Over the last decade, Google Analytics has dominated the marketing analytics space. This uncontested reign can be attributed to a couple of key reasons: One, GA is free. And two, GA maintains a monopoly over historical data for an enormous install base. While the former isn’t likely to change, the introduction of GA4 is set to crush 10+ years of backward compatible data for millions of websites — including yours.
By breaking history and forcing a migration from Universal Analytics to GA4, Google Analytics loses an important advantage. This, coupled with a host of issues around UI, functionality, and privacy has resulted in a dramatic turn in tides. If users are going to lose out on their historical data by next year anyway, there’s little incentive for them to stay — especially when the best Google Analytics alternatives are readily available.
“We will begin sunsetting Universal Analytics — the previous generation of GA — next year. All standard UA properties will stop processing hits new hits on July 1st, 2023” - GA Support
“GA4 feels like a huge step backwards. Tons of functionality in the previous version is missing or replaced with smart “insights” — which always goes wrong. A good time to move on to something better” - Hacker News
With this in mind, The following article compares Google Analytics (specifically, GA4) with Factors to demonstrate why, now more than ever, the latter is better suited for B2B marketing analytics, web analytics & CRO, multi-touch attribution, and more.
To be of any value, B2B marketing analytics requires substantial data from a wide range of sources. This includes granular metrics across all your ad campaigns (Google, Bing, Facebook, Linkedin, Capterra, etc.), website, and CRM (HubSpot/Salesforce) events. Ideally, this body of information is unified under one platform to ensure normalized data and alignment across demand gen teams. So how does Factors compare with Google Analytics when it comes to data integration? Here’s the rundown:
Google Analytics can report basic traffic data from most commonly used social platforms — Google Ads, Facebook/Meta, Linkedin, etc. Integrating non-Google sources, however, is significantly more challenging on GA. It requires the construction of custom campaigns using URL builders (read: a time-consuming, laborious chore). Factors, on the other hand, deliver immediate no-code integrations.
The real issue with GA, however, is that it cannot pull metrics that matter from any source that isn’t Google Ads. Commonly tracked figures like impressions, engagement, click-through rates, etc cannot be reported, let alone linked with website or CRM data. This is a headache for users looking to consolidate all their marketing efforts under one roof. Factors solves for this by automatically pulling granular metrics across the board.
This is another big point for Factors. Unlike GA, Factors provides robust integrations with HubSpot, Salesforce, and soon, Leadsquared. The implications of this are significant. Marketers will have the ability to connect the entire customer journey from first touch to deal won. In turn, marketers can determine exactly how their efforts across ad campaigns, web content, and offline events are contributing to larger business objectives like pipeline and revenue. This is simply not possible on Google Analytics as it does not integrate with any CRM whatsoever.
Another reason Factors has the edge over Google Analytics is third-party integrations. Factors integrates with the likes of Clearbit Reveal (Deanonymization), Segment (CDP), Drift (Chatbot), and more to ensure an actionable web + marketing analytics experience. Again, this is impossible on Google analytics because GA4 does not integrate with third-party platforms. Consequently, this affects the quality of customer journey insights. Even with sophisticated manual analysis, the data derived from Google Analytics is likely to remain superficial at best. In later sections, we’ll explore the implications of this issue in detail.
So far, we’ve established that data integration (including third-party) makes more sense with Factors. Next, let’s examine how the two marketing analytics tools compare with regards to implementation and onboarding. For context, if you’re currently using Universal Analytics, you either have to upgrade to GA4 by next summer (June 2023) or find a GA alternative like Factors.
12-steps. That’s right. It requires 12 steps before you can upgrade from Universal Analytics to GA4. What’s more? As previously mentioned, integrating with non-Google ad platforms needs elaborate orchestration with custom campaign URL/UTM builders. Additionally, GA4 requires users to manually tag each event they want to track. In short, this means significant labor effort, engineer dependency, and time-spent waiting for incomplete datasets.
Maybe about 30-min. In fact, it’s probably closer to 10 with Google Tag Manager. Simply place the superlight SDK onto your website and integrate (no-code!) with your ads platforms, CRM, CDP, Chatbot, and more. Before you know it, all your marketing + web data will begin pouring into a single, normalized platform. Easy as pie.
Now, let’s discuss functionality. Here’s how Factors compares to Google Analytics when it comes to core use-cases of a B2B marketing analytics tool.
