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Google Analytics and minubo Part II: When Google Analytics Premium is Really Worth it – and When it is not

Posted by Sabina Mierzowski on Feb 3, 2017 9:58:55 AM

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iStock-496736828 2.jpgLet's go back to the relationship between Google Analytics and minubo. In the first part of our blog series on this issue, we clarified that both solutions cannot be thrown together – Google Analytics is a pure web analytics tool while minubo, the Commerce Intelligence Suite, integrates all company data into a comprehensive omni-channel database and makes this data available to all company employees. These two solutions belong to very different categories, have different use cases and differ in their user groups (Google Analytics is primarily for the marketing department, minubo is used beyond this departmental boundary).

The basic delineation of these two solutions is therefore clear. In this article, we look at the technical boundaries of Google Analytics Free. This free web analytics solution presents the user with clear limits in the area of data processing.

Google itself offers as an alternative to this limited free solution with their paid premium tool Google Analytics Premium. But whether the purchase of this tool is worth about €150,000 a year and whether a combination of minubo and Google Analytics Free offers a higher added value will be clarified in this post. 

Where Google Analytics Reaches its Limits

It is hard to imagine a commerce organization that would go without Google Analytics Free. Marketing departments, in particular, do not want to miss this tool.

But from a purely technical perspective, the free solution is limited. In the area of data processing, I'd like to take a closer look at four limiting areas:

  1. Tracking limit: Google Analytics Free records only up to 10 million hits per month for each domain. What is a "hit", you ask? This can include quite different key figures, such as page views, screen calls, events, and ecommerce transactions. As a result, individual sessions can contain several hits, which makes it impossible to use the simple "Sessions" indicator as a control for orientation in the data processing. If you exceed the limit of 10 million hits per month, the user may lose data because it is simply no longer captured.
  2. Latency of data processing: Websites that have more than 200,000 sessions per day are experiencing problems with the processing of their data over time. Because these are very large amounts of data to be processed by Google Analytics Free, there may be a delay of 24 to 48 hours. For marketing managers who want to track the exact amount of traffic using Webtracking data campaigns, this time delay may pose a problem.
  3. Limited data aggregation: When creating reports, Google Analytics Free has set an upper limit for the data collection to 500,000 sessions per month. Once the 500,000 sessions are completed, the data is only sampled. This means that not every new session is accounted for, but rather, only a subset of data is collected that is as similar to the results of the previous data as possible. For users of this solution, this means a considerable loss of information.
  4. Limited number of lines in reporting tables: In the area of reports included with Google Analytics Free, the limit of 50,000 data lines also exists. If more than 50,000 data lines are generated in reports, they are grouped into the "Other" line. This limitation means that the Google Analytics Free users will again face a loss of data or valuable information.

How can These Limits be Overcome?

Now the question arises: how to solve these problems? Google itself has released a paid Analytics extension to the market: Google Analytics Premium. It solves all of the problems listed above. With this solution, the number of hits included in data processing is higher, the data is processed faster, reports are obtained without sample-based summaries and the reports can include more than 50,000 lines. "Where can I sign?", you are probably thinking.

The Flip Side of the Premium Coin

As beautiful as these seemingly limitless analysis possibilities sound, they have their price – a very steep price. Currently, the initial cost for a license is € 150,000 per year (prices vary according to the amount of data to be processed). And that's not all: the cost for the license to use this solution is not only very high, but also, additional personnel costs have to be taken into account too. In order to be able to actually use the potential of the tool, a qualified workforce is needed, which is concerned exclusively with analysis work in Google Analytics Premium in their daily work. Only in this way can a positive cost-benefit ratio be established. Because not everyone is able to juggle these data volumes and to derive important and correct recommendations for action – only a professionally trained analyst can guarantee a reasonable value with such a complex solution.

How to Get Comprehensive Insights Despite Limits

Buying this very expensive and comprehensive solution is not the only way to get more insights from the data generated by Google Analytics.

There is the possibility of using Google Analytics Free without bypassing the limits completely, but still better, to deal with them:

  • The problem of tracking limits and data aggregation can be solved by simple segmenting. Divide your site into several domains (e.g. de/uk/us) or create a separate account for the blog and the shop. This allows you to reduce the hits and sessions on your site and not reach the critical area so quickly. The disadvantage here is, however, that comparative analysis is then only possible via detours, for example, by exporting to Excel.
  • To avoid the limit of the table rows, you can easily use the API page numbering. This allows you to control the maximum number of rows to display.
  • The problem of latency in the data processing can only be solved with Google Analytics Premium.

Can minubo Overcome These Limits?

No, minubo cannot overcome the data processing limits that Google Analytics Free sets, because minubo is not a webtracking system. However, one should keep in mind that the processing limits set by Google are already very high: many companies do not even come near them. Thus, the question of how to deal with the data collected is the focus, rather than the problem of overcoming the processing limits.

Single-Point-of-Truth_Title.jpgAnd here minubo enters the game – the Commerce Intelligence Suite provides clear insights from the available data. On one hand, by linking the data from Google Analytics with the data from all sources available in the company. On the other hand, through its outstanding usability, which enables every employee in the commerce organization to work in a data-driven way. In addition, minubo does not provide complicated reports and analyses, but rather, comprehensible findings with a high degree of policy orientation through clearly derivable recommendations for action. Through the proactivity of the solution, employees are able to make the right decision at the right time. This is not possible with the use of Google Analytics Premium.

Google Analytics Premium offers you the possibility to process more data, but to generate more insights or direct recommendations for action from this data, or to make them accessible to all employees in the company, the expensive premium version does not handle this kind of work. The only out-of-the-box solution for this is provided by minubo. By aggregating the free Google Analytics solution and minubo, the data is translated into direct action recommendations – you get "actionable insights", not just a summary of all data, no matter how big the amount of data may be.

Our Conclusion

Let's sum up: The free Google Analytics solution has its limits. The paid Google Analytics Premium can overcome these limits – minubo cannot. However, the decision for Google Analytics Premium should be thoroughly thought out. Not only the annual cost of around €200,000 (if you include the employing costs for an analyst in addition to the licensing cost of Google), which are well above the cost of minubo, should be kept in mind, but also, the actual analysis goals that should be followed, should be clearly defined. Does the premium tool cover my use cases? Do I only reach my analysis goals with this tool? Or are there other possibilities for my organization? A combination of Google Analytics Free and minubo can be the right solution for your commerce organization.

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