Difference Between Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics

It is one of the common question while opting the Web Analytics tool and doing the comparison is very common and first action done by business owners.

Google Analytics

  • Easy Client-Side Implementation using JavaScript
  • Customizable Intuitive dashboards
  • Data sharing is not very easy with other users
  • Works well with data analysis languages like R and Python.
  • CRM integration not possible
  • Free tool for the first 10 million hits, post that about $150,000 (for over 1 billion hits).
  • No dedicated customer support team
  • Free Version is available

    Adobe Analytics (formerly known as SiteCatalyst – Omniture)
  • Implementation is easy but requires some technical assistance and little programming knowledge.
  • Server Side and Client-side implementation is possible
  • Less intuitive in reporting
  • Much easier to share with other users.
  • Highly customizable
  • Market Leader
  • Third-party integration is available through various options
  • 24×7 Dedicated customer support.
  • CRM integration allowed
  • No free version is available
  • Each server call is charged

Google Analytics is good if you don’t have a large analytics and tech team, Adobe works mainly in large digital-first / e-commerce companies with dedicated analytics and tech teams. Adobe Analytics is for serious business and long term business as it is part of Adobe Experience Cloud. Adobe Analytics has a market share of 39% in Housewares/Home Furnishings, 36% in Food/Drug, 39% in Books/Music/ Video, and 41% in Mass Merchants.

How To Get NewRepeat Visitor in Adobe Analytics Easily

There are 2 methods to get this:

NewRepeat can be captured through segment or through plugin

With the help of Segment:

Basically we are looking at the visit number of the visitors: if a visitor has at least one visit with a visit number higher than 1 (2 or higher) the visitor is segmented as “returning visitor”. All others are segmented as new visitors. Be aware that this is not depending on the timeframe you are looking at rather segmenting the visitors in their whole history i.e it would be dependent on ECID cookie…which is set for 2 years

With the help of Plugin:

Using plugin you can set your own cookie and set it according to your own time, which is generally 30 days, but can be anything as per the business vertical requirement.

What tools/services Digital Analytics Professionals often use?

While tools/services one uses depend on the need and several other factors. I will share a few popular ones often used by Digital Analytics professionals.

  • Web/App Analytics – Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, GA(App+Web, Firebase)
  • Dynamic Tag Management – Google Tag Manager, Adobe Launch, Tealium, Ensighten
  • Analysis – Excel, SAS
  • Debugging dataLayer – DataLayer Checker, GA Debugger, FB pixel helper
  • Reporting & Visualization – Google Data Studio, Tableau, PowerBI, Tibco Spotfire
  • Product/Event Analytics – Mixpanel, GA(App+Web)
  • Engagement/Marketing Automation – WebEngage, MoEngage
  • App Attribution – Appsflyer, Branch
  • Session Recording – Hotjar, Full Story
  • Marketing warehouse – Google Bigquery
  • Email – Mailchimp, Sendgrid / SES
  • CRM – Hubspot, Salesforce
  • CDP – Segment

To dig deeper into data/Tech

  • API Testing – Postman
  • Data Lake – S3, GCS
  • Data Warehouse – Postgres, Redshift
  • ETL – AWS Glue
  • Querying S3 data lake – Amazon Athena
  • VCS – Git
  • Executing code – Jupyter Notebook(Python), R Studio(R)
  • Hosting Notebooks – Google Colab
  • SQL Client – Dbeaver (connect/query DWH)
  • Editor – VS Code, Sublime T3

In the future, I will share more example, Feel free to comment that which tool you use and why.

How To Handle FPC for Multiple Domain in Adobe Analytics

No matter how many domains a company has they can use the same tracking server for all the domain which is third party cookie implementation.

But if you want the cookies to be created on the domain and want First Party Cookie Implementation then there can be two approaches to handle the situation.

Suppose : They you have 10+ different domain

Option 1:

Where we have to configure 10+ separate tracking server values for respective domains.

