New Google Analytics 360 (the enterprise version of Google Analytics 4) enables paid features for customers with sophisticated measurement needs. These features improve data collection, enhance your ability to govern users, and enable sophisticated analysis techniques with guaranteed performance and support. In this chapter, we’ll summarize the key benefits of upgrading from the free (standard) version of GA4 to the New GA360 and explain how to estimate the annual cost.
IS NEW GOOGLE ANALYTICS 360 RIGHT FOR YOU?
The free version of Google Analytics 4 is sufficient for the needs of many marketers, developers, and business owners. However, many teams have needs that the free version cannot support. We’ve identified six areas where our clients commonly tell us that they have outgrown the free version of Google Analytics and are ready to evaluate if 360 is the right fit for them:
- Identity & Data Governance: Clients need a broader view of the business while maintaining the proper user governance and data access.
- Performance: Clients need faster and fresher data.
- Scalability and Product Limits: Clients need to scale to support ever-changing business needs with increased limits and unsampled analysis.
- Supportability, SLAs, and Services: Clients need guaranteed reliability with SLAs & elevated customer support.
- Integrations: Clients need to take more action on data by leveraging integrations at scale and driving more robust business results.
In the following section, we will dig deeper into each area and explain how upgrading to GA360 can solve these limitations in detail.
BENEFITS OF NEW GA360 BY CATEGORY
IDENTITY & DATA GOVERNANCE
Subproperties, a 360-only feature, provide a similar approach to data governance as Views in Universal Analytics. Additionally, roll-up properties are similar to Universal Analytics’ examples, which were only available with a 360 subscription. Subproperties use the same data stream as the parent property. They can be filtered down to include only certain events and various other filters, such as restricting to a specific area of a site, etc. At a hi-level, subproperties:
- Enable administrators to control collections of data and settings centrally, providing enterprise-level data governance (Administrators determine if subproperty settings are administered centrally or locally)
- Are functionally the same as properties; they have independent settings (integrations, audiences, custom dimensions)
The following illustrates how governance plays a role across main- and sub-properties:
Another category in which GA4 360 offers added value is performance. At lower native app and/or website user and interaction volume levels, performance won’t be much different. Still, these performance benefits are indispensable for higher volume properties and larger organizations.
One aspect of this is data freshness, which is how long Google Analytics takes to gather and process an event from your property. If that process takes 30 minutes, then data freshness is 30 minutes. GA4 360 intraday reporting is typically processed less than an hour after collection, and often within minutes. This is also available via the reporting API. GA4 free can take anywhere from four to eight hours for real-time reporting to reflect the latest data.
Other performance benefits include unsampled reporting explorations and automatic custom tables, which provide high cardinality report tables for your most important data sets. For the latter, as you frequent reports that include a row with the primary dimension of “(other),” GA4 will automatically create a custom reporting table that expands this row into its full, granular detail.
Finally, custom reports, particularly those with significant data, will run much faster in GA4 360. As long as you run these reports frequently, GA4 360 will perform custom aggregation in the backend, which can result in these reports running up to 100x faster than otherwise!
Of all the benefits of GA4 360, scalability is perhaps the most quantitative and far-reaching. This refers to limits placed on standard GA4 properties, which are often higher in GA4 360 by a factor of 100x and more!
Here is a list of elements that see increased scalability with a GA4 360 property:
- BigQuery Daily Export: 20 billion events/day, vs. just 1 million events/day with standard properties. If a standard property exceeds this limit, Google will stop processing the export altogether! Once in BigQuery, these unsampled events are available for direct queries, joining with first-party data, modeling with advanced machine-learning algorithms, and much more.
- Analysis sampling limit: This is a huge factor when considering upgrading to a GA4 360 property! GA4 360 custom reports (Explorations) can simultaneously return up to 1B events without being sampled. The limit is just 10M for standard properties. This allows enterprise GA4 users to perform large, sophisticated queries directly in the interface. This also makes it possible to take full advantage of the much longer data retention time for a GA4 360 property (up to 50 months vs. just 14 for standard). Additionally, once the sampling limit is reached, a user of a GA4 360 property can request an unsampled report—a feature not available for standard properties.
- Analyses per Property: In addition to the higher limits before sampling kicks in for explorations, more explorations are allowed. This limit is 1,000 for paid vs. 500 for standard GA4 properties.
- Audiences: For marketers with extensive audience remarketing programs, GA4 360 allows the creation and publication of 400 vs. 100 in the free product.
