Available now in limited beta, Google’s Analytics 360 Suite announces itself as an enterprise analytics/advertising solution for a multi-screen world.
But it’s the potential it brings for digital user experiences that’s got my mind racing.
Here’s the recap on what’s happened.
Google’s enterprise ‘stack’ (Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics Premium, DoubleClick, Adometry) is being bundled together into a modular offering called Google Analytics 360 Suite. Current users of Analytics Premium can expect to see name changes. Google Tag Manager also looks set to be replaced by Tag Manager 360.
What 360 Suite means for analytics
But the 360 Suite means more than a few name changes.
Until now, Google’s enterprise stack has always lacked a Data Management Platform (DMP). The 360 Suite appears to resolve this.
With the 360 Suite’s DMP, you are able to collect customer data from multiple sources for the purpose of building powerful audiences that can be marketed to via a demand-side advertising network, like DoubleClick, AppNexus, Adform and so on.
This is clearly the message Google are leading with: you can now collect user level data as they interact with your brand on a variety of devices, combine the data in their DMP and build segments/audiences based on a holistic view of each user.
And as the 360 Suite appears to be open to third party providers, you can use the segments/audiences in Google’s DMP to affect advertising campaigns on a range of ad exchanges, not just Google’s. This opens up huge opportunities for advertisers as DSPs like AppNexus can now be combined with Google’s advertising products to reach users, wherever they may be.
As part of the Google Analytics 360 Suite unveiling, a new tool called Google Optimise is being launched.
Google Optimise is for optimisation and personalisation. It propels Google into the CRO/UX space along with Maxymiser, Optimisely and VWO. At the very least, it’s certain to be an improvement over the current Google Analytics Experiments product.
And it’s here that I’ve started thinking about what this could mean for the future of digital user experience.
No more winning variants
Up until this point, in UX testing or conversion rate optimisation (CRO), there has always been a single winning variant.
Let me explain.
During a CRO experiment, a portion of your traffic is exposed to a number of test variants of an experience, and performance is judged against the control variant.
Now, if a test variant outperforms the control variant, it is declared the winner and implemented so that all your traffic sees it.
But we know that not all your traffic should be considered equal. Different audiences respond to different experiences, so why should they all get the same ‘winner’?
Here’s where I think the introduction of the 360 Suite’s DMP could flip this on its head.
What if you could use the data in a DMP to run experiments on the experience for each segment you build?
This might mean that your most valuable customers get Page A1 and Page B1 in their test but your new visitors get A2 and B2.
You can then test and deploy the winning variants for each segment. The gains from CRO as we know it now are often amazing, but having the ability to refine the user experience for each type of user could be a game-changer.
How do you get the 360 Suite?
At the time of publishing, it’s in limited beta, which probably means you’ve got to be one of Google’s big advertising spenders with an existing GA Premium or Adometry account to gain access to it.
This means we can expect the price point to be pitched firmly at enterprise-sized businesses which are comfortable spending upwards of £150k a year on analytics and audience insight.
It’s likely that Google’s SME customers will start to see some of the functionality in the free versions in time, but this is probably a long way off.
So what can you do now?
In general, the advice is simple: make sure you’re getting as much value from the free versions as possible.
- If you have Google Analytics, you should have invested in custom reporting to give you insights bespoke to your business, not just the standard installation.
- You should be using Google Tag Manager to take advantage of the dataLayer’s ability to segment your current website users.
- You should be investing in UX/CRO testing to improve the metrics in your custom reports (after all, there is no point reporting on something you aren’t prepare to invest in improving).