Adobe Analytics vs Google Analytics: Uncovering Key Differences
The global web analytics market was expected to grow from $4.56 billion in 2021 to $5.56 billion in 2022 at a CAGR of 21.73%. The web analytics market is forecast to reach $11.35 billion in 2026 at a CAGR of 19.57%.
Today, it’s pretty hard to find a company without any digital footprint. The numbers above prove that many enterprises have their businesses covered by a top-notch analytical solution to expand their digital presence.
Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics are among the largest players and the most popular analytics platforms used worldwide. “Adobe Analytics vs Google Analytics” and “Should our company buy Adobe Analytics or Google Analytics?” are questions many businesses tend to ask these days.
Both tools have value, each with its own pros and cons. Both provide powerful services but still are different solutions designed for different scenarios and environments.
This article will cover the key differences between Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics to help you decide which tool fits best for your organization.
To start, let’s take a look at some basics first.
What is Adobe Analytics?
Adobe Analytics (AA) is an enterprise-level analytics and reporting solution that Adobe provides in their Adobe Experience Cloud platform. AA gathers real-time multichannel information about user actions on websites to build in-depth reports. Businesses can use these reports to understand product success, user behavior, and conversion drivers.
The Adobe Analytics API offers limitless ways to integrate your most important customer data with critical business processes. You can create different types of reports to explore and gather information or get critical insights into your data. Adobe Analytics is a powerful API integration tool that allows you to cover a wide range of metrics for your business potential.
Unlike Google Analytics, the Adobe Analytics pricing model doesn’t include a free version and can vary anywhere between $30,000 and $350,000+ per year. The Adobe Analytics cost depends on how many hits you have, or simply put your website traffic rate.
What Is Google Analytics?
The service has both free and paid features. The free GA version allows you to analyze 10 million hits, which sometimes is not enough to get the full picture of your website performance, traffic, and the actions of the visitors.
Most large companies switch to Google Analytics 360 (GA360). GA 360 pricing starts at $150k annually.
Why Use an Enterprise-Level Analytics Platform?
Switching to an enterprise-level analytics solution is always a crucial decision. You must think through all the details and options to understand which tool suits your business needs best.
You should consider shifting to an enterprise-level analytics tool such as Adobe Analytics, Google Analytics if:
- You need to analyze your data and get actionable in-depth insights using scalable and fast methods;
- You need highly customizable and flexible features;
- You experience substantial data sampling;
- You want to break down data silos and ensure on-site personalization;
- You feel reserved with the limited functionality of a cost-free analytics tool;
- You have a complex marketing/analytics/sales ecosystem;
- You need a holistic view of the customer journey;
- You require rock-solid security (in compliance with all key security protocols and laws).
Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics Differences and Similarities
To keep this comparison of Adobe vs Google Analytics fair, we will sometimes refer to Google Analytics 360 instead of the free analog. Google Analytics 360 is a premium and more powerful version with additional features designed for enterprises.
Integration within the personal marketing ecosystem
Both Adobe and Google have robust marketing environments with in-built tools and platforms.
Adobe Analytics integrates with the following tools:
- Adobe Experience Manager (AEM);
- Adobe Target;
- Adobe Advertising Cloud;
- Adobe Campaign;
- Adobe Commerce;
- Marketo Engage;
- Adobe Audience Manager;
- And more, including other Experience Cloud integrations.
You can also integrate Adobe Analytics with third-party tools and platforms to ensure enhanced versatility and richness of your data. Google Analytics (GA 360) have their own tool stack to integrate with:
- Google Ads;
- Search Ads 360 and DV360;
- Google Optimize;
- Campaign Manager 360;
- Display & Video 360;
- Looker (ex. Google Data Studio).
Raw data availability
Access to raw data is key to why businesses invest in enterprise-level analytics software. Making important decisions based on insufficient data can be dangerous and challenging. Both tools provide reports, but the process is different.
