From the outside looking in, Google Analytics looks like a terrifying thing to wrap your head around. I found the idea of trying to learn Google Analytics extremely daunting.
There are so many terms and phrases, so many reports and so many numbers I felt like I’d never be able to understand them all.
I am pleased to note that this is in fact, not the case. I’ve only completed the Google Analytics for Beginner’s course and I already feel comfortable navigating my way through the reports and information it generates.
Beginner Google Analytics
As someone who had never heard of Google Analytics before, let alone used it, I decided to use Google’s Analytics training program because, well they designed the tool so they should really know how to use it. And they do.
I started with the beginners training course and it was pretty simple to navigate and follow. Once I watched the videos and had been talked through the information with the help of the instructors, it seemed a lot simpler than I had initially been expecting.
I feel I must mention I had two windows open, one with the course and one with my Google Analytics account open so I could follow through the steps myself with relevant information. I am also an avid note taker and took pages and pages of notes throughout the course duration so I could come back to it later when studying for the exam.
To begin with I did feel the Google Analytics training was geared more towards larger companies but maybe that was my lack of experience using Google Academy and Training. Even though the amount of information available wasn’t the same or might not have been completely relevant in my current account and business, it still made sense.
at this early stop in my Google Analytics journey I can understand the
importance of being able to track information such as where your main traffic
is generated and what campaigns have the most impact because it gives you the
opportunity to fix what’s broken and push what’s working.
I managed to complete the beginner’s course in less than a day and the information was still there when I woke up the following morning. It is a lot of information to take in and can be overwhelming, but at this stage, it really is a case of being able to navigate your way through the report options available to you and having a basic understanding of what they’re telling you.
I do think that it would be beneficial to have a lexicon to help with the terms and definitions used within the Google Analytics training. I created my own, though I now know there are several online, which provides a simple definition for each important word and phrase. However, maybe Google could create or provide a downloadable PDF as you first start the course, rather than their
students having to go and search for one themselves.
Advanced Google Analytics
I’ve recently started on the Advanced Google Analytics course and so far, it seems to be going well. There’s lots of new information to learn and I still find taking notes really helpful because I can keep coming back to them as and when I need too.
So far this course really is a case of simply listening to the videos, which can be a bit tedious when you study in bulk like I do. There is very little you can attempt yourself alongside watching the video, which I found incredibly helpful with the previous course for beginners.
That being said, a lot more of the information in these tutorials relates to the needs of your specific business. They’re giving you examples to take into consideration when applying the tools to your own business goals and Google Analytics account.
Come the end of Section 2, there is a lot of information to take in and the way it’s been laid out is rather deceiving. You think you’re almost to the test that I felt ready and excited to take it and then you’re hit with a drop-down menu with about 8 more videos to watch. Though it was mostly relevant information, it seemed a little endless.
During Section 3 you were given more access to their demo account, so you could work alongside them with guided help that I think was extremely helpful. It allows you to actually use Google Analytics and out what you’re learning to the test and if you can’t figure it out, the answers are available to guide you through it. That being said I took very few notes throughout as I was focusing on following the tours and answering the questions.
Section 4 was another section that was easy to follow and understand however I’m not sure if I feel I know enough to confidently be able to take the Google Analytics Qualification exam without further practice and studying.
It would be really helpful if Google offered a practice test for the exam because I would definitely feel more confident if I had the opportunity to do a test run first. There are practice tests online but they’re out of date and it’s hard to trust the information without getting it straight from Google.
I did take a few of the practice tests online that helped me identify my weak spots which then allowed me to go back and look through my notes and spend more time studying the area’s I didn’t feel confident in.
Eventually I took the test and I passed but I honestly don’t think I would have been able to if it wasn’t for all of the notes I took throughout the course that I referred back too. Some of the answers to the questions seem too obvious that I doubted myself and other questions are worded, I’m sure, to confuse the hell out of you.
So, after going through the training here are my top tips to help get you started:
- Take Notes
- Following along on your own Google Analytics account
- Watch ALL of the videos
- Go back and rewatch videos if you're unsure
- Take your time
Remember that it will take some time to complete the courses and you will get there, but after taking the exam I truly believe that Google Analytics is one of those things that will only come with time. Sure, I can tick a handful of boxes and know the theory behind it, but passing the test won’t make me an expert, it’ll just make me a beginner with a Google Analytics qualification and I think that’s really important to remember when you’re studying to pass this exam.
Knowledge will come with time, so keep practicing and keep doing your job, you’ll get there, just like I will.