Is Google Analytics still the tracking tool in 2021?
Google Analytics is one of the most well-known and used analytics systems. Of course there are certain circumstances where we would recommend a different tool.
Google Analytics System Concept Fundamentals
Google Analytics gives a very strict model on how we should look at data. Their analytics model started more than 10 years ago where analytics and websites were not that complex. The system revolves around looking at pageviews, sessions and users. Calculations and analysis would only be done through that. In addition, there would also be some features where we should be able to track but cannot connect that to the data. This model is restricted especially due to privacy issues and there is no way we can reconcile personal identifiable info in Google Analytics.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of this number one analytics tool? Let us take a look at some of the pros and cons:
It is free If your company's website supports a small or medium-sized traffic and you are looking at standard tracking of the user's behaviour, Google Anaytics will definitely be the tool of choice since it is free.
There is a lot of support Since it is the largest analytics tools out there, there is huge support in terms of tutorials, forums and courses (Google Analytics Academy) to guide users to use the tool.
It is highly customizable The current Google Analytics out-of-the-box tracking mainly revolves around pageviews. However you can setup additional customizations like event tracking, sending user IDs, custom dimensions, custom metrics, custom reports, custom dashboards, etc.
Well connected tool Google Analytics is a well-connected tool. You can send the data that you have collected easily to other Google data platforms like Google Analytics, Google Data Studio and Google Tag Manager. In addition, Google Analytics can be easily connected to other third-party fronts like Super Metrics where we can pull the data right into Google Sheets. Plugins in CMS like Wordpress allows users to install Google Analytics easily.
Track beyond just the web You can use it on different digital environments such as websites, mobile applications, kiosks, or anything that has an internet connection
Sample data for big sites The free version of Google Analytics suits almost anyone. If your traffic is high and you start to see the data showing a sample size, then you may want to upgrade to the paid version which is Google Analytics 360. This would easily cost from $20,000 and upwards.
Other more specialized tools If you have other specialized tracking requirements like mobile apps, gaming, deep insights for customer behaviours (eg. Requires to login), individual user behaviours, then other analytics tool may be better options. Tools like Piwik (now known as Matomo) allows tracking of individual interaction behaviours on the site.
No access to raw data In essence, Google Analytics data are captured and structured into a bucket of page views. If you want to connect the data to other tools and get deeper analysis, you are required to capture the raw data. If you require raw data, then other analytics tools would be a better choice.
So is Google Analytics the best tracking tool in 2021 for website tracking?
If you are just looking at standard tracking data to view your marketing campaign, then Google Analytics will be sufficient for your business.
If your website depends heavily on customization and really wants to make a deep business impact on your analytics, then it would be good to compare with other analytics tools out there.