“GA4 is Garbage”: Common Gripes and GA4 Alternatives for Website Analytics

Hey there, fellow digital trailblazers! If you've been in the marketing game for a while, chances are you've heard the rumblings about Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

We get it – the frustrations and gripes are real. But fear not, because we’re here to shed light on the matter and offer some genius alternatives that will have you back in the driver’s seat of your analytics game in no time. 

In this blog, we’ll tackle the burning questions: What’s got marketers up in arms about GA4, and why is reliable website analytics so crucial for your marketing success? We’ll take you on a journey through the common gripes, why they matter, and then present a stellar lineup of alternatives. 

By the time you’re done reading, you’ll better understand your options so you can make an informed decision best suited to your marketing efforts. Let’s dive in! 

Common Gripes About Google Analytics 4

Before we discuss alternative tools, it’s essential to understand why GA4 has been causing headaches for marketers like you. One of the key things to keep in mind is that Universal Analytics (UA) and GA4 speak different languages when it comes to metrics. So, making the switch involves not just a tool change, but a mindset shift and a bit of a learning curve. 

Now, let’s address the top four complaints that marketers have been sharing:

1. Data Tracking Challenges

Reporting Lag

In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, waiting 12-24 hours for reports can feel like an eternity. The shift from real-time analysis in UA to delayed reporting in GA4 has been a point of contention for many.

Apples to Oranges Comparisons

GA4 measures data in a way that makes year-over-year (YOY) comparisons a bit tricky. If you didn’t have GA4 up and running by July 1, 2022, your YOY comparisons won’t be apples to apples. This led many companies to put off the transition, fearing skewed insights. 

2. Reporting Limitations

Recreating Reports

Marketers have found it challenging to recreate the reports they relied on with UA. The transition has meant more work and often, a sense of frustration about not seeing familiar events or goals in their reports. 

3. User Experience Issues

Dropdown Dilemmas

Long dropdown lists can make finding what you need feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. Some marketers have reported their workflow is taking longer, and they are understandably frustrated.

Single-Selection Struggles

The limitation of only being able to select one option at a time when building reports, for example, makes comparing multiple values a cumbersome task. This can be a significant roadblock for marketers accustomed to swift, multi-value selections.

Hunting for Information

In GA4, some of the information that used to be easily accessible at the top level of UA now requires a bit more digging. This change has led to a less streamlined user experience.

Transition Troubles

Even for seasoned marketers who started using GA4 before the official transition, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. The transition has come with its fair share of bumps, leading to a somewhat clunky feel and a less intuitive interface compared to UA.

Different Naming Conventions

GA4 has introduced different naming conventions, which can be confusing for marketers accustomed to the terminology in UA.

4. Data Accuracy Concerns

Information Discrepancies (H4)

One of the biggest concerns revolves around the accuracy of the data. Marketers have reported differences in information between UA and GA4, prompting questions about which dataset to trust.

Data Thresholds

The introduction of data thresholds in GA4, designed to protect user privacy, has led to situations where reports or explorations may be missing data. This is a valid privacy measure, and it has added a layer of complexity for marketers. 

Given these frustrations and challenges, it’s no surprise marketers are exploring their options. The good news is there are some fantastic tools that address these concerns and offer a breath of fresh air for your analytics efforts. Let’s explore them together! 

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener: The Dynamics of Website Analytics

In the quest for the perfect analytics tool, it’s important to remember that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. While GA4 has its share of challenges, it’s worth noting that the digital landscape is constantly evolving. Whatever you find frustrating about GA4 today might be resolved in a future update; Google is known for listening to user feedback and making improvements. 

That said, before taking the leap to a new analytics tool, there are a couple of crucial considerations to bear in mind: 

1. Evolving Internet Usage

The way users interact with the internet is perpetually shifting. New technologies, platforms, and user behaviors are continually emerging. What may seem like a major hiccup today could become a non-issue in the future as analytics tools adapt to meet evolving needs. 

