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Why Data & Marketing Teams are Choosing Snowplow Over Google Analytics

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A Warehouse-First Approach to Digital Analytics – Understanding Customer Behavior and Journeys

In the dynamic landscape of digital analytics, evolution is the constant that drives organizations to seek innovative ways to understand and engage with their customers. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all solutions; instead, the focus has shifted towards customizable, flexible, and comprehensive approaches. Among the myriad of options available, a paradigm shift is taking place, with data and marketing teams increasingly turning to Snowplow over Google Analytics. Why is this transformation occurring? The answer lies in the growing preference for a warehouse-first approach that empowers businesses to delve deeper into customer behavior and journeys. 

The Evolution of Digital Analytics

The traditional approach to digital analytics centered on standard reports and user interface offered by Google Analytics often restricts teams from gaining deeper insights, as they are limited in answering more advanced analysis questions. To fully explore their data, teams need to export to a separate warehouse since Google Analytics alone cannot provide the flexibility required for intricate analysis. Enter Snowplow – a first-party customer Behavioral Data Platform that challenges the status quo by collecting granular event-level data, providing a more holistic understanding of customer interactions. This evolution from aggregated data to fine-grained event data has reshaped how organizations perceive analytics. Rather than settling for mere pageviews and clicks, businesses can now analyze detailed events to discern user intent and engagement patterns. 

Approaches to Digital Analytics Today

Google Analytics has long been the go-to solution for many businesses seeking insights into their online activities. However, its limitations have become increasingly apparent. It operates on a sample-based system, meaning that not all data is captured, potentially leading to inaccuracies in analysis. Moreover, Google Analytics’ cookie-based tracking faces challenges due to growing privacy concerns and increased user ad-blocking.

On the other hand, Snowplow introduces a paradigm shift by offering event-level tracking that’s tailor-made for your organization’s needs. It’s a powerful alternative for companies seeking a comprehensive, flexible, and highly customizable solution.

The Challenges Organizations Face

The transition from traditional analytics tools to a warehouse-first approach is propelled by several key challenges:

  1. Data Incompleteness and Sampling Limitations: Conventional tools such as Google Analytics rely on aggregated data samples, leading to skewed insights due to incomplete data representation.
  2. Customization and Adaptability: Standard analytics solutions offer limited flexibility, often falling short in accommodating diverse business needs and unique tracking requirements.
  3. Data Ownership and Privacy: Concerns about data ownership and compliance arise when using external platforms like Google Analytics. While it offers some compliance features such as data collection through EU-based servers, consent mode, and the cessation of IP address collection, these tools provide limited capabilities to manage privacy and ownership, falling short of comprehensive compliance assurance.
  4. Fragmented Cross-Channel Insights: Traditional tools struggle to provide a cohesive view of user interactions due to cookie length and identity resolution limitations across various channels and devices, hindering holistic analysis.
  5. Advanced Analysis Barriers: Extracting advanced insights, such as predictive analytics and machine learning, is hindered not only by the lack of fine-grained data required for accurate modeling but also the way data is structured and modeled in the warehouse. In the case of Google Analytics data, it is heavily nested and challenging to query, necessitating the creation and maintenance of additional data models to facilitate easy querying.

Why You Should Build a Warehouse-First Stack

The answer lies in the data. In the dynamic realm of digital analytics, the approach you choose to collect, store, and analyze data can make all the difference. Enter the warehouse-first stack, a paradigm shift that’s captivating the attention of data and marketing teams alike. But what makes this approach so compelling, and why should you consider embracing it, especially with a tool like Snowplow?

  • Data Ownership and Control: With a warehouse-first approach, you take the reins of your data. Unlike conventional approaches that involve external data handling, a warehouse-first strategy revolves around bringing your data into your own environment, emphasizing control over how and where you collect your data. This grants you the power to manage, govern, and secure your data according to your unique needs.
  • Flexibility and Customization: Every business is unique, and your analytics solution should reflect that. Warehouse-first stacks, powered by tools like Snowplow, offer unmatched customization. You choose what data to capture, how to structure it, and what insights matter most. This adaptability empowers you to tailor your analytics to your precise business objectives.
  • Data Enrichment and Integration: A warehouse-first approach allows you to enrich your data with additional context. You can blend your digital analytics data with other internal sources for a complete view of your operations. This integration opens doors to deeper insights and correlations that can inform your strategies holistically.
  • Future-Proofing Your Analytics: The digital landscape evolves rapidly, and so do analytics needs. A warehouse-first stack positions you to embrace emerging technologies and methodologies. Whether it’s integrating machine learning algorithms, predictive modeling, or new tracking methods, your stack remains agile and ready for what lies ahead.

