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This article was originally written several years back when I was working between Marketing and Technology departments at companies large and small. At that time I was either using both solutions, or at one firm was brought in to help assess which solution to go with. I had an independent, unbiased view at that time.

I have now been working at Adobe for several years so I have updated the references and variables, not changing my conclusions at the end. I am not a Specialist in the Analytics Solution, but cover the entire Experience Cloud so recognize the brevity of the comparison. I try to focus more on the strategy and team dynamics.

I maintain this blog and write these articles to better understand the financial technology market and attain feedback outside of my day to day. I appreciate any feedback in the comments.

 

  Google Analytics Adobe Analytics
Customer
Support
Free Version: Reliance upon Communities

Premium version: provides access to staff and account management

24/7 Support network

Dedicated Account manager

Communities, Forums

User Interface

Intuitive, easy for new users

Advanced and Customizable but takes some training

Campaign Tracking

4 UTM variables

A relational table with limitless variables that can be used for categorizing

Data Ownership Google owns the data Data belongs to you
Cookies Customizable, First party cookie Customizable, First and Third Party cookie
Events

20 (last I checked) events

more info on comparison

200 Custom events baseline option to purchase more

more info on comparison

Custom Variables more info on comparison

75 baseline with option to purchase more

more info on comparison

Unique Visitor, People Metric

Absolute Unique
Calculatation technique of uniques

Hourly, Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Yearly
Calculatation technique of uniques, 2nd article

Co-op and Device Graph to build a People Metric

Data Integration API API 
Open Data Sources architecture for importing offline metrics
Excel Integration Reporting Reporting
Excel Client- allows manipulation and interaction with data in Excel
SEM Integration

Adwords reporting integration
Automated Adwords bidding

Automation through Marketing Channel report
(Keyword granular reporting automation through Ad Cloud product at additional cost) 

Dashboards

Customizable dashboard not quite as robust

Many Customizable dashboard options
User control and sharing

One of my old colleagues Andrey Osadchuk created this great 2 part video in 2018. He has become a top contributor to the Adobe forum and goes into detail on Adobe's Analysis workspace.

 

Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics (previously Omniture SiteCatalyst) are both distinguished solutions for digital analytics insight.  They can provide business intelligence to determine return on investment and the ability to employ powerful optimization strategies.  Each solution has strengths and weaknesses. I now work for Adobe so know much more about the Adobe offering than Google. 

This article was originally written to address Google Analytics' free version, but Google has since produced a premium version that requires varying levels of payment.  The Adobe Analytics (SiteCatalyst) solution has also gone through changes with the acquisition by tech giant Adobe.  

Expert Analysts and Product Leads

I read experts like Avinash Kaushik and Justin Cutroni for information on Google. I now have greater access to the Adobe product team, whereas before I was dependent on my yearly trip to the Adobe (Omniture) Summit. If you have budget vendors like Forrester and Gartner can provide much further detailed product information.  

Google's Premium product offering brought the two closer for comparison purposes.  GA has an intuitive user interface, instant segmentation, and out of the box SEM integration.  Those that are new to analytics can easily begin using the platform. It is apparent much attention is paid to user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). 

Adobe Analytics (Omniture) excels with customization, data classification, and integration.  Rich customization, designed to fit any set of requirements, allow AA (SiteCatalyst) to achieve superior levels of robust functionality.  Classifications allow relational data points for exponential reporting options that can be changed retroactively.  Data manipulation through excel client, access to raw data through Data Warehouse (additional cost), and importing data through Data sources allow for immense integration abilities. There are also numerous companies that offer integrations.

Conclusion

Before making a choice of analytics software offerings it is important to assess your team. Team members need to have dedicated time for analysis, driving optimization, and development cycles should be committed for tag management code updates on a recurring basis. Requirements aligning key business objectives with key performance indicators should be well defined up front and maintained. This is where I have seen waste from underutilized resources.

Some teams I have seen staff lightly and rely on external contractors or agencies. I have had the luck to work with some great agencies at a few different firms.  The team and the optimization strategy are what drive true success. Let us know your opinion in the comments below.

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