In our industry, it’s funny how quickly perspectives and the concept of “incumbents” change. In 2009 clients and investors asked whether Google would take analytics seriously. No one was sure whether Google thought of analytics as a business or a hobby. Obviously, there were major implications for how seriously they took this venture. Omniture (now Adobe) and Webtrends, the incumbents, knew that no one wanted to find themselves between Google’s crosshairs. In the last few years, many large enterprises have moved forward and made a bet that Google would bring the same computational power and simplicity of design that powered Google Search to Google Analytics Premium.
A Clear Vision
After attending the Google Performance Summit in San Francisco in May, it is clear to me that Google has a vision that is both clear and laser-focused. By bringing together Adwords and Analytics, we now know that Google’s future is the intelligent utilization of data (including first party) to buy media. Given that programmatic, accountability, and transparency in the media purchasing process are important to organizations, the ability to bring that to the table, (albeit, via Google’s fenced in garden) makes Google the gorilla in the room. Where other platforms have announced paper thin integrations as real and built those over time, Google has been able to invest in years of building integrations between products they own and announce those as “Beta” even if they work more seamlessly than other vendors.
With the new integration of Analytics 360, organizations large and small are likely hopeful that Google will keep the same pace of innovation and intelligence – innovation to ensure that the performance of the suite exceeds clients’ increasingly sophisticated needs; intelligence as the common theme across all of Google products is artificial intelligence (AI). The I/O conference the week before the Performance Summit made this very clear. What does AI look like across Analytics 360? Well that’s a bit of a secret for the time being.
The Real Winner – You.
The excitement you feel is not necessarily to say that Google will “win,” but that competition breeds innovation and innovation yields better technology. Those of us who have been part of this industry understand that technology alone does not yield a success program. Technology is one part of three necessities for a successful marketing analytics program – even if you get the technology right, you still need to understand process (change management) and enlist the appropriate people (infrastructure) to deliver on the promise that the intelligent utilization of data can provide.