When Google last week launched a paid version of its Analytics tool designed to process higher volumes of page views and provide additional support including training and service level agreements, it marked yet another product transition from free Web service to expensive tool for the enterprise class.
Giving it away and then making them pay is nothing new, of course, but this time the service —Google Analytics Premium — is likely intended to be a loss leader designed to compliment Google's online ad efforts for big spenders, rather than stifle smaller players (blogs, SMBs, ect.) that aren't looking to fork over big bucks for a new tracking toolkit. (Note: Analytics is free so it also is a loss leader, but for a different segment)
From a marketing perspective, because Google Analytics plugs into AdWords the move should push more enterprises toward its ad networks, which currently accounts for more than 95 percent of Google's revenue. It's a smart play. If your business is using Analytics, you're obviously interested in online marketing - search included. The idea for the paid enterprise tool, so the thinking goes, is to push these larger companies to get smarter and more focused about marketing and, in turn, spend more on ads.
More money, more fun for Google. See video below.
Does that mean Google is going to abandon investing in the free service most marketers depend on?
Absolutely not. Google says they are “more committed than ever to our standard version” and even recently added Google Analytics Real-Time: a set of new reports that show what’s happening on sites as it happens.
That's good news for anyone not interested in spending $150,000 on Premium.
What Makes Google Analytics Premium Different?
Processing and Features.
- Data limits are lifted and billions of hits per month are track. Plus 50 custom variables available.
- Download unsampled reports. Export high data volumes and analyze all available data.
Advanced analysis tools.
- Attribution modeling on on your marketing campaigns will help to understand the full value of all the channels in your media mix.
- 50 custom variables can customize analytics and collect unique site usage data.
Service Level Agreements.
- Data collection. Service Level Agreement of 99.9%.
- Processing. Data freshness within a maximum of 4 hours 98% of the time.
- Reporting. Guarantees of 99% in any calendar month.
- Data ownership. Ownership of all data.
Dedicated service support team.
- Custom training and support including an account manager to be day-to-day operational contact, a natural extension of your marketing and web development teams. Technical training through implementation is complemented with business training delivered at your site or via webinar.
- Specialists will move businesses from existing installations to all the functionality and features of Google Analytics and ensure a full and reliable data set.
- Live technical support. Our help desk and escalation-management system tracks your concerns to prompt resolution. If a high-priority issue arises after business hours, just contact our 24/7 emergency support line.
You might need Premium if:
- You need to segment your traffic in much greater detail. Google analytics allows for five segment variables while Premium offers 50. If you're ready to dig in deep and have a large and complex website it might be smart to consider Premium.
- A lot of enterprises already operating off a paid tool are going to want to consider Premium right of the bat based solely on the fact that pricing is not based on page views, hits or visits. If you're dealing with tons of data(1 billion hits per month or more?) Google Analytics might offer a better value.
- Google Analytics offers sampled data and unsampled data. For sites generating large amounts of data (data sampling anyone?) a better option is to have a tool capable of collecting and processing large amounts information.