Google Analytics 360 Suite is not a mystery anymore. We have been hearing about this since last Partner Summit in June 2015 and finally, Google made a big announcement this week and released a fully loaded enterprise suite in comparison to the Adobe Marketing Cloud, who is an incumbent player in the enterprise sector and has gained significant market share over these years. With this launch, Google has transitioned from a niche technology player to an enterprise goliath who is ready to take on the challenge of establishing cloud-based platforms like IBM, Adobe, and Oracle.
Now, the big question is, how Google is going to position itself in comparison to incumbent players, who have spent years creating a highly integrated marketing ecosystem relying on solution, technology and re-selling partners?
- Will Google go after the competitive cloud-based platforms and try to outsmart them?
- Will Google wait for the existing vendor contracts to be over and bid for the new business?
- Will Google go after emerging economies and try to create a new ecosystem over there?
- Will Google go after untapped industry verticals?
- Will Google lower the barrier of entry by significantly slashing the price of their flagship solution (Google Analytics) with the hope that; it will create opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling in future?
I am sure there are many more questions floating around in the industry among our prospective customers and soon, the dust is going to be settled and clearly articulate the value proposition of Google in the mature and emerging economies.
After taking a sneak peak of the Google 360 suite of products, I am demystifying the capabilities of this cloud-based platform and compare it with their immediate competitors:
Analytics 360 – It’s a flagship product of the Marketing Cloud and will act as a door opener for Google. There are various advantages for the enterprise customers who are struggling with the sampling issues in the FREE Universal Analytics solution, wants to have complete ownership of their raw un-sampled clickstream data, and play smarter in executing their content monetization and re-marketing campaigns through DoubleClick. In terms of entry pricing, it’s still quite expensive in comparison to their immediate competitor Adobe but, if you are a mid-size to large online business who is in a hyper-growth mode, Analytics 360 would be economical in comparison to Adobe and give you a better total cost of ownership as you scale-up your business and get over 1 billion hits/month. For those companies, who are already in contract with Adobe or IBM and skeptical about whether they should re-negotiate their contract or not; we would highly recommend sticking to their current solution provider unless you have a really solid reason for transition. In the past, we encountered the following 3 primary reasons behind the transition from Adobe to Google Analytics Premium i.e.
- Cost Advantage at upper tiers (Over 2-3 Billion hits/Month)
- Intuitiveness of the Google Analytics Solution and better adoption in-house
- Dissatisfied with the availability and pricing of the local Adobe support and consulting
In last 3 years, Adobe has worked pretty hard on all 3 fronts and made significant UXD changes in their flagship solution (SiteCatalyst) and also ramped up their local support and consulting in South East Asia and Asia Pacific so; if you are not facing the above-mentioned issues then, there is no significant incentive for transition.
Tag Manager 360 – In last 2 years, we have received hundreds of inquiries from our prospective and existing clients regarding, what kind of tag management solutions they should invest? Should they go for vendor-neutral tag management solutions like Tealium or Ensighten or, lock themselves with marketing cloud-based tag management solutions like GTM or DTM who are free and better connected with other products in the marketing stack? Now, this is a very tricky question to answer because both types of platforms have something interesting and intriguing under the hood which is important to understand. For both the platforms, the biggest incentive is the access to the cross-device and cross-channel data of your online visitors that flows into their Data Management Platform and allows the marketers to create interesting audience segments, which can be further leveraged through a Demand Side or Supply Side Platforms. To achieve this, your Universal Data Layer object and Tag Management Solution plays a significant role. With the arrival of Tag Manager 360, Google has further enhanced their Tag Management Capabilities by providing additional data connectors, which not only connect and enrich other products in the Google stack but, also allow you to exchange data with 3rd party vendors participating on the platform. If you compare in terms of capabilities, interface, partner network and support, we would always recommend vendor neutral players like Tealium and Ensighten but, Tag Management is just a means to an end because, it is simply provisioning and facilitating the data to your marketing stack and 3rd party vendors, however, the important thing to focus here is, how exactly are you going to leverage that data for your business.