Trinny London’s Analytics Makeover: Mastering Multi-Touch Marketing Attribution with Snowplow

In the fast-paced cosmetics and beauty industry, understanding customer behavior is paramount to success. Trinny London, one of Europe’s fastest-growing beauty brands, embarked on a transformational journey, leaving Google Analytics behind in favor of Snowplow’s Behavioral Data Platform (BDP). This strategic move allowed Trinny London to unlock unprecedented customer insights, paving the way for the implementation of multi-touch marketing attribution strategies ahead of crucial gifting seasons.

Growing Concerns & Demands for Improved Customer Insights

Trinny London, known for its innovative approach to personalized beauty, faced a challenge familiar to many businesses: how to truly understand its customers. The company’s data and marketing teams quickly realized that Google Analytics, their existing solution, was falling short in providing the depth of information they needed.

“We needed something better than Google Analytics because we weren’t gaining meaningful insights and building a complete customer picture with the tool,” remarked Holly Foster, Lead BI Analyst at Trinny London.

Moreover, there were growing concerns about Google Analytics’ compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As various EU countries and regulatory bodies raised questions about its compliance, Trinny London knew they had to act swiftly.

Identifying the Perfect Solution

Trinny London’s data team took a proactive approach, establishing a clear set of criteria to find the ideal analytics partner in time for the upcoming seasonal demands. They sought a solution that could:

  1. Enable precise multi-touch marketing attribution.
  2. Seamlessly integrate with their marketing tech stack, including dbt, BigQuery, Looker, and Google Cloud.
  3. Ensure long-term GDPR compliance, regardless of evolving regulations.

These stringent requirements led them to choose Snowplow. Unlike other packaged solutions, Snowplow provided not only insight into data processing but also a robust platform to meet all their needs.

Snowplow’s Proof of Concept and Implementation

Snowplow didn’t just meet Trinny London’s expectations; it exceeded them. To confirm Snowplow’s Behavioral Data Platform (BDP) as the right alternative to Google Analytics, Trinny London engaged in a proof of concept (PoC). This PoC enabled them to gain an accurate view of their customers’ behaviors and journeys.

Holly Foster elaborated, “We are now using Snowplow’s data to completely change our performance marketing strategy and the way we promote Miracle Blur (Trinny London’s flagship product) to our target customers.”

Unlocking the Power of Snowplow

Since adopting Snowplow BDP, Trinny London has reaped numerous benefits:

Multi-Touch Marketing Attribution: Trinny London now leverages Snowplow data to perform precise multi-touch marketing attribution. This capability enables them to understand the intricate web of touchpoints that contribute to customer conversions.

GDPR Compliance: Snowplow’s solution provides Trinny London with first-party data and complete pipeline ownership within its Google Cloud Platform, ensuring robust GDPR compliance.

Accurate Reporting: Unlike the inaccuracies encountered with Google Analytics, Snowplow’s server-side cookies bypass issues like Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) in Safari and ad blockers. This ensures Trinny London’s marketing team receives accurate, dependable data.

Snowplow’s Professional Services

Trinny London’s decision to implement Snowplow was driven by a need to act swiftly ahead of major gifting seasons. With the invaluable support of Snowplow’s professional services team, the transition was seamless.

Holly Foster praised the support received, saying, “Any time I had an issue, there were multiple ways to contact people at Snowplow. It was unique how much help Snowplow provided. You do not get that level of support anywhere else.”

Resulting in Success

Today, Trinny London possesses rich, granular, and highly accurate data from Snowplow, providing a detailed picture of their customers’ journeys. Armed with these insights, the marketing team is reshaping their strategies to drive revenue and increase return on ad spend.

Trinny London’s successful journey with Snowplow serves as a beacon for organizations seeking to replace their current analytics solutions, such as Google Analytics. It demonstrates the immense value of adopting a versatile analytics partner capable of delivering deep customer insights, precise attribution, GDPR compliance, and dedicated support.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the choice becomes clear—Snowplow unlocks the power of data, helping businesses thrive in the age of information.

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Derek Kong
Derek Kong

Partnerships & Alliances Marketing Manager

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