Introducing Google Analytics 4 (GA4), Google's latest web analytics service - designed to replace the older Universal Analytics (UA) platform.
Now, you must be wondering why.
Well, the shift from UA to GA4 was fueled by the need for a more advanced and comprehensive analytics tool. One that could adapt to the changing demands within the business industry.
This transition has been gradual and is still ongoing, with a clear timeline, As stated by Google.
“Starting on July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties stopped processing new data, and all customers will lose access to the Universal Analytics interface and API starting July 1, 2024.”
While GA4 boasts impressive features such as cross-platform tracking, seamless integration with Google's marketing tools, and machine learning, it also comes with its set of limitations.
In this article, we will delve into the limitations of GA4 and explore why considering an alternative may be a wise choice.
After all, the proof is in the pudding!
Limitations and concerns in GA4
Even though GA4 was created to fix UA's limitations, it turns out GA4 has its own limitations. As a matter of fact, some of those limitations were so sensitive that European countries, like Austria, France, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, decided to ban GA4.
Let’s check some of the most commonly faced issues in GA4:
Other critical limitations in GA4
Now, let's take a closer look at some of the critical limitations of GA4.
1. Data discrepancies and disruptions
Such issues stem from changes in the data schema and event-tracking methods, leading to inconsistencies in reporting and analysis. Hindering users from making well-informed decisions based on reliable analytics insights. Let’s get into the details:
Data loss or fragmentation
Transitioning data from UA to GA4 may cause loss or jumbled information, disrupting continuous analysis and hindering comprehensive trend analysis.
Despite GA4's advanced cross-device tracking, inaccuracies in attributing user interactions across devices and touchpoints persist. Adding another layer of complexity to user behavior analysis, impacting the understanding of the customer journey.
Third-party tool troubles
Integrating GA4 with third-party tools can cause data integration issues, disrupting data flow and creating reporting inconsistencies across different platforms.
2. Complexity of migration
The migration difficulty is a big drawback of GA4, leading some users to look for a better alternative to a more straightforward migration process. Here’s how it’s affecting most businesses:
Data interpretation challenges
GA4's event-based tracking and the data model are unlike the typical UA session-based approach. This makes it hard for users to interpret data accurately during and after the migration, especially since both versions define events in their own way.
Resource and time constraints
The migration process is no walk in the park. It can take up a lot of resources and time, especially for businesses with limited IT and analytics capabilities. For most users, setting up resources for the migration can be a complex process.
3. Privacy concerns and consent
Lastly, its limited features for protecting user info don't keep up with changing privacy needs and what users expect. Not shielding user data well might lead to privacy issues and make users trust the platform less.
4. Limited historical data
GA4 adjusts the data retention by default to two months only; this means that GA4 is missing the 'Do not expire settings' available on UA.
Therefore, if you do not adjust the expiry time of the data, you may lose the old data. This can raise the following challenges:
Data retroactive challenges
GA4's limited retroactive data analysis poses challenges for businesses relying on historical data for trends and decision-making. Without UA's level of historical data granularity, conducting long-term performance evaluations becomes difficult.
Comparative analysis challenges
Users need help with long-term trend analysis and performance assessment due to limited historical data availability. This makes identifying significant changes in user behavior, conversion rates, and other KPIs difficult. Making it tough to make informed decisions based on overall data analysis of their app or website.
Reporting and compliance requirements
Strict industry compliance demands retaining extensive historical data, but GA4's limitations pose challenges for businesses in regulated sectors, urging them to explore alternatives with better historical data availability.
5. Complex user interface
Switching to GA4 means learning a new way of handling data, interface, and tracking. It's more of a learning curve, and training teams on GA4 details might take a lot of time and resources, possibly slowing down productivity during the transition.
Advanced GA4 features, like machine learning-driven insights, pose a challenge for users, especially those with limited technical expertise. This also makes it harder for users to access reports easily. Such complexity often leads businesses to seek user-friendly alternatives.
6. Less customization options
Another limitation of the GA4 model is reduced customization options. Here are some details:
Event tracking customization
GA4's event tracking has limited customization (only 50 insights per property), making it challenging to analyze user behaviors thoroughly. This limit makes it harder to understand how users engage and move through conversion funnels fully. Furthermore, the new event model in GA4 emphasizes event parameters over custom dimensions and metrics, affecting conversions and user experience optimization efforts.
Insufficient reporting customization
The inability to customize reports extensively limits the development of customized dashboards and templates. Users cannot customize dashboards and reporting templates to match their own key performance indicators (KPIs). It impacts their capacity to convey analytics results to relevant stakeholders and visually represent them.
Integration with third-party tools
GA4's struggle to connect with different sources can stop businesses from bringing all their data together. This means users miss out on seeing everything in one place, making them check out other analytics options with better connections.
Ultimate alternative for Google Analytics
Tired of GA4 complexities? Check Usermaven - The ultimate alternative for Google Analytics! It’s time to say goodbye to the headaches of GA4 and say hello to a more personalized analytics ride. Usermaven is trusted by hundreds of product-led companies and website owners due to its advanced analytics features. Below are some of the main features provided by GA4.
- Spotless tracking
- Privacy-friendly hosting
- No-technical expertise required
- Comprehensive traffic analysis
- Engagement metrics monitoring
- User journey insights
- Effortless funnel creation
- Effortless event tracking
- Product-led growth reports
- User-behaviour understanding
- Accurate stats with adblocker bypassing
- Product-led growth strategies
- Customized dashboards
Do you know
In wrapping up our analytics journey, let's take a moment to reflect on the shift from Universal Analytics to the era of Google Analytics 4. While GA4 brings exciting features, it also brings its fair share of challenges – from data quirks to privacy worries.
But as things can get tricky, Usermaven stands out as the simpler, smarter choice. It's not just about finding an alternative; it's about picking a partner that gets your business vibe and sets you on the growth path.
Contact us to learn how Usermaven can help your business grow, or book a demo here. Thank you so much for staying with us till the very end!
FAQs1. Why did Google transition from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
The transition from UA to GA4 was driven by the need for a more advanced and comprehensive analytics tool that could adapt to the evolving demands within the business industry.2. What are the privacy concerns associated with Google Analytics 4 (GA4), and how does Usermaven address these concerns?
Usermaven provides a more privacy-friendly analytics solution, addressing the complexities of privacy and consent management and aligning with changing privacy needs.3. What are some of the main features a website analytics tool should have?
A strong website analytics tool should track user behavior, traffic sources, demographics, and KPIs. It facilitates in-depth data analysis, customizable reporting, and seamless integration with third-party tools for comprehensive performance evaluation and data-driven decision-making.4. What is the best privacy-friendly analytic tool for websites and products?
One of the top privacy-friendly analytics tools for websites and products is Usermaven, known for its open-source nature and data ownership features, allowing users to maintain control over their data. It emphasizes user privacy through simplified tracking and anonymous data collection, ensuring compliance with privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA.5. How does Usermaven simplify the migration process compared to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
Usermaven offers a more straightforward and user-friendly migration experience. It may touch upon aspects such as resource requirements, time constraints, and the ease of interpreting data during and after the migration.