I have been working with Adobe and Google technology since 2004. Since 2010 I  have been consulting with companies across most industries here in the UK but also  across Europe and North America. One of the questions I get asked a lot is which  one is better… Google Analytics 360 or Adobe Analytics. The true answer – and the  one that no one ever likes to hear – is that ‘it depends’. It depends on your business  model, maturity, team structure and skill-set, advertising approach and much more.

To get hold of my detailed review, all 13,000 delicious words of it, then please click  the button below and submit your details to me. I’ll be in touch to provide the PDF  version to you. This also has a very informative 20 minute screen-share video where I  detail some key differences in analysis capabilities between the tools with a  common eCommerce use-case:

Access Whitepaper

Summarised Conclusion

Both GA360 and AA are excellent analytics tools capable of providing summarised  real-time data as well as near real-time rich insights capability. They have  fundamentally different use-cases related to just how much value they would  provide any business not just in retail. This value always comes down to the  following key components and what I use whenever advising a business as to which  one to pick:

  1. Business Model (i.e. use cases)
  2. Team Structure & Maturity
  3. Size/Scale of the Business

Business Model

Quite simply, the more basic your data model is the more likely you are to gravitate  towards GA360 and Vice Versa to AA. If you sell physical widgets online only and you  do this via a drop-ship method then you have an extremely simple business model.  You’re ultimately selling a product in the most cost effective way but you don’t really  have any control over the quality of the product and as such much control over the  experience for the customer. In this situation all you’re really going to care about is  selling as much of this product as possible to the end consumer and as such you will  have a very active sales acquisition and retention programme. You won’t have a  complex need to cross-sell or up-sell additional products, understand the different  industry or fashion trends in regard to buying behaviour, ensure you’re providing the right message at the right place in the right time across multiple customer touch-points both online and offline.

In the above scenario I really cannot think of any reason why I would be  recommending anything but GA360. The type of business will likely have additional  technology such as an ESP to re-engage with past purchasers to let them know  about the latest version of the widgets or perhaps with a cyclical message in relation  to how often people buy those widgets during their lifetime. They might even have  a testing tool (Google Optimize most likely) to help increase conversion rates for  advertising traffic but there isn’t a strong need to have a real-time unified profile and  journey orchestration system to manage the entire experience.

Conversely, a business that has multiple touch-points such as physical stores, a  website, an app, call-centre, catalogue and more really need to join their customer  journey strategy up to ensure they’re not inadvertently damaging the experience.  Without a real-time unified customer profile and journey orchestration tool it would  (and clearly is based on our experiences) be very easy to send customers conflicting  messages about products to buy. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve  received an email with a promotion for a product that I have no interest in, would  never have interest in and have certainly never shown interest in… the more  messages like this I receive the more I lose focus on that brand and start to ignore  them. With so much choice available to us now I will only listen to brands if they  listen to me!

Team Structure & Maturity

Perhaps you do have a complex business model but for various reasons the business  does not have a structure that lends itself well to capitalising on technologies that  help orchestrate the customer journey in real-time. Perhaps the business has been  sold a ’digital transformation’ vision by a major management consulting company  and now has very specific functions set up to achieve this programme which ignores  the fact that the customer absolutely does not care that you have 17 different  departments all owning different parts of their journey. It’s not uncommon for me to  recommend that brands walk before they run. In the scenario just illustrated I have  often seen technology purchases as a solution to an organisational challenge… it  absolutely is not. It would be like a nation thinking they can compete in a  heptathlon at the olympics because they have 7 specialist athletes that currently  compete across the heptathlon disciplines.

The organisational structure as an absolute minimum must be in place to achieve an  effective orchestration of the entire customer journey. That’s not to say that the 18th  division needs to be set up specifically to deal with this although in some cases that  might be the most effective solution. Ideally a cross-functional team with direction  from the top operates to align all other divisions into a common set of goals and  languages that all revolve around the customer experience, not such acquisition,  revenue or order rates in a way where all departments try and claim attribution for  the same metric.

Maturity is harder to achieve and is generally something that comes with time AND  retention of staff. Another thing I hear a lot is businesses telling me that they might  not want to bring in consulting support because they’re ‘trying to build internal  capability’. The fact of the matter is that I want the same thing. I really don’t like it  when we are the longest serving member of our client’s teams. We are most  effective and deliver the highest value for our clients when there is a very clear  direction surrounding customer experience and we can work with the clients to  build this capability over time and use technology in the right way over the course of  our engagement to facilitate this. At no point would I ever be advocating some sort  of mass technology purchase and ‘big bag’ project to solve challenges a business  faces. It just burns people out, causes attrition and doesn’t actually move the  business forward… a situation some big management consultancies revel in because  they can keep a constant supply of sub-contractors flowing through a business like  this while also enjoying large technology purchase kick-backs.

Size/Scale of Business

This is not always as linear as you might think BUT generally speaking there is a  minimum size where it really doesn’t make sense for me to start recommending  Adobe tech. As a rough guide this will be a business with a turnover (from digital  sales) of less than £10m. There are of course some exceptions to this in that the  business might be relatively new and while at less than £10m turnover are on a  trajectory that would see them hitting £50m+ within a couple of years. In that  scenario it may be important to put them on a technology purchase path that won’t  require them to replatform within 18 months. There are also other scenarios where a  business is well in excess of £10m turnover but the digital sales are a relatively small  proportion of this. Again, in this case it may make more sense to start with  something a little less featureful which can still help improve digital experiences but  doesn’t address the entire set of use-cases.

As you can see, despite there being consistent levers to a recommendation it really  will ‘depend’ when it comes to actually providing the best recommendation for a  business. What I at least can guarantee is that whatever advice I (or my team) give, it  will be entirely objective, fully justified and documented as to why. The DMPG  business model is designed to work by enabling our clients to achieve the optimal  digital customer experience. We are wholly owned by 2 directors that share this  vision. We do not have to answer to investors or other shareholders that just care  about return on their investment regardless of how we do it. I don’t really  understand how other consultancies can objectively say the same thing when they  are answerable to outside influences. It was also the main reason I set the company  up 7 years ago. At the time I had a very client-focused mentality coming from  client-side roles and I have retained this in every aspect of the DMPG growth  strategy.

If you would like to hear more about this particular topic or anything related to  building an optimal digital customer experience then don’t hesitate to contact me.  It’s not hard to find me and I will never try and sell you anything. If you want to  procure the DMPG services then great but this is just the icing on the cake for me  though.

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