GA360, the paid version of Google Analytics offers a number of interesting enhancements and additional features compared to the free Analytics version. This article provides an overview of the differences between the two versions. Basically, Google Analytics 360 targets larger companies with costs of about $135k per year that have a lot of users on their website.
Hit Count per Month
The free Analytics version normally allows a maximum of 10 million hits per month (= number of tracking requests for page views, events, transactions and timing tracking). If the website generates a large number of tracking hits, it is actually necessary to switch to the paid version. Google itself, however, seems to be relatively relaxed with this regulation: From experience I know that there are no real problems when a website has about 15 million hits per month. However, sampling in the free version is a rather annoying factor in this case. The paid GA360 version is offered in so-called tiers - different price levels depending on the monthly hit count. The costs depend on the traffic volume of the websites tracked with the account.
Google Analytics uses so-called sampling to ensure a fast presentation of reports in the web interface (or via the API). The reports just use sample with subsequent extrapolation of the statistics. The sampling itself works without any problems in many cases - but it often leads to confusion and problems if you want to retrieve exact statistics. The sampling thresholds for the free Analytics version are much lower than for GA360 (500k sessions vs. 100 million sessions for the selected period). Especially when analyzing a website with a lot of traffic, sampling can often be very annoying and therefore the purchase of GA360 can be worthwhile. Further information on sampling can be found on https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2637192.
Custom Dimensions & Custom Metrics
User-defined dimensions can be used to store additional information with the tracking data and to segment statistics according to your needs. They can be defined at hit, session, user or product scope. Custom metrics, on the other hand, allow you to capture additional, self-defined metrics at different scopes. Both features together make Google Analytics a very flexible tracking platform. While the free Google Analytics version allows the definition of 20 user-defined dimensions and metrics each, the GA360 limit is ten times higher - 200 dimensions and metrics each. This is one of the most important additional enhancements, especially for companies with a comprehensive web offering.
SLA / Support / Data Freshness Guarantee
In contrast to the free Google Analytics version, GA360 offers a Service Level Agreement (SLA), which guarantees data freshness of the statistics in Analytics (maximum 4h delay), the availability of the system or support in case of problems. Support is provided either by Google itself or by the respective reseller agency.
One of the most interesting GA360 features is the BigQuery export. The raw tracking data, grouped by sessions, is made available in BigQuery so that it can be used for in-depth analyses, for example in external BI tools. There are two possible export settings: Either the data is exported on a daily basis, whereby there are several additional intraday exports, or the data is made available as streaming export (almost live). In the second case, however, less data is provided because it is not yet available at the time of streaming. Further information on BigQuery export can be found on https://support.google.com/analytics/topic/3416089.
With the help of the roll-up properties available in GA360 you have the possibility to view the data from several source properties combined in one property. For example, you can view and evaluate the data from individual country websites or GA properties combined in one Roll-Up property. The user-defined dimensions and metrics from the source properties can be transferred to the roll-up property with a mapping. Regarding the tracking hits relevant for the costs, these only count for half in case of the roll-up property.
Data Driven Attribution
In addition to the basic attribution models already available in the free Google Analytics version, GA360 offers a data-driven attribution model. The underlying algorithm tries to determine the contribution of the individual touchpoints to the desired goal or transaction in order to better evaluate the real contribution of the advertising channels. However, the data-driven attribution model available in GA360 only considers a maximum of four touchpoints before a conversion.
Even though GA360 offers a much higher threshold for sampling, it may happen that a standard report is only available with sampling. In order to obtain exact data in this case, GA360 offers so-called unsampled reports as an additional feature. The report is requested and made available for viewing or downloading after a short time.
Rows per report
While the free Analytics version returns a maximum of 50,000 lines in a report in the web interface or via the API, GA360 offers a much larger number with up to 3 million data lines. So you can output and analyze much more data with one report.
Integration of further platforms
The free version of Google Analytics allows a linking to Google Ads, the Search Console or Google Optimize. If you also use other platforms like Campaign Manager or Search Ads 360, you have to switch to GA360. GA360 offers the following additional integrations:
- Search Ads 360
- Display & Video 360
- Campaign Manager
Custom Funnel Reports
Another feature available only in GA360 are custom funnel reports that allow you to analyze user behavior over multiple steps. Unlike funnel reports for goals, custom funnel reports offer advanced configuration capabilities. You can define funnels over multiple sessions or evaluate events and page views combined in one funnel. It is also possible to determine whether the next step must occur in direct succession to the last step or whether other interactions between them are also permitted. Overall, this is a very useful analysis feature.
Query Time Data Import
With the Query Time Data Import GA360 offers an additional possibility to enrich data in Analytics or to import external data into Analytics. With the normal import of data into Analytics, the imported data is only written to the dataview database from the time of import when the corresponding tracking hits occur (with the exception of the cost upload). However, the query Time Data Import allows you to upload data that is merged at the time you view a report within GA.
This feature is also very interesting in connection with the definition of target audiences. For example, you can use BigQuery export data to externally segment your own target audiences and then import them into GA using the Query Time Data Import, feature so that they can then be used for targeting in Google Ads or DV360.
With the licensing of Google Analytics 360 you automatically get the 360 version of Google Tag Manager. This extended version of the Tag Manager offers some useful enterprise features and also a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Information to the differences between the free and the 360 GTM version finds you also in the following article:https://stickler.de/en/information/data-analytics/comparison-google-optimize-360-vs-google-optimize-free
Advanced Analysis (beta)
Since some time ago GA360 has been offering the beta version of an additional reporting tool called "Advanced Analysis". With the help of the Advanced Analysis tool, statistics can be easily visualized in three report types: Exploration, Funnel and Segment Overlap. In particular, the Segment Overlap report offers additional functionality that cannot be achieved with other features available in the GA web interface.
The GA360 feature of the Custom Tables is used to display self-defined reports, which are called up frequently, without sampling directly in the web interface. You simply define the desired dimensions and metrics in a custom table and the table is then automatically kept up-to-date in the background without sampling. This gives you fast access to the exact statistics you want.