Amplitude vs. Google Analytics 4
This page is a comparison of two of the top-rated digital analytics platforms—Amplitude Analytics and Google Analytics 4—to help you choose the solution that’s right for you. When you compare the accessibility and security of data, how you use the insights, and how each solution adapts to your growth, you’ll understand which best fits your needs.
Note: This page is based on publicly available information and interviews with Google Analytics and Amplitude experts. Information may change over time. This page was last updated in August 2022.
What does Amplitude do?
Amplitude is a self-service digital analytics platform that gives teams deep, actionable insight into user behavior across the customer journey. It allows teams to go beyond surface-level data like page views and clicks to analyze detailed behaviors, user attributes, and digital channels. In addition to the #1 products analytics platform, Amplitude comes with powerful data governance capabilities to ensure data is high quality and organized, as well as tools to take action on behavioral data and analytics for running experiments and targeting audiences.
From the beginning, Amplitude has leveraged an event-based model to track digital behavior across apps and websites.
What does Google Analytics 4 do?
Google Analytics 4 is a digital analytics platform that gives digital teams data that helps them measure traffic and engagement across company websites and apps. GA4 replaces earlier versions of the Google Analytics platform (like Universal Analytics, which is sunsetting in 2023) that were geared toward website analytics via cookie tracking. As the digital analytics field has evolved to include websites and apps, as well as move beyond cookie tracking, the newer Google Analytics 4 embraces an event-based data model in addition to cookie tracking.
How does Amplitude approach digital analytics?
Amplitude is a self-serve platform focused on first-party, behavioral product data. It was created with product analytics in mind to provide insights on customer behaviors and actions as they use digital products. Amplitude uses event tracking to collect data about user behaviors, and can even resolve user identities across channels and devices. This real-time data enables companies to see how their marketing impacts their product and vice versa, so they can make effective decisions that fuel innovation and growth.
How does Google Analytics 4 approach digital analytics?
Google Analytics 4 approaches analytics from a marketer’s perspective. According to the GA4 team, “To help you get better ROI from your marketing for the long term, we’re creating a new, more intelligent Google Analytics.” GA4 helps marketers improve their advertising spend, especially within the Google ecosystem. Google Analytics primarily helps marketers gain insights into acquisition and conversion. Reporting on retention requires deep understanding of the cohort exploration feature.
Amplitude Analytics vs. Google Analytics 4
Data Quality Management
|Amplitude provides multiple options to customers to help manage the quality of their data.
For instance, Schema contains the definition of the events, event properties, and event properties’ values collected by Amplitude. Use it to categorize and describe your event data, as well as automate the QA process for newly ingested data by surfacing or blocking unintended or malformed data.
The Govern feature gives you multiple ways to manage your Amplitude data from within a single interface. Govern gives you the tools to conduct data management at scale, including bulk event approval, blocking, deletion, and un-deletion directly from the user interface.
|Google Analytics 4 provides best practices around account structure to help you manage data collected. This data can be controlled with the Custom Reporting features so that you can focus teams around sets of data; however, it is unclear if GA4 provides a way to prevent collection of events that are unexpected or incorrectly instrumented, which could count against your collection limits and negatively impact your reports, audiences, or marketing workflows.
Data quality in GA4 is limited to the provided DebugView and an organization’s analytics QA processes when instrumenting.
|Amplitude Analytics is powered by the Amplitude Behavioral Graph, an intelligent, high-performing database for digital behavior.
The Behavioral Graph powers capabilities such as:
Amplitude Analytics can also be paired with Amplitude CDP, which offers 10 million events streamed per month for free. Amplitude also integrates with third-party CDPs and data warehouses like BigQuery, mParticle, Segment, Snowflake, Tealium, AWS Kinsesis, and more.
|Google Analytics 4 connects with BigQuery, Google’s cloud data warehouse. Customers can export data from GA4 to BigQuery but must have a paid BigQuery account to store more than 60 days of GA4 transactions. BigQuery is a powerful data warehouse, but to fully access its capabilities teams often need data analyst support or knowledge of SQL. Google Analytics 4 allows users to export up to 1 million events daily and Analytics 360 allows users to export billions of events daily.|
|Data in Amplitude is experience-focused and allows you to visualize the entire customer journey with detailed behaviors and user attributes. That includes merging known and anonymous user IDs when customers switch channels, such as going from a mobile app to a website. Amplitude has been rated the #1 product analytics solution by G2 eight quarters in a row.
