Table of Contents

What Is Google Analytics?

How Google Analytics Works

How Google Analytics Benefits Growth Teams

How to Get Insights from Google Analytics

What Are the Drawbacks of Google Analytics?

Why Google Analytics Native Capabilities Are Not Enough

How Can You Put Google Analytics Data in Action?

Narrative BI Extends Google Analytics Native Capabilities

Addressing Gaps and Drawbacks of Google Analytics


What Is Google Analytics?

There are several free online analytics tools, but one of the most valuable and well-known is Google Analytics. Google Analytics (GA) is a web analytics service that generates statistics on your digital marketing metrics to gauge success across various channels and assets. This service is a component of the Google Marketing Platform accessible to anyone with a Google account.  

The search engine giant Google launched the service in November 2005; following the acquisition of Urchin Software Corp. in April 2005, this name now only echoes in the UTM acronym.

Today Google Analytics is used by 56.6% of all the websites, with a market share of 86.3%.

However, it can be a bit of a pain to quickly pick out relevant data when there's so much available. If you've been struggling to get a clear picture of your business on Google Analytics, this blog post is for you! 

Here we'll show you how to address the gaps and drawbacks of Google Analytics so that you're able to capitalize on your analytics data and measure every aspect of your business!


How Google Analytics Works

To be successful in business, you need to leverage your data and get meaningful insights that drive the success engine. Google Analytics supports the comprehensive visualization and understanding of the client behavior, regardless of the offered product or service. 

Google Analytics enables you to assess the effectiveness of all of your marketing efforts. It provides access to various aspects of your company's hidden potential helping harness performance in one place by consolidating data from multiple marketing channels.

How Google Analytics Benefits Growth Teams

Google Analytics is excellent at website traffic monitoring and simple goal attribution. Measuring performance becomes increasingly crucial as more resources are invested in advertisements and inbound marketing. If you are running any marketing activities, such as search advertisements or social media ads, your users are likely to visit your website at some point throughout their journey.

GA is still a fantastic way to discover channels where your engaged visitors are coming. It will monitor the source and medium down to the social campaign, capturing landing page data and determining whether or not they achieved a goal such as completing a purchase or subscribing.

Google Analytics makes it possible to control all of your business data. It gives you access to all your applications, websites, and user data. With Google's cutting-edge technology and machine learning skills, it helps you get the most out of your information. Google's advertising and publisher solutions may help you make smarter marketing decisions by integrating analytics.

Google Analytics is built and run by the largest AdTech company in the world. It enables integration with other Google stellar products, including Google Search Console, Google Ads, Google Search Ads 360, Google Display & Video 360, Google Data Studio, Google Optimize 360, Google AdSense, Google Ad Manager.

How to Get Insights from Google Analytics

Google Analytics Actionable Reports

Digital marketing analytics serves as your marketing performance barometer. Growth teams can make smarter decisions and optimize their budgets if they know how well or how poorly a campaign or a channel is performing.

They can spend more on what works ("Let's do more webinars starring internationally recognized marketing practitioners") and less on what doesn't ("Let's stop delivering 3,000-page ebooks to founders that are too busy to read them.")

Google Analytics' standard preset reports are organized into five categories: Real-time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions. Each of these categories has its own set of reports.

Audience Report

The audience reports in GA provide insight into the characteristics of users who have visited your website. Audiences in Analytics are users you group together based on any combination of attributes meaningful to your business. 

Acquisition Report

The Acquisition report helps you discover channels through which users arrive at your website. You can use these reports to understand whether users are coming from organic searches, paid campaigns, or other channels. The report allows you to track each channel’s performance.

Behavior Report

The Behavior report in Google Analytics helps you understand how users interact with your content. This information allows you to improve your content marketing efforts.

Conversion Report

Conversion reports are an essential feature for businesses as it helps you understand your business holistically.

There are three categories of reports within the Conversion Reports section in Google Analytics:

  1. Goals: These reports offer you an overview of how your site is performing against specific goals that you have set up – showing you the number of goal completions along with the conversion rate of each goal. Goals are not set up in an out-of-the-box Google Analytics configuration.
  2. Ecommerce: When enabled on e-commerce sites, these reports offer information on your product sales and checkout flow.
  3. Multi-Channel Funnels: Give you information on conversions based on different channel attribution models, e.g., first touch, last touch, etc.

What Are the Drawbacks of Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free and robust solution, but it has some drawbacks despite its power and wide adoption. For example, Google Analytics doesn't provide detailed information about mobile audiences. And it doesn't provide any information at all about products, or sales revenue.

Dependence on Other Google Products

To fill the gaps in Google Analytics, you'll need to use a tool like Google Tag Manager. It's a platform that nests and manages all of your tags, including conversion pixels and website analytics. It allows you to measure everything you need without modifying your website code!

Google Tag Manager will allow you to measure other aspects of your business that are missing from Google Analytics - like products, sales revenue, and even mobile traffic.

