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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

YouTube Analytics Data - More Democratization of Analytics by Google

It is difficult to overstate how much of a data-driven culture Google maintains. And right on the heels of that aspect of their philosophy is their commitment to providing more of everything for free.

Recently I heard a bit of a different spin than I was expecting, casually chatting with a client about our recommendation that they finally switch over to Google Analytics. The reservations weren't coming from the expected places - the IT team not liking the idea, or the fear that Google would have access to private data. Rather, he said he fully expected Google to get people hooked on the free offering and then slap a hefty monthly price tag on it. Hmm! Hadn't heard that one. (And Google does offer a fuller-featured product, with pro versions of Urchin.) I opined that Google wouldn't be charging for GA: they might stop adding massive numbers of features, but there will be quite a bit left over in the free version whichever way the wind blows. And if you're an advertiser... you definitely don't have to worry.

If you gave me $500 and told me the winning number on the roulette wheel in advance, I'd probably fail to put a chip down. I'd shove the $500 in my pocket and make a dash for the nearest door at the casino. In other words, I'm not generally a betting man.

But I'll put a chip down on this one. I think it's unlikely that Google will raise prices on free Google Analytics for as long as you're running your business. (As long as you promise to sell it in ten years or less.)

Today we're seeing word that Google is offering a whack of new stats on YouTube. Instead of just seeing how many views your video got, you can look at where people viewed from, user ratings by geography, and more.

So is this functionality only available through some special program for advertisers? Nope! It's open to anyone with a YouTube account. Anyone who uploads video.

Google's data-driven culture and their compulsion to provide more services for free: the trend continues with this release.

Liz Gannes comments from the entertainment industry point of view, but in the end, this announcement is for every YouTube user that uploads video and wants to understand their audience better.

[Edit 10:51 EDT: link to item changed from outdated link to today's announcement on the YouTube blog.]

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