its full potential.
Google Analytics: 9.5/10
Adobe Analytics: 7/10
Google Analytics offers a free version for websites and businesses that receive up to 10 million hits per month. It does lack several advanced features found in Google Analytics 360, but for small to medium businesses, the free version may be just enough.
For example, goals are limited to 20 per reporting view in the standard version of Google Analytics. To track more than 20 goals, you need to create an additional view for your GA property or edit an existing one. Also, you can only set up to 20 custom dimensions, and a dimension once created cannot be deleted. It can only be disabled.
This may not be an issue for smaller websites, but this can be a very problematic limitation for large business websites and e-commerce websites. Nevertheless, Google Analytics standard offers it for free, and you need to pay only when you actually need such features, while you’ll have to pay for Adobe Analytics even if you do not receive much traffic.
Google Analytics 360 pricing usually starts at $150,000 per year, and it removes most limitations of the Google Analytics standard version. Adobe Analytics pricing may start at $100,000 per year depending on the number of hits you have in a given year, and it does not offer a free version at all.
Google Analytics: 8/10
Adobe Analytics: 6/10
Google Analytics vs. Adobe Analytics: Summary
Google Analytics pros
– Better web tracking
– Seamless integration with Google products
– Advanced attribution modeling
– More user-friendly
Adobe Analytics pros
– Easily integrates with third-party data sources
– Lifetime data storage
– Advanced e-commerce tracking
– Highly flexible and customizable