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


The free model of Google Analytics, Common Analytics, is probably the most extensively used internet analytics resolution. The platform is so standard that it dominates 86% market share, making Google the market chief. However though many think about Google Analytics the usual, there are causes to ask if it’s the excellent selection to your advertising 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 look like a pure development, entrepreneurs shouldn’t be fooled.

The educational curve will probably be steep—Google Analytics 4 is nearly a completely new platform and nonetheless growing. On prime of that, Google Analytics dangers dropping the customers’ belief attributable to 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 appropriately: predictable and sustainable. In any case, entrepreneurs and analysts need to course of user-level information whereas constructing belief with their guests.

On this article, we are going to dive into the problems with Google Analytics 4 from a consumer perspective and from a privateness and compliance standpoint, so you may make an knowledgeable determination earlier than switching platforms.

Person perspective: Google Analytics 4 is a step within the flawed path

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

From a consumer 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 isn’t any easy approach to migrate your information

 Migration is a posh course of and must 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 is not going to be transferred to the brand new platform.

The problem solely grows with the group’s dimension—you may have a whole bunch of tags to maneuver. So, if entrepreneurs should begin gathering information from scratch, they may as nicely change to a brand new analytic software program.

Not-so-intuitive consumer interface

Probably the most distinguished problem entrepreneurs and analysts will doubtless 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 sorts are important to how Common Analytic properties deal with all stats. Hit sorts embody web page hits, occasion hits, eCommerce hits, and social interplay hits.

GA4 doesn’t have any idea of a success sort like Common Analytics makes use of. Every little thing in Google Analytics 4 is categorized as an “occasion.” This can be a large distinction.

To ensure that entrepreneurs to have success on the brand new platform, they should 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 software to dive deeper into their information. It offers the choice to pivot or phase this information to isolate a selected viewers or visitors for deeper evaluation.

GA4 certainly permits for customized dimensions to phase 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 personalized, these groupings enable entrepreneurs to trace the efficiency of these channels effectively.

Not like Common Analytics, GA4 doesn’t let you create customized channel groupings within the new interface. As a substitute, entrepreneurs will solely be capable to use their default channel groupings.

Motivations behind the quick deadline

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

  1. Google could have been disillusioned with the velocity of adoption for Google Analytics 4 and determined to behave decisively.
  2. Google circumventing a few of 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 change, entrepreneurs might want to resolve whether or not they need to begin adjusting to Google Analytics 4 or begin afresh with a brand new platform.

Privateness and compliance: Google Analytics 4 has an extended approach to go

If an organization operates in a number of international locations, advertising 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 continually altering and tight safety laws solely complicate issues additional. Studying the tea leaves, we imagine GA4 is not going to final lengthy in Europe. Right here’s why:

Google Analytics violates European legislation

Google makes it tough to gather information according to the Basic Information Safety Regulation (GDPR), which goals to revive management of private 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 current determination of the Austrian Information Safety Authority (DSB), states that the usage of 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 critical technological adjustments to be GDPR-compliant.

There isn’t any clear guideline the place the information is linked by Google Analytics

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

Newly launched options in GA4 partially handle this concern by permitting the primary a part of information assortment (and anonymization) on European servers. Nevertheless, information can, and most probably will, be despatched to the U.S.

 The way forward for advertising requires customers’ consent

Whether or not or not it’s the information high quality, software limitations, lack of privacy-friendly options, or transparency in dealing with information, we imagine entrepreneurs will doubtless think about switching platforms.

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

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

Nonetheless undecided? Take a look at our article on addressing the considerations about switching to an alternate analytics resolution and the analytic mindset you need to be taking: Switching from Google Analytics—right here’s what you must know.



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