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Amit Thapliyal
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Sitecore Analytics vs Google Analytics - A head to head comparison

There has been a lot of debate on this topic and especially customers who use Sitecore or willing to migrate to Sitecore, ask this question – “Which one is better among Google analytics and Sitecore analytics”. Since there is not too much information about this on internet, and we work on Sitecore analytics/DMS as well as Google Analytics for our clients, we thought why not write something which is helpful for the whole Sitecore community, users and prospects.

Let’s do a head to head comparison of Google Analytics and Sitecore DMS  and we will share our thoughts and leave the rest for you to decide.

Sitecore DMS has 3 components:

1. Executive Dashboard

2. Engagement Analytics

3. Marketing Center

Let me give you a brief about them. We will cover details of each in our second blog of this series.

1. Executive Dashboard:

sitecore executive dashbaord

 

The executive dashboard is a high-level reporting dashboard for clickstream data. You can see the traffic trends and filter them by channels (organic, paid, display, social), campaigns, branded keywords and value/visit. These are aggregate data reports and charts which give you high-level insights about what is happening on your website.

Obvious Question: How is Sitecore Executive Dashboard data different from Google Analytics Clickstream data?

Good Question! Google analytics perhaps gives you a better interface and dashboard for clickstream data but there are some key differences which makes executive dashboard reporting helpful for marketing managers.

 

1. Ease of use to enter the search criteria

The ability to input criteria (keyword) is the start of a user’s interaction with your website’s search experience. Though this is the first step, but you need to provide multiple ways in which a user can enter their search criteria.

> Search Box – start with the basic ability to key in the search parameter

> Voice-Enabled Search Entry – ability for a user to enter search criteria through voice enabled feature

> Ability to scan keyword – search feature to have the ability to use the device’s camera to scan for text keyword that can be used as a search criteria

> Most-Searched Keyword – a user should have the ability to choose from some of the most searched keywords

The above-mentioned methods are largely used for both desktop and mobile users. However, the second and third techniques are more aligned with mobile users, with emphasis on ‘ease of use’.

The other question most people have are - how prominent should be the search feature on the website. To answer this in concisely, it depends on a few factors.

> Type of Users

> Type of Content

> Backend Capabilities (technical capabilities)

Keeping these in mind, you can make a call as to how to best place the search icon, or should make your search feature more prominent.

More than anything else, we need to understand that we should avoid letting a user type keyword but largely push for having more of Voice enabled and suggestive searches. Especially in mobile you should always move ahead with less typing and more tapping rule.

Ebook
Digital Customer Engagement for Asset & Wealth Management Companies

a) Google Analytics data collection is script based which means that it might miss significant amount of clicks/visits on your website. Although the script is asynchronous – but we still see a significant amount of difference (about 20% more in Sitecore Analytics) in clickstream data.

b)  If you look above again then you will see the word value highlighted. I deliberately did that because value/visit is something which makes executive dashboard unique. Sitecore allows you to assign values to your pages or triggers or events, and these values are cumulated every time user visits or triggers that event. This helps you see that which traffic source is more valuable. You might have a lot of visits from social but the value/visit metric for organic might be 10x. I hope that makes sense. If not, then don’t worry, I will take a deep dive in Sitecore executive dashboard in my next blog to make it clearer.

2. Engagement Analytics:

sitecore engagement analytics 2

 

Unlike executive dashboard, Sitecore engagement analytics is an interface which gives you individual visitor level data. So you can drill down and see who visited the website (from IP of the company), what pages that particular user visited in a particular session, what goals he has triggered and much more than what you can imagine.

Question: Does Google Analytics provide individual user level data?

The answer is “No” It does not provide deep drilling of data at the user level.

3. Marketing Center:

Marketing center is the powerhouse of Sitecore DMS. This is the place where you can create goals, events, assign values (the one which we discussed above), create campaigns (PPC, Social, email), do personalization, A/B Split and multivariate test and marketing automation. All in all, it is a cross-channel automation module in Sitecore DMS or CXM.

Let me throw some more light on main components here:

Personalization: It is something where you can create exceptional customer experience by showing personalized content to the visitor in real time. This is where Sitecore leads above any other analytics or CMS.

Marketing Automations: Most of us know the Eloqua and Marketo, the major giants in marketing automation industry. Sitecore marketing automation has in-built module which can leverage the data within the system and automate emails (of course you need to create the triggers) for your demand generation campaign.

Note: Important point to note is that these both are complex and do require a learning curve to do things in-house. Your Sitecore partner vendor can help you with the workshop to make things easier for you, but you do require a dedicated team to implement and monitor this continuously.

Question: Does Google Analytics has these modules?

The answer is absolute “No”. Google does have A/B split testing and campaign tracking, but that too requires code implementation. Apart from that nothing is available in Google analytics. The reason behind this is that Sitecore DMS is a built-in system within Sitecore and can communicate with the database in real time. However, Google analytics is a 3rd party script which cannot function seamlessly with any system.

So who is the winner – Sitecore Analytics Vs Google Analytics ?

We shared our thoughts on the subject. I will let you decide that and share with us through comments below.

I would say there is no comparison between the two tools. Google analytics is a free tool (although it also has a premium paid version) and Sitecore DMS comes along with Sitecore license. Google analytics is best suitable for clickstream data but nothing above that. Sitecore on other hand, is customer experience management platform which offers WOW experience to your website users in real time.

Which one should you use if you have both?

The answer is both. It is best to have a parallel configuration of Google analytics (because it’s free) on top of Sitecore because Google clickstream data collection and dashboard is better and Sitecore DMS has its own unique space in CXM ecosystem.

We at Altudo, help brands create awe-inspiring customer experiences. Our Revenue Engine Framework brings together CX & Demand Gen Strategy, 1:1 Personalisation & Engagement Analytics through Sitecore & Cross Channel Orchestration to curate engagement experiences for your customers & drive revenue outcomes.

Amit Thapliyal Global Marketing Director, Altudo


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