So after much speculation and anticipation in the web analytic community, Google finally announced the release of Google Analytics Premium. After years of offering Google Analytics for free and gaining hundreds of thousands of users – who doesn’t like free? – it seems appropriate for Google to start generating revenue form what is a very robust tool.
So the big question is can Google Analytics pivot from being a free tool, and convince users (and non-users) that it’s new premium version is worth $150K/year. To figure that out, let’s look at what features Google Premium is bringing to the web analytics party along with my razor sharp perspective:
Dean Says: The big feature here is the un-sampled reports. If you are a larger organization with lots of data then you are very familiar with seeing sample data in your Google Analytic reports. And when I say sample data I mean really, really, ugly bad inaccurate ‘laughed out the meeting’ sample data.
This might be the most important feature in Google Analytics Premium, especially for enterprises. Then again, if you’re an enterprise and you are relying on Google Analytics for advanced web analytics then you really haven’t been taking your web analytics too seriously have you? If you are serious then you are relying of Omniture or CoreMetrics for your advanced web analytics driven decision making and use Google Analytics to “check your math”… or to give Sally in Marketing something to play with that will make her feel smart.
Final Assessment: These features (especially un-sampled data) were a “must-haves” for Google Analytics Premium to play in the paid space, but for the organizations that need it most it’s something they already have with Omniture. They are going to have to continue to bring on more feature and functionality to make real inroads.
2. Advanced Analysis:
Attribution modeling tools that allow you to test different models for assigning credit to conversions.
Dean Says: This functionality is critical to understanding which tactics are contributing most effectively to your goals. Most often there are many touch points and assigning credit for a goal (sale) to the last interaction is short-sighted and ignores all the work that took place to complete that goal.
Once again, this is functionality that serious enterprise users already have. If they don’t have it, then they are probably not bought into the whole web analytics thing to begin with and are not going to be swayed by mere presence of Google Analytics Premium.
It should also be noted that the current Google Analytics offers Multi-Channel Funnels which also give visibility into attribution and thus somewhat neuters the value of Premium’s attribution model.
Final Assessment: Google Analytics Premium is bringing forth a feature that is necessary and not revolutionary. The target audience is either already doing attribution modeling or haven’t evolved to that level yet.
3. Service and support:
Experts to guide customized installation, and dedicated account management on call – all backed by 24/7 support
Dean Says: Of course I am going to want account management and 24/7 support if I am going to shell out $150K a year. Then again having account management and support is a great thing but if you are already advanced in web analytics (and in particular Google Analytics) then you’re need for a lot of support is probably minimal. That’s the beauty of Google Analytics – its simplicity. Sure you run into challenges now and again but when you do, finding support is as easy as going to the Google Analytics Forum. And while it’s not necessarily as immediate, personable, or accurate, the vast majority of Google Analytics issues do not require a lot of support. Alternately, support packages from Google Analytic Partners are available at a very reasonable cost.
Final Assessment: Service and support is nice to have, but if it’s that important, then you probably have the wrong people doing your web analytics.
Service level agreements for data collection, processing and reporting.
Dean Says: Really? You’re gonna tout SLAs as one of your primary pitches? The current Google Analytics solution has proven to be highly reliable (aside from data sampling) so waving 99% uptime is impressive, I am probably already getting that level of service now.
Final Assessment: Reliability is a given, not a selling point. It’s like a dealer telling me my brand new car will start when I put the key in the ignition.
So the sticker price for Google Analytics Premium is $150K which puts at a little above Omniture SiteCatalyst. I anticipate that this price will be VERY, VERY flexible and that one little flinch would result in significant discounts. The pricing, as is, creates to significant barriers to adoption:
1. Enterprises with the wherewithal to invest six figures in a web analytics solution are probably already using Omniture SiteCatalyst or CoreMetrics. They are probably not likely to switch easily at any cost, let alone at a premium. In fact, they are also probably using Google Analytics alongside their paid solution and aren’t in any dire need of a new solution.
In any given sales scenario, the incumbent solution always has an enormous advantage when you consider the inconvenience of switching to a new solution. Someone would REALLY have to hate Omniture to willingly switch to Google Analytics Premium. I mean seriously, who wants that hassle?
2. For current Google Analytics users the price is probably science-fiction from an affordability standpoint. The vast majority of current Google Analytics users are not enterprises. I’ll guess that 90% or more are SMBs who are thankful to have such a simple, robust, and free tool in Google Analytics. The keyword being “free”. I can only imagine a sliver of those folks being able to justify the leap from $0 to $150K, especially given the relative marginal enhancement offered by the Premium solution that are really aimed at very large customers.
If they are ready to make the leap from free to paid analytics they would immediately have to weigh the pros and cons of Google Analytics vs. Omniture/CoreMetrics. It wouldn’t automatically be a slam dunk conversion for Google Analytics Premium although familiarity with Google Analytics would probably work in their favor.
So what will happen to Google Analytics (or Urchin)? – Moving forward Google will have to aggressively add features and functionality to overcome some of the hurdles mentioned above. They will also need to further differentiate the Premium product from the free version – perceptually, by at least $150K.
This will inevitably mean that features and functionality once destined for Google Analytics will likely become exclusive Google Analytic Premium features. This will be especially true for the more robust and powerful features. Google will simply not be able to develop the standard Google Analytics solution as it has in the past. Much like Urchin, Google Analytics will need to take a backseat to the Premium solution.
Regular Google Analytics users will grumble I’m sure, but in the end have to realize that bitching about a free product has no merit and they’ll need to either put up or shut up.
What about the Web Analytics Market? – Well, Google Analytics Premium is great news for everyone, unless your name is Omniture or CoreMetrics. Google’s entry into the enterprise space will have two impacts:
1. Better Products : As Google Analytics Premium continues to add features and functionality, existing players will need to respond and defend their turf. This will likely mean renewed focus on new and better solutions across the board. No one shakes the dust off a staid market like Google and web analytics will be no different.
2. Lower Prices: I smell a good market share battle brewing and the easiest tool to use is always price. Expect vendors to get soft on pricing to maintain market share.
So there you have it. Everything you wanted to know about Google Analytics but didn’t really care enough about to ask.
Wanna learn more? Of course you do. Here’s Google’s fluffy introduction:
Here’s a little more meat from CardinalPath: “Getting to Know Google Analytics Premium”
So what do you think? Have I got this wrong? Of course not. So just agree with me ok?