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3/15/2016
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Google Makes Big Enterprise Analytics Play

By unifying its data analytics offerings, Google hopes to provide enterprise marketers with more comprehensive customer insight.

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In an effort to help companies understand and act upon the diverse streams of data flowing from websites and devices, Google has unified its digital marketing services into a set of six applications.

The company introduced Google Analytics 360 Suite, a combination of data analytics products for enterprise marketers, on Tuesday.

"This is our enterprise-class measurement suite, really built from the ground up for the multi-screen world," said Paul Muret, VP of analytics, display, and video products at Google, in a phone interview with InformationWeek.

Muret said many of today's digital marketers learned their craft in the desktop era, where capturing data about website interactions was fairly simple. The proliferation of mobile devices, he said, has changed the focus of marketers from sessions to moments. "People are engaging online through thinner and more fragmented slices of time," he said. "You're no longer dealing with a captive user. People want to be catered to. They have very limited time."

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With the acceleration of online interactions, marketers need to understand customer intent and deliver value immediately. More and more, according to Muret, that means programmatic marketing.

"We look at our platforms, and programmatic marketing is quickly becoming, along with audience marketing, the majority of what we're seeing," said Muret.

Google faces a challenge convincing enterprise marketers that it can deliver the full spectrum of desired capabilities. According to a Forrester report published last year, "most want a strategic partner to deliver key capabilities yet have little faith in a single-vendor solution." The report also noted that development and integration challenges tend to encourage firms to stick with the same enterprise marketing technology for years.

Some of the leading players in the space include Adobe, HP, IBM, Oracle, and Salesforce.

But Muret believes Google's existing marketing relationship with large enterprises will help.

"We're starting from a position of strength in terms of Google Analytics and Adometry," said Muret, noting that both have considerable market penetration. "And we are taking a very open approach. We recognize that marketers will often have more than one system running at a time."

Four of Google's six offerings are new products.

Google Audience Center 360 (beta) is a data management platform that helps marketers understand their customers and find similar customers across various marketing channels, devices, and ad campaigns. It is integrated with AdWords and DoubleClick, as well as third party data providers.

Google Optimize 360 (beta) is a service for website testing and personalization. It allows marketers to test different versions of their website for different customers.

(Image: Google)

(Image: Google)

Google Data Studio 360 (beta) offers a data visualization dashboard for the other 360 Suite products. It includes collaboration and sharing capabilities similar to Google Docs.

"Data Studio 360 is an open collaboration and data visualization layer to help organizations pull data from all over and have a simple interface for analysis and visualization," said Muret. Pointing to the service's sharing and collaboration capabilities, he added, "in too many organizations, people are still sending around spreadsheets."

Google Tag Manager 360 helps marketers oversee and understand their tags, the tracking pixels or code inserted into Web pages to record usage.

The remaining two products are rebranded updates of existing services.

Google Analytics 360 used to be called Google Analytics Premium. It offers measurements of customer data from websites and ad campaigns. It tracks data like landing page performance, conversion goals, traffic sources, and related statistics.

Google Attribution 360, formerly known as Adometry, provides online ad attribution, which attempts to identify when an ad has prompted a specific action like a purchase or a click. It also can help limit ad fraud.

"We do think we're solving some of the key issues that are currently barriers in the market," said Muret.

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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