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Posted by Joseph Stanhope on September 29, 2011
Google changed the web analytics market forever with the introduction of Google Analytics in 2005 (for a dose of nostalgia check out Brett Crosby’s original blog post). It was easy to use, delivered as a service, integrated with Google AdWords, and most of all it was FREE! This was revolutionary, and in the beginning it was an exciting way to democratize analytics, giving companies of all sizes access to tools that had traditionally been the domain of large, well funded corporations. It’s no surprise that in terms of sheer adoption, Google Analytics became – and still is – the most popular web analytics tool on Earth, serving hundreds of thousands of businesses.
But then something interesting happened: Google Analytics took on a life of its own. Strictly speaking, Google Analytics was not the leading offering in terms of features and functionality, and Google didn’t even offer direct services or support. So what accounts for its success?
Given the appeal and reach of Google Analytics, the obvious next question for several years has been: “When will Google release a paid offering?” This has fueled many speculative blog posts, tweets, and late night conversations at industry events.
Today we got the answer: Google Analytics Premium is here. Google has officially entered the paid web analytics market.
Google has been piloting Google Analytics Premium throughout 2011 and already has a number of clients in live production. It is also worth noting that the free edition of Google Analytics will continue to be available in its current form. How is Google Analytics Premium different? Google Analytics Premium offers enhancements above and beyond the free offering in several key categories:
The initial iteration of GA Premium attempts to remediate many of the traditional user concerns that stifled its adoption as a primary web analytics tool in the enterprise. Is the transformation complete? It is not; at this early stage GA Premium is not a substitute for an established enterprise implementation in many cases. But it’s a huge step forward for a solid offering, and Google will continue to aggressively iterate the product to close the remaining gaps over time.
What does this mean for the web analytics market?
I’m excited about GA Premium. I believe that competition is good, and I welcome Google Analytics Premium with open arms. It is early days for GA Premium, with a long journey ahead. Despite their low key approach, Google clearly takes the enterprise seriously, and it has shown in the past how its passion, resources, and smarts can lead to great things. It will be fascinating to see how GA Premium develops over time. For additional information, GA Premium will be included included in the upcoming Forrester Wave: Web Analytics, Q4 2011, which will be available in early Q4.
What do you think? Will GA Premium disrupt the web analytics market? Is it beneficial for the web analytics market as a whole?
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