Google Analytics 360 Suite launched with customer experience at the core

Sam Vining

Head of Research & Insight

Steph Fabb

Head of Data & Analytics

Google have been hinting for a while now around ambitions to integrate their analytics stack to offer a more holistic data platform based on their core Google Analytics technology. Facts have been thin on the ground until yesterday (15th March, 2016) when Google finally broke cover and publicly announced the Google Analytics 360 Suite, including three (or four, depending on how you count them) totally new products. And we’re very excited...

Audience Center 360: All your data under one roof

The star of the show is definitely Google’s Audience Center 360, a DMP (Data-Management Platform) designed to house all of a brand’s first and third-party data sources, to power audience-centric marketing campaigns. This technology will allow brand marketers to target their media buying based on their own users’ behaviour, and discover lookalike audiences across multiple networks from one interface.

Google’s openness to 3rd party data sources is a welcome feature. We expected native integrations with Google’s own advertising products, Adwords and DoubleClick but what’s more surprising is that the platform will be open to 3rd party data and other DSPs (Demand-Side Platforms), making this a viable technology alternative to Adobe’s Audience Manager DMP, or other custom DMP providers.

It remains to be seen whether this technology will unlock 3rd-party data integrations with Google’s RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Advertising) product, which would be something of a holy grail for today’s search-engine marketers. Regardless, the possibilities for a brand are vast.

Data Studio 360: An insight engine for the connected brand

While we’re on the subject of integrating data sources, Data Studio 360 is an exciting proposition for anybody seeking insight and analysis. Having one visualisation tool to work with all of your performance data will certainly reduce some of the painful legwork involved in seeking insight from the multi-platform world of digital marketing. 

As a data analysis application built on the foundation of Google Docs, Studio should allow for a more collaborative workflow, as sharing and co-authoring are built into the analysis. This could be a game-changer for any large organisation looking to “democratise” its marketing insights, and the ability to integrate data from other sources could make this the go-to tool for business, rather than just marketing, analysis.

Optimize 360: A personalised experience for every audience

The third of Google’s trio of new products is a personalisation and testing platform, presumably in the style of Maxymiser or Optimizely. Of the three new products, so far we know the least about Optimize 360, so the exact capabilities and benefits are little more than informed speculation.

Depending on the level of integration with Audience Center, Optimize could be a very powerful application; combining the data sources and segmentation of the DSP with a testing and personalisation tool could unlock a great deal of value from a brand’s 1st and 3rd-party data. 

We’ve already had some good results from using Google’s recently released Experiments module in Google Analytics (launched quietly last year, perhaps in anticipation of Optimize) so we’re curious to see what a more feature-rich testing platform from Google could bring to the party.

A facelift for some old favourites

To go along with these new products, Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics Premium and Adometry will be getting a new lick of paint and upgraded features (and will soon be known as Tag Manager 360, Analytics 360, and Attribution 360 respectively). As a Google Analytics partner we’ve had access to some of the new features in Analytics and are suitably impressed.

Tag Manager is a platform we have loved for years and has become part of our standard workflow for almost every project and campaign. Curiously, Google have identified Tag Manager 360 as one of the “new” platforms in the 360 Suite, although it is as yet unclear how this will differ from the existing product.

What’s most interesting here is the promise that Adometry, a marketing attribution platform that Google acquired in 2014 has been “rebuilt from the ground up” to give advertisers greater insight into their marketing mix.

In summary

While these products are clearly aimed at large enterprises and brands operating at scale, we’ll have to wait and see how aggressively Google price these products to compete with Adobe’s Marketing Cloud, or whether “light” versions will be offered with more limited features or data volumes à la the free version of Google Analytics for smaller organisations.

The success of the 360 Suite will largely depend on how far Google takes their promise of an integrated data and analytics platform. A single-sign on and consistent user-interface will be helpful to workflow, but a truly integrated data platform with Analytics and Audience Center at the core could be a revolutionary product in the market place.

In an era where customer journeys are more fragmented than ever, across devices, channels and touch-points, it’s great to see Google refreshing their products with audience experience at the core. The benefit to marketers? Ease of access to sophisticated analytics, data and insights which can truly unlock potential for any business.

Next steps

The new suite products are available from today in limited BETA for GA Premium or Adometry Customers, with the existing products being renamed in upcoming months.

If you have any questions, or require further information as to how this launch will impact you, please do not hesitate to reach out to your iCrossing account manager or get in touch by emailing results@icrossing.co.uk.

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