Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful piece of digital analytics software. It can heavily improve business decision-making by allowing you to understand your audience and measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
So you should definitely be considering Google Analytics for your web analytics implementation. But how much does Google Analytics cost? Not only do we give a rundown of all the costs you may encounter, but we’ll explain how the software can benefit your business in various ways.
There’s a good chance that you’ve already heard of Google Analytics. If a business has a website, they’re probably using GA. In fact, research shows that 55.8% of all websites use this tool. It’s by far the most popular web analytics tool, favoured by 85.8% of websites that monitor traffic analysis.
It’s not hard to see why it’s so popular. GA is crammed with all the features you need to properly understand how people interact with your website. You can gain huge insights into your visitors. This includes their demographic, geographic location, and even the TV shows they watch.
Moreover, since its inception in 2007, GA has received constant updates. This means that it is now bigger and better than ever. The most recent version of GA, Google Analytics 4 gives even more in-depth data.
Google Analytics is completely free, like many of Google’s digital products. And the majority of GA users stick with the free version. There is a premium version available though: Google Analytics 360.
GA360 is only recommended for very large enterprises. But does come with a lot of additional analytical capability. GA360 costs $150,000 per year or $12,500 per month.
But how do the two versions differ? We’ll look at some of the top features of the free version of GA vs the extra features of GA360 later on.
Google products are typically free with some exceptions like GA360. But there can also be costs you may find yourself paying elsewhere when using products with Google Analytics.
It is free to use the Google Ads interface and set up an account. But as you already know, Google Ads is a paid advertising platform. It costs money to run campaigns.
Google Tag Manager (GTM) is also free to use and is highly recommended to run alongside your Google Analytics implementation. Recently however a new way of collecting data using Google Tag Manager came about. It’s called GTM Server-side.
When setting up GTM Server-side you’ll need to set up Google Cloud Platform and a tagging server. Google recommends that you set up at least three servers which should cost you around $50 USD a month. Larger companies may require more servers and this will incur additional costs.
Google BigQuery previously was only available to GA360 users. But one of the greatest features of GA4 is that it is now available for free users too. However, it does incur costs of its own.
It’s a rather complicated pricing model, you have to pay for queries (based on the amount of data queries scanned). You also pay for storage, streaming, updating queries and more. This should, however, be free for the majority of smaller businesses as there is 10gb of storage and 1TB of queries per month for free.
Google Analytics has recently received a big update: GA4. The latest version gives better insights than ever. If you’re already using GA, but haven’t made the upgrade, now is the time. Universal Analytics (UA) will be discontinued on the 1st July 2023, with Universal Analytics 360 (UA360) being shut down on the 1st of July 2024.
Google Analytics 360 will still be called ‘GA360’ for Google Analytics 4. But it is different from the Universal Analytics version of GA360. So we will refer to the old version as UA360.
As the name suggests, real-time reports let you monitor activity on your site as it is happening. Almost like CCTV, you can find out what visitors are doing on your site. With this report, you can discover the following information:
These features can help you to weed out any issues with your site. Are people struggling to navigate your property? Is a promotion driving traffic in the way you want it to? Have you implemented the tracking code correctly? Website owners can spend hours agonizing over these questions. GA means you can find answers in a matter of minutes.
It’s fair to say that GA4 has shaken things up a bit. Of all the changes in the latest update, the most significant is events. It comes with a new data model, and user interactions in GA4 are now measured through events.
What exactly constitutes an event is up to you, although there are some preset events within GA4. For example, page_view and session_start events can be found within GA4 from the getgo.
But when it comes to custom events, ask yourself what important interactions you want to measure. Some examples include:
For more detailed event information, you’ll want to enable enhanced measurement. This lets you measure interactions with the content on your site. Enhanced measurement allows you to track the following actions:
You’ll use GA reports a lot to visualize and understand your data. But what if there is a specific piece of information that you want to acquire? This is where report customization comes in handy. GA’s ‘report builder’ lets you customize reports to your heart’s content.
Wondering how exactly you can customize reports? Below are some of the top features within the report builder.
Here you’ll decide upon dimensions and metrics that will be displayed within your report. Below are some examples of dimensions that you can choose from:
Metrics include new users, engaged sessions, engagement rate, bounce rate, and more.
Sometimes, you might want to filter data to find individual subsets of data. For example, you might want data that applies specifically to mobile data. The report filter allows you to dig deep and find this information. Filters can be temporarily removed when you want to see reports in broader detail. The filter will be reapplied when a user exits a report.
Every report comes with two handy visualizations. Of course, you have the option of turning one or both visualizations off. There are a variety of visualization options to choose from. This includes:
By linking with Google templates, your reports receive updates from Google. This means you’ll gain access to new dimensions that are released. Reports can be unlinked but be warned, you cannot relink a report.