Option 2:

Tracking server secure value like smetrics.abc.com for all the 10+ domains – in this case, except for the main domain, the rest would become the friendly third party implementation.

Friendly 3rd-party cookies: Used primarily by organizations with multiple domains that want to use a single visitor ID across all tracked sites. For example, an organization that owns both example.com and example.net could store the cookie on metrics.example.com

As per https://docs.adobe.com/content/help/en/id-service/using/reference/ecid-library-methods.html “the reason for the shift of ECID to CNAME implementations is for persistent visitor identification, not multi-domain tracking”

Option 1 is the best choice here –

It allows for more persistent visitor identification (with option 2, we don’t get a 1st party cookie set server-side)

If there are links that lead for instance from domain X to domain Y, then use appendVisitorIDsTo method for cross-domain tracking

Option 2 doesn’t provide much benefit

First Party Cookie implementation is very much required to mitigate the impact of ITP 2.x

What are Data Collection Steps of Adobe Analytics?

  1. A visitor visits a web page that contains the data collection code.
  2. As the page loads, the data collection code sends an image request (called a web beacon) to Adobe data collection servers. The image request contains the data you want to collect about the visitors’s interaction with your website.
  3. Adobe stores the data in report suites. You can log in to access report suite data and generate reports related to visitor activity on your website.

Data collection is very quick and does not noticeably affect page load times. Collected data includes page views that result from clicking the browser Reload or Back buttons. The Javascript code runs even when the page is retrieved from cache.

Processing Order of Adobe Analytics:

What is Adobe Analytics?

It’s the industry-leading solution for applying real-time analytics and detailed segmentation across all of marketing channels. Use it to discover high-value audiences and power customer intelligence for business.

What Adobe Analytics can do?

Reporting provides insights into your traditional web-based channels as well as evolving channels like mobile, video, and social networking. Some examples of marketing reports include:

  1. How many people visit your site
  2. How many of those visitors are unique visitors (counted only once)
  3. How they came to the site (such as whether they followed a link or came there directly)
  4. What keywords visitors used to search site content
  5. How long visitors stayed on a given page or on the entire site
  6. What links visitors clicked, and when they left the site
  7. Which marketing channels are most effective at generating revenue or conversion events
  8. How much time they spent watching a video
  9. Which browsers and devices they used to visit your site

Testing and Debugging in Adobe Analytics

Testing and Debugging are significant activities and it is required to capture the information in Analytics variable that in case it is required at sme point of time.

Following are the value one should capture in AA variable:

Page URL:

To capture the URL you can use the following line of JS code

location.protocol + ‘//’ + location.host + location.pathname;

Query String:

document.URL.split(“?”)[1];

AppMeasurement code version:

s.version

ECID/MCVID:


If the TMS is Adobe Launch or DTM you can use the below line of code.

_satellite.getVisitorId().getMarketingCloudVisitorID();

If visitorID.js is implemented by other method then use the following JS to capture the value of mid into Adobe Analytics Variable:

s_c_il[0]._fields.MCMID

VisitorAPI.js version

var VI= s_c_il[0].version;
return VI;

For all concatenated detail:

scVersion

To segregate you can use following code :

var fullcode=scVersion.split(‘|’);
var codeversion=fullcode[1];
var VI=fullcode[2];

IP Address:

Check legal/country/company policy before capturing this into AA variable.

There are 2 options to do this.

  • Put the value of IP in Data Layer and then populate that into AA variable
  • Use processing rule and populate the value into AA variable

Hope this helps to pick the testing and debugging parameter.

Use of Tracking Server in Adobe Analytics in case of Domain and Sub Domain

Adobe collects data on your site by receiving an image request generated by the visitor. The trackingServer variable determines the location an image request is sent. If this variable is not defined correctly, your implementation can experience data loss.

Tracking server can be 3rd party tracking server or first party tracking server.

Host name is required for the setup of FPC.

