Google Analytics 4 (GA4) was announced in October 2020 as the next measurement solution to replace Universal Analytics(UA). GA4 was designed to improve privacy standards in collecting measurements and incorporates more AI and machine-learning than UA.

Google announced that GA4 would replace Universal Analytics in July 2023 and historical data would not transfer from UA to GA4. Many in the SEO community felt it was an unnecessary change but hoped it would improve their reporting.

More than two years later, it is painfully clear the transition was neither smooth nor has it been well-received.

After the initial release and negative feedback, many hoped that the decreased reporting abilities and awful interface were just part of the initial launch and would be quickly resolved. Today, many SEOs find GA4 to still be a tremendous downgrade in both data and reporting from the previous version of Google Analytics.

Some search marketers noted that commonly used features are buried within the user interface, making it difficult to access. Others are frustrated that GA4 does not have current data and that third-party add-ons still don't work.

Many digital marketers yearn for the return of the old Analytics dashboard. In fact, a 2023 survey found that over 75% of SEOs were not happy with the new product:

Survey of SEOs: 76% not happy with GA4
Source: Search Engine Roundtable

Top GA4 Complaints

It's clear that the change to GA4 has been largely unwelcomed and, in the view of many, unsuccessful.

Here are some of the top complaints noted about GA4:

  • Difficult to use: GA4 appears to be tailored more toward enterprise-level users rather than smaller businesses.
  • Bad user interface: The primary concern raised by readers regarding GA4 was its user interface, which was unanimously criticized for being sluggish and unintuitive.
  • Data lag: Marketers have expressed significant apprehension about the delay in obtaining same-day data on GA4. Advertisers emphasize the importance of continuous performance monitoring and are puzzled by the apparent absence of this function in the new analytics platform.
  • Data discrepancies: Discrepancies in information have led to concerns that the data being provided may not be accurate, prompting questions regarding the reliability of GA4.
  • Too complex: Many marketers feel they are investing unnecessary time and money in comprehending features that are not essential for their use.

Google Analytics 4: A Flop?

Search Marketers have used words such as "horrible," "awful," and "unusable" to describe GA4.

Taylor Kurtz, a consultant for UNMiss, doubled down on such sentiments: "I find GA4 to be lacking in various aspects. The reporting interface is simply awful, causing frustration among users. Moreover, the delayed and less reliable data compared to Universal Analytics adds an additional layer of concern, hindering the platform's effectiveness for data-driven insights."

GA4 has faced widespread criticism among search marketers, with many considering it a failure. Even after over two years since its launch, the product has shown minimal improvement, failing to address the initial complaints that hindered its adoption.

The lack of significant progress has left many in the marketing community disillusioned with GA4's capabilities.

Content courtesy of UNMiss

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Google Analytics 4: Still Awful After 2+ Years

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