Inspired by Emma’s recent post about the Google Analytics Certification, and never one to pass up learning something new, I decided to take a look at the exam and see what I could learn in the process.
Now I am by no means as skilled as Emma or anyone on the data and insights team – I only really use Google Analytics for top line research and review of customer profiles. However, I was still intrigued to see what Google wants to measure individuals on and more importantly how I rate against that measure.
Being short on time and somewhat eager, I decided to ignore all Emma’s advice and take the exam straight away, forget the research, ignore revision and dive straight in!
The fact that the exam is now free did have a big factor in this, if I had to pay, I would’ve done my homework.
The “just do it” plan of attack has been a bit of a double edged sword. Needless to say I failed the first time round, this was 90 minutes of effort that I can’t get back, however what it did give me was an understanding of the exam format and more importantly “You don’t know what you don’t know”.
I did score 48/70 which is a 69% success. 80% is the pass mark required for certification so all things considered I am still pleased with that first result!
From that first test I found that the areas I didn’t know about were terminology for attribution methods and the under-the-hood workings of Google, such as its main components.
The core topics that seemed to come up on my run through were:
- Understanding dimensions and metrics
- Understanding the filters
- Attribution models and their official names (I.e. first click didn’t come up)
- Under the hood of GA, what are its four main parts?
You have to wait seven days in between retakes which gave me enough time to read up and get my knowledge right.
I’ve watched a lot of the videos along with the supporting content and made plenty of notes throughout based on the style of the information presented, and knowing the way the questions were formatted in the exam.
Some key statements I kept in mind when planning for the retake were as follows:
- Collection, Configuration, Processing and Reporting make up the four main parts of GA
- Macro conversions are your core business goals the big hitters of value such as a sale, micro conversion are those that show intent on the way to the macro
- GA can pretty much track any digitally connected device (PC, tablet, mobile, TV, games consoles) these days – you just have to know what you want to track/measure and have a technical person to help with the implementation
- Dimensions are the first column in GA and are usually text based such as location, browser etc.
- Metrics are numerical such as visits, conversions, averages etc.
- You should plan the structure of your GA accounts to avoid issues in the long term, hierarchical structure: Accounts > Properties > Views
- By default you should have three views, Unfiltered (Raw), Master (the one you report from) and Test (The one you try new settings to see the effect before applying to master)
I’m pleased to say that I have now retaken the exam and successfully passed! I am now officially Google Analytics Certified. This lasts for 18 months, but to be honest I might try another retake to see if I can notch up my pass rate a few more digits.
My advice for anyone considering the exam is to take Emma’s advice and do your research.
Watch the videos in the Foundation section at the very least – it covers all the main topics and gives you the knowledge. Those that take GA a little more seriously may want to take a look at the GA Academy.
Spend an hour or so in each topic area and make all the notes you can – you can even have a test account to play around with too.
If you work in Digital, the exam is really worth your while, even if you don’t tend to use GA on a day-to-day basis.