Google Analytics Premium: Better Support & Goodbye Data Sampling

Google launched a paid version of Google Analytics that processes higher volumes of page views and provides additional support. The general feature set and user experience remain the fundamentally the same as the standard product. This comes as an important addition to the enterprise set of tools that Google offers. The new version audience is mainly enterprises that receive a high amount of traffic and need a certain commitment from Google’s part on data collection, up-time, and support.
The new Google Analytics premium is not about features, as shown below there are few capabilities available on the premium version that are not available on the standard version. It is designed for organizations who value guaranteed availability, dedicated services and support; it is also critical for sites who want to process data more frequently and without sampling.

Below is a detailed description of the tool capabilities, availability, support and pricing.

Google Analytics Premium – Product Description

Processing Power

  • Guaranteed processing for up to 1 billion hits per month (vs. the 10 million a month for standard accounts).  This applies to a single business or enterprise, but can include multiple web properties. In other words, if a company owns several sites, but the combined volume is under the 1 billion limit, all can be part of one premium instance, but if each site may reach the 1 billion limit separately, then the company would need to pay separately for each site.
  • Faster, intra-day processing
  • Service Level Agreement around data collection, reporting, and processing
    • 99.9% on Collection up-time
    • 99% on Reporting up-time
    • 98% on on-time Data Freshness (within 4 hours)

Advanced Analysis Tools

  • Up to 50 Custom Variable slots (the standard version provides 5)
  • Unsampled report downloads for custom report requests
  • Unaggregated report downloads for large report requests (up to 1 million rows per download)

Dedicated Support

  • Dedicated Account Management
  • Phone & Email support 10 hours per day, 5 days per week (relevant to the time zone in which the contract was signed)
  • Implementation Consultation & Tagging Audit
  • Live & Webinar Training
  • 24/7 Product Emergency Escalation Support, if the product is ever outside of the SLA

Pricing & Availability

At first, Google Analytics Premium is is available to companies based in the US, UK, and Canada, although the sites can be located globally. However, according to Google, it will expand into other regions as quickly as possible.
Prices varies per region and will be as follows: $150,000 USD (US), $150,000 CAN (Canada), or GBP 90,000 (UK) per year (billed in monthly increments).

User Interface Changes

As mentioned above, Google Analytics Premium is not about a new set of features. The interface is almost identical to the standard interface we are used to. I believe this is an advantage for users, as most people are already acquainted with the tool and won’t have to get to know another interface.
The following differences can be seen in the tool (screenshots from Analytics Premium a website developed by Cardinal Path, a Google Analytics premium reseller):
    • When you click the “Download” button on a report, you will have the option to request an “Unsampled Download”
 There will be an “Unsampled Downloads” section in the Custom Reports tab
  • Up to 50 custom variables will be available in the Custom Report builder
Google’s also released this video about it:


Who Should Use Google Analytics Premium

Another important question is: do I need Google Analytics Premium? That question is a bit trickier. Here are a few cases where you should certainly consider the premium version:
  1. If you are currently using a paid tool: the advantage of GA Premium is that pricing is not based on pageviews or hits or visits. If your site generates 1 billion hits per month (in which case you are probably paying a very high amount), now you can use Google Analytics with a higher level of accuracy. In addition, you can feel safe that in case you lose your web analytics budget, you can downgrade to the standard Google Analytics without losing your data or needing to switch tags (and can upgrade again later).
  2. If you are using standard Google Analytics and currently getting sampled data and unsampled data is important for you you. Some websites generate large amounts of data, which results in data sampling on Google Analytics. The premium version will power the collection and processing of this information, in addition to have higher data limits (1 billion hits a month). A plus is that the reports should load faster and data will be fresher, even at larger volumes.
  3. If your website visitors need to be segmented in more ways. By offering 50 custom variables (the limit now is 5) Google will enable more segmentation options, usually needed on large and complex websites.

Closing Thoughts

This release comes as great news for the industry, as it shows how strategic is Analytics to Google and how much they are willing to invest in it. The unsampled reports and the SLA are great differentials (which were always used by Google’s competitors on the field). It means it will bring the market up and we will keep seeing advancements in this arena.

One single feature that is still not on the level of the competitors is user access management. As of today there are only two types of users on Google Analytics: Administrator and Viewer. For SMB and enterprises this is not enough in order to administer who sees what and who can change the tool settings. As mentioned in an article about Analytics User Management: “Everyone who has access to a web analytics tool needs to take responsibility for that access.”

To summarize, in an interview with Thomas Davenport he said that “it ain’t about the math, it is about the relationships”. Google’s strategy to first conquer the end user (i.e. analysts, SEMs, and more recently marketing managers) and then go for the enterprises looks very smart. Google Analytics is by far the most used tool, and this can only count in favor when an enterprise is choosing a tool, employees are already comfortable with it.

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