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Google Analytics 360 Suite: Do I Need It?

If you work in the digital marketplace, you've undoubtedly heard a lot about Google Analytics 360. Formerly called Google Analytics Premium, this suite of online marketing analysis tools has been completely revamped, adding four new tools and two completely rewritten ones. Launched in March 2016, Google Analytics 360 is designed to deliver end-to-end solutions for both marketers and advertisers and provide a one-stop set of tools for evaluating digital marketing campaigns and website interaction.

However, this new Google package is not free. Unlike the free Google Analytics version, this suite of tools carries a substantial annual fee, leading many to question whether it is worth the money. As Google Analytics experts, we say yes...and here's why.

What is Google Analytics 360?

Google Analytics 360 is Google's enterprise analytics solution that takes the data and insights power of Google Analytics to the next level. With Google Analytics 360, marketing teams can access advanced tools, including Unsampled Reports, Data Driven Attribution, and BigQuery experts, in addition to all standard Google Analytics features and reports they've always used. Google Analytics 360 also gives direct access to dedicated support specialists and includes a service level agreement (SLA) covering data collection, data freshness, and reporting, with a higher processing limit.

Benefits Of Google Analytics 360

There are a myriad of business advantages to using Google Analytics 360. Among the most significant are...

1. Support

Google's free Analytics tool is the most widely used website analytics tool in the world. Almost every website owner or manager, from dabbler to CEO, has looked at this tool at least briefly. However, there is no live support for the free tool, and finding the answer you need amid the pages and pages of help notes can be frustrating at best.

With Google Analytics 360, you get designated support and someone to call 24/7 when you don't understand what you are seeing in your reports or when you can seem to get a tool to work the way you think it ought to work. In addition, with Analytics 360, you get guaranteed performance via a service level agreement (SLA). You are also assigned an implementation specialist to help make sure that you get started properly with Google Analytics 360.

2. Integrations

Another prime benefit of Google Analytics 360 is the many integrations it supports. This suite of tools is designed to work seamlessly with a variety of Google and non-Google applications. Just a few of those that Google Analytics 360 works hand-in-hand with include...

  • Google Ads
  • Display
  • Search Ads
  • Surveys 360
  • Optimize 360
  • Data Studio
  • Salesforce
  • BigQuery - Google Analytics 360 has a built-in interface to BigQuery, Google's cloud data warehouse.

Check it out...

3. Data Processing And Limits

Yet another big advantage to using Google Analytics 360 is that this suite of tools can handle virtually all the data you can throw at it. While the free version has a traffic limit of 10 million hits per month, Google Analytics 360 can process data for sites with more than one billion hits per month. Google Analytics 360 also gives you the ability to have up to three million lines in your reports compared to 50,000 with the free version. Data is fresher with Google Analytics 360 than it is with the free Analytics version. Google Analytics 360 refreshes the data every four hours, not just once a day.

4. No Sampling

Another wonderful feature of Google Analytics 360 is that it can work with data of up to 125,000,000 sessions without sampling. That compares to just 500,000 with the free version. That means, if you have a large amount of data, the tools will look at each piece, rather than taking a "sample" and extrapolating a result.

Plus, if you thought you might just run a few smaller reports and add them together to create the report you need with the free version, even that doesn't quite get you the right answer. The free Analytics tool calculates its report results at the property level rather than the view level, which is used by Google Analytics 360. This means the free data is calculated before any filters are applied.

5. Makes It Easy To Make Regular Business And Marketing Decisions

Of course, as snazzy as Analytic 360's reports can be, their usefulness lies in giving website owners and managers the information they need to make informed decisions about their businesses. It lets you see at a glance what's working and what's not working, allowing you to make changes early in an ad campaign or website promotion that will increase user engagement. Unlike the free version of Google Analytics, Google Analytics 360 can also produce reports about video and display campaigns as well as perform what they call roll-up reporting, which gathers data from multiple properties, in the U.S. and internationally, and combines them into one report.

Google Analytics 360 doesn't just look at historical data, these tools also have the capability to perform predictive analytics and give you an idea of what kind of results you can expect from a marketing campaign based on what has happened in similar situations in the past.

If your business typically needs to make frequent decisions, such as on an hourly or twice-daily basis, Google Analytics 360 data will be up to date and offer you nearly real-time results, taking much of the guesswork out of this type of decision-making. While data is guaranteed to refresh every four hours, actual refresh times are closer to hourly.

6. Customizable

Finally, Google Analytics 360 allows you to create reports that are tailor made to your company's needs, whereas the free Google Analytics does not. While there are many, many set reports available in both versions, you may need to customize your reports if you find that you are filtering and segmenting the data a lot and still aren't 100 percent satisfied with the report results. One of the customizable reports we are most excited about are the custom funnel reports, available only with Google Analytics 360. These reports allow you to see where site users are traveling around your site as well as when or if they are engaging with the site.

To learn more about Google Analytics 360 and how you can make this exciting suite of tools work for you and your business, give us a shout! As a Google Certified Partner and expert Google Analytics agency, we've been helping businesses and other agencies make the most of their Google Analytics data since 2003, and we're happy to answer any questions or help however we can!

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About the author

Dan Kipp

Dan Kipp is the Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager guru at Marcel Digital. He loves traveling, cooking, sports, and spending spare time with friends and family.