What Google Analytics 360 Means For B2B Marketers

Published: March 23, 2016

Google shook up the marketing world last week with the limited beta release of Google Analytics 360, an enterprise marketing suite that melds the company’s existing Analytics Premium and Adometry services with four brand-new tools.

“The fact that Google is now making a commitment to marketing as a function is a very big deal,” said IDC Research Manager Gerry Murray. “Google made its brand on the advertising side of the house, and now they’re finally coming to marketing and saying we can do a lot more than just analytics.”

The suite, which is designed to help marketers understand both online and offline customer habits, is comprised of six products, including the former GA Premium and Adometry, rebranded as Attribution 360. Rounding out the suite is Audience Center 360, a data management platform that integrates with Google and DoubleClick; Optimize 360, which is designed to create multiple variations of a website for different audiences; Data Studio 360, a data visualization product that can integrate data across all the products within the suite; and Tag Manager 360, which provides data collection and APIs to increase data accuracy.

“It is a game changer in my view,” said Christine Nurnberger, CMO of Bottomline Technologies, a provider of payments and invoice automation software. “On the surface, Google Optimize 360, for example, looks like it just offers regular A/B and multivariate testing, but it goes far, far deeper. It allows marketers to create experiences around content at a much more granular level, and then track the ROI through the online buy cycle. Though it is geared to enterprise that’s on the B2C side, the ability to get my arms around the customer journey and customer personas based on much more robust analytics is very cool.”

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The new suite will enable marketers to import their own first-party data, add third-party data and leverage Google data to develop audience segments for campaign targeting. The upshot, according to Google, is that marketers will have the ability to deliver much more useful experiences, tailored specifically to each customer.

“In B2B today, we use tools like Marketo to understand what people are looking at in terms of our content, and how they’re responding and interacting with our content in our campaign,” Nurnberger said. “But what we don’t understand is what they’re doing on the rest of the Internet, and what they’re researching and how they’re approaching their buy cycle outside of what we might be providing to them. This is going to give us that capability. I’m interested in pricing, which rumor has it, is going to be expensive.”

Not Built With B2B In Mind

Though Nurnberger is one of the B2B marketers singing praises, Demandbase CMO Peter Isaacson said the announcement highlights Google’s lack of investment on the B2B side.

“Google is continuing to neglect B2B because so much of this announcement is wrapped up in a B2C focus,” he said. “Even if you look at some of the types of data customers that they highlight in the release — Progressive and L’Oreal — they’re all B2C. I’m not sure that this solution was built with B2B marketers in mind, even though there are some B2B marketers that might jump on the DMP, [or] might jump onto the testing tool.”

Although IDC’s Murray agreed that Google’s 360 Analytics suite will have less of an impact in the pure-play B2B marketing industry, he said the release is a “boon to all marketers,” including proponents of account-based marketing in B2B.

“Account-based marketing is really all about helping sales expand the scope of their opportunity assessments in the account and connecting to new decision-makers in different parts of the business,” he said. “Marketing can — when it’s done right and you have the good, full, multidimensional view of these contacts within the accounts — help you start to make pretty good inferences around who’s the next best team to go sell and expand your solution to.”

Google said the suite was built with four goals in mind: providing marketers with a complete view of the customer journey; delivering more insights, rather than more data, from analytics tools; making data more integrated and accessible; and giving marketers the ability to use data analytics to improve marketing and consumer experiences.

While the company touts the suite’s ability to be easily integrated with a wide range of its own and third-party software, Nurnberger doesn’t think it goes far enough. Her “Holy Grail” is to get a complete understanding of how far her marketing dollar stretches, as well as have a holistic view of customers at every touch point.

“In theory, it’s going to take content marketing to a more personalized, real-time place, which is great. But what I wish they would do is talk more about the integration between this set of solutions and marketing automation or sales force automation,” she said. “This gets us a little bit closer in terms of the ability to control and analyze and optimize the touch points we have with them through Google versus passively just serving up ad words, but it doesn’t then connect the dots back into Marketo or Salesforce.com for that true 360-[degree] view of the customer.”

Competition In The Cloud

With this launch, Google also seems to be challenging several big players in the enterprise data cloud or DMP space, including, Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce. “It’s a bit of a crisis for some of their key competitors,” said IDC’s Murray.

However, in a research note, Pivotal Research Analyst Brian Wieser said that while Google 360 Analytics will increase competition, it poses no immediate threat to more-established marketing cloud providers.

“Most importantly for the broader marketing technology space, success from Google does not necessarily harm incumbents,” he said. “Instead, we think expanded efforts from Google will probably help to grow the broader sector, which has substantial upside given the untapped potential associated with bringing more technology to marketing functions.”

Adobe and Salesforce declined to comment, but Oracle Marketing Cloud’s Director of Product Marketing Rebecca Kaykas-Wolff pointed out that the centerpiece of Google’s new offering, which is still in beta, is a repackaging of an existing offering.

“Oracle’s positioning is that we believe marketers should take a best in breed approach to their advertising tech stack that solves a broad array of monetization tactics across channels,” she said. “We believe that advertisers need to have open platforms that allow for breadth capabilities to serve all ad type products (display, search, social, video, mobile, etc.), as well as ensure agnostic performance and reporting capabilities. We would question how Google would deliver agnostic and multichannel view given their focus on ‘Search’ at the core of their strategy. We are truly open.”

Tequia Burt is a veteran editor and writer with 10 years of experience covering the B2B landscape. Burt has previously written for publications such as FierceCMO and BtoB Magazine.

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