Why GA4 may not be the right tool for you


This article will highlight some of the key points around cloud storage and advertising tag integration. These two areas are an area where some marketers may not find the new GA4 suitable to them.

I'll break down some of thinking how marketers could over come that concerns. Also, I will list out some of the possible issues some businesses and marketers would not be able to find GA4 as an ideal analytics platform.

GA4 Integration with a Cloud Storage

One of the key features of the free GA4 is the native integration with BigQuery. Marketers can now automatically ingest the data into a data warehouse for advanced analysis with BI tools. That Google Analytics integration from the Universal Analytics version with cloud storage was not intuitive before.

As you can see below from the cloud infrastructure's marketer share data, Google Cloud Platform only accounts for roughly 10% of the market share. This means many marketers aren't invested in Google's cloud storage (including BigQuery).

GA4 may be Google's aim to encourage people to use Google's cloud solution. But many marketers may not have that authority to decide which cloud infrastructure his or her company should be using.

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/967365/worldwide-cloud-infrastructure-services-market-share-vendor/

If your digital analytics stack is your hub for user behavior data and needs to have that data in a data warehouse that is not Google (e.g., Redshift, Snowflake), then GA4 may not be the right digital analytics tool for you.

Most data connector tools have added support to ingest GA4 data into a data storage stack of your choice. So, it shouldn't be a show stopper that GA4 doesn't have native integration with your data stack.

The downside is that it will be another thing to review and manage for any marketers who need to signup and manage such an ETL if you don't have that supported in your organization.

GA4 and Google ads integration

The other key feature of GA4 is the tight integration with Google Ad products. If you are running performance marketing campaigns and need to attribute those conversions back to specific ad campaigns, GA4 will be the right tool.

Keep in mind that within GA4's console, you will not find any native integration support for ad tech platforms outside of Google's platforms (image below).

The tag manager usually handles event variables and integrations with advertising-related tags. So the tag manager is where advertising tags would be deployed when your customer engages with your brand or converts and pass on necessary variables to the tags.

Suppose any downstream data integration needs exist (like integrating user behavior data, customer segments, or machine learning outputs ad managers). In that case, you can manage that integration from your backends like CDP or CRM.

GA4 could be where it informs you about what customer behavior or segments are performing. So you can test your hypothesis and take action to leverage the right data to drive to improve your marketing performance.

Why GA4 would be not the right tool for some marketers

As I noted above, there are immediate restrictions within the GA4 console from an integration standpoint. However, as long as your MarTech strategy and what you want out of the tool are clear, you can invest your resources to overcome necessary integrations with GA4.

If any marketers find GA4 as not the right tool, it may be due to the following possible reasons:

  • Your organization does not allow GA4 (or Google's tech stack). We sometimes see this with certain industries or regions where Google's cloud platforms are not allowed on certain parts of their site or an entire business.
  • Resources and budget do not exist to adopt tools (Stitch, Fivetran, Databricks) that enable GA4 Integration with non-Google cloud storage.
  • Your company already has enterprise-grade analytics tools, and company policy or resources do not exist to support another analytics tech stack.
  • Onboarding another tool like GA4 is another headache that will impact marketer's resource utilization and is not a must-have to run any marketing campaigns in your organization today.

GA4 is a new direction Google is taking with digital analytics and how marketers utilize data for marketing. I see this as an exciting time for digital marketers and hope we're all in a good place to leverage and try new tools to enhance our data-driven marketing career.

Related article

Google is Ending Universal Analytics & Why Switch to GA4
The main reason why Google is ending Universal Analytics is that the technical architecture of the GA platform no longer meets current standards of analytics needs.

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Kris Twitter

As a data journalist, I enjoy curating and analyzing marketing trends, and data. The things that fascinate me the most are the transforming business landscape due to evolving marketing technologies.