- Conversions: a GA4 360 property can mark 50 events as conversions, compared to only 30 in a free property.
- Event Data Retention: This is perhaps one of the most significant benefits of GA4 360. The paid product can retain up to 50 months of event data, vs. only 14 in the free product.
- Custom Dimensions: There are two types of custom dimensions that are subject to limitations in both the paid and free versions of GA4. There can be 125 Event-scoped custom dimensions (100 per event) in the paid platform vs. 50 in the free. The other kind of GA4 custom dimension, user-scoped, can number up to 100 in the paid vs. 25 in the free. (Learn more about Custom Dimensions in Chapter 6.)
- Custom Metrics: The limits for custom metrics are similar to event-scope custom dimensions. Namely, there can be up to 125 custom metrics in a GA4 360 property, vs. just 50 in a standard GA4 property.
Not to be overlooked, the technical levels of support, in the form of Service Level Agreements (SLAs), offered for subscribers to the paid version of GA4 is significantly more valuable than for the free version.
The following lists the 360 SLAs:
*In addition to the above, there are detailed SLAs in place around data freshness. We discussed some of this above; you can find the complete list here.
Finally, listed below are the advantages of GA4 360 in terms of integrations with other products and platforms, both within and external to the Google Marketing Platform or GMP.
THE COST OF NEW GA360
Now that we’ve wrapped up our overview of the benefits of upgrading to the New GA360, let’s focus on the cost. With the launch of GA4 and New GA360, Google is dramatically changing the fee structure to be more dynamic, and for many companies, it is also more affordable. Here are four things you need to know about the cost of the New GA.
NOTE: To purchase the New GA360, you will work with a certified reseller such as Search Discovery. Each reseller will have a slightly different pricing model and options for support, but the numbers below will be generally true for all of them.
1. The starting price for the New GA360 is much lower than it was for the Old GA360.
Old GA360: The price for the prior version of GA360 (for Universal Analytics) started at about $150,000 per year, and allowed you to capture up to 500 million hits per month before the price began to increase.
New GA360: Now, with New GA360, the price starts at about $50,000 per year for up to 25 million events (you can have multiple “events” in a single “hit,” so you are likely to have a slightly higher number of events than hits).
2. New GA360 uses a usage-based model, whereas Old GA360 was a fixed fee with overages.
This means that your charges are likely to be slightly different monthly, making it more challenging to plan your expenses. We have developed a unique pricing model to give clients predictable pricing, but as far as we know, we are the only reseller that is offering this.
3. With New GA360, you will get more significant discounts at high volume levels.
4. You must consider your need for subproperties and roll-up properties.
Previous versions of Google Analytics contained the concept of a “view,” but they were very expensive for Google to process and have been removed in GA4. Sub- and roll-up properties are a nice alternative, but events that you push into either a roll-up or subproperty will be billed as if they were half of an event. If you plan to use this feature heavily, then you’ll need to estimate how this will also impact your cost.
Summary: Getting an accurate pricing estimate is complex, and someone from our team will need to ask a few questions and create a custom estimate for you. However, most of our clients who previously paid for Old GA360 see the software cost decrease when they migrate to New GA360.
If this is you, here’s how you are likely to be impacted by the new pricing model:
HOW TO ESTIMATE YOUR EVENT VOLUME
If you want to estimate how many events you will generate in your GA4 properties based on your current Universal Analytics volume, the simple rule of thumb is to find your average monthly hit volume and multiply that by 1.5. The following are the primary elements that comprise Universal analytics hits:
- Pageviews tracking hits
- Events tracking hits
- Ecommerce events such as product list impressions, product pageviews, add to cart, and purchase. Learn more about new ecommerce features in GA4 here.
- Social interaction hits (sent via measurement protocol, including likes, shares, etc.)
You can also run a custom report in GA to report on hits by month:
There are many valuable features and increased limits that make upgrading to GA4 360 compelling for many medium- to large-sized businesses. While many of these add value to an implementation (such as increased limits for audiences and custom dimensions), others could be seen as necessary for the tool to work for larger organizations (such as the size limit of the Big Query Export).
The good news is that the entry-level pricing is much lower, making the enterprise level more attainable for many marketers for the first time. When you combine this value with the general reasons for using GA4 in the first place (such as sustainability in a cookieless future), the move to GA4 360 makes good business sense in many cases.