Which Version to Choose? Google Analytics 360 vs. Google Analytics
Greg Sobiech  /  
August 10, 2017



Once led by subscription-based offerings from companies like Coremetrics and Omniture, web analytics became substantially democratized when Google took an interest in 2005 and began offering Google Analytics with a $0 price tag.


Justification for this $0 price tag is both circuital and curt: Google’s end goal with it’s free Google Analytics offering is to gain market share.

Through that gained market share Google collects a potent stream of user data, which they can then leverage for revenue generation to subsidize Google Analytics overhead. As a result, consumers receive insights unmatched at a $0 rate: a win/win for all.


Google Analytics 360 (GA 360) is a response to the growing complexity of the digital media landscape. With consumer engagement more mobile than ever, and with the heightening efficiency of digital channel offerings, the ability to cohesively track full Customer Journey cross-channel is paramount to a robust digital strategy.


Paramount, too, is the ability to seamlessly buy media against insights gained from the full Customer Journey.


Functionality Breakdown


Perhaps the most advertised benefits of GA 360 are higher hit limits, removal of data sampling, and a thorough SLA (service level agreement) that emphasizes 99% uptime and quick data processing (within 4 hours, though often faster).


But for many advertisers, that’s not enough to justify the cost; which is where the deeper benefits of customer journey and media insight, leverageable for gained media efficiency, come into play:


  • GA 360 allows for roll-up reporting across multiple properties, which is provides cohesive insight into the bottom line for multi-domain businesses.
  • While GA Free integrates natively with AdWords, GA 360 takes it a step further to also natively integrate with the full DoubleClick Suite (DoubleClick Campaign Manager, DoubleClick Bid Manager, and DoubleClick Search). This allows advertisers to build a two-way data pipeline between their media buying platforms and centralized analytics platform, creating a closed-loop ecosystem where each product cooperates seamlessly with the others. Track, measure, attribute, optimize, and buy beneath a singular tech stack.
  • GA 360 integrates directly with Google’s BigQuery, a fully managed, serverless, low cost enterprise warehousing solution on Google Cloud Platform. With this integration, advertisers can manage large data sets (transactional, CRM, offline, email, etc.) in the cloud, and plug them directly into the GA 360 Suite to bolster digital insights with external metrics and metadata.
  • GA 360 provides up to 200 custom dimensions and metrics, or 10x the amount available in GA Free, which is a necessity for advertisers with complex taxonomy and nuanced measurement requirements.
  • GA 360 provides data-driven attribution, and the ability to analyze against the full customer journey per integration with the DoubleClick Suite. This means advertisers can apply cutting-edge attribution modeling against the entirety of their media & site touchpoints: landing, media click, and media impression.
  • GA 360 provides enhanced custom funnel reporting, to more deeply understand the on-site conversion path(s) consumers prefer. Gain deeper insight into the elements driving consumers through to conversion, the elements causing higher than average drop off, and the complexity with which consumers browse and convert on your site(s).


With GA 360 advertisers not only receive the mature tracking and measurement solution of GA, but a thorough technology stack that provides solutioning against an enterprise’s full data needs.


Who should consider Google Analytics 360?


There are several considerations when deciding between GA and GA 360. Below, these considerations are grouped from most simple to most complex.


Advertisers who want to Optimize to Customer Journey

Desire to move beyond last click modeling

As the digital ecosystem grows more complex, the industry is quickly moving away from a solitary focus on last click attribution. While still a valuable measurement for lower funnel strategy, last click attribution fails to hold its value against full funnel media strategy. With GA 360, advertisers can measure performance based on the attribution model that makes sense for their business: last click, first touch, linear, or custom.

Note: Google’s acquisition of Adometry in 2014 provided a strong foundation for cross channel attribution modeling. First integrated into GA as ‘Attribution’, Google will be launching a rewrite of this powerful tool as Attribution 360 later in 2017.

Attribution 360 is designed to directly compete with cross channel platforms like Visual IQ and Convertro, while still being fully integratable with the Google 360 Suite.

Click HERE to read more about Attribution 360


Advertisers who want to Activate their Audience

Desire to leverage 1st party data to drive media efficiency

GA 360 provides a powerful solution for activating on 1st party audience data. With GA 360, advertisers can bucket site visitors into impactful segments, and export those segments directly to AdWords and DBM. Therein, frequency and retargeting settings can be automated to drive high value consumers back to site, and ultimately through to conversion. Additionally, these segments can be used as a foundation for powerful lookalike modeling in DBM, to implement against Prospecting and Awareness strategy.

Note: Click to download our GA 360 whitepaper to learn more about 1st party audience activation


Advertisers who want to Measure Display

Desire for budgetary expansion into Display

GA 360 integrates directly with DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM) and DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM), generating a full path view of both media clicks and impressions. This media activity, as well as all associated metrics and dimensions (cost, revenue, campaign name, etc.), are seamlessly pushed back into GA 360 for a detailed look at media performance throughout the complete conversion funnel.


Advertisers who want to Develop a Cohesive Marketing Datamart

Desire to merge marketing and behavioral data with CRM, offline, or additional external data sets

GA 360 integrates directly with Google’s data warehousing solution, Google Cloud Platform. On Google Cloud Platform, advertisers can manage large, peripheral datasets in BigQuery, and connect these data sets directly to tools in the GA 360 Suite. This allows advertisers to integrate, measure, overlay, and activate against their full marketing data environment, to provide end-to-end views of Customer Journey, all without the need for IT.



Advertisers who want to Leverage Machine Learning

Desire to leverage Machine Learning for predictive analytics

As part of the GA 360 Suite, Google Cloud Platform and BigQuery also provide the programmatic and artificial intelligence tools required to train machine learning algorithms against the full breadth of advertisers’ marketing data. GA 360 provides uninterrupted data flow from tool to tool, fundamentalizing data integrity and creating a single source of truth against which advanced analytics can be confidently pursued.

To recap, GA is a powerful, free tool for small to mid-sized advertisers with limited site traffic and minimal scope for advanced analytics. GA 360 brings to the table a complete technology stack able to competently manage mid to enterprise level marketing strategies that are coupled with high site traffic, robust audience measurement and activation, and advanced analytics initiatives.


Advertisers with High Site Traffic Volume

Site traffic volume is higher than average

GA 360 offers access to unsampled data up to 100M sessions, compared to GA’s sampling threshold of 500k sessions. GA 360’s unsampled data improves data accuracy and granularity for both highly trafficked websites, and for websites tracking a high volume of variables each session.


Advertisers who need to meet Legal or Regulatory Protocols

Compliance or IT requires strong SLAs (Service Level Agreements) for all integrated technologies

As an enterprise-level solution, GA 360 provides guaranteed uptime of 99%+, guaranteed data freshness within 4 hours, and the ability to connect with a Google technical support team 24/7.




Ready to learn how Delve can maximize GA 360 for your business?

Delve is a top-rated Google Analytics Certified Partner with experience managing hundreds of web analytics implementations, world wide.

SEE EXAMPLES of our experience and reviews from our clients .

Shoot us an email or give us a call. We’re happy to discuss how Delve can help your business surpass its goals.