2. Define Your Analytics Needs

Regardless of the tool you choose, it’s imperative to pinpoint the specific information that will best support your marketing initiatives. What data do you truly need to achieve your goals? Are you looking to track user behavior, check conversion rates, or measure the effectiveness of a particular campaign? Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter most to you and then tailor your analytics strategy accordingly to drive meaningful insights. 

Remember, the ultimate goal of any website analytics tool is to empower you to analyze data effectively and enhance the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing efforts. It’s not just about having the fanciest features; it’s about harnessing data to drive actionable results. 

So, while the frustration with GA4 may be real today, it’s essential to approach the decision of switching tools with a strategic mindset. By considering the ever-changing digital landscape and honing in on your specific analytics needs, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed choice that propels your marketing endeavors forward. Now, let’s explore some alternatives that could be a better fit for you than GA4. 

Exploring Alternative Analytics Tools

We’ve discussed the challenges with GA4, so let’s turn our attention to 4 analytics tools that could be the game-changers you’ve been searching for. Each of these platforms has its own strengths and advantages compared to GA4. Let’s take a closer look: 

1. Matomo 

Key Features

  • Open-source analytics platform with a robust feature set.
  • Provides detailed insights into user behavior, conversion tracking, and goal setting.
  • Emphasizes user privacy with the ability to host data on your own servers.

Benefits

  • Complete control over your data, ensuring compliance with privacy regulations.
  • Highly customizable to suit specific business needs.
  • Real-time tracking and reporting capabilities for up-to-the-minute insights.

Use Cases

  • Ideal for businesses prioritizing data privacy and security.
  • Well-suited for organizations with a preference for open-source solutions.

Pricing

  • Matomo offers a free, self-hosted version with limited features. Paid plans start at $19/month for cloud hosting and scale based on features and traffic.

2. Mixpanel

Key Features

  • Specializes in event-based tracking, allowing detailed analysis of user interactions.
  • Offers a user-friendly interface and intuitive reporting tools.
  • Provides advanced features like A/B testing, funnel analysis, and retention tracking.

Benefits

  • Focused on understanding user behavior and engagement, making it great for product-centric businesses.
  • Offers powerful segmentation capabilities for precise audience targeting.
  • A/B testing and experimentation tools enhance optimization efforts.

Use Cases

  • Ideal for product-focused businesses looking to deeply understand user interactions and behaviors.
  • Well-suited for mobile app analytics and optimization.

Pricing

  • Mixpanel offers a free plan with limited features. Paid plans start at $25/month and vary based on features and user volume.

3. Kissmetrics

Key Features

  • Focuses on customer-centric analytics, allowing for detailed tracking of individual user journeys.
  • Provides behavioral analytics, funnel tracking, and cohort analysis.
  • Offers customer segmentation for personalized marketing campaigns.

Benefits

  • Helps businesses understand and optimize the customer journey for increased conversions and customer retention.
  • Provides insights into user behavior at a granular level, allowing for targeted marketing efforts.
  • A/B testing and email campaign tracking capabilities enhance marketing optimization.

Use Cases

  • Ideal for businesses seeking to deepen their understanding of individual customer behavior and journeys.
  • Well-suited for eCommerce and subscription-based models.

Pricing

  • Pricing for Kissmetrics is available upon request, with options tailored to business needs and volume.

4. Adobe Analytics

Key Features

  • Offers a comprehensive suite of analytics tools with integration capabilities for Adobe’s marketing cloud.
  • Provides robust reporting and visualization features for in-depth analysis.
  • Enables cross-channel tracking for a holistic view of customer interactions.

Benefits

  • Offers enterprise-level analytics capabilities with a wide range of features for in-depth analysis.
  • Integration with Adobe’s marketing tools allows for seamless marketing automation and optimization.
  • Strong support and training resources for enterprise-level clients.

Use Cases

  • Ideal for large enterprises with complex analytics needs and a focus on cross-channel marketing.
  • Well-suited for organizations already leveraging Adobe’s marketing ecosystem.

Pricing

  • Adobe Analytics offers customized pricing based on the specific needs and scale of each enterprise client. 

Each of these tools caters to different business needs and priorities. It’s important to know what your analytics strategy and business goals are so you can choose the tool that best aligns with your situation.

