Is it a good idea to run two digital analytics tools in tandem?

These questions come up a lot:

“Is it a good idea to run a double analytics implementation on one site/mobile app (i.e. Adobe + Google)?”

“Can we install GA and Adobe Analytics on the same website or do they conflict?”

You can add as many tracking tools as you want, they won’t adversely affect each other. I’ve seen companies that have Adobe Analytics, Google Analytics, Parse.ly, Mixpanel, and Coremetrics installed on the same site concurrently. It might affect page load time, but won’t affect data quality.

While you technically can have multiple tools in place, it doesn’t always mean you should. As a consultant I feel like I should have to put a dollar in a jar every time I say, “It depends,” but… it depends. Some of my clients do this, most don’t. There are reasons to do it, and reasons to avoid.

Advantages of tracking with two different tools:

  • A second source of data can be very handy for validation purposes or as a backup in case something catastrophic happens with the other tool.
  • Adobe is strong in some areas where GA is weak, and vice versa. Having both implemented gives you the best of both worlds.
    Novice analysts will be able to ramp up on GA faster, but seasoned analysts might be frustrated by the limitations of GA and need the more sophisticated functionality of Adobe.
  • Most companies use AdWords, so it’s likely that GA is already in place, anyway.

Disadvantages of tracking with two different tools:

  • $$$ – Assuming you’re on GA360, then you’re paying for two tools.
  • Double the tools, double the maintenance. New tagging requests will likely need to be implemented separately on each tool.
  • The idea of “one source of truth” can get muddied if you don’t have strong governance in place to choose and enforce which one is your system of record. Analysts could potentially cherrypick data and provide biased analysis.
  • You will inevitably end up down the data discrepancy wormhole when users report that the data from Adobe vs. GA don’t match perfectly . Expect to spend time and resources investigating those issues and/or educating your user base that it is normal and expected for two tools to yield slightly different data and to not freak out about a 2% variance.

If the advantages are something that you need and the disadvantages are something you are equipped to deal with, then running two tools in tandem might be a good option for you.

If the cons outweigh the pros, save yourself the $$$ and the trouble of implementing and maintaining two tools.

Cross-posted from  https://www.quora.com/Is-it-a-good-idea-to-run-a-double-analytics-implementation-on-one-site-mobile-app-i-e-Adobe-Google/answer/Halee-Kotara.