Google Analytics

Google Analytics is probably the most recognizable self-service business intelligence (BI) platform on the market. It’s free to use and highly popular with companies looking to use both BI and data visualization features. In fact, it’s so popular that other BI apps, including our Editors’ Choice winners Microsoft Power BI and Tableau Desktop, offer connections to the platform. In an age where companies survive off of click-throughs and other metrics, Google Analytics has become something of a household name in the BI space.

Still, you’ll want to think ahead before simply deploying Google Analytics in your organization. While’s research found that over 70 percent of companies now use Google Analytics systems to report online performance, they also noted that “frequently, once the tool is in place, there seems to be a ‘what next’ moment.”

That lost feeling isn’t surprising considering Google doesn’t offer nearly the same level of customer support as most of the smaller players I reviewed. Deploying Google Analytics leaves training mostly in your hands, which is justifable considering it’s a freemium tool. But, while there are plenty of tutorials available on websites such as LinkedIn or YouTube, you should keep training in mind during deployment and preview these before relying on them for your employees.

Next to its support issues, Google Analytics also doesn’t ingest as many data sources as do our Editors’ Choice winners IBM Watson Analytics (360.00 Per User Per Year for the Plus Edition at Software Advice) , Microsoft Power BI, and Tableau Desktop. However, that shortfall can be remedied by stepping up to Google Analytics 360 and Google BigQuery, which is Google’s Big Data storage and querying tool. However, both of these have a slightly different concentration than freemium Google Analytics, which is laser-focused on mobile and web analytics.

Multiple Versions

The aforementioned Google Analytics 360 is the enterprise version of Google Analytics, but I didn’t test that version as part of this review. I didn’t test it primarily because the main difference between freemium and premium at the time of this writing is the amount of data you can access. Google Analytics allows a maximum of 50,000 rows of exported data and 10 million “hits” per month. Hits are defined as pageviews, events, e-commerce transactions, and social actions on a website or mobile app. Meanwhile, Google Analytics 360 allows up to 3,000,000 rows of exported data and over 500 million “hits” per month. Data refreshes differ, too: For Google Analytics, the data can be refreshed every 24 hours or longer whereas the Premium version allows for more frequent refreshes at four hours or less.

Most companies will find the freemium version suffices. However, if you’re looking to scale to enormous data volumes, then the enterprise price tag may be worth it. But know it’s a pricey option, rumored to start at the same price as its predecessor, Google Analytics Premium, which is about $150,000 per year according to a Quora discussion. Rumor is all we have at this point as Google hasn’t published official pricing for Analytics 360 yet (since it’s still in beta). Based on the response I received from Google’s press team when I asked for ente

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