Get “Officially Good” at Analytics
For digital managers, being analytics savvy is as much an executive requirement as financial acumen. Though most management programs don’t focus on web analytics, there is a straightforward way to get a great introduction through the world’s most-used system: Google Analytics.
Last year, Google started Conversion University, which provides a comprehensive set of free online presentations. As discussed in an earlier post, user skills are what really drives web analytics success. The leading web analytics systems, Omniture, Webtrends and Unica, use similar methods. The systems are largely interchangeable; getting a grasp of one will benefit your use of any of them.
Your proficiency can be validated and recognized through Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) certification. And yes, there’s even a logo and certificate suitable for refrigerator display.
Last year I took my team for training, and then encouraged them to pursue certification. So last weekend I finally took my own advice and completed the training program and qualified on the exam. I did it all in one night, while solo-parenting my kids. This made it intense, but a great goal. If you’re motivated, it’s a program I’d enthusiastically recommend. Just take your time (unless, like me, you sort of dig intensity).
What You Should Know Before Taking the Google Analytics Certification Exam
You should already be using Google Analytics daily to manage the digital operation of something. Seriously, if you’re interested in this medium, start using this in your work, or start a personal project. There’s no better substitute for learning a tool than using it every day.
What you should know before taking the test:
- Setting up profiles and managing analytics accounts.
- Filter Setup (predefined, include/exclude, search & replace and custom)
- Regular Expressions, Link Tagging, and the tools that help you make them.
- Goal Setup and how Goals differ from E-commerce transactions.
- E-Commerce Features ($Index, addTrans, addItem methods)
- Cross Domain / Sub-Domain Tracking
- Integration with Google Adwords (cost data import, auto-tagging)
- Reports and Advanced Segmentation.
What Is the Test Like?
The online presentations are free and give you a great sense of what Google things you should know. When you’re ready to test, you pay a $50 fee, and sign on to take the two-hour timed test whenever you like. There is a pause on the test, so you can take a break, and there are controls to mark questions to come back to. Keep an eye on the useful display that shows questions complete vs. total questions — and remaining time.
There are 70 multiple-choice questions. True/false is the easiest format, followed by multiple choice of four to five options. There are also more demanding “pick two” or “select all that apply”-type questions. Grading happens instantly after you have completed the test.
Tips to Help you Succeed
The videos provide the best practices and technical details that matter to Google. Take good notes. You know what is new to you; having notes at hand during the test is invaluable.
Also, you can switch to another browser and use online resources. Yo’du be wise to start with these already open:
- IP Address Range Regex Tool
- Google Web Search ? a great way to find info, even in your own blog!
- Google Analytics API defines a bunch of functions which you may not know be memory.
- Cookie Reference names all the cookies, and can tell you how long they’ll persist.
- Be logged in to your own account, so you can answer the “what is on the X report” type questions.
Say Thanks to Those Who Helped You
Corey Koberg and Nick Iyengar have shared their expertise with me in person. Thanks, Webshare!
Also, the authorship of Jim Stern and Avinash Kaushik has both raised our industry’s demand for analytics and inspired practitioners to build this important digital expertise.