All data is always unsampled in Adobe Analytics. You don’t have to go through the same steps as when using Google Analytics to create such reports. Adobe Analysis Workspace, a browser tool for building analyses and insights, provides a flexible and user-friendly user interface to create reports quickly.
Google Analytics 360 has a slightly different process for accessing raw data:
- Custom Tables to select dimensions, metrics, and filters and to download custom tables;
- Unsampled Reports to download reports in a raw, unsampled format;
- Advanced Analysis adds a capability for quick in-UI analysis.
In our Adobe Analytics vs Google Analytics 360 comparison, Adobe Analytics Cloud has a significant advantage over GA 360 at this point.
Rich customization options
Feature-rich user interface customization is one of the essential Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics benefits. An adequately customized tool will help you meet your specific needs and critical business challenges.
Adobe Analytics was initially designed to be custom-focused with insane flexibility and rich customization opportunities.
To ensure excellent data capture, conversion tracking, and in-depth classification systems, Adobe Analytics leverages eVars (conversion variables), events (success events), and props (traffic variables). This technique makes AA customization options almost limitless.
Adobe Analytics can also process and export data at scale using Adobe Data Workbench, which is Adobe’s version of Big Query. Data Workbench has highly-flexible, powerful, multi-channel capabilities designed to collect, process, analyze, and visualize data from online and offline customers.
Google Analytics allows for additional data collection through Custom Dimensions and Custom Metrics. This data can then be exported to Big Query and Visualized through Looker (ex. Google Data Studio), which is now called Looker Studio.
Implementing Adobe Analytics is not always easy if you lack expert resources. You need a trained specialist with a clear vision of planning, customizing, and managing the implementation process.
However, due to the highly personalized implementation and insane customization opportunities, the data you receive will be far more insightful and tailored to your unique business needs than what you would get from GA 360.
You can also use Dynamic Tag Management (Adobe Launch) for tag deployment and management with no specific developer expertise required.
To gather more accurate data, you need to adjust filters, conversion goals, custom dimensions, etc. But it’s unlikely you can get the most out of your analytical reports and ensure a fully-tailored implementation using only GA 360.
Adobe Analytics provides insightful and highly customizable pathing reports. Adobe’s Path Finder Tool can empower this feature by enabling increased visibility into Entry Points, Exits, and the content viewed on the User’s path. You can select any event or page and get an in-depth report on what users did before and after.
Google Analytics provides similar features via Behavior Flow and Custom Funnels reports. However, they are not as granular and customizable as those you can get with Adobe Analytics.
Adobe predictive analytics
Many companies use your data to uncover insights into past events. This information is then used to make decisions about the future. Adobe Analytics leverages predictive analytics power to help you better use your data.
Prediction tools are based on machine learning, and artificial intelligence becomes an essential component of your product strategy. You can also integrate Adobe Sensei so everyone in your organization can harness everything big data has to offer on an unprecedented level. Adobe Sensei is an AI-fueled tool to make data-science features available to marketers and analysts.
Adobe Ad Hoc Analysis is another incredible feature that provides advanced reporting, allowing business users to explore the data immediately.
Adobe Analytics Report Builder
Adobe Report Builder is an extension (plug-in) for Microsoft Excel that allows you to build reports directly within that tool, so you don’t have to learn other data interfaces.
The data is updated when the table is opened or at the click of a button. File sharing is very easy and seamless because it always reflects the current situation when you open the report.
Adobe anomaly detection
Adobe Analytics automatically highlights statistically significant deviations (outliers) for any metric. This happens automatically while you're working with data or uploading a report. Automated alerts can also be sent to interested team members so you won’t miss important events (spikes or drops in important business metrics).
Adobe contribution analysis
When the anomaly is identified, you can build clusters and segments of the events causing this anomaly. Thus, the search for insights is partially automated and significantly simplified (especially relevant for non-analytical roles, such as product managers and marketers).
Omni-channel data harvesting
You can deploy Adobe Analytics to websites and mobile apps using the Launch Tag Manager and a wide range of APIs. Ready-made libraries for Java, .NET, and PHP are available for server-side deployments. Adobe offers pretuned modules for video and audio stream tracking.
