Google Analytics 360 – Understanding user behavior in a multi-screen world

30 May 2016 / by Stefano De Micheli and Gergely Kalmar / Comments

In a multi-screen world, marketers struggle to keep full track of their customers as the complexity of handling ever-greater volumes of data becomes overwhelming. Enter Google Analytics 360. We explain how the new Google Analytics 360 suite can boost your marketing arsenal and why it matters to modern-day marketers.



Google Analytics 360

Today’s consumers operate in micro-moments. Whether they are looking for directions to their favorite burger spot, hunting for the best product deals or catching up with friends on social media, the modern homo consumericus has become a finicky species with a voracious appetite for information. The traditional and predictable media consumption habits have been replaced by short bursts of digital activity that put consumers in charge of what, when, and how they find information. In doing so, they often look for the path of least resistance to help them find what they want immediately. These so-called micro-moments have increasingly pushed brands to provide relevant and timely content while ensuring a seamless experience across all devices.

Major enterprise software vendors, such as Adobe and Oracle, have therefore invested heavily in marketing platforms that help businesses understand where and how consumers are interacting along their user journeys and across multiple devices and channels in addition to figuring out how to communicate with them effectively. This is where Google is entering the fray with its recently announced Google Analytics 360 Suite. Its marketing technology stack aims to provide key tools for today’s marketers to better personalize your messages, understand how consumers have interacted with your company, and how your digital activities contribute to your organization’s bottom-line.

So what exactly does Google Analytics 360 bring to the table and how is it relevant for marketers? Below is a brief overview of the different modules included in the Google Analytics 360 Suite and explanation of how they can help you in your digital marketing activities.

What stays the same:

  • Google Analytics Premium is now Google Analytics 360.
  • Google Tag Manager is now Google Tag Manager 360 and is a stand-alone product with additional features. These include the possibility to easily deploy new container versions to different environments and automated malware detection, which automatically blocks suspicious tags in order to increase the safety and security of your website.

The new kids on the 360 block:

  • Google Attribution 360
    It now seems clear that one cannot focus on last click attribution or other oversimplified models to understand the impact of each marketing initiative. Google Attribution 360 offers a smart solution to this problem thanks to its data-driven attribution modeling engine, which is based on sophisticated statistical analysis of the measured user paths. In addition to gaining better insights through proper attribution modeling, the tool can also be used to optimize marketing spend across channels – even for offline campaigns (e.g. TV ads). We believe this solution is a real game changer when it comes to understanding your actual marketing impact, which can also lead to tremendous digital performance improvements when used properly.
  • Google Audience Center 360
    Audience Center 360 is a data management platform (DMP) that allows marketers to integrate all of their customer-relevant data, such as campaign data, web analytics data, CRM data, and third party data in order to draw singular, definitive conclusions. A DMP is the V12 turbo engine for comprehensive programmatic advertising and lets you achieve more precise audience segmentation, in turn resulting in optimized conversion rates and higher ROI.
  • Google Optimize 360
    Google Optimize 360 lets you test and optimize your online experience through A/B-, multivariate-, or redirect testing. Be it a personalized message on the checkout page or a completely revamped website experience, with Optimize 360 you can quickly identify where there is room for improvement on your site.
  • Google Data Studio 360
    Google Data Studio 360 is a data visualization tool that lets you visualize your newly found insights and share them throughout your organization. By integrating all of your data sources into one platform, Data Studio solves the problem of having to deal with different reporting tools and summarizing complex information for less tech-savvy stakeholders. Data Studio lets you customize convenient dashboards to meet the needs of the various stakeholders in your organization.

We are excited to see Google expand their marketing technology stack to provide marketers with a much more comprehensive view of online user activity. One of the main advantages will be the close integration with current Google solutions, such as AdWords, DoubleClick and BigQuery. The tighter integration of various Google platforms aims at removing some of the technical complexity involved with managing a full range of marketing tools. Furthermore, with the addition of Audience Center 360 and Attribution 360 we will see a strong one-two punch of cross-device tracking and targeting. Finally, another hot topic we see on the mobile horizon is Firebase – Google’s unified app platform for Android, iOS and mobile web development. Firebase adds an analytics solution, Firebase Analytics, and “comes with unlimited app event reporting, cross-network attribution, and postbacks”, allowing you to track all mobile app activities. There will be several ways to use Firebase Analytics with Google Analytics or Analytics 360.

Brands should consider early on how these different modules might support their current and future digital marketing initiatives. First and foremost, it is imperative to thoroughly understand the strategic direction of your digital marketing activities and what organizational capabilities are required for implementing your strategy. Only then should you try to figure out how technology can support these organizational capabilities. For example, brands thinking about getting more serious about programmatic advertising should first lay a strong foundation in the form of a solid analytics setup and a good grasp of DoubleClick campaign management before shelling out big bucks for a DMP solution such as Google Audience Center 360. Similarly, organizations wanting to arrange for more comprehensive reporting of their digital activities with Google Data Studio 360 should first think about a framework of metrics that helps them identify what exactly they hope to measure and monitor.

Once the appropriate foundations are in place, we believe that the Google Analytics 360 Suite will reveal its full potential by providing you with essential insights into your campaigns and, ultimately, your customers. Our Web Analytics & Data Intelligence experts can help you get the ball rolling, beginning with the development of a clear strategic understanding of your data, through to the implementation of Google Analytics 360.

Interested? Get in touch with us!