Research shows that a majority of internet users (nearly 60%) are on mobile. If you want your website to have mass appeal, it needs to be mobile-friendly. But even if you’ve taken steps to transform your website, it might miss the mark in some areas.
Google Analytics allows you to learn what mobile devices are being used by visitors. You can find out about the kinds of content that they are viewing. Are there any pages they are avoiding? You can work to improve the content and keep your users happy.
User journeys can be complicated. Today, most people own more than one device. What’s more, they like to switch between them. A user might begin on their phone and switch to their laptop. Tracking these cross-device journeys is key to improving the overall experience on your website.
Luckily, in the latest update to GA, you can track users regardless of their device. This way, you can get a 360 overview of your user journeys.
In the past, gaining data from mobile apps was a bit messy. You couldn’t view website and app data in the same GA property. This meant that you needed multiple GA properties to get accurate data. But in GA4 this has been centralized, and you can now easily view data from mobile apps.
Sometimes data is too broad to be helpful. You might feel like you’re looking for a needle in a haystack. But what’s the solution? Well, luckily GA comes with a feature called audience segmentation. This is the process of breaking data down into smaller groups.
For example, let’s imagine that you only want to learn about users that come from the United States. Segmentation allows you to filter data so you can drill down and get the information that you need.
The GA segment builder allows you to easily create three types of segments. These are user segments, event segments, and session segments.
You can probably tell why many people stick with the free version of GA. It covers many different areas of data analytics and can provide massive amounts of data. With all that said, what does GA360 bring to the table?
In the free version of GA, there is a limit on the amount of data that you can collect. GA360 massively increases this limit. To put it in a nutshell, you basically get more of everything.
Google lists the following differences between data limits.
|Feature||Google Analytics 4 properties (standard)||Google Analytics 4 properties under Analytics 360|
|Event parameters||25 per event|
50 event-scoped custom dimensions per property
50 event-scoped custom metrics per property
|100 per event|
125 event-scoped custom dimensions per property
125 event-scoped custom metrics per property
|User-scoped custom dimensions||25 per property||100 per property|
|Explorations||200 created per user per property|
500 shared per property
|200 created per user per property|
1000 shared per property
|Explore sampling limits||10M events per query||1B events per query|
|Unsampled explorations||Not available||Unsampled results up to 50B events per day per property|
Most requests consume fewer than 10 tokens.
25,000 tokens per day
250,000 tokens per day
|Data retention||Up to 14 months|
Options: 2, 14 months
Large and XL properties are limited to 2 months
|Up to 50 months|
Options: 2, 14, 26, 38, and 50 months
XL properties: 2 months
|BigQuery Export||Daily export: 1 M events|
Streaming export: unlimited
|Daily export: Billions of events|
Streaming export: unlimited
There will be times when you want website visitors to complete actions in a specific order. For example, you’ll probably have a mailing list. But as all website owners know, getting a user to sign up is easier said than done. A user usually needs to complete some of the following steps:
But how can you make sure that customers are acting in the way that you want them to? With custom funnels in GA 360, you can monitor customer behaviour against your predefined goals. Is a customer failing to complete a certain step? If so, what changes can you make to your site to avoid the problem?
Funnel steps can be easily defined, and can be linked with cross-session behaviour.
GA4 did bring a lot of the funnels that were previously only accessible to UA360 users. But there are still a few only available to GA360 users.
We’ve already talked about the usefulness of segments in GA. But what if you want to go deeper? The segment overlap tool within GA360 allows you to better understand the relationships between different segments.
You can compare up to three segments at once. With the information you’ve gleaned from overlap, you can then go on to create new segments. What’s more, you can properly get to grips with your data. The overlap tool lets you mouse over specific segments, and see specific numbers that relate to them.
The image above shows a segment overlap containing New Users, Mobile Traffic, and Converters segments. You’ll notice that the in the image, the user has hovered over the area of overlap and gained additional insights.
So, how much does Google Analytics cost? The answer is either ‘nothing at all’ or ‘a lot’. But which version of GA should you choose?
The free version of GA will probably do everything you need. From real-time reports to audience segmentation, GA can provide a world of information.
But GA360 does all that and more. With features like segment overlap, you can really go the extra mile with your data. And data is only going to become more important for businesses – you can never have too much of it. There’s no denying that GA 360 puts you a step ahead of the competition.
The question really comes down to resources. Can you invest in 360 without breaking the bank? Will the benefit of upgrading pay for the cost? One thing that is certain is that GA is key to understanding your audience. So, don’t delay. Set up your Google Analytics account today!