Google Performance Summit Recap pt. 2 – Google Analytics 360 Suite Announcement Breakdown

Google announced a variety of exciting platform updates, including the rollout of the Google Analytics 360 Suite, at the Google Performance Summit on May 24.  The Suite includes highly anticipated new product offerings targeted at making the 360 Suite a comprehensive set of integrated enterprise-level data and marketing analytics products.

With the inclusion of Attribution 360 (formerly Adometry), Optimize 360 for testing, Audience Center 360 for data management, and Data Studio 360 for collaborative data visualization, Google’s Suite is ready to compete with the established players in the premium analytics space.  And given Google’s past product rollouts, the Suite offerings have the potential to draw new customers by providing more value and tighter integrations, and at a better price point.

Check out the Summit announcements that get this Data Nerd excited:


The new products in the 360 Suite have the ability to quickly and deeply integrate across not only the other tools in the Suite, but also Google’s other products—AdWords, DoubleClick, Firebase, etc.  With Google building those seamless integrations into the core of the 360 Suite, tagging, testing, data collection, reporting, and attribution are easily handled in one place.

Data Visualization

Data Studio 360 is a new offering that Google Analytics users should be especially excited about.

Data visualization has always been one of the more limiting parts of Google Analytics.  While the platform has a lot of data to report, there are really just a few ways of looking at metrics in the platform itself.  And forget including data from outside of GA.  Up until now, getting really strong, deeply visual reporting has required an export of GA data to be used by another tool such as Tableau for advanced visualization.

Data Studio streamlines all of that.  Leveraging the integrations with many Google products right off the bat, Data Studio allows users to build out everything from simple reports and dashboards to really in-depth segmented reporting in a clean, simple, drag-and-drop interface.  All of the reports stay connected to their data sources, of which there can be multiple, so when you need to change a date range or add a new filter, everything is quickly updated on the fly right there while you adjust.  It’s really fun to use, especially for marketers who have grown accustomed to not being able to quickly modify their crazy custom reports.

Collaboration is a key component of the new Data Studio. Reports can be shared and edited by multiple users simultaneously and in real time.  Gone are the days of needing to go back and forth via email to add, remove, and tweak reporting elements to get things just right.  The collaboration capabilities in Data Studio are extremely similar to those found in Google Drive. In fact, they are based on the same sharing model.  For anyone who spends time in Google Drive, collaboration in Data Studio feels comfortable very quickly.
Ultimately, Data Studio 360 can be expected to make a big splash in the space. The inclusion of Data Studio 360 is almost certainly targeted directly at Tableau, Power BI, Domo, and other DataViz tools, so it’s no surprise that Google has given every Google account five free reports to play with.  My guess is that Google is aiming to hook people with those free reports and use Data Studio as a gateway into the rest of the 360 Suite.

Built-In Intelligence

Google Analytics 360’s new Data Assistant feature allows users to speak or type questions about their data and get clear, clean answers delivered right to them in the GA interface, compliments of Google’s awesome machine learning.  So when a question such as, “How many users did we get from organic search in April?” or “How many transactions did paid search users generate last month?” get asked, GA simply parses out the terms, infers user intent, and spits out the correct answers. Supposedly, it can even answer vague business-related questions, such as, “What were my best selling products in April for email campaigns?”

While that may come off somewhat gimmicky, Data Assistant still retains many useful applications. What stands out about the feature is that it puts the focus on the importance of insights, not just showing data points.  Enabling users to quickly answer questions of varying complexity is a significant value of the tool and will certainly lower the barrier to entry for Google Analytics users who aren’t as familiar with the platform.

I’m disappointed that Google is limiting Data Assistant access to 360 customers.  While there is some logic behind restricting such an advanced and resource-heavy feature to their premium customers, it’s also likely that offering a more limited version of this feature to general users would be a great way to show those who are more inexperienced just how many insights Google Analytics is capable of delivering.  A limited version in all Google Analytics accounts would not only help get more people interested in data, but could serve as an opportunity to show where upgrading to Google Analytics 360 would get them deeper insights.

Based on what’s been showcased so far between Google’s blog posts and the Performance Summit announcements, the future seems bright for the entire Google Analytics 360 Suite.  There’s no doubt that Google is just getting started with its improvements to Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and all of its other offerings in the 360 Suite

It’s a really good time to be a Data Nerd.

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