||Google Analytics has traditionally been focused on marketing analytics to measure ROI of campaigns within the Google ecosystem and was not built as a product analytics tool. Because of this, users note that the funnel analysis, retention, and segmentation charts are lacking. While GA4 provides some auto-capture capabilities with the Enhanced Measurement features, dimensions and values unique to product require additional customization that is not available with Enhanced Measurement at this time.|
|Amplitude empowers you to determine user personas based on data, define behavioral cohorts by actions, and add cohorts you create as a segment in your charts. This allows teams to make decisions quickly based on real-time insights. You can sync cohorts to 3rd-party marketing integrations like Facebook, Intercom, Mailchimp, and Braze, so that marketing campaigns can be personalized based on in-product behavior.
||GA4’s data can help you determine your target audience and define behavioral cohorts by common attributes. However, cohorting is limited and advanced functionality can require a data analyst with SQL knowledge.|
|Amplitude is self-serve and enables product, marketing, customer success, engineering, and analysts to explore and share data. Each user can define which metrics are most important for them to track. You can also choose which view or chart to explore, pick a behavior to review, and refine your audience to dig deeper.
||Google Analytics 4 provides default reports. It does not allow for users to create custom views, but it does have a customizable interface and an explorations feature for deeper analysis. However, the explorations feature is limited to the data retention settings of the property (either 2 or 14 months in the free version). Deeper analysis and segmentation beyond that would require either GA360 or BigQuery integration.|
Ease of Collaboration
|Advanced collaboration features like descriptions, dashboards, and Notebooks let teams provide more context to work together more efficiently. When charts are shared with a team member, a new URL is generated for the chart—so that the second user can edit the chart for their own exploration without impacting the owner’s initial analysis. Links can also be made public.
||Charts and reports are shared by sending screenshots, sharing chart links, and sharing via email. Creating custom reports can require participation from a data analyst. Unlike GA3, GA4 does not provide the ability to create a custom report, save it as a template, and import it to a new property.|
|Amplitude acts exclusively as a data processor under the GDPR when processing customer data. Amplitude also offers an EU data center where customers can choose to have their data hosted.||Amid ongoing confusion in the market about Google Analytics and GDPR compliance, Google Analytics continues to add more technical and security controls. Google Analytics also uses regional data centers.|
To get a better understanding of the investment of both platforms, we’ve highlighted the available free and paid plan options for Amplitude and Google Analytics 4.
Amplitude Free Plan
Amplitude Analytics plans include a free Starter option and paid Growth and Enterprise options. The Starter option provides core analytics, unlimited data retention, unlimited user seats, and allows you to track up to 10 million events per month.
Google Analytics 4 Free Plan
Google Analytics 4 plans include a free option and paid Analytics 360 option. The free option provides data collection, management and reporting, data analysis and exploration, up to 14 months of data retention, 100 audiences per account, and 10 million events per query.
Amplitude Paid Plans
Amplitude provides a few plan options to help companies choose the appropriate level based on their current needs.
The Growth option provides all of the Starter functionality plus behavioral reports, predictive analytics, single sign-on and authentication, advanced collaboration tools, and custom solutions and event volume.
The Enterprise option includes all of the Starter and Growth functionality plus monitoring and automated insights, advanced data governance, custom user permissions and roles, and premier customer success with service level agreement.
Google Analytics 4 Paid Plans
Analytics 360 provides all of the functionality of the free version plus up to 50 months of data retention, up to 100 custom dimensions per property, 400 audiences, 50 conversions, and 50 sub-properties. Teams can also access advanced tools, like Unsampled Reports, BigQuery Export, and Data Driven Attribution.
Additional Amplitude Products & Integrations
Additional products in the Amplitude suite include Amplitude Experiment and Amplitude CDP. Amplitude’s integrations include third-party products like AWS, HubSpot, Salesforce, Snowflake, Braze, Marketo, and even Google Ads. You can also send events to Amplitude via the Google Tag Manager.
Digital analytics platforms should serve as the roadmap that leads to growth. You need reliable, meaningful data that you can access quickly and easily so you can innovate and grow. Here’s how Amplitude Analytics and Google Analytics 4 measure up in helping you do that.
