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One question that we hear often as analytics professionals is “How do I get the most value out of Google Analytics if I don’t have the budget for Adobe or other analytics tools?”
Often, people will consider several different analytics platforms before making a decision, but they come to a screeching halt when they look at pricing. GA is free, GA premium is $150K per year, and Adobe Analytics is $100K. While it looks like most companies will likely be “stuck” with GA because of budgeting concerns, that shouldn’t be the end of the world because you can get Adobe-like performance out of Google Analytics!
The fact of the matter is, Google Analytics has changed in the past few years in ways that make the differences between it and Adobe fairly negligible. Yet, the following myths persist:
You can capture more data points with Adobe than with GA
While you have unlimited custom data points with Adobe, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a workaround with GA. Yes, GA only allows you to have 20 custom data points. I don’t think that’s necessarily a con since it forces you to create an approach instead of capturing every single available data point. (There can be such a thing as too much data.)
If you’re still interested in gathering more than 20 custom data points, you can shoehorn them into GA by using the unlimited custom events!
Adobe is more straightforward than GA
I have a suspicion that the persistence of this myth may be due to the need for a consultant for Adobe, where GA folks usually fend for themselves. If we’re really getting into ease of use, Adobe has Custom Queries that are more complicated than much of what GA has to offer. GTM (Google Tag Manager) is also much easier to use than Adobe’s approach, which is usually to add Xcode directly to the site.
Adobe wins at boilerplate data collection
Adobe has a bunch of useful default data collection points that make sense for a lot of sites. Dedicated E-commerce event tracking like Add to cart and check out are tracked by default, which is definitely helpful.
GA has essentially rolled out the same sort of tracking, but without much fanfare. Enhanced e-commerce is super-easy to implement via GTM, and it will give you all these metrics and more.
Reporting is more transparent with Adobe
Adobe is known for making it easy to access all of your data. GA comes with some data gaps. Depending on your site traffic, budget, and data needs, it may make sense for you to get Adobe. Barring that, you can work around by using an API. I recommend using GA to Google Sheets, which pulls each individual data point with no gaps.