GA Premium Improving, But Not Quite There Yet
December 20, 2013

GA Premium Improving, But Not Quite There Yet

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Google Analytics Premium

  • The dashboards feature is quite useful. It's easy to create a dashboard for commonly-used metrics, and they're a good way to keep track of different segments. Dashboards can be private or shared with specific people, so it's very simple to get different people the information they need without overloading them with information they don't use.
  • Google Analytics allows broad access to data in a way that most analytics programs do not. You can give any member of your organization access to a GA account, instead of dealing with a limited number of licenses. This is a convenient and effective way to get people looking at relevant data.
  • GA now buckets data into acquisition, behavior, or conversion data; this is a very useful way of grouping information, and was a great update. The ABC model reflects real customer flow through a website, and is the way most companies actually want to look at data. With this update, Google also introduced new acquisition-related features that allow you to track in much more detail how users came to your site (not just source and medium, but down to source of first vs. second exposure to your brand, how many visits before conversion, etc.).
  • Google has recently added features that allow for greater data customization in GA, which is great. For example, GA now integrates with BigQuery, which means you can combine your internal data with GA data.
  • GA Premium is not yet customizable enough, which is frustrating given how much Premium customers pay for the product. There are many cases in which you can't use the metric you actually want to look at (visits vs. visitors, for example). Custom reports are supposed to solve this problem, but typically require complicated RegEx and often don't work the way you expect them to. In most other analytics programs, you have much more flexibility to look at basic metrics, so this is a frustrating limitation in GA.
  • We didn't find Google's support for its Premium customers to be very good. We adopted Premium fairly early on and were assured that we'd have a lot of help from the Google team in implementing a custom version of Premium that would meet our needs. In fact, we found that most of the documentation we received was simply copied from the public website (not helpful in solving particular business needs). The Google team didn't seem to do much to understand our business needs and help us find the right GA solutions to meet them -- much of the time, we had to go looking for answers on our own. Even when we had very specific technical/implementation questions, our reps typically did not have the answer on hand, and when they followed up it was a very generic answer.
  • Training on GA Premium could be better. Since the point of using GA instead of a limited licenses-based analytics program is to allow broader access to data, GA could provide better training materials. Empowering people to look at data isn't much good if they don't know how to use the program, and we didn't find Google's training materials very helpful. When we implemented GA Premium, for example, the videos on the GA website featured an out-of-date version of GA.
  • More efficient cost management. Since Google Analytics integrates with AdWords, we were able to more clearly see the effect of our marketing spend and adjust CPAs accordingly.
While Google Analytics met our basic business needs, it isn't customizable enough, especially compared to some of the other big analytics programs like Omniture/SiteCatalyst. It's much easier to look at the data we actually need in other analytics programs -- as Premium customers, we felt we should not have been limited to only certain metrics under certain conditions, etc.
We also were not happy with the support we got from the GA team, and felt that we were essentially on our own when it came to finding solutions to our particular business needs.
That said, Google is making some good changes to GA Premium, so it looks like some of these problems will improve in the future. New features like the BigQuery integration and Universal Analytics are supposed to make customization easier, and allow users to look at more granular data. Google does seem to understand how users would like to look at data (as evidence by the move toward an acquisition/behavior/conversion buckets model), even if the GA program isn't quite there yet.
I would advise them to think about what their data needs really are. If their needs are fairly basic (by analytics standards), I would recommend GA wholeheartedly. I think GA would work well for a small ecommerce company, for example, which needs to understand who their customers are, where they're coming from, and how they behave on site.
On the other hand, if they're a larger company working with much more complex data, I might advise against GA, at least for now. GA is not yet customizable enough to make more complicated analysis easy, so if they're doing a lot of heavy segmentation or need to get very granular, another program might be a better fit.