How Alternative Tools Address Common Gripes

Now that we’ve introduced some compelling alternatives to GA4, let’s look at how each platform addresses the common gripes we discussed earlier.

1. Matomo

Data Tracking Challenges 

  • Real-time Reporting 

Matomo offers real-time reporting capabilities, eliminating the waiting game associated with delayed reporting in GA4. Get back to making marketing decisions on fresh data!

  • YOY Comparisons

Matomo allows for flexible date range comparisons, making year-over-year analysis a breeze. Even if you didn’t have Matomo up and running on a specific date, you can still compare time periods effectively.

Reporting Limitations

  • Customized Reporting 

Matomo’s highly customizable reporting tools make it easier to recreate the reports you relied on with UA. You have the flexibility to design reports tailored to your specific needs.

User Experience Issues

  • Intuitive Interface

Matomo prides itself on its user-friendly interface, reducing the learning curve and providing a smoother user experience compared to GA4.

  • Streamlined Navigation

Information is organized more intuitively, minimizing the need to hunt for critical data points.

Data Accuracy Concerns

  • Transparent Data Handling

With Matomo, you have complete control over how your data is handled and stored. This transparency ensures confidence in the accuracy of your analytics.

Advantages over GA4

  • Matomo’s open-source nature and emphasis on data privacy give users a greater sense of control and transparency over their analytics. 

2. Mixpanel

Data Tracking Challenges

  • Event-Based Tracking

Mixpanel’s focus on event-based tracking allows for a deeper understanding of user interactions in real time, addressing the reporting lag associated with GA4.

Reporting Limitations

  • Advanced Analysis Tools 

Mixpanel’s advanced features like A/B testing and funnel analysis make it easier to recreate and enhance reports that were relied on with UA.

User Experience Issues

  • Intuitive Reporting Tools 

Mixpanel’s user-friendly interface and intuitive reporting tools address the clunky feel and learning curve associated with GA4.

Data Accuracy Concerns

  • Detailed User Behavior Tracking 

Mixpanel’s event-based tracking provides a granular view of user behavior, giving marketers confidence in the accuracy of their data.

Advantages over GA4

  • Mixpanel’s specialization in event-based tracking and user behavior analysis makes it a powerful tool for businesses focused on product-centric optimization. 

3. Kissmetrics

Data Tracking Challenges

  • Customer-Centric Analytics

Kissmetrics is designed to provide a deep understanding of individual customer behavior and journeys, addressing the reporting lag associated with GA4.

Reporting Limitations

  • Customer Segmentation 

Kissmetrics offers robust customer segmentation capabilities, making it easier to recreate and enhance reports that relied on UA.

User Experience Issues

  • Customer Journey Mapping

Kissmetrics excels in mapping out customer journeys, reducing the need to hunt for critical data points, and providing a more streamlined user experience.

Data Accuracy Concerns

  • Individual User Tracking 

Kissmetrics focuses on individual user tracking, providing a detailed view of user behavior and boosting confidence in the accuracy of the data.

Advantages over GA4

  • Kissmetrics’ customer-centric approach makes it an ideal choice for businesses seeking to deepen their understanding of individual customer behavior and journeys. 

4. Adobe Analytics

Data Tracking Challenges

  • Comprehensive Cross-Channel Tracking

Adobe Analytics offers a holistic view of customer interactions across channels, addressing reporting lag and providing a real-time understanding of user behavior.

Reporting Limitations

  • Integration with Adobe Marketing Cloud

Adobe Analytics seamlessly integrates with Adobe’s suite of marketing tools, allowing for enhanced reporting capabilities and streamlined optimization efforts.

User Experience Issues

  • Robust Reporting and Visualization

Adobe Analytics provides powerful reporting and visualization tools, reducing the learning curve and providing a more intuitive user experience compared to GA4.

Data Accuracy Concerns

  • Enterprise-Level Support and Resources

Adobe Analytics offers strong support and training resources for enterprise-level clients, instilling confidence in the accuracy and reliability of the data.

Advantages over GA4

  • Adobe Analytics’ enterprise-level capabilities and seamless integration with Adobe’s marketing ecosystem make it an exceptional choice for large organizations with complex analytics needs. 