Optimize 360 – This is a wonderful addition to the Google 360 stack and it would be interesting to see how it stands against the established players like Optimizely and Adobe Target who have gained a significant market share in last 5-6 years. Here are few expectations the marketers would have from the Optimize 360 solution:
- How intuitive it is for the marketers, content, and IT people because, setting up a test is still the biggest challenge for the marketers as it requires heavy dependency on the IT and Content team, and considering the shortage of resources on the client end, it pushes the enterprises to go after full-service optimization agencies like Widerfunnel, Brooks Bell or Nabler. Can Optimize 360 full-fill the self-service promise for the enterprises, and keep the cost of testing the hypothesis significantly lower?
- How quickly can they set up a Multivariate Campaign for their high volume pages?
- How well they can leverage their Advanced Segments based on click-stream data for targeting?
- How quickly can they take action against their data by personalizing the audience experience in the same session?
- How easy would be to run A/B tests for their Android and iOS Mobile Apps?
Audience Center 360 – As the DMP market is getting hotter day by day and there are more than 20 enterprise vendors competing in this space including Adobe Audience Manager, Tealium Audience Stream, Oracle BlueKai, Krux etc, it’s going to be an added advantage and a wonderful value proposition for Google considering their strong presence on the DSP and SSP end. This is my favorite solution in the marketing cloud as, this will allow the marketers to finally leverage their click-stream and offline data and build interesting audience segments for re-targeting and re-marketing through Doubleclick Platform. Marketers would also have the option to share these segments with other DSP and SSP partners participating on the Google Platform. Here are few pointers for the prospective customers who are looking for a DMP solution for their business:
- First and foremost, whichever DMP solution you pick, it should not only allow you to leverage the FIRST PARTY COOKIE data coming from different devices (Desktop Website, Mobile Website, and Mobile App) but, also allows you to enrich your audience profiles by stitching the Third Party Cookie data even though, the match rate would be less than 15%.
- Secondly, the DMP solution should have outbound data connectors for exposing the audience profiles to the known DSPs and Ad Serving Platforms. If you go for Google Audience Center, it would have a seamless connection with DoubleClick Bid Manager.
- Thirdly, the DMP solution should allow you to export the audience profiles in your own cloud storage so that you could run statistical models on top of it.
- Fourthly, the DMP solution should allow you to expose the audience profiles to your DATA LAYER for personalizing the consumer experience on the website and mobile apps.
- Fifthly, the DMP solution should be able to handle and interpret the Mobile App traffic and provides a mechanism to stitch the Desktop and Mobile traffic. Most of the DMP solutions in the market don’t have better capabilities around Mobile space.
- Lastly, the DMP solution should be fast in recommendations, scalable and have a robust platform.
Attribution 360 – Channel Attribution is still a universal problem and demands for a highly customized and vertical specific attribution model(s), which can evolve with the change in business needs, change in the product lifecycle, ever-changing consumer behavior and can factor in online and traditional offline marketing channels. With the launch of Attribution 360, Google is trying to bring some discipline in this space and empowering the marketers and agencies to smartly optimize their spend across different channels and control their CPA.
Data Studio 360 – Not sure whether we should call it a Google Tableau version or Google QlikView versionJ. It’s a wonderful fit in this marketing cloud and will provide a wonderful storyline to the marketer by connecting data from Google Click-stream and Media properties and articulate it in a form of Custom Dashboards and Scorecards. The collaboration feature would further enrich the analysis and bring additional context. If we compare the current state of the Data Studio with Tableau, there is a long way to go for Google team.
Overall, it’s a wonderful move from the Google team and we welcome them whole-heartedly to the enterprise community. In case you have any follow-up questions on the 360 stack, please feel free to contact us.