Google Analytics Premium

Google just announced last week that they are introducing a Google Analytics Premium Service geared towards their largest customers, some of the new additions announced in their Sept, 29th posting:

  • Extra processing power

    – increased data collection, more custom variables and downloadable, unsampled reports

  • Advanced analysis

    – attribution modeling tools that allow you to test different models for assigning credit to conversions

  • Service and support

    – experts to guide customized installation, and dedicated account management on call – all backed by 24/7 support

  • Guarantees

    – service level agreements for data collection, processing and reporting

GA Premium was developed in close coordination with the same large clients that it is intended for. During the extended pilot phase, Gucci, Travelocity, TransUnion, eHarmony and others. During this period, the Premium service was tailored to their needs and addressed their issues with the original Analytics.

So for a yearly fee, Google will provide a stronger server to run custom reports, a dedicated account manager, and a 24/7 support and service level agreement (SLA). What’s missing from the announcement? The price tag. Various sources have reported that it will be in the neighborhood of $150,000 per year. It may seem like a hefty price, but by comparison, paying over $100K a year for Adobe’s Omniture SiteCatalyst platform is not unheard of, and considering the size of most of these companies, $150k is a drop in the bucket.

Besides the price, this announcement begs two other important questions. The first is whether or not it's worth the price. If you are already using a paid service and paying per pageviews or hits, GA Premium offers a higher level accuracy and can handle around 1 billion hits per month. It also allows you to switch back to the regular Analytics if you lose your web analytics budget, all without losing any data or having to switch tags again. Also, the premium version allows you to turn off data sampling at higher volumes, powering the collection and processing of this information at higher data limits (1 billion hits a month). The expectation, according to some analysts, is that reports should load faster and data will be fresher, even at these larger volumes. And lastly, you can now get 50 custom variables for advanced audience segmentation (it is currently 5), allowing for a more in-depth analysis and more accurate audience targeting.

The second question, understandably, is whether Google is now going to neglect the free version of Analytics. According to Google, this won't be the case, and so far they have delivered on that promise by delivering a slew of powerful new updates over the past 3 months, and releasing Google Analytics v5 recently. This news is really just an indicator that Google is now targeting the enterprise level by addressing customer concerns over the limitations of their free service, and offering it at a comparable price to other web analytics services.

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