At White, all members of the delivery team are expected to gain qualifications in Google Analytics, Google AdWords (Advertising Essentials, Advanced Search, and Advanced Display) and Bing Ads.
Hannah and Bobby became accredited in Google Analytics in January 2015, and have since been carrying out workshops to share their insights with colleagues. They’ve come together to create this blog post to help you get the most out of Google Analytics too.
Why should you bother with the GA exam?
To understand why it’s so important to pass the GAIQ, it’s necessary to recognise exactly why you use Google Analytics in the first place, which is to get to know your audience through data collected in the GA platform. In fact, Google sum it up quite nicely in the following sentence:
“Qualified users will be effective at leveraging Google Analytics within their organisations and at helping others to do the same.”
Knowing your audience, as well as what it is that they want is vital for any business, and through using Google Analytics, you can begin to learn all about the users and customers that visit your website as well as how they interact with it.
It’s by gathering and analysisng this data that you can begin to make informed decisions to improve yours or a client’s website.
By taking, and passing the exam, you not only prove that you can effectively and efficiently use this platform to guide business decisions for yourself and your clients, you also learn a fantastic set of practical skills that will likely help you throughout your career.
In essence, it’s not about the award, it’s about all the knowledge you gain in the run up to the award.
Secondly, you get a nice certificate, and who doesn’t love that? You can print it off, frame it, hang it in your bedroom, show your parents, take on your next date with you: the limits are endless.
GAIQ exam facts at a glance
- The exam is made up of 70 multiple choice questions (including “select all of those that apply” options)
- You have 90 minutes to complete it, and you must score at least 80% to pass (that’s 56 correct answers)
- The qualification is valid for 18 months
- It’s free to take at http://ift.tt/1NNMjNm
- There are plenty of resources available online that you can study before you take your exam
Now you know the benefits of taking the Google Analytics exam, you’ll be needing some more details to get the task of actually doing it ticked off your to-do list.
It’s a little known fact that the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) is available to take free of charge at http://ift.tt/1NNMjNm; this is because it was chargeable as recently as the end of 2014.
In our opinion, the passing score of 80 percent now seems slightly less daunting as it’s possible to take a second or third exam attempt without needing to bleed your wallet dry.
Then again, you are unlikely to want to sit through 70 questions about Google Analytics on more than one occasion in a short amount of time, which is why you’ll probably want to pass your exam in the first 90 minute period you’re allocated.
But if you don’t make the grade, you’ll have the opportunity to sit the exam again a week later. If you do pass, you can take pleasure in knowing that your exam is valid for another 18 months before you need to do it again.
Another recent change to the GAIQ exam is the loss of the functionality to pause your test session. You’re going to need to commit to the 90 minute exam when you know you will be free without distractions. Luckily the exam is open book, so you’ll retain the ability to use other browser windows if you want to keep your resources to hand.
Make time to study
Taking 90 minutes out for the exam is one thing, but you’ll actually need to dedicate much more time when it comes to studying for it.
We know that life in the digital marketing industry can be hectic at the best of times, but it really is worth using a spare hour here and there to read some study material or watch a video on the Google Analytics Academy.
Consider that you will be broadening your wider understanding of Google Analytics as well as studying for an exam; if you can see how it will benefit your reporting and optimisation efforts you may find a little bit more inspiration to study in the evening or on the weekend.
The exam content can be broken down into the following areas, so make sure you take time to learn everything that you can:
- Planning and principles
- Implementation and data collection
- Configuration and administration
- Conversion and attribution
- Reports, metrics and dimensions
Key study materials
During our studying for the GAIQ exam, we both used a wide range of resources to help learn the basics, as well as the more detailed parts of the platform. Below are a number of helpful guides, blogs, and resources that explain some of the most important parts of the tool, as well as a lot general elements you need to be shored up on:
- You’ll need to know the definitions and examples of dimensions and metrics; luckily there is a page on dimensions and metrics on Analytics help
- If you have no idea about the analytics data hierarchy of users, sessions and hits, you’d better head over to the Cutroni blog to read their post on the subject
- When it comes to conversions, you’re going to need to know the difference between micro and macro; something also covered at Analytics help
- It’s also an excellent place to learn more about attribution modelling including last interaction, first interaction and linear modelling
- If you only have a limited amount of study time, you could at least use the Blast Analytics Google Analytics Reference Guide
- Of course it is probably in your best interests to do it properly and watch the videos on the Analytics Academy – these will be a significant time investment for you, but it does give you a chance to listen and watch some of the core, and more in-depth principles of the GA platform explained in a more interactive form. You can also choose to read each of the lessons instead of watching, which depending on what type of learner you are, might be perfect!
Along with the resources above, we also found these blog posts helpful both before and after taking our GAIQ exams:
Our personal top tips
Since we’ve ‘been there, done that’, we figured we might as well provide you with a few of our personal tips for taking the exam. We’ve included a few below, but we welcome any further questions you might have – please get in touch with us through the comments section below.
- Now that the exam is free to take, it makes sense to use your first attempt as a test run. This will give you the chance to see exactly how questions are presented, and will also show you what you’re able to answer quickly or what you get stuck on. If you pass on your test run, this should be seen as a definite bonus
- Try and get first-hand experience using Google Analytics before you take the exam. Spend time finding out where to find all key reports, how to filter your data, and experiment with goals and funnels (although it’s best to create a test profile, or at least use a new view!)
- An obvious one, but make sure you’ve got the basics down. Don’t waste time during the test having to remind yourself as to the difference between dimensions and metrics or the hierarchy of the data, this time could be spent on tougher questions
- Standard high school teacher tip – “read the question more than once, slowly”. Some questions can be very long winded, although the question may be very simple. Read the question a few times and it will become clear, don’t look up the answer just because it looks complicated!
- Invest your time – it can be easy to just spend the 90 minutes looking up each question, but the skills you will learn from studying are genuinely super helpful! Yes it may take a month or two to really get ready for the exam, but it’s worth it!
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