Are you an enterprise or large business looking for more detailed reporting or integrations for your web analytics? Currently using Google’s Universal Analytics (free) license and thinking of upgrading to Google Analytics 360 (GA360)?

According to W3Tech, Google Analytics is used by 84.2% of all the websites whose traffic analysis tool was seen and 55.2% of websites overall. Therefore, there is much to be said about Google Analytics as well as the additional features and the power of the enterprise solution Google Analytics 360 (GA360) vs Google Analytics (free).

In this article, we explore both Google Analytics (free) and Google Analytics 360 (GA360) for Universal Analytics, the differences between each and how each product license can empower your data and knowledge prior to switching to Google Analytics 4.

1. Integration with Google Cloud Platform through BigQuery

9 differences between Google Analytics (free) and Google Analytics 360 (GA360) - BigQuery connection

With the growing trend of marketing moving to the cloud, this integration is a natural progression of where the industry is currently heading. 

As Google’s data warehousing solution within the Google Cloud Platform, BigQuery allows data to be queried using standard database query language (such as SQL) to store and integrate different sources of data. As part of the integration, you can export raw session and hit data from Google Analytics 360 (GA360) to BigQuery, and then use standard database query language (such as SQL) to match and query all of your data within your own BigQuery project.

From a Google Analytics 360 perspective, this data can then be used for more advanced capabilities which we’ll explore in some of the other differences.

*Importantly, with the launch of Google Analytics 4, this integration with BigQuery has also been made available to the free version, including a 1M daily event export limit.

Learn how to create a BigQuery export for Analytics >

2. Integration with Salesforce (Marketing Cloud and Sales Sales Cloud)

9 differences between Google Analytics (free) and Google Analytics 360 (GA360) - CRM Sales

By integrating with the number 1 CRM in the market, in Salesforce, it allows an organisation with both a Google Analytics 360 (GA360) license and Salesforce license (whether Salesforce Marketing Cloud or Salesforce Sales Cloud) to push audiences between the platforms. 

From a marketing perspective, this would allow digital marketers to leverage their Google Analytics audiences within the journey builder of Salesforce Marketing Cloud as well as within email and mobile campaigns, driving Digital Marketing Maturity through omni-channel multi-moment marketing. 

From the opposite perspective, email, mobile and journey builder audiences can also be leveraged within Google Analytics audiences (which can be pushed into your paid search and digital media activities within the Google Marketing Platform) as well as reporting on unifying cross-channel reporting within Google Analytics from a cross-channel perspective.

*Further to this, the new Google Analytics 4 allows for the integration of Salesforce Marketing Cloud & Salesforce Sales Cloud reporting integration with the free version of Google Analytics.

Read more about the integration between Google Analytics 360 (GA360) and Salesforce Marketing Cloud >

3. Integration with the Google Marketing Platform through Campaign Manager 360 and Display & Video 360 (DV360)

By integrating your Google Analytics 360 (GA360) account with Campaign Manager 360 and/or Display & Video 360 (DV360), it allows you to connect your web analytics with your digital media activities to view and analyse data from Campaign Manager 360 and Display & Video 360 (DV360)

Importantly, when looking at more advanced solutions that consolidate large data sets from multiple sources, such as Google Analytics 360 (GA360), you can leverage Ads Data Hub (a Google-owned BigQuery project) and BigQuery to activate advanced audiences within the Google Marketing Platform.

How to link Google Analytics 360 (GA360) with Campaign Manager 360 >
How to link Google Analytics 360 (GA360) with Display & Video 360 (DV360) >

4. Additional Custom Dimensions and Metrics per property

As part of the Google Analytics (free) license you can only create up to 20 custom dimensions and metrics within your account. This compares to the 200 custom dimensions and metrics available for creation within the Google Analytics 360 (GA360) license, allowing you to have more accurate, detailed and granular reporting of web metrics within Google Analytics.

*With the release of Google Analytics 4, the free version of the platform allows for up to 50 custom dimensions and 50 custom metrics per property to be created compared to the 125 allowance for each in Google Analytics 360 (GA360).

"More than six in 10 marketers (63%) indicated that analytics was in their top five priorities (over the next 12 months).”

5. Advanced, customisable Funnel reporting

Google Analytics 360 (GA360) allows you to create custom funnels which consist of one or more ‘stages’, based on dimension-based rules. These Custom Funnels display a graph of the number of users who completed, and who did not complete, and it also allows you to specify whether a stage should or should not include particular values. 

Importantly, as you’ve got up to 200 custom dimensions and metrics available in Google Analytics 360 (GA360) compared with only 20 in Google Analytics (free) (see difference 3 above), it provides your organisation with the enterprise license with the ability to create granular metrics for each stage of the sales funnel to track, measure and drive performance ongoing.

