The maturity of the data puts companies in an advantageous competitive position, especially in the most aggressive markets. In marketing, the ability to integrate and analyse data can help us improve our relationship with our customers, optimise media strategies and detect areas of growth, among other applications.
No one questions the importance of analytics but, perhaps, you have asked yourself what justifies the investment in a license. Google Analytics, one of the most popular solutions on the market, has a free version and a payment method that is integrated into its Google Marketing Platform suite. Analytics 360 incorporates several advanced capabilities, but are they worth it? This article reviews the key differences between both options.
DATA: From sampling to custom metrics and dimensions
Both tools may look similar but differ in the accuracy of the data. The free version applies sampling in the default reports from 500,000 sessions (per property and analysis period), with no option to access raw data. Analytics 360, on the other hand, raises this threshold to 100 million and, also, has Unsampled Reports for specific queries and connection with BigQuery to work with all data at the hit level.
And this why is it important? Sampling can create distrust towards insights or errors in the extrapolation of tendencies. In addition, only Google Analytics 360 has an SLA (Service Legal Agreement), an agreement that guarantees aspects such as the availability of data in less than 4 hours (24 hours, in GA). If you work in a newspaper, for example, perhaps you should decide how soon to put on the front page or, if you just launched your website, it can help you detect errors.
Finally, you should know that the free version only allows you to configure 20 custom dimensions and metrics, a limit that goes up to 200 in the 360 option . These elements give you flexibility by helping you collect information specific to your business that is not included by default in the reports.
INTEGRATIONS: Google, BigQuery and Salesforce environment
Probably, this is one of the points that can tip the balance. Google Analytics only offers native connections with Google Ads, AdSense and Search Console . GA 360, on the other hand, is at the heart of the Google Marketing Platform suite, which also includes advertising products. What does this mean? The integration with Campaign Manager will allow you, for example, to analyse how the user behaved after printing / conversion, thus giving more context to the campaign results. So, Analytics 360 adds to the list Display & Video 360, Search Ads and Ad Manager to give you a more complete view of the customer journey.
Both GA and GA 360 connect with the rest of Google’s marketing products (Data Studio, Optimise …) but, as we went along, the paid version can also automatically send all your records to BigQuery. This Data Warehouse will help you get additional insights from your clients through advanced ad hoc analysis executed with quick SQL queries.
To finish, we have to mention the enabled connection between Analytics 360 and Salesforce Sales and Marketing clouds after the global agreement of 2017. The offline sales data (leads, opportunities …) stored in the Salesforce CRM will become available in GA 360 thus providing you with a more accurate picture of the sales cycle. That way you can enrich audience segments or achieve smarter ad optimisation, for example.
REPORTING: What makes the difference between Google Analytics and 360?
The truth is that both versions of Google Analytics offer advanced features. However, the 360 option goes further with some capabilities that, according to your type of business, can go well for you. An example is Roll-up reports that allow you to work with data from multiple properties (global image of all websites or apps) or Custom Funnels to deepen the progress of the client towards the conversion (and to be able to use it in the optimisation of the process or in the creation of hearings).
Perhaps you are also interested to know that both Google Analytics and 360 provide attribution models based on rules (Last Interaction, Linear, Time Decay…) but only the licensed modality gives you access to the data-driven attribution (DDA), that is, to models generated from your own data to assign value to the conversion according to your particularities.
In a nutshell…
What do you need? The free version or the 360 option? The choice will depend, to a great extent, on the traffic you generate monthly, as well as your need to have highly detailed data that you will only get with reports without sampling or ad hoc analysis in BigQuery. It will also influence your current ecosystem, that is, if you already have other products from the Google stack or you are working with much of Salesforce’s capabilities, native integrations will greatly simplify your work.
To date, many companies use the free version of Google Analytics that, in practice, can cover all your needs without any problem. With the payment method, you will increase the potential of the solution considerably but it has an important cost. Before making any decision, we recommend you analyse your ecosystem of marketing tools and establish the real requirements of your business. If you need help to rate it, ask us!
Do you have experience in the two versions of Google Analytics? What is the functionality you value most? Leave your opinion in the comments.