Drawbacks and limitations of Google Analytics 4

Posted By: Arin Dey - June 27, 2022
The free version of Google Analytics, Universal Analytics, is the most widely used web analytics solution. The platform is so popular that it dominates 86% market share, making Google the market leader. But even though many consider Google Analytics the standard, there are reasons to ask if it is the perfect choice for your marketing setup—especially since Google announced the sunset of Universal Analytics.
Drawbacks and limitations of Google Analytics 4

On July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits, forcing users to switch to its successor, Google Analytics 4. While this may seem like a natural progression, marketers should not be fooled.

The learning curve will be steep—Google Analytics 4 is almost an entirely new platform and still developing. On top of that, Google Analytics risks losing the users’ trust due to gray areas around the likes of privacy and data ownership.

With a privacy-focused future ahead, now is the time to seek alternatives that better balance data collection with compliance. With a proper analytics platform, marketers make your data collection as it should be: predictable and sustainable. After all, marketers and analysts want to process user-level data while building trust with their visitors.

In this article, we will dive into the issues with Google Analytics 4 from a user perspective and from a privacy and compliance standpoint, so you can make an informed decision before switching platforms.

From a user experience perspective, many find GA4 challenging to navigate. But beyond that, there are a host of challenges with the feature sets. Let us dig deeper into those limitations:
  • There is no simple way to migrate your data
  • Not-so-intuitive user interface
  • Limits on custom dimensions
  • Lack of custom channel grouping
Unlike Universal Analytics, GA4 does not allow you to create custom channel groupings in the new interface. Instead, marketers will only be able to use their default channel groupings.

Motivations behind the short deadline:

The deadline Google has left the analytics community to act is startling. There are many speculations as to why this might be, including:
  1. Google may have been disappointed with the speed of adoption for Google Analytics 4 and decided to act decisively.
  2. Google circumventing some of the legal heat that Universal Analytics is facing in the EU.
  3. Google wanting to cut costs and rid itself of technical debt associated with thousands of websites with legacy solutions installed. Since GA4 is designed to support Google’s advertising network, it guarantees more revenue than the competition.
Now there is a concrete deadline to make the switch, marketers will need to decide whether they want to start adjusting to Google Analytics 4 or start afresh with a new platform.

Source: SEW

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