Comparing Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics 4

By: Nitin Naval / December 18th 2023 / Analytics
Comparing Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics 4

C\T’s resident analytics expert, Nitin Naval, put together a handy comparison summary for one of our clients planning to upgrade their analytics capabilities this year. As a multi-national enterprise firm across several markets, they were interested in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) or Adobe Analytics. After Nitin shared his perspective on these two platforms to support our client’s decision, we speculated other enterprise teams weighing their own options and asking comparable questions might benefit from seeing Nitin’s assessment, too. Without further ado, our latest Thoughts post is Nitin’s analytics comparison table.

GA 4 Adobe Analytics
Predictive insights GA4 has baked-in machine learning designed to anticipate user behavior. Using the predictive insights functionality when creating a custom audience means you can see the probability of a user group making a purchase or exiting the funnel, plus access a potential revenue figure. Adobe Analytics blows Google out of the water here. Adobe’s advanced statistical modelling algorithms enable insights like anomaly detection, unexpected spikes and dips, behavior correlations, and intelligent alerts. So, while Google’s predictive insights help marketers optimize eCommerce campaigns and analyze in-app purchases, B2B marketers will have limited use. Meanwhile, Adobe’s statistical modelling helps marketers unearth all kinds of insights, not only those related to conversion activity.
Reporting Google Analytics features predefined reporting models based on the customer life cycle. This makes sense, given GA4’s apparent orientation towards conversion-based properties (e.g. eCommerce and B2C websites, apps, and games). As well as the demographic and technology usage data you’re familiar with from Universal Analytics (UA), GA4 breaks down activity by the stage in the customer life cycle. According to Google, these stages are Acquisition, Engagement, Monetization, and Retention. Adobe Analytics rolled its Reporting & Analytics features into the Analysis Workspace in 2015 and will sunset the old tool in 2023. It’s a smart move that combines analysis and reporting capabilities into a single source of truth, the Analysis Workspace. Adobe’s reporting capabilities are more agile than Google’s. The purpose is to generate real-time insights that improve the customer experience rather than waiting until a campaign ends to assess past activity. That said, there are numerous reporting templates you can use to export data on demand.
Digital data GA4 measures web + app and brands must add GA4 to a site alongside Universal Analytics to collect data from the website and app. Measure digital sources beyond web and app, such as home devices, connected cars, gaming consoles, e-readers, and more.
Visitor data stitching GA4 provides a cross-device view through web and app data, requiring the same unique identifier to be used across both devices. Data stitching applies to a point in time forward with no historical restatement. Stitch IDs from multiple devices and channels into a single “person” and retroactively restate historical data, enabling customer journey use cases such as call deflection and click-to-brick.
Omnichannel data GA4 measures data streams from iOS app, Android app, and Web. Data imports bring in offline data as a data source via uploaded CSV. Imported data is not able to restate historical data and file deletion cancels the join. Control how your online and offline data is connected in Analysis Workspace on any common person ID, enabling attribution, segmentation, and journey analysis across your customer dataset.
Update time Google’s SLA notes that insights and user lifetime analytics can take up to 24 hours to process. Depending on the use case, this delay could be a minor inconvenience or cause many sleepless nights. Adobe’s latency is much shorter, taking just 2 hours to complete reports. Each data collection server uploads batches of raw data every hour, so it could be even faster if the participation metric registers right before an upload.
Streaming media and over-the-top (OTT) tracking GA4 doesn’t have 10 second heartbeat tracking, and brands use enhanced measurement events to capture basic KPIs for streaming media, such as starts, completes, and quartiles. Heartbeat streaming measurement captures all events within video or audio clips, including OTT devices and visuals for average minute audience, concurrent viewers, and playback time spent.
Pricing GA4 is free, with no rumors of Google charging for the standard features. However, you’ll need to upgrade to GA4 360 to scale up data collection, get enterprise-level technical support, or ink an SLA. GA4 360 is Google’s enterprise-sized analytics platform for companies registering ~1 million monthly hits or more. Google has suggested that the minimum price for GA4 360 will be USD 50,000 per year, which gets you 25 million monthly events plus the trimmings. Adobe Analytics pricing reflects its enterprise-sized capabilities. There’s no free basic version; the subscription levels are Select, Prime, and Ultimate. After the 30-day trial period, you can expect Adobe Analytics pricing to run between USD 30,000 and USD 150,000, depending on your subscription.

Based on Nitin’s understanding of both platforms along with C\T’s implementation experiences, Adobe Analytics is a better fit than GA4 for enterprise needs. We hope Nitin’s comparison table helps your team’s decision-making, too.