Right off the top, it should be noted that GA isn’t built for B2B marketing analytics. It struggles to support tracking for journeys that involve several months, touch-points, and stakeholders. Unfortunately, these are the precise characteristics of a standard B2B sales cycle. Customers often experience countless (well, on average, 7) touchpoints — both online and offline — across ads, emails, webinars, blogs, web sessions, etc before converting. These touchpoints can occur within a window of one week, one month, or sometimes, even longer than one full year. Unlike Factors, GA4 isn't designed to analyze or attribute lengthy, sporadic interactions for B2B marketers.
Additionally, and as previously mentioned, GA is unable to track and measure granular campaign or event metrics from non-Google platforms. Since B2B marketers target (and retarget) marketing efforts to their audience across several channels, it’s nearly impossible to consolidate these figures on GA alone.
Factors eliminates this data silos issue for marketers and demand gen folk with the help of aforementioned third-party integrations. Once data has been collected, Factors delivers an end-to-end marketing analytics suite that’s tailor-made for B2B teams.
This includes web analytics, funnels, custom events and KPIs, multi-touch attribution and more. Let’s explore why Factors has the edge over GA across these use-cases.
At its core, Google Analytics is a website analytics service. And to be fair, GA does a half decent job at it, especially for a free tool. That being said, there are significant limitations with GA that Factors solves for:
Certain web metrics are not precise on GA. Let’s say a lead lands on a blog on your website. Before they can start to read the article, their doorbell rings and they leave to answer with the blog page open on their laptop. The lead returns in about 8 minutes, clicks out of the blog to schedule a demo. Google Analytics would inaccurately assume that the blog played a massive role in this conversion because of the significant (8 min) time spent on page. In reality, however, the lead did not scroll even a little to read the rest of the piece. Factors solves for such issues by tracking granular details like cursor activity and scroll depth percent to ensure your data, and the insights derived from that data, is as accurate as can be.
On GA4, you’re limited to page-to-page funnels. That is, GA4 only considers funnels wherein each webpage is a separate step. As such, GA4 struggles to track multi-session engagement. Let alone a funnel across ads, web, and CRM. Funnels on GA may only be used to reliably measure drop-offs and conversions that occur in the length of a single web session (Eg: Blog -> Pricing -> Schedule Demo in one web session). Additionally, event funnels are not supported on GA4. Hence, if you’d like to track how specific website content is contributing to MQLs, leads, & revenue, GA4 won't suffice.
As previously mentioned, GA does not integrate with CRMs like HubSpot, SalesForce, or Leadsquared. This severely impedes cogent customer journey analysis and revenue attribution. Without laying the entire map from ads, offline efforts, web sessions, and CRM events, you are left with an incomplete picture of what’s driving revenue and pipeline. Consequently, this affects data-driven decision making, which ultimately results in suboptimal marketing strategy and ROI. It is not feasible to derive end-to-end marketing insights into what’s working and what’s not with Google Analytics. While GA might be able to track the source of traffic, it cannot determine the cause.
What’s surprising is that even with these significant drawbacks, users complain about GA4’s useability. It can be overkill — unintuitive, excessive, and far too technical — for marketers looking for basic reports. And completely irrelevant to marketers looking to dig deeper into their data. Let’s let twitter expand upon this…
Website owners, is it just me or is the new GA4 just HORRIBLE? It's like it's designed only for retail sites or something, very hard to get the basic info that I used to rely on... Think I'll switch back! Awful!
Trevor Long (@trevorlong)
I usually can find my way round any piece of software quickly. But Google Analytics 4 is making me cry...I've never seen a tool upgrade that made simple things sooo complicated :face_palm: Non-tech business owners were already struggling to use it. But now they have NO chance.
Gill Andrews (@StoriesWithGill)
1. The UX of Google products in general suck
2. GA4 is a new level of suckiness
3. I get the feeling Google doesn't have a UX team and/or never tests the usability of their products
4. If you are not a monopoly you would never be able to get away with this
Tom Kasperski (@TomKaz)
Factors is simple by design. Users go from onboarding to creating powerful (and basic) marketing reports in a matter of minutes.
And there you have it. A non-exhaustive set of reasons as to why Factors.ai makes far more sense for B2B marketers over Google Analytics. With the imminent arrival of GA4 (and the consequent break in years of historical data), now is the best time to make the move to Factors.
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