Tailor-made Adobe Analytics APIs allow you to deploy your solutions to almost any device that has access to the Internet (wearables, IoT, etc.). You can also upload offline data to augment and enrich previously accumulated online data.
Adobe Analytics or Google Analytics: Which Tool Is Best for Your Business?
There’s no 100% winner here. The decision depends on your business goals, budget, and expert resources.
Google Analytics will do if you need an analytical tool only for marketing goals. If you need in-depth insights and AI-driven reports to dive deep into user journeys and ensure personalization, there’s nothing better than Adobe Analytics.
If you have other Google stack products in your business ecosystem (like Google Ads or Optimize), Google Analytics and GA 360 might be good options. Likewise, if you’re already using the Adobe products like Adobe Experience Manager or Adobe Target, Adobe Analytics is your best shot.
But why is Adobe Analytics better than Google Analytics? Though both systems have much in common and can work together, there are some unique features in Adobe Analytics making a crucial positive impact on the customer business that we would like to emphasize.
- Analysis Workspace, which is the best interface any tool can offer today;
- Much better data model, so there is no limit to segmentation and post-hoc enrichment;
- Way more dimensions and metrics for companies to use;
- AI-powered capabilities through Adobe ecosystem;
- Unparalleled extensibility & customizability;
- Holistic customer journey views.
Now, let’s look at this comparison table to highlight the differences between Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics again.
|Google Analytics 360||Adobe Analytics|
|E-commerce tracking||Google Analytics almost bridged the gap with Adobe by releasing Enhanced Ecommerce features to their platform||Ecommerce tracking is one of the strongest Adobe features|
|Data Connectors||Google Analytics faces challenges while connecting with 3rd-party tools||Adobe Analytics has a wide range of connectors to integrate with different types of Adobe products and 3rd-party tools|
|Flexibility||You need to use different API to bring data in Google Analytics environment||You can bring data in Adobe platform by one click integrations|
|Customization||Google Analytics is less customized and level-controlled compared to Adobe||Adobe has advantages of customization and level control compared to Google|
|Pathing||Pathing is horrible in Google Analytics||Pathing is fantastic in Adobe Analytics|
|Real Power||Google Analytics reporting tools are less powerful||Adobe Analytics Workspace is powerful, flexible, and highly user-friendly. Newer reporting tools of Adobe Analytics are more powerful|
|Data Storage||Google Analytics stores data for 24 months||Adobe Analytics stores data as long as you are the customer|
|Cookies||Google Analytics stores cookies for 30 days||Adobe Analytics stores cookies for 2+ years|
|Personal Data||Google Analytics cannot capture personal data||Adobe Analytics provides access to individual visitor data|
|Hits||Google Analytics captures 10 mil hits per month (2 billion for GA 360)||Adobe Analytics has unlimited hits per month|
|Customer Support||Google Analytics doesn’t provide dedicated customer services||Adobe provides 24/7 dedicated customer support|
Axamit successfully integrated Adobe Analytics into one of our latest projects. Adobe Analytics implementation for the STMicro site utilizes all out-of-the-box capabilities of AA: page views, visits, bounces, time spent, and many more. All types of pages are covered, including Product, Application, and Solution groups or single pages.
Scripts and events are deployed with AEM, Target, and Marketo, leveraging the full Adobe ecosystem capabilities. The data layer for Analytics is fully populated with extensive product and visitor information for building comprehensive reports.
Besides this, the solution accomplishes the challenge of tracking user activities with various interactive diagrams of boards with component selection.
At Axamit, we adopt the most efficient tech-enabled solutions to craft cutting-edge products that help our clients hit the right chords on the market and boost profits.
Our in-house professionals with over 17 years of expertise in Adobe technology will analyze your pain points and recommend the best custom-designed solution tailored to your business segment.
Please don't hesitate to drop us a line whenever you see fit.