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Which Version to Choose? Google Analytics 360 vs. Google Analytics

Greg Sobiech   
August 10, 2017  
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Once upon a time, web analytics was an exclusive field led by subscription-based offerings from companies like Coremetrics and Omniture. In 2005, web analytics became substantially democratized when Google took an interest and began offering Google Analytics free as an analytics solution.

Justification for this $0 price tag is both circuitous and simple: Google’s end goal with its free Google Analytics offering is to gain market share.

Through that gained market share Google collects a potent stream of user data, which they can then leverage for revenue generation to subsidize Google Analytics overhead. As a result, consumers receive insights unmatched for the cost: a win/win for all.

We’ve come a long way since 2005. These days, the question is not “do you need an analytics solution” – you do. Instead, the question is of how intensive you need your solution to be. As the web has grown more complex, so too have the solutions for web analytics. For larger businesses, there was a clear need for a more comprehensive solution than Google Analytics could meet.

Google Analytics 360 (GA 360 formerly known as Google Analytics Premium) is a response to the growing complexity of the digital media landscape. With consumer engagement more mobile than ever, and with the heightening efficiency of digital channel offerings, the ability to cohesively track full Customer Journey cross-channel is paramount to a robust digital strategy.

Paramount, too, is the ability to seamlessly buy media against insights gained from the full Customer Journey.

Functionality Breakdown – What Separates GA from GA 360?

Perhaps the most advertised benefits of GA 360 are higher hit limits, removal of data sampling, and a thorough SLA (service level agreement) that emphasizes 99% uptime and quick data processing (within 4 hours, though often faster).

But for many advertisers, that’s not enough to justify the cost; which is where the deeper benefits of customer journey and media insight, leverageable for gained media efficiency, come into play:

  • GA 360 allows for roll-up reporting across multiple properties, which is provides cohesive insight into the bottom line for multi-domain businesses.
  • While GA Free integrates natively with AdWords, GA 360 takes it a step further to also natively integrate with the full DoubleClick Suite (DoubleClick Campaign Manager, DoubleClick Bid Manager, and DoubleClick Search). This allows advertisers to build a two-way data pipeline between their media buying platforms and centralized analytics platform, creating a closed-loop ecosystem where each product cooperates seamlessly with the others. Track, measure, attribute, optimize, and buy beneath a singular tech stack.
  • GA 360 integrates directly with Google’s BigQuery, a fully managed, serverless, low-cost enterprise warehousing solution on Google Cloud Platform. With this integration, advertisers can manage large data sets (transactional, CRM, offline, email, etc.) in the cloud, and plug them directly into the GA 360 Suite to bolster digital insights with external metrics and metadata.
  • GA 360 provides up to 200 custom dimensions and metrics, or 10x the amount available in GA Free, which is a necessity for advertisers with complex taxonomy and nuanced measurement requirements.
  • GA 360 provides data-driven attribution, and the ability to analyze against the full customer journey per integration with the DoubleClick Suite. This means advertisers can apply cutting-edge attribution modeling against the entirety of their media & site touchpoints: landing, media click, and media impressions.
  • GA 360 provides enhanced custom funnel reporting, to more deeply understand the on-site conversion path(s) consumers prefer. Gain deeper insight into the elements driving consumers through to conversion, the elements causing higher than average drop off, and the complexity with which consumers browse and convert on your site(s).

With GA 360 advertisers not only receive the mature tracking and measurement solution of GA, but a thorough technology stack that provides solutions against an enterprise’s full data needs.

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