Why You Need More Than Google Analytics

 Why You Need More Than Google Analytics 

October 2018 


Google Analytics has transformed tracking but it’s a basic model, with limitations

When Google Analytics was launched on 14th November 2005, 100,000 new accounts were created within the first week. That was four times bigger than the size of the entire industry at that time. Since then, it’s transformed the way businesses of all sizes think about (and use) data, which has been key for marketing analytics. By analysing past performance, companies can improve marketing ROI and truly nail their strategy.  

While the impact has been remarkable, there are important shortcomings, which for some businesses halt progress. Google Analytics is an incomparable entry-level tool for data analytics, but it also has its flaws. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll start to realise its limitations. Understanding where it can’t help you and what insights you can’t get from it is extremely useful for performance optimisation. 

The impressive usage stats refer to Google Analytics Classic – Google Analytics as you’ll know it. Google Analytics 360 does have further functionalities, but this comes at a price. GA classic can track up to 10,000,000/50 = 200,000 visitors in a month, while 360 manages up to 1 billion hits per month, which indicates the difference in functionality. 


The fundamental limitation is that Google Analytics only gives you access to a very restricted visibility of all the data that could possibly be available. In many cases, these restrictions are ultimately helpful; they make the information surfaced manageable. However, it does mean there is a lot that you can’t see. 


  1.  Google Analytics doesn’t show you which attribution models are being used, but only surfaces headline information.  

It’s essentially a black box: showing the bare bones of the customer journey without delving into key details. This is where you really need multi-touch attribution to give you an in-depth analysis of the customer journey. To give you an example, Google shows you the number of conversions at the total level, but they can’t tell you how this correlates with visitors. This means you could easily be double counting visitors. This would occur for example when they refresh the page and trigger the success event again, or if they come back and amend their booking – which would also trigger the success event. If you’re to truly assess customer lifetime value then these figures have to be spot on.  


2. Google is only set up to show you how your spend relates to performance on Google channels  

Without expensive and complex in-house engineering, investments in other channels won’t register in your Google dashboard (such as paid social and digital media), so you can’t get a full understanding of your ROI. Cross-channel, cross-device attribution is an absolute must if you’re to properly assess marketing ROI. Sure, it’s possible to compare some data-points from different sources, but not apples-for-apples.


3. You’re limited in how much you can manipulate the insight it shows you. 

You can only cross reference 20 custom data points at any one time. This sounds like a lot, but when you’re working with big data sets it quickly gets very complicated. For an e-commerce company (imagine Amazon), the sale of one iPhone would be a single data point. It’s self-evident how fast they would exhaust their 20 possible options.


4. Restrictions on look-back windows limits how much historical data you can access. 

Whilst analysing recent performance is obviously high on the priority list, changes in marketing strategy often don’t have an immediate impact. To build a coherent plan for the future, you need to be able to properly assess all that you’ve done in the past, not just recent history. 

The result of all this is that you might not be using the best, or most appropriate, data to inform your marketing decisions. Therefore, your decisions might not be optimal. 

It may take access to a new system, or some difficult questions, to help you realise what’s missing from your current analytics offering. Fospha is designed to track and illustrate multi-touch attribution in your marketing, giving you access to any piece of data and any insight you could wish to analyse 


Here are some of the things Fospha can do:

  • Our technology has an unlimited “lookback window”. Fospha gives you a full view of what’s happened historically, whereas Google can only do this in a limited way – they just store data that correlates to the conversion metric you’d set up at the time. If your conversion metric changes, the historic data will be useless.
  • There is no limit to the number of data points you can cross-reference. This means that you’ll have a precise answer for horrid questions such as “What can you tell me about customers that we lose at this precise point in the funnel?”. You can simply dig into the old data and work up a hypothesis.
  • We’ll give you an overview of your marketing investment in all channels (from Bing, Facebook etc.), and not just Google, without any extra work for your team. This gives you a clear picture of your revenue and ROI. Whilst you can do this with Google Analytics, you need in-house integration – whereas Fospha does it for you. Fospha’s also capable of offline attribution – such as TV attribution – as well as giving you analysis of the cross interaction between channels and devices.
  • We offer unparalleled detail for each site visitor. Want to know, for example, how customers in the North respond when it’s sunny? Fospha can help: with integrations that include weather, weekends, weekdays, months, locations, etc. Marketing analytics often bypasses these sorts of details, but that’s not to say they’re unimportant. 


  • Lastly, we stitch sessions together so we can tell you the journey of any one user within your product. We can change the data if two sessions have been detected to be the same. 


Google Analytics has changed the fate of countless businesses by giving them data they previously could not access. Google hasn’t offered an update in years, but in 2015, on Google’s tenth birthday it was estimated that as many as 30–50 million websites use the Analytics platform. Do some of these businesses not know the limitations on what they are seeing? For some, they don’t need more functionality. But do others have remaining unanswered questions? 


Truly analyse your marketing ROI with Fospha’s multi-touch attribution technology, which gives you more detailed insights on your data. 

Unlock the power of your data.  

Connect it to other data sets.  

Expand your customer view.

Comparison matrix:


Further reading: https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/google-analytics-shortcomings



About Fospha

Fospha provides its clients with an accessible, centralised, and actionable data platform. Our solution can seamlessly integrate disparate performance data siloes and present clients with a comprehensive – and most importantly – accurate picture of their marketing performance. By combining MTA with an extensive list of different datasets, Fospha provides a single interface where clients can understand how buyers are interacting with their brand, understand where they’re getting the best return on investment, and optimise their marketing strategy accordingly.

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