If you're invested in digital marketing, then it's time for you to take the next step - investing in Google Tag Manager. It's the best way for marketers to fill their Google Analytics data gaps.


Are you perplexed by Google Analytics, to the point that you're afraid to look it up? You're not the only one feeling this way. GA has a reputation for being a challenging tool to understand and leverage to the full extent. GA’s complexity can cost you time, money, and speed to market. 

Rolling out and installing Google Analytics can be challenging and time-consuming for most businesses, and expert assistance is often required to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Google Analytics is complicated to use. It collects a great deal of data and requires you to be a web analytic expert in using it. It's excellent for knowing which keywords your site ranks for and who sees it, but with an increasing number of browsers disabling third-party cookies, it's losing a lot of traffic.

Data errors may often occur even with the most experienced analysts, causing conclusions to be thrown out of whack.

To get the most out of GA, you'll need a lot of patience and spend hours in training sessions at Google Analytics Academy. If you've never worked with Google Analytics before, it might be a massive learning curve.

If you’d like to see more, you have to use complex filtering, build segments, or add custom events. Neither of these actions is intuitive, and your team is not likely to spend their time reading GA documentation on how to do it correctly. 

Confusing UI 

UI is visual communication. The user interface is a visual language used for effective visual communication to provide the user a clear and consistent concept, enable a user to make the most with the least number of cues, and adjust the presentation to the user's capabilities.

Some UIs are a frustration, and some are a pleasure. Gone are the times when users diligently read a manual from cover to cover before they even get started with a new product. Bad UI of GA often wastes our time, makes us feel incompetent, negatively affects productivity. 

A user-friendly interface in the XXI century means that the product is intuitive, easy to get started with, reliable to use, and boasts a simple and elegant user interface.

Google Analytics UI fails to convey complex information and pictorial reality and communicate it to users efficiently and naturally. It is challenging both for newbies and savvy marketers because of the many lines, graphs, and figures it delivers. 

In 2020, a San Francisco-based infosec practitioner Daniel Miessler wrote a fair, sarcastic, and emotional article on his thoughts about Google's design and user experience.



When it comes to Google Analytics, you'll have to navigate through a maze of options and useless data to discover the needle you're searching for. Google Analytics captures far too many data points, and only a tiny percentage of the information GA gathers is helpful to the average user. Your team ends up dealing with unnecessary noise and confusion.

With Google Analytics, you are bound to manually monitor dozens of metrics every day. Website visits, funnels, real-time data, user behavior, events, downloads, advertising clicks, social media reactions, shares, conversions, transactions, purchases, streaming content, and much more.


Lack of Live Support

For a growth team, making a choice to monitor dozens of metrics every day manually to go with any tool — paid or otherwise — is an investment. At the very least, it takes time to set up and understand the product, so it's something worth thinking about. 

Google Analytics is a legacy solution; it simply wasn’t built with live support in mind.  The more time you spend going through manuals, the less benefit you will get from the product.


Data Processing Latency

According to Google’s article on Data limits for Universal Analytics properties, data processing latency is 24-48 hours. Standard accounts that send more than 200,000 sessions per day to Google Analytics will result in the reports being refreshed only once a day. This can delay updates to reports and metrics for up to two days. 

Hidden Upgrade Costs

The idea of getting a free analytics platform from the most renowned name in the world is enticing from a marketing standpoint. That being the case, what exactly is the issue? After spending a lot of time and becoming used to the tool, you may not notice that you need to update until it's too late, making it difficult to switch to a new product.

Google Analytics 360 is a paid service that includes a Service Level Agreement (SLA), technical and implementation support, and higher hit volumes. The premium version of Google Analytics  360 also comes with a steep annual fee of $150,000.

Why Google Analytics Native Capabilities Are Not Enough

The phrase 'data-driven marketing' has been sprouting up more and more often in the conversations of experienced marketers over the last several years. Building a data-driven team can give your company a significant advantage in both generating excellent outcomes and doing it efficiently.

Connecting Analytics to Action: Gap between Wants & Haves

The ultimate purpose of product creation, growth hacking, and marketing is to deliver value. Product-led teams are collecting massive amounts of data as a part of their analytics pipeline. Google Analytics insights are hard to extract, share with your team, and act upon.

If you build a digital product, you want a tool designed with that use case in mind. Google Analytics was created for content website makers but not for product-led teams. 

If you’re working in a culture that fosters a ‘test and learn’ approach and drives better outcomes, you need to make an informed choice about the tools you use. 

Data and analytics technology are merging, so here are some things to think about and ask yourself when building a more innovative analytics stack, depending on your role.

Business Leader 

  1. Can you see the complete picture?
  2. What about Instant and accurate insight Into customer motivations at scale
  3. Is it actionable?
  4. Can you see/identify drivers? 
  5. Does it help you discover the blind spots / the white space?
  6. Do you see the correlation between events?
  7. Can you measure the impact of strategy and business efforts?
  8. Can you evaluate the performance of marketing efforts?
  9. Can you easily communicate insights to your team?
  10. Can you get a complete insight into the customer journey?

