Month: May 2017

Business Intelligence vs. Google Analytics – Why is a business intelligence solution indispensable for companies?


Data, analyses, predictions, marketing automation and “business intelligence” (BI) gain more and more importance for companies of every size and branch in this “area of digital transformation”.

With the help of a BI solution all relevant information from different data sources of a company can be gathered, reviewed and analyzed, in order to generate new insights about the efficiency of every marketing activity, customers and products as a basis of growth and profitability.

From our experience at Applicata, we know that many companies, especially small- and mid-sized ones, still relinquish the use of a business intelligence solution. Most companies, however, use the free tool “Google Analytics” (GA) for their analyses and wonder why they should additionally use a BI solution.

In order to showcase the advantages of a business intelligence (BI) solution, we prepared a direct comparison between BI and GA

Business Intelligence

Google Analytics

Easy integration of different data sources:

A BI solution automatically integrates marketing, customer, product and shop data from various sources in one software.

No integration of other data sources:

Google mainly registers website accesses and the customers’ behavior on the website. The ability to integrate information from other sources is limited.


Correct e-commerce data:

Due to the import of customer and product data from the shop and ERP system, data within the BI are 100% correct.

Sampled data:

In the free version, Google only offers aggregated data but does not provide raw data. The e-commerce tracking is cookie based and error prone.


Correct cost allocation:

The costs of individual marketing channels and activities are gathered automatically. Therefore, the profitability can easily be calculated.

No individual consideration of costs:

In order to consider marketing activities and channels in regard to their profitability, cost data mostly need to be gathered manually and imported with great effort.


Automated creation of dashboards and reports:

As all a company’s data is being aggregated in one software, dashboards and reports are created automatically. Therefore, all the available data can easily and flawlessly be analyzed and marketing activities can be optimized.

Manual creation of dashboards and reports:

As you do not have access to all your companies’ data in GA, dashboards and reports need to be created manually outside of GA usually using Excel. This is however time consuming and highly error prone which leads to incorrect information.


Specific information:

A BI solution supplies exact data: what website visits led to orders & transactions, whether these were new or existing customers and which source had the most visits leading to transactions.

Basic information:

Google Analytics only supplies basic information about the amount of website visits, the length of each access and the bounce rate.



Within a BI you can automatically create predictions of the performance and profitability of every marketing activity.

No predictions:

The Google tool does not offer any functionality to create predictions for future performance and profitability.


This comparison clearly shows that a BI solution has significant advantages compared to Google Analytics. Nevertheless, we do not want to badmouth Google Analytics or downplay its importance. When it comes to Marketing ROI analysis Google Analytics alone just does not suffice and a BI integrating various data sources is needed. Every business intelligence solution however does rely on Google Analytics (or other web analytic tools such as Webtrekk or AT Internet) as an important data source.

A BI’s advantages, therefore, arise out of the accumulation and abundance of various data sources’ data. Applicata offers you exactly these advantages in one software. In various projects with our clients, we combine data from more than 20 data sources. Based on this aggregated and reliable data our clients create self-service dashboards and reports. The BI is also being used to calculate predictions about customers’ behavior and to optimize all marketing activities.


Correct URL Building with the help of Applicata


In the latest article UTM Tagging Explained we talked about the importance of correct URL tracking for entrepreneurs, in order to analyze customer data correctly and to optimize every marketing activity.

The most important tips for correct tracking:

  1. Use of consistent standards
  2. Consistency of notations
  3. Correct notations (use of capital and small initial letters)
  4. Do not mix up source & medium
  5. Adding of sub-domains

Even though companies put emphasis on correct URL tracking from the beginning, corporate growth, especially increasing numbers of employees and growing, international expansion, lead to an increasing complexity of marketing activities. Therefore, it becomes more difficult to ensure correct tracking data. Growth and expansion are often correlated to marketing campaigns on several channels and in cooperation with many partners in different countries. Due to this complexity and human errors it happens that consistent tracking standards cannot be enforced any longer. But inconsistent tracking data leads to incorrect marketing reports.


URL Building with the help of GoogleCampaign-URL-Builder-Google

Many marketers trust Google Analytics’ free UTM Builder when building UTM tracking links. Although this tool has a clear UTM structure for every campaign, mistakes and inconsistencies are predestined using it. Why? Because every box needs to be filled in manually. This is problematic if for example several employees work on the generation of URLs for different campaigns. Errors frequently occur because of mistakes like using small and capital letters, a mix-up of UTM source and medium or inconsistent notations (aff vs. affiliate, scm vs. social media etc.).




URL Building with the help of Excel

In order to avoid such mistakes the use of excel files or Google Docs is an alternative to the Google UTM Builder. This works better in general because standardized tracking structures for every channel can be established.

Such a file with UTM parameters can be quite helpful for companies in their start-up phase. That is why we created a UTM Tracking Parameters file which is available for free download below.




You can customize this file to your company specific tracking requirements and use it for the generation of campaign URLs.

Nevertheless, we often see here at Applicata that mistakes are also made in such documents when it is being used by several employees. As already mentioned, Google already matches campaigns differently according to the use of small and capital letters or different notations of a specific value. As a drop-down menu and a central administration of UTM options is missing, the generation of URLs with the help of this Excel File or Google Docs is still highly error prone.

The Problem

Google cannot match traffic to its correct channel and its correct campaign when using incorrect UTM tracking links. That is why often a big part of the traffic is placed into the categories “unallocated” or “other”. This means that Google tracked the traffic, however, cannot relate it to a specific channel or partner.


We already saw projects in which nearly 30% of the whole traffic has been matched incorrectly or lumped into “other”.

If website visits cannot be counted back to their correct campaigns, every analysis and report of this campaign is incorrect, too. The optimization of marketing activities based on wrong data leads to wrong budget allocations between marketing activities, too high expenses, lost revenue and consequently, to low profitability of your company.

The goal is to always track the traffic to its correct channel and partner.



The Solution

In order to counteract the error rate and the resulting problems of the Google UTM Builder and a solution based on Excel, the Applicata software includes two tools, which ensure a consistent and correct generation of URL tracking parameters:

  1. The Campaign Builder

With the help of the campaign builder every marketing manager can generate a UTM tracking link for every campaign, partner and country when using Applicata.


Due to the use of a drop-down menu the selection of UTM parameters is always correct and consistent. Furthermore, the tracking link can easily be copied and pasted for every advertisement and every website visit can thus be matched to the right campaign in Google Analytics.




  1. Mapping Tool

If somehow tracking a link was built incorrectly and incoming traffic henceforth was allocated incorrectly, a second valuable tool within the Applicata Software can correct this for you: the mapping tool.

This tool is an interface in which incorrect UTM trackings can be mapped to their correct place in the campaign tree. Consequently, website visits can be related to the right campaign, source and medium.

Example: Let’s assume there was a spelling mistake. The visit data of the incorrectly tracked campaign can easily be redirected to the right one.



Wrong: Source = affilient

Correction with the mapping tool

Right: Source = affilinet


Due to this correction, incorrect website visits can be redirected and correct campaign reports can be established.

This in turn is the basis for optimized budget allocations, growth and higher profitability.

p.s. So far, we did not find a way to export the corrected UTM tracking data into Google Analytics in order to correct the allocation of these campaigns in Google Analytics as well. We would be grateful for a hint how this could work.