Google Analytics has been around for many years and in that time it has provided many individuals with reliable analytic data that they have come to depend on. In fact, a study by CardinalPath.com indicates that as of 2011, 64% of the top 500 retail websites on the internet use Google Analytics. This really isn’t surprising considering how reliable of a tool analytics has been for such a long time, and of course the fact that it’s free doesnt hurt. But what if I told you that there are some very significant weaknesses in the Google Analytics platform? Although knowing what Google Analytics can do is important, it is also important to understand what the software can’t do. As great as Google Analytics is, it definitely has some areas where it is limited.
1) Support: As of now, understanding how to use Google Analytics is up to the end user. Yes, Google has provided a large variety of support in their forums and YouTube channels, but they do not give individualized assistance to companies unless the company uses their premium analytics solution, which costs around $100,000 per year. This isn’t to say that it is impossible to learn analytics on your own or with a mentor, but getting help from Google isn’t something you should count on.
2) Individual tracking limitation: Due to privacy concerns for users, Google took a stance long ago against tracking an individual across a website. Google Analytics purposely keeps user information anonymous so that marketers can understand broad stroke visitor behavior on the website, but none of the information is too specific. Although this tracking is fine for most, some marketers prefer to track information down to the actual visitors name and email to analyze their behavior on the website. Google Analytics won’t let users do that, but it will allow Marketers to use third-party software that makes this possible.
3) Restrictions on importing third-party data: One of the main complaints among most marketers is that Google Analytics only lets users import limited data from third-party marketing platforms. Meaning, if a user wanted to import data from an email provider to understand what the return on investment is of an email program, they are unable to do that. A marketer can review the traffic information associated with marketing initiative by using a UTM parameter and compare it to the information of the email platform, but the costs specific to the campaign cannot be imported. Though Google does a great job of letting marketers tie in ROI data for their own products (Google Adwords), the software doesn’t allow users to import from other providers.
4) Limited website analytic data:At present, if a marketer agrees to use Analytics then they are agreeing that Google is required to keep visitor data for 25 months. As you can imagine, keeping so much information on so many websites on the internet for free is a difficult task. Because of this, Google only agrees to keep 25 months of visitor data for any particular website. This helps Google because it limits the amount of time (and virtual storage) that they have to provide to Google Analytic users.
5) Bid management in Google Adwords: There is an extremely large amount of people who use Google Adwords to run paid advertisements for their website. Although Google Analytics lets users see data for the campaigns within the dashboard, users are still not able to manage their own Adwords campaigns in Google Analytics. Instead, users have to login to Google Adwords manage the program how they feel fit. The interesting thing about this is that there are a large amount of other platforms that due allow this capability.
Have you found other weaknesses with Google Analytics? Do you prefer a different platform all together? Tell us about it below!