Marketing Leader

  1. What can Google Analytics tell you?
  2. How actionable is Google Analytics?
  3. Why is our SEO not working?
  4. How to better use Google Analytics for marketing?
  5. How to better understand Google Analytics?
  6. What to read to learn more about Google Analytics?
  7. Is it worth taking GA Certification? 
  8. How to practice using Google Analytics
  9. What can you learn from Google Analytics, and how actionable is it?
  10. What is the difference between Google Search Console and Google Analytics?

Product Leader

  1. Are you able to act on your data?
  2. Can your ream quickly access and understand data?
  3. Does it prioritize team collaboration or makes sharing insights with your teammates challenging?
  4. Was it built with product makers in mind?
  5. Does it allow you to decide on what matters quickly? 
  6. Is it intuitive or requires reading separate documentation?
  7. Does it answer your questions about how people are using your product?

Automation of Simple and Repetitive Tasks

No-code revolution is here. Gartner predicts that over half of medium and large organizations will have adopted low-code tools as one of their critical strategic app platforms by 2023. 

No-code platforms like Narrative BI offer product-led teams powerful AI tools to automate repetitive business tasks, complex workflows, and end-to-end processes to speed up the app development and reduce time to market.


How Can You Put Google Analytics Data in Action?

Are you struggling to get your business off the ground and need a simple but robust analytics tool to support your decisions? Remember, Google Analytics is a powerful tool, but it can't do everything. It's up to you to add in the missing pieces and measure the gaps in your marketing.

We've developed Narrative BI to address these issues and make it easier for you to gain the information you need from Google Analytics without having to go through menus, reports, charts, sidebars, and myriads of other metrics and dimensions.

Narrative BI for Google Analytics is an intuitive, lightweight no-code analytics platform. It effortlessly integrates with Google Analytics, disastrous in complexity and user experience, especially for growth teams.

Put Augmented Analytics at the Heart of Your Business

Narrative BI automatically turns raw data into actionable narratives helping you keep track of your crucial GA metrics. It lets you understand your Google Analytics data in just seconds, providing easy-to-read narratives for actionable insights and anomalies directly via Slack or email. 

Simply link Narrative BI to your Google Analytics View and start seeing only your GA data in the form of plain English actionable narratives, and get on with your day without wasting time clicking around Google Analytics. Your team can share and act upon insights effortlessly.

Narrative BI is intended for both newbies and seasoned data-savvy users within growth teams. No IT or data scientist involvement. No special skills are required. It is easy to use and understand with no training or prior experience necessary. Narrative BI  cuts through the noise by presenting all the critical website traffic insights and metrics within a single platform.

Narrative BI Extends Google Analytics Native Capabilities

You'll definitely be surprised at the amount of useful data that is buried in your Google Analytics account. Use Narrative BI for free to bring it to light. Narrative BI will take about two minutes for you to set up, then it automatically surfaces insightful news reports based on your GA data.

Key Features & Capabilities

  • Single source of truth for tracking all key GA metrics
  • Alerts and 24/7 website monitoring
  • Quick-to-get and act upon narratives
  • Custom reports to empower data-led action
  • Shareable narratives
  • Integration with email and Slack
  • Streamlined anomaly detection in Google Analytics
  • Natural language generation
  • Effortless setup

Business Value

  • Intelligent narratives simplify complex Google Analytics data
  • Reduced time to insights
  • No need for tedious drill-downs into Google Analytics
  • Freeing knowledge workers from routine tasks
  • Accurate, data-led decision-making
  • Gain customer trust and loyalty by reacting quickly to incidents
  • Determine appropriate action faster
  • Increased speed and efficiency of marketing operations
  • Seamless collaboration

Insights across Topics

  • Active Users
  • Conversion
  • Geography
  • User Behavior
  • Website Performance

Use the power and simplicity of Narrative Bl to accelerate your marketing decisions.

You are just a click away. Get started now and take your life back!

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Curt Cuscino

Encapsulates Marketing + Advertising Performance Data to Work Smarter, Not Harder

Google Analytics is ultra-powerful when it comes to managing our clients’ MarTech stacks, but it’s easy to get lost in the overwhelming amount of data there. Narrative has given us a way to get “just the good stuff”, and the most important metrics we need for making daily decisions on behalf of my agency’s clients from Analytics to Ad Spends. The condensed insights we get from Narrative are incredibly helpful, and now indispensable in our daily mix of tools.

George Pohl

Narrative BI is well suited for SME's!

Narrative firstly is a great tool for beginners in marketing analytics - it allows all of our team - even non-technical / analytical get involved! As Mark Ritson said, 'The average is the enemy of the marketer' and Narrative helps us fight that battle every day. Instead of wading through averages, we can spot and evaluate the outliers, the true insights.