Considerations for Choosing an Alternative Analytics Tool: Navigating the Path to Success

Selecting the right analytics tool is a strategic decision that can significantly impact your marketing success. To ensure you make an informed choice, let’s explore a comprehensive set of considerations that will guide you through the decision-making process: 

1. Scalability

Question to Ask

  • How well does the analytics tool scale with the growth of your business and increasing data volumes?

Key Points

  • Ensure the chosen tool can accommodate your current data needs and has the scalability to handle future growth.
  • Look for features that allow easy expansion and adaptation to your evolving business.

2. Ease of Use

Question to Ask

  • How user-friendly is the platform? What is the learning curve for your team?

Key Points

  • Opt for a tool that aligns with the technical expertise of your team.
  • Consider platforms with intuitive interfaces and robust training resources to facilitate a smooth transition.

3. Data Privacy

Question to Ask

  • What measures does the analytics tool have in place to ensure data privacy and compliance with regulations?

Key Points 

  • Prioritize tools with clear data privacy policies and compliance features.
  • Evaluate whether the tool allows you to retain control over your data and implement necessary privacy measures.

4. Integrations

Question to Ask

  • How well does the analytics tool integrate with other essential tools and platforms in your marketing stack?

Key Points

  • Choose a tool that seamlessly integrates with your existing marketing ecosystem.
  • Consider the availability of APIs and pre-built connectors to enhance interoperability.

5. Customization and Flexibility

Question to Ask

  • To what extent can the analytics tool be customized to meet your unique business needs?

Key Points

  • Seek tools that offer flexibility in terms of report customization, event tracking, and dashboard creation.
  • Assess whether the tool can adapt to specific industry requirements and use cases.

6. Real-Time Reporting

Question to Ask

  • How does the analytics tool handle real-time reporting, and is it aligned with your need for timely insights?

Key Points

  • Consider the importance of real-time reporting for your business operations.
  • Evaluate the tool’s capabilities in providing up-to-the-minute insights for agile decision-making.

7. Cost and Value

Question to Ask

  • What is the pricing structure, and does it align with the value the tool brings to your marketing efforts?

Key Points

  • Understand the pricing model, including any potential hidden costs.
  • Evaluate the overall value proposition, considering both features and cost.

8. Customer Support

Question to Ask

  • What level of customer support and training resources does the analytics tool provide?

Key Points

  • Assess the availability of customer support channels and the responsiveness of the support team.
  • Look for tools that offer comprehensive training materials and resources for ongoing learning.
  • Research the quality of customer support and available training resources.

By methodically considering these factors and following a structured decision-making framework, you’ll be well-equipped to choose an alternative analytics tool that addresses the gripes with GA4 and propels your marketing efforts to new heights. 

Migrating From GA4 to Your New Tool: Navigating the Analytics Transition (H2)

Making the switch from GA4 to a new analytics tool may seem like a daunting task, but have no fear! With a well-thought-out plan and a touch of strategic finesse, the transition can be a smooth and seamless process. 

Here’s your step-by-step guide: 

1. Define Your Migration Goals

Clearly define the goals of your migration. Are you looking for enhanced real-time reporting, improved user experience, or more granular data insights? 

Align migration goals with your business objectives and the shortcomings you’ve experienced with GA4. 

2. Choose the Right Tool

Ensure the alternative analytics tool aligns with your defined migration goals and business needs. 

Consider running parallel analytics with both GA4 and the new tool for a brief period to validate data consistency. 

3. Back Up Your GA4 Data

Preserve historical data for reference and comparison during and after the migration. 

Export essential reports, configurations, and settings from GA4 to create a comprehensive backup. 

4. Map Your Analytics Structure

Understand how your existing analytics structure in GA4 translates to the terminology and setup of the new tool. 

Create a mapping document that outlines equivalent features, events, and goals between GA4 and the new tool. 

5. Inform Stakeholders

Communicate the upcoming migration to your team and any relevant stakeholders. 

Conduct training sessions to familiarize your team with the new tool and address any concerns or questions. 

