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Cardinal Path POV: Google Analytics 360 Suite

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Cardinal Path Point of View: Ad BlockingThis week, Google announced its new Google Analytics 360 Suite, which consists of six products. To be clear, Google hasn’t released these products. They’ve made the announcement about a suite of analytics that nobody can buy yet. But the resounding message is this: Google is launching a comprehensive analytics stack that will offer deeply integrated data capabilities.

 

There are four new products:

  1. Google Audience Center 360, Google’s first meaningful foray into the world of Data Management Platforms (DMP);
  2. Google Optimize 360, a site optimization and personalization tool;
  3. Google Data Studio 360, a data visualization and analysis tool; and
  4. Google Tag Manager 360, a beefed up version of Google Tag Manager designed to support Premium clients.

There are also two re-rebranded  products:

  1. Google Attribution 360 (formerly Adometry), the industrial strength attribution / Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) product; and
  2. Google Analytics 360 (formerly Google Analytics Premium), Google’s high-end, and now well differentiated, enterprise analytics tool. 

The news, described as “an earthquake that had been predicted” by Gartner vice president Andrew Frank, has been heavy on hype, but short on specifics.  The resulting information vacuum has been filled with a lot of speculation and reading of tea-leaves.  While we don’t pretend to have a crystal ball, and until such time as the products are released so that we can take them for a spin (in their non-Beta format), here is what we do know:

Why is this good news for Google shops?

Google had been seen as somewhat behind Adobe, Oracle and IBM in the marketing cloud business and 360 provides a level set, putting Google where it needs to be in order to be competitive with peers.  For users, it portends a seismic shift away from having to buy capabilities from multiple vendors and stitch them together (if you aren’t buying one of the existing aforementioned stacks), towards a unified platform that enables users to leverage data in a holistic fashion.  Google is clearly putting a stake in the ground that it intends to provide the ability to harvest data from across your digital ecosystem, centralize this, distill it and use it to  delivering unified, consistent and personalized experiences to users.

How does this impact Google Analytics users who aren’t already on Premium?

Google Analytics (GA) Standard, the free version of the flagship analytics product that is known and loved around the world will remain.  We expect that Google will continue to invest heavily in engineering and maintain the existing pace of innovation in order to maintain its pole position as the tool of choice for marketers.   The new products within the Analytics 360 will be available as stand-alone or combined products and work in tandem with GA standard. These are not simply add-ons to GA Premium, which is now called Google Analytics 360.

This means that for organizations that can’t justify the expense of Google Analytics Premium, they might be able to add on, for instance, Data Studio 360 for data analysis and visualization. It’ll be interesting to see how users will leverage free tools with paid tools to exponentially improve their platform.

What’s really new in this product bundle?

Optimize 360, is the new site optimization and testing product that can link directly with GA data to make available the many features and capabilities of that tool (think segmentation!).  Deploying tests and then immediately leveraging the output in analytics will now be a breeze (we’ve seen it in action and it’s great). What is really exciting is the ability to use Optimize 360 to drive personalization, i.e. creating unique experiences for each visitor.  No such tool capability from Google existed previously, and now users will be able to create highly customized experiences with all the data that will be in the 360 Suite.

There will be improved reporting and dashboarding which will connect to all and other data sources for visualization – the existing Google Analytics dashboarding is limited so the new Data Studio 360 will offer a lot more flexibility and make it easier to start visualizing and sharing data within the platform in partnership with the analytics data.

Does the new Suite make Google more attractive to enterprise organizations?

There is a tendency to label the all-in-one-marketing cloud platforms as either “good” or “bad” (vendors and pundits have their reasons).  Our POV is that when vendors provide an integrated stack/platform what they are really selling is the promise of automated data integration. This is a huge pain point for the CMO’s, the enterprise and many of our clients, and therefore anything that makes it easier to address this problem gets us to lean forward and pay attention.  The jury is still out on whether the 360 Suite delivers on the promise, but our spider senses are telling us that Google probably has this part of the problem well in hand.

What do we know about Audience Center 360, the long-anticipated Google DMP?

The importance of Google having a true DMP as part of their platform cannot be understated.  With this product they are closing a huge gap, one that up to this point forced Premium users to go to 3rd party vendors.  At present, there’s not much we know for sure except that Audience Center 360 other than that there are currently paid clients using it even though in its in beta, and that more information is forthcoming.

How does this impact clients immediately? How does it impact them long-term?

There’s really no immediate impact unless clients are in the process of making a decision about one of three types of tools. So if an organization is currently looking for a new 3rd party DMP or dashboarding solution, they may hold off on a purchase decision to see if they can get more information about the product.

For clients using the platform day-to-day there’s no immediate effect, it’s still the same Google Analytics Premium – it will ultimately be rebranded but it’s the same tool with the same terms and conditions.

Long term there will be tons of changes as Google starts to release all these different products with analytics at the core. Eventually there will be more ability to start leveraging personalization and targeting and marketing to customers with messages that are more tailored to what they want and are interested in.

Plus, it will become easier to share what’s happening with executives in order to keep them on the pulse of what’s going on in the marketplace and that is going to help marketers be that much better at their jobs and, ultimately at growing their businesses.

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