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The excitement

Have you ever been to a Cirque du Soleil show? The level of anticipation as you enter the big tent is reinforced by the excitement of the crowd itself. Throughout the show, you are inspired by the displays of juggling skill, acts of acrobatic prowess and feats of strength and flexibility. Google IO is to developers and the community at large something somewhat similar – exciting, inspiring, amazing!

I was not one of the lucky attendees this year, but I heard the cheers through social media and peeked through the virtual tent thanks to the video streaming.

The announcement

One of the best parts of the show was the announcement that Google Analytics Premium data will be available in BigQuery. This opens a new playground of endless possibilities for analysts, marketers, data scientists and developers.

BigQuery leverages Google’s massive computing power to analyze huge amounts of data in the cloud, with no up-front investments (you pay for what you use). It also facilitates collaboration amongst analysts and stakeholders safely and securely. BigQuery doesn’t offer (and isn’t supposed to be) a “slicing & dicing” data analysis tool.  You can’t play and explore with data as you do for example in Google Analytics interface.  Rather, BigQuery shines once you know which question to ask: its genius lies in enabling you to sift through very large volumes of data (the proverbial Big Data) in minutes instead of hours or days.

BigQuery isn’t for visualization either – so once you have isolated the data you need you can always export the results to Tableau or your dashboarding tool of choice.

What does it mean for Google Analytics Premium? What are the possibilities?

  • One of the critiques raised by competing vendors was that hit-level (raw data) was not available – now you got it! Big time! This was a subtle element mentioned in the announcement;

  • Thanks to Universal Analytics dimension widening and the ability to join other data sources, you will be able to leverage Big Data concepts directly and conduct very sophisticated analysis – at Google speed!

My take

At a recent eMetrics conference I shared my point of view on how Big Data will impact the future of today’s digital analysts. One of the highlights is clearly that our field is expanding in areas that were traditionally the safeguard of statisticians who had a skillset few of the traditional Google Analytics users have. You have to pick the area of expertise you want to develop – will you tame data as savvy marketer, be the master of the complex technology landscape or become the data guru who can juggle with data and make it spark? The emerging opportunities reinforce what a dynamic space our industry is becoming – one that drives accountability for the considerable investments marketers spend.