User adoption and team collaboration
|With Amplitude’s templates, teams and individual users can start using digital analytics right away. Amplitude offers scalable governance and data management, ensuring you can track user behaviors and activity properly to guarantee data trust and quality. Because Amplitude is optimized for teams, it makes collaboration easy.
||Google Analytics 4 offers plentiful information for data analysts, IT professionals, marketers, and product managers, but because some of its advanced features require BigQuery and SQL knowledge, it can be overwhelming to non-technical users. Additionally, the steep learning curve means that using it effectively across an organization can take a long time.
ABS-CBN’s Head of Data Analytics Robbin Brillantes led an overhaul of the company’s analytics by switching from Google Analytics to Amplitude. She notes, “While we had all of this data in Big Data and Google Analytics, there were only ever a handful of people in the organization who knew how to use tools to access and make sense of them. Some people had access, but only a few really knew how to read and interpret the reports.”
Intuitive and accessible
|Amplitude was created to be intuitive to use whether users are new to analytics or seasoned data analysts. The platform offers real self-service and provides insights in real time, using real language, and offers exploratory features that everyone can use. Collaboration features—such as annotations and Notebooks—allow users to provide more context when sharing insights with team members. Built-in guidance like Breadcrumbs and My Workspace helps users keep track of multiple analyses. With multiple 3rd-party integrations and a whole suite of products including Amplitude Experiment and Amplitude CDP, Amplitude users complete the insight-action-outcome loop that enables organizations to make faster decisions based on more accurate data.
||Because Google Analytics 4 fully embraces the event-based analytics model—the first GA platform to do so—it can be confusing for legacy users who are forced to migrate from Universal Analytics. For instance, event hits and attribution models are different in GA4 than Universal Analytics. Google Analytics 4 has fewer built-in reports than its predecessor. These changes can create confusion for new and veteran users alike and some users have noted that trust is “low” with Google Analytics as updates roll out.|
|Amplitude’s award-winning success and support team is backed by fast, expert advice. In addition to the Help Center and Developer Center, the platform offers vast educational resources such as the Amplitude Academy, Amplitude Community, and Amplitude Blog. Select Amplitude plans include custom onboarding and a dedicated success manager to consult on analytics strategy and implementation. G2 reviewers rank Amplitude as the preferred option over Google Analytics 4 for product support. Amplitude views relationships with customers as a long-term strategic partnership, and for years has led the digital analytics industry in thought leadership on product strategy, retention, engagement, and growth.||Google Analytics 4 offers support documentation and digital courses that users can access, along with a Help Community. In order to receive hands-on assistance with GA4, users must work with Certified Companies and Sales Partners or independent agencies that are Google Analytics experts.
ABS-CBN’s Head of Data Analytics Robbin Brillantes, a previously GA user, notes: “With Google Analytics, where it tracks everything out-of-the-box, there’s wasn’t anyone from Google we can approach and say, ‘Hey, can you tell me if I’m reading this report right? Or is there a way to refine how we’re capturing this so that we understand these new developments we’ve made?'”
See your Google Analytics data in Amplitude in a few clicks.
What Customers Say
Customers consistently rate Amplitude as #1 for Product Analytics on G2. Forrester gives Amplitude 5/5 scores in eight criteria, including product vision, performance, and customer journey analytics.
“While we had all of this data in Big Data and Google Analytics, there were only ever a handful of people in the organization who knew how to use tools to access and make sense of them. Some people had access, but only a few really knew how to read and interpret the reports. Amplitude has completely changed that as it allows non-technical people to look at the data, digest what it means, understand what the users are going through, and gives them actionable steps to take to actually drive improvement in the metrics that matter to them.”
“I haven’t seen anything on the market that hits the sweet spot like Amplitude without having to learn SQL… It was helpful to see which devices weren’t working so we could dive in, and which were performing well. It’s quite impressive what we can see given the amount of data we’re pushing into Amplitude.”
“Amplitude helped us evolve our understanding of the key touchpoints for our customers, especially around engagement and re-engagement. Predictions from historical key moments feed into our assumptions for the future and can help determine when growth spikes will happen, how key moment events play into long-term retention assumptions, or not, and how we might plan retention strategy and timing around key events.”