6. Set Up Your New Tool

Configure the new analytics tool according to your mapped structure and defined migration goals. 

Leverage any onboarding resources provided, and reach out to customer support for assistance if needed. 

7. Implement Tracking Codes

Ensure that tracking codes for the new tool are correctly implemented on your website. 

Conduct thorough testing to confirm that data is being accurately collected. 

8. Run Parallel Tracking

Run GA4 and the new tool simultaneously for a brief period to validate data consistency.

Identify any discrepancies and address them promptly. This phase serves as a valuable sanity check before fully committing to the new tool. 

9. Analyze and Compare Data

Compare data insights between GA4 and the new tool to ensure accuracy and identify any anomalies. 

Use this phase to fine-tune configurations and settings in the new tool for optimal performance. 

10. Gradual Transition

Gradually shift reliance from GA4 to the new tool as confidence in data consistency grows. 

Monitor both platforms during the transition period to catch any unexpected issues and address them promptly. 

By following these steps, you’ll ensure a smooth transition from GA4 to your new analytics tool and lay the foundation for enhanced insights and improved marketing performance. Remember, the key is thoughtful planning, meticulous testing, and open communication with your team throughout the migration process. 

Feedback and Advocacy: Shaping the Future of GA4

Your voice matters, and Google is listening! While we’ve explored alternatives to address the challenges with GA4, it’s crucial to recognize the power of user feedback in driving improvements. Let’s dive into why your feedback is invaluable and how you can make your advocacy count: 

1. The Importance of Feedback

Your experiences, insights, and challenges with GA4 contribute to the ongoing evolution of the platform. Feedback is the lifeblood of improvement. 

By sharing your feedback, you help shape the future of GA4. Your input can influence features, usability, and overall user satisfaction. 

2. How User Feedback Makes a Difference

Your feedback helps Google understand the specific pain points and challenges marketers face with GA4, allowing for targeted improvements. 

Google relies on user feedback to prioritize enhancements and updates. Your input can directly influence the roadmap for GA4 development. 

3. Channels for Providing Feedback

The Google Analytics Help Center is a valuable resource for troubleshooting issues, accessing documentation, and providing feedback directly to Google. 

Google Analytics Community is a hub where you can share your experiences, join in discussions, ask questions, and get announcements. 

Platforms like X (Twitter), LinkedIn, and community forums are excellent spaces to voice your thoughts, connect with other users, and catch the attention of Google Analytics representatives. 

4. Tips for Effective Feedback

Clearly articulate the issues or areas where you believe GA4 could be improved. The more specific, the better. 

Share real-world use cases to illustrate how certain features or improvements would benefit your marketing efforts.

If you have suggestions for how an issue could be addressed, share them. Constructive feedback with proposed solutions is particularly valuable. 

5. Joining Forces

Collaborate with other marketers in the community to amplify your feedback. A collective voice carries more weight.

Consider joining or forming advocacy groups focused on improving GA4. Strength in numbers can drive change. 

6. The Power of Positive Stories

Don’t just highlight challenges—share success stories. Illustrate how GA4 has positively impacted your marketing strategies. 

Acknowledge any positive changes you’ve noticed in GA4. Positive feedback reinforces the aspects that are working well. 

Remember, your feedback contributes to the collective effort of making GA4 a more effective and user-friendly platform. As marketers, your experiences shape the tools you use, and your advocacy has the potential to drive meaningful change. 

Conclusion: Navigating the Analytics Landscape With Confidence

In this blog post, we explored the challenges marketers face with GA4 and the exciting landscape of alternative analytics tools. We addressed common gripes, emphasized the importance of reliable analytics, introduced alternatives to GA4, provided a framework for evaluating and selecting a new analytics tool, outlined how to migrate from GA4, and highlighted the importance of user feedback in shaping the future of GA4. 

Your job as a marketer isn’t easy, especially since digital marketing is ever-evolving, and you’re not alone in your frustration with GA4. Thankfully, you have options! With plenty of viable alternatives to choose from, you can choose a tool that removes that friction and makes your job easier.

Contact us for help with your analytics journey!