There have been some radical changes in the Google camp this year - Google Plus hit the ground running; the Google +1 button is affecting our SERP’s; Google Analytics has undergone a major design overhaul and they introduced Multi Channel Funnels. As if that wasn’t enough, last week Google announced the introduction of Google Analytics Premium, a costly upgrade to the free service. Not only that, they have rolled out Real-Time Support for both free and premium Analytics accounts.
Anybody involved in Internet Marketing should be paying attention to Google changes and these are big ones. When Google bought out Urchin in 2005 and turned it into Google Analytics the two major changes it made were to make it free and to remove real-time data. Urchin was still available to buy but Google Analytics became the industry standard analytics provider due to its power and lack of cost.
Google Analytics is a valuable marketing tool for tracking visitors to a website. For those new to the tool Silicon Beach Training run a Google Analytics Course or for those familiar who wish to learn more there is Advanced Google Analytics Training.
Google Analytics Real-Time
The first announcement by Google is the addition of real-time tracking on free Google Analytics accounts. The lack of real-time analysis has always been Google Analytics users’ biggest problem and until now it has been the main reason to switch to a paid alternative.
While Google has long been the number one way for businesses to track traffic to a site it has only shown reliable next day data. While this is useful it doesn’t allow for measuring the impact of social media. While you could check which social media outlets were providing the most traffic over the course of a day you couldn’t check the impact of a specific post. Real-time data allows businesses to check the traffic derived from a single tweet or Facebook post.
This is valuable as it allows companies to determine exactly which posts prove the most popular and work out the best times and places to post content. Using twitter as an example, Analytics users will be able to campaign tag an individual tweet. They will then be able to see in real-time how much traffic that tweet is driving to a website and when the tweet stops being effective. This same process can be applied across other formats to allow companies to really consider the impact of their internet marketing campaigns.
Google are rolling Real-Time Analytics out over the next few weeks but have already switched it on for some users. You’ll need to make sure you’re using the newest version of Analytics first and then you can find real-time updates in the Dashboards tab (to be moved to the Home tab after the full update). If Google hasn’t turned on real-time tracking then you can sign up for early access.
Google Analytics Premium
The second big change to Google Analytics was in the introduction of Premium accounts that require more than the free account provides. Google claim they are introducing the Premium service as a response to the needs of their largest clients.
Google have yet to announce the price of Google Analytics Premium which has led to speculation that it will fit somewhere between the current free service and Google’s Urchin 7 – the paid alternative to Google Analytics currently available. It is easy to see why they thought this as Urchin 7 has a one-off price of $9995 and has a wealth of features not available using Google Analytics. However, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch contacted Google for a Premium quote and posted the results on his blog. It turns out Google Anayltics Premium has a yearly fee of $150,000 – that’s 15 times Urchin’s one off price plan!
Some Urchin users were unhappy that Google has been so busy updating their free service and providing an alternative paid service as they would have assumed it would be cheaper. Now that this figure has been revealed it shows Google Analytics must have been busy – but what do you get for your $150,000 a year?
Obviously the price reflects who the service is for – multi-national enterprises who need the extra power that Premium delivers. Google say the new service is built upon ‘more data, advanced tools, dedicated support and guarantees.’ Those able to afford it will have access to:
- Extra processing power - more data collection, more custom variables and the ability to download unsampled reports
- Advanced analysis - attribution modeling tools allowing for tests of different models for assigning credit to conversions
- Service and support - Google promise 24/7 support for account management and expert help on customised installation
- Guarantees - Service level agreements for processing, reporting and data collection
This all sounds fantastic and it is likely that the largest enterprises will quickly take up Google’s Premium service. However, $150,00 is huge investment compared to other options on the analytics market – even compared to Google’s own Urchin. How can medium businesses justify Google Premium?
The main advantage of Google Analytics Premium is the ability to accurately target marketing campaigns and cut those that are wasting money. Marketing that seemed to work using free Analytics may spring up some surprises using the new service and will force large businesses to make major changes to their marketing campaigns. This should in turn pay back the yearly investment in the Premium service.
However, for the majority of Analytics users the free account will remain suitable due to the introduction of real-time data. It shows that Google are targeting their Premium service at high-end enterprises as they are willing to release an exciting update to the free service simultaneously.
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