First of all, GA is a great tool and this post is not about how to replace it, but to show you that if GA is your only analytics tool, you're leaving a lot of money on the table every single day. You probably already heard/read these market insights:
- “Companies using analytics effectively have 126% profit improvement over competitors.” -McKinsey
- “Companies actively using data have 50% higher revenue growth.” -Dell Global Technology Index
We meet a lot of prospect who consider themselves to be among these companies because they have Google Analytics and a few analytics folks in-house. That makes our pitch at Air360 get the usual first welcome: “Nah. Not interested, we got Google Analytics, thanks” (of course they don’t say it like this but that’s the idea)
For many of them, they consider the analytics checkbox is already checked. Even better, sometimes it is checked for free (or at least, what they consider “for free”).
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame them. After all, Google Analytics has been around forever and used by everyone from the small blog to Fortune 500 companies. For most people nowadays, Analytics = Google Analytics.
There’s one question I like to ask to these prospects: “Why do you think companies like Uber, Netflix, etc. all have hundreds of people dedicated to analytics? I mean why don’t they simply use Google Analytics?”
Is it because they have too much money to spend?
Is it because they have more complicated systems?
Is it because they’re just bigger?
Of course, the answer is no for each of these questions. It’s just these companies understood they can’t operate on gut feeling. The risk is just too big. On the other hand, analytics provides a reliable way to operate a business and saves a lot of time and potential mistakes that would cost millions.
The truth is, analytics, when done right, provides a strong competitive advantage for any business of any size.
So what do we mean by “done right”? While this is a question that would deserve a whole book, here are a few things on why only relying on Google Analytics for analytics will make you leave a lot of money on the table.
Here are 9 reasons why Google Analytics is simply not enough.
1. Google Analytics doesn’t focus on the most important part of your business: Your customer
Users are considered as a simple number in your Google Analytics. But users are more than a number, believe it or not, they’re real humans like you and I J
And there’s a lot you can learn from your users or customers by being able to see how they actually behave on your website or in your app on a per user basis. It’s amazing what you can learn by analyzing user behaviors one by one. This can be usually done with user flows or session replays.
Unfortunately, you can’t do any of these things with Google Analytics. So you can’t really see and understand how specific users behave on your site and get valuable insights from it. You will just have to settle for aggregated and more than often, non-actionable data.
2. Google Analytics doesn’t focus on user activity
Google Analytics focuses on giving you macro KPI such as pageviews, sessions or bounce rate. However, it won’t tell you much about how your users behave on your website. For instance, do first time users find the products they want easily? How does your blog content contribute to your sales? What part of your homepage drives the most conversions?
These kind of questions can’t be answered easily with Google Analytics and if you can’t really analyze what kind of actions your users perform on your website or app, it’s impossible to measure how your marketing efforts, UX & content strategy improve your sales.
GA will tell you how many people entered/left your store and how much time they spent there but it won't tell you anything about the users who left without buying from you. Were they looking for something in particular they didn't find? Did they try to purchase and gave up? How many and what kind of products did they browse? Did they ask for help?
GA is a fairly good tool at giving you a conversion rate, but will miserably fail to tell you what made some users leave your website before completing a purchase or a signup.
Google Analytics will give you a bounce rate, but will fail to tell you what the user actually saw or did before bouncing.
Google Analytics will show an increase in your conversion rate but will fail to explain why.
To sum it up, Google Analytics show you the “what” but never tell about the “why”.
And there’s a big difference here:
Knowing the “what” makes you informed.
Knowing the “why” give you the power to know what to improve.
If you don't know the "why", you're leaving a lot of money on the table.
3. No session replay
Session replay is an awesome feature that makes you feel like you are sitting behind a user who is using your website. Watching these sessions replays feels like watching your favorite drama on Netflix, be prepared for laughs, scary & funny moments J
If you don’t have session replay, you’re missing a big opportunity to improve your sales funnel and leaving money on the table every day.
Fun tip: Have your team binge watch a few session replays on Fridays, it will create fun moments and spark new ideas & discussions in your product team.
4. No automation
Automations rock! Want to send a customized greeting email to your website visitors coming from ProductHunt? Check!
Need to send a custom push notification to your users who are showing signs of churn? Check!
Reengage users who signed up but didn’t use your killer feature yet? Mega-triple check!
Marketing automation is awesome as it makes you less busy while giving you super powers. The more you automate, the more you can personalize your messaging, the higher you will profit.
If you’re looking for an easy way to do more with less and you’re not using automations already, you’re missing out!
5. Google Analytics doesn’t allow you to look in the past
If you want to record user events in GA, you need to have your engineers explicitly track what you might need in the future. The problem with this approach is that it is very hard to know what kind of data will be interesting in the future. Some useless events today might be gold for your business in the near future. Crystal ball anyone?
In order to prevent this, some analytics tool record everything for you. Yes, everything: Clicks, swipe, page change, scrolls, mouse events, touch, double tap, you name it.
The result is that you are 100% sure that you will never miss important data in the future. Not being able to do this is a terribly bad bet that might cost you a lot of money in the future.
6. GA is actually much more expensive than you think (even the “free” version)
Yes Google Analytics is free, but if you do the math of how much time & money you and your team spend on Google Analytics every year, you would be very surprised! I won’t even mention the money you leave on the table for all hidden actionable insights that Google Analytics won’t find for you.
So I can’t help myself but smile when I hear that “Google Analytics is free” from people who can’t even tell how many hours they would spend per year on it. Much less how much money/budget/time it represents. Sometimes, I think it’s better not to know. Like they say, ignorance is bliss! J
People often forget to consider is the total cost of ownership when buying software, do the math, it’s never too late!
7. GA doesn’t offer any support
Everything gets very complicated and time consuming with Google Analytics when you want to do more than checking how many users, sessions or pageviews you got on a given period of time.
Since Google Analytics doesn’t offer any support, you will have to rely on support forums and online help. It is an industry secret but a lot of GA users actually throw up the towel and stick with very basic analytics for this reason.
That is why a lot of companies offer Google Analytics consulting services. They’re here to help Digital Marketing people get a correct GA setup and this is not rare to see this last for weeks or months.
Of course you can be lucky enough to have strong Google Analytics skills in your team but these are very rare as Google Analytics is a much more complicated tool than it seems if you want to get actionable insights from it.
This leaves you with the difficult choice of paying a lot of money to get a useful Google Analytics setup or stick with a simple GA dashboard that will not yield not much to no value at all for your business.
8. It's just a tool
Delivering growth with analytics actually require several skills: UX, Data Science, SQL, Tech, Digital Marketing. Getting these skills in-house is a costly option if you are familiar how much these resources costs nowadays. That is why we also offer a GrowthOps plan that is like having a complete analytics team on demand for a fraction of the cost.
If you want to increase your conversion rates and your sales, there are plenty of much better alternatives to Google Analytics out there. Air360.io is one of them.
The most important is to use a tool that checks all of the above features and will give you the data you need to measure & increase your conversions.