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Digital Marketing
Min read

GA4 is bad

Donald Ng
June 8, 2023
5-star rating
Reviews on Capterra
GA4 is bad

There's a storm brewing in the world of digital marketing, and it goes by the name of GA4. As the new kid on the analytics block, Google's latest iteration feels more like a rough wave than a breath of fresh air. With the wind of frustration gnawing at our souls, we're left clinging to our old friend, Universal Analytics (UA), like a digital life raft. But is there another way?

In this article, we'll dive into the pain points of GA4 and explore alternatives that are making waves in the world of web analytics, promising a smoother sailing experience for digital marketers.

Forced Migration and Users Under Pressure

Digital marketers worldwide have recently felt Google tightening the noose as it forces users to migrate to GA4 and announces the sunsetting of Universal Analytics. This move, while predictable due to Google's push for adopting its latest version, has caused widespread frustration and concern among users familiar with the ease and functionality of Universal Analytics.

For many, this forced transition feels like being thrown into the deep end without a life vest, struggling to catch a breath as they grapple with GA4's complexities and limitations. As trusty Universal Analytics fades into the horizon and GA4 stands tall, digital marketers face the daunting task of either reshaping their strategies to adapt to GA4 or seeking new and more suitable analytics alternatives to ensure smooth sailing.

The GA4 Pain

1. New Data Tracking and Reporting

GA4 is like the smart cousin that everyone's excited about until they come over for Thanksgiving dinner and make you feel obsolete. They have a new event-based data model, which means a steep learning curve for digital marketers adjusting their tracking code and figuring out how to set up and analyze data. Gone are the days of comfort with familiar setups; with GA4 comes the inconvenience and confusion of learning a new language amidst a sea of data.

2. Limited Features and Integrations

Being a 'work-in-progress,' GA4 lacks some of the features and integrations we've come to know and love in UA. We might as well be sailing into uncharted waters if we can't connect our other marketing tools and perform advanced analyses. GA4's limitations can leave digital marketers feeling stranded on a barren island with few resources at their disposal.

3. Lack of Historical Data

Gathering intelligence from historical data is like reading the stars to navigate through volatile market tides. Sadly, GA4's telescope is rather short-sighted and doesn't store data from previous UA versions. The inability to compare data over different periods can feel like fumbling in the dark, making informed decision-making an uncertain and challenging endeavor.

The Cries from the Depths of User Frustration

We've compiled a list of actual GA4 user comments, echoing the turmoil that digital marketers are facing as they grapple with this new analytics beast. Their concerns and frustrations highlight the stark reality of adopting GA4 in its current state. Source: GA4 makes me want to snap my own neck. Ouch!

1. The Audience Group Dilemma

"I swear no amount of videos are helping me with some issues I’m having here like creating a simple audience group."

Whether it's struggling with simple tasks or the headache of audience migration tool failures, it's clear that GA4 has taken something previously straightforward and turned it into an Herculean endeavor.

2. Reporting Woes

"This morning, I just wanted to check the traffic for one single page with a clear chart. It's for a client. And even that, it's a nightmare. Because GA4 is not made for simple things."

In the world of GA4, basic necessities like generating a traffic report for a single page can feel like navigating a labyrinth. When every report turns into agony, it's a significant pain point for digital marketers who rely on being efficient and insightful.

3. Unintuitive Design and Limited Support

"Whoever designed the UI for this sh*t must be blind."

Digital marketers have expressed frustration with GA4's unintuitive interface and the lack of clear guidance available. Even certified users and experts are often left feeling in the dark, unable to execute simple functions or understand fundamental aspects of the platform. Furthermore, Google's communication regarding GA4 and its features often leaves much to be desired.

4. Accuracy and Confidence Issues

"I've been seeing up to a 30% difference in GA4 and UA revenue tracking in all of my google ads accounts. Reached out to google and they are investigating the issue. We are weeks away from having to switch to GA4 revenue numbers and I have zero confidence the data will be correct."

Inaccurate or inconsistent data can wreak havoc on decision-making and strategy execution for digital marketers. When the numbers are off, and Google itself doesn't have clear answers, it shakes our trust in GA4's ability to provide reliable insights.

5. Google's Priorities Questioned

"GA4 is simply for agencies, not for me."

For some digital marketers, especially those managing a single website or small business, GA4 feels increasingly tailored towards large agencies rather than being inclusive of individual users. This sentiment only fuels the frustration and alienation individuals and small businesses feel with GA4.

By quoting these user comments and reflecting on the concerning pain points, it's crucial that we, as digital marketers, remain open to the possibility of finding more suitable solutions and aiding each other in navigating the treacherous waters of GA4 and beyond.

Sailing into Calmer Waters: Alternative Web Analytics Solutions

1. Plausible

Plausible Analytics | Simple, privacy-friendly Google ...

When it comes to simplicity and respecting user privacy, Plausible is the promising lighthouse in the fog of GA4. This open-source analytics tool is lightweight, privacy-friendly, and GDPR compliant. It provides real-time data updates and fundamental insights without the extra bells and whistles, making it an ideal choice for focused and efficient digital marketers.

2. Fathom

Why Fathom Analytics Ditched MySQL, Redis, and DynamoDB to ...

For those in search of a minimalist haven amidst GA4's complexities, Fathom offers a straightforward, privacy-conscious analytics platform. It may lack the depth of functionality of GA4, but it certainly makes up for it in simplicity, streamlined reports, and, most importantly, respecting user privacy.

3. Howuku

Website Heatmaps & Behavior Analytics Platform | Howuku ...

Howuku is like that cool shipmate who can read your visitors' minds and make sense of their behavior. With a focus on conversion rate optimization, Howuku combines web analytics with heatmap insights, user feedback, and A/B testing, offering a comprehensive understanding of your website performance. It's a user-centric alternative to GA4 that can help you optimize and enhance the user experience.

4. Simple Analytics

Simple Analytics press page

Sometimes, digital marketers just need the bare necessities, and Simple Analytics delivers precisely that. With a focus on simplicity, this privacy-first analytics tool provides website owners with valuable data at their fingertips. No extravagant features, no invasive cookies, just a hassle-free analytics experience that helps you navigate the essentials.

5. Piwik PRO

Cookie Banner Plugin for Piwik Pro – Become Compliant Now

For the more enterprise-oriented digital marketers seeking a customizable and privacy-compliant analytics solution, Piwik PRO is an excellent choice. It provides a bevy of robust features while adhering to strict privacy regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, and CCPA. You'll have rich insights and powerful analytics tools without constantly being on the watch for privacy infringements.


GA4 may have thrown us into stormy seas of frustration, but it doesn't have to be our only course. The growing demand for simpler, privacy-focused alternatives is giving rise to innovative solutions like Plausible, Fathom, Howuku, Simple Analytics, and Piwik PRO. So, as you face the challenges of GA4, remember that other ships are waiting to guide you to calmer waters. Shifting your sails and exploring new analytics horizons could be the key to unlocking success amidst the ever-changing tides of digital marketing.

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