Learn more about Custom Funnels in Google Analytics 360 (GA360) >

6. Advanced, Data-driven Attribution Modelling

One of the major advantages of Google Analytics 360 (GA360) over Google Analytics (free), is the capability of advanced Attribution. While Google Analytics (free) only has access to a limited number of basic Attribution models, Google Analytics 360, allows you to run Data-driven Attribution through the Multi-Channel Funnel feature, meaning a Shapley Value based statistical methodology is applied to your conversions from an Attribution perspective.

Through the integration to BigQuery within the Google Cloud Platform (see difference 1 above), you can also consolidate your data from various other sources with your raw Google Analytics data within a BigQuery project, providing the ability to leverage this combined data to run custom Attribution using different statistical methods to analyse the data than the default Shapley Value, such as Markov Chains. This modelling also allows you to create predictive models based on previous purchase behaviour and apply the same logic to Customer Life-time Value.

Importantly, as one of five core pillars for successful digital transformation and Digital Marketing Maturity, by allowing advanced (and custom) Attribution, Google Analytics 360 (GA360) provides organisations with the ability to build advanced Attribution and use the insights gained to drive more effective and efficient, and in turn, drive the revenue and cost efficiencies discussed in the Boston Consulting Group and Google research.

*With Google Analytics 4 allowing more flexibility and access to raw data, more advanced and customisable Attribution solutions are available for free users to use as part of the update.

Learn more on Multi-channel Funnel Data-driven Attribution >

Requirements for using Multi-Channel Funnel Data-driven Attribution (Google Analytics 360 customers only)

To be eligible for MCF Data-Driven Attribution, you must:

  • Be a Google Analytics 360  customer
  • Have either Ecommerce Tracking or Goals set up
  • Have a Google Ads account with at least 15,000 clicks on Google Search and a conversion action with at least 600 conversions within 30 days

To continue using the model, you need to meet the current minimum conversion threshold for the past 28 days:

  • 400 conversions per conversion type with a path length of 2+ interactions AND
  • 10,000 paths in the selected reporting view (roughly equivalent to 10,000 users, although a single user may generate multiple paths)

7. Cross-property Roll-Up reporting

A feature only available in Google Analytics 360 (GA360), Roll-Up properties allow you to track and measure consolidated reporting of multiple web and app properties in real-time within one aggregated view of data. 

The typical use case of this would be combining an organisation’s data from multiple websites and apps across the globe. Another example would be rolling up reporting for development websites when conducting testing.

Important: Each hit processed by a roll-up property is counted separate to the corresponding hit in the source property, therefore, it is counted as .5 of a hit rather than 1.

Importantly, you can also set up remarketing audiences for your Roll-Up Properties which can be done by enabling Remarketing and Advertising Reporting Features.

8. Data freshness

Do you need to make data-driven decisions quickly? As part of the Google Analytics 360 (GA360) SLA data is refreshed every four hours which allows organisations with a product license to stay up to date on the latest website analytics and reporting compared to +24 hours for Google Analytics (free). With data-driven organisations being 3x more likely to record substantial improvements in decision-making, having the latest, up-to-date data can mean a major difference in the capacity for an organisation to make informed decisions on their online activities in a disaster scenario.

55% said that the “inability to manage the freshness of data” was a challenge when it comes to digital analytics

Source: The Future Of Analytics, Forrester & Google

9. Easily manage your website tags with Tag Manager 360

As part of procuring a Google Analytics 360 (GA360), you will also be given access to a Tag Manager 360 account to manage your website tags and tracking. While there are also benefits that you can achieve through the Tag Manager (free) license, Tag Manager 360 is built to be an enterprise solution for tag management and is integrated with Google Analytics 360 (GA360) and the Google Marketing Platform. Some of the key benefits for Tag Manager 360 vs Tag Manager (free) include: container zones for large-scale implementations and to controlled access to tagging, approval workflows and workspaces for concurrent tagging projects.


While there’s large benefits that organisations can achieve through the use of Google Analytics (free), the enterprise solution, Google Analytics 360 (GA360) provides a number of unique benefits above those in Google Analytics (free) including integration with key tools such as BigQuery, Salesforce and other GMP products such as, more detailed and granular and reporting & Attribution, unlimited and unsampled data that is refreshed every 4 hours and access to Tag Manager 360.

For organisations using Google Analytics (free) and that are getting a strong volume of web traffic to their site, the enterprise solution Google Analytics 360 (GA360) is worth considering for more advanced capabilities. Importantly, with the release of Google Analytics 4, organisations must consider how the changes impact their Google Analytics capabilities, regardless of if they are on Google Analytics (free) or Google Analytics 360 (GA360).

For more information on the features and capabilities of Google Analytics 360 (GA360) or to learn more about a Google Analytics 360 (GA360) license, please contact FiveStones team today.