As mixed server-side & client-side tracking, Attribuly integrates the most important first-party data from Shopify, Google, Facebook etc. to combine and unify an accurate customer journey. The journey is critical to attribute customer conversions to various marketing events.
GA4 and Attribuly take different approaches to identity resolution: how to map user data across platforms, and devices into a single user profile.
GA4 relies more on its browser power and Google account to track user behaviors and map them together. But GA4 can't store and aggregate customer emails is a critical lack. This is important for customer journey and tracking subscription & recurring based ecommerce business.
Attribuly combines different customer signals for identity resolution, like email/ phone numbers and device ID to connect users' activities across devices, which GA4 can't. This also means you can track customer journeys over a longer period, from acquisition to retention, which is also hard for GA4.
Data collection and integration
For customer behavior data collection, GA4 uses its datalayer. If you pass customer behavior data collected by Shopify pixel, you need manually configure the code in "Customer events". For other integration, GA4 supports its own Google ads, but not Facebook ads or other platforms. This is quite common for walled gardens, Google is one of them.
Another issue is, GA4 is a black box, you don't know how they calculate the conversions, you don't know how accurate the data is. While Attribuly gives a clear customer behavior record for each conversion, so you know the data is accurate.
By linking your Google Ads account to your GA4 property, you can see which keywords are driving conversions, how many impressions and clicks each keyword has, and the cost per conversion. This information can be used to optimize your campaigns for better results. GA4 also offers different attribution models to give credits to different campaigns, including its Data Driven Attribution model, which uses Shapley's algorithm.
However, it’s worth noting, there’s a direct relationship between identity resolution, data integration and advertising attribution.
For example, if someone visits a website, GA will see them as person A. If they return three weeks later to the same website but have in the meatime, for example, deleted their cookies, Google will now see them as person B.
When this happens, it no longer matters what attribution model you use—it could be first touch or multi-touch. Google views them as two different people who came from different campaigns versus one person who came from two campaigns. In this situation, any attribution modeling will fail you.
Attribuly excels in knowing that person A and person B are the same. With its attribution capabilities, Attribuly has a more accurate count of unique visitors, and now your conversion funnels are going to be more precise—as you’ll be able to see what marketing campaigns are helping you.
Furthermore, Shapley's algorithm requires more data including ads spend besides Google ads. But the lack of Facebook and other platforms' data is limiting its capability.
As influencer marketing has become a major method for all eCommerce brands, The performance tracking is a natural requirement for brands. More and more influencers are also open to being paid by CPC,CPS, even CPATC(Cost Per Add-To-Cart).
Due to GA4's lack of identity resolution and black box calculation, GA is hard for brands & influencers to track how influencers' creatives drive conversions in the full customer journey. While Attribuly's data integrity design is easy to be treated as database for performance tracking.
To collect customer key metrics for Shopify store, merchants need heavy work to configure GA and/or Google tag manager. The job also leads to a lot of wrong conversion tracking. While for Attribuly, the conversion tracking is quite easy, since it integrates with Shopify store data and Shopify pixel.
Data export & retention
GA4 stores your full data for a maximum of 14 months on the free plan. You need connect to BigQuery database for longer time storage.
In contrast, Attribuly stores your entire history, giving you more flexibility in how you use and analyze your data. As a result, Attribuly is a better choice if you want long-term access to your data. The open API is also in roadmap for you to connect your own database.