Hostname can be uniqueidentifer.domain.com

As an example we can pick following for ourpcgeek.com

  • For secure you can pick smetric.ourpcgeek.com
  • For non-secure you can pick metric.ourpcgeek.com

For me.ourpcgeek.com

  • For secure you can pick smetric.me.ourpcgeek.com
  • For non-secure you can pick metric.me.ourpcgeek.com

A tracking server is considered as First party when the tracking server contains the domains in it and you have to use that tracking server against that domain only.

For example: smetric.me.ourpcgeek.com will be treated as first party only for domain me.ourpcgeek.com and its subdomains.
If you try to use it with any other domain(like here domain is ourpcgeek-stage2.adobetest.com), it will be treated as Friendly third party tracking server.

Also me.ourpcgeek.com is the subdomain of ourpcgeek.com hence we do not need to set up tracking server separately for me.ourpcgeek.com.

We can use smetric.ourpcgeek.com for both ourpcgeek.com and me.ourpcgeek.com. It will be treated as First party for both of them.

Segregate Internal & External Traffic In Adobe Analytics

Within the Adobe Analytics tool there are 4 main ways to deal with IP address exclusions:

1) Out of the box “Exclude by IP” functionality

This method can be accessed by going to the global ‘Admin’ drop down menu and selecting “Exclude by IP”.  Instructions on how to use this are contained within the page and it is by far the easiest method of removing traffic from specific IP addresses/ranges.

However, the disadvantage of this is that any excluded data is effectively lost for ever so this is not suitable if you ever want to analyse data from internal traffic for a given report suite.

Hint: what is not immediately obvious is that the exclusions work on a report suite by report suite basis – you need to make sure the correct report suite is selected in the top right hand corner

2) Get Adobe engineering to build a DB VISTA Rule

Typically this method would be used if you wanted to siphon off the internal traffic into a separate report suite to analyse separately from your external traffic.  However, Adobe engineering have an awful lot of flexibility within VISTA rules you are not limited on just siphoning data to a separate report suite if you can think of something more creative that you want to do!

The basic approach would be for Adobe Engineering to build a “DB” (Database) Vista rule that allow you to upload and manage via FTP a list of IP address that are excluded (i.e. allowing you to manage going forward without further intervention from Adobe Engineering).

As with all VISTA rules there will almost certainly be a cost associated with this.

3) Use Processing Rules in combination with Virtual Report Suites

IP address is available in processing rules, even if you’ve set your privacy settings to remove IP a ddress from your data.

This means you can using processing rules to set a value into a variable whenever you see an internal IP address (e.g. overwrite prop1 with a custom value of “internal traffic”)

The value captured can be used to segment your data or, as we do, used to created virtual report suites (e.g. one with external traffic, one with internal traffic)

The advantages of this is that it is non destructive and there is no cost. Though it is not retroactive process and will be affective after the setup.

4) Use segment or VRS

If you have list of IP address available in report suite then you can create segment and apply that on reports or create a VRS and you can share that VRS to stake holders. It is retro-active process.

How To Enable Or Disable Activity Map in Adobe Launch

Once Activity Map is enabled for an Adobe Analytics report suite, it can not be disabled, and so instead Adobe recommends that you remove the Activity Map module from your implementation to disable the functionality. 

AppMeasurement.js self-hosted

This can be completed simply by accessing your AppMeasurement.js and removing the Activity Map module. 

AppMeasurement.js hosted via the Adobe CDN

By default on console if you type s_c_il it will show the following.

Now to disable Activity Map.You have to use the available latest version of Adobe Analytics Extension so if it is not upgraded then upgrade that.

Go to the configuration of Adobe Analytics Extension and disable Activity Map by unchecked the box

After this publish the build and reload the page and this time the Activity Map will not load and can be checked through console.

In case you don’t want to stop the tracking through Activity Map but want to limit the tracking then you can check Activity Map Customizer Extension.

Feel free to comment in case you have any question or add any insights.