Why Google Analytics 4 is a terrible choice for most people

This will be a short article but an important one.

There are many things that can be said about Google Analytics 4. First things that come to most people’s minds are these:

  1. It’s free.
  2. It’s powerful – it is the most powerful free analytics tool you can get.
  3. It’s easy to install.
  4. It has easy to understand basic reports.

But there are also other things about GA 4 that mostly only advanced marketers know about.

  1. Google Analytics 4 has no traffic filters to clean data from ghost spam and general “noise” (and GA 3 required doing this)
  2. Its basic reports show mostly vanity metrics that don’t give any actionable insights.
  3. You need a lot of know-how to set up custom reports and get actionable insights.
  4. It is blocked by all ad-blockers and some browsers.
  5. It does not comply with GDPR privacy regulations in the EU and is now banned in Austria, the Netherlands, France and Italy.

This all adds up to this:

“Advanced GA users can find their way around some of Google Analytics 4’s issues. Less advanced users shouldn’t use it.”

Krzysztof Planeta, the developer of WP Full Picture plugin for WordPress

And this has lead to a curious situation…

More and more professionals are turning their back on Google Analytics

The group of advanced users has always been the pilar of success of GA. And even though every version of GA had flaws these people could find solutions to those problems. The power of Free in this case spoke louder than the voice of discontent.

But ever since Google Analytics 4 was introduced something changed.

I see in forums for analytics and marketing professionals that many are looking for an alternative to GA 4. Some of them still recommend using version 3 even though it will be discontinued in July 2023.

In fact I have never seen such big movement away from GA in 10+ years I am in the analytics business. I remember voices of discontent when Universal Analytics was introduced but they weren’t so loud and numerous.

What can it lead to?

If the PROs will no longer support GA that much, the group of everyday users will start looking for alternatives. And this is a very good thing, becasue there are many free & cheap Google Analytics 4 alternatives and they are so much better for them.

I am curious about your opinion on this matter. Please share it in the comments. I will do my best to reply.