Google Analytics: My experience with their courses

Since working at Enovate, I have seen how Google Analytics is a vital tool not only for creating Custom Reports and Alerts, but also analysing data such as Bounce Rate and Average Session Duration.

Google Analytics is vital for training purposes and the workplace, but also helped me work towards my Digital Marketing Level 3 Apprenticeship. There are multiple online courses you can choose from, but Google Analytics for Beginners was the first one I completed out of my list of three.

Second and third on my list were Google AdWords and HootSuite. Both of these are highly relevant to digital marketing, as they give you insights into the business itself and the background knowledge you need when it comes to publishing advertisements and improving income. But for now, let’s look at the Google Analytics courses.

I decided to start gently and chose the beginners option for Google Analytics, hoping to tackle the Advanced Google Analytics course in the future. The units included in the Beginners course are:

  • Unit 1 - Introducing Google Analytics
  • Unit 2 - The Google Analytics Layout
  • Unit 3 - Basic Reporting
  • Unit 4 - Basic Campaign and Conversion Tracking

I worked my way through these units without any problems. Everything was simple, clear and easy to take on board, and so I felt comfortable going forward.

Google Analytics Academy for Beginners and Advanced.

It was then time to tackle Advanced Google Analytics. Looking at the course, I noticed it included the same number of units but each unit contained more lessons than the Beginners course. There was much more information to process, but it was well worth it to gain the qualification in the industry.

The Advanced course units are:

  • Unit 1 - Data Collection and Processing
  • Unit 2 - Setting Up Data Collection and Configuration
  • Unit 3 - Advanced Analysis Tools and Techniques
  • Unit 4 - Advanced Marketing Tools

Both courses will impact deeply on my knowledge of the industry. As an apprentice, you want to increase your skills as much as possible and keep on learning throughout the whole process, and I have to say both these courses helped me achieve that.

Please see the links below for the Google Analytics Beginner and Advanced courses, as well as Hootsuite and the Future Learn Digital Marketing course (not run by Google).

Unfortunately, the Google Adwords course is only accessible for companies or individuals associated with Google Partners, which is useful for digital marketing firms but sadly not for general access. So I have linked below to the free courses that are targeted towards everyone:

How you can learn on the courses

There are two ways you can learn throughout the Google Analytics courses:

1. Video sources

Each lesson is split into a number of videos from Google Analytics experts, with the useful option to change the speed of the video either faster or slower. I found it helpful to watch the videos slightly slower to gain as much knowledge as possible.

2. Transcripts

If you prefer to copy the key parts of the notes down, you have access to the transcripts of the videos, with images relevant to the information included.

I personally did both, watching the videos first and then writing notes from the transcripts. Some people might find it easier to just watch the videos with the option for subtitles, or simply to copy the transcript notes, whichever works best for you.

Luckily for Beginners and Advanced students, Google Analytics doesn’t have an exam at the end for you to pass. Each unit has an end-of-unit assessment to go over all the knowledge you’ve just learnt - when you have passed the assessments for all the units, then you have passed the whole course.

The certification runs out 12 months after your pass date, so you need to retake the course every year to keep your certification current.

So what was next?

After you have completed both courses, it is then time to move on to the Google Analytics IQ Assessment. Unlike the two courses, this is a 90-minute assessment exam with a pass mark of 80%.

The Google Analytics IQ Assessment substitutes for one of the exams as part of my training for the Digital Marketing Level 3 apprenticeship, as this covers content learnt in college and in the workplace (if asked to).

The good news: if you fail, then you are able to retake the exam in 24 hours. To keep your certification up to date, you need to retake and pass the assessment every 18 months.

Thursday 22nd February was the big day I went to college to complete the IQ assessment with my fellow trainees. It’s safe to say it was a nerve-racking experience, but we had a morning packed full of revision and mock tests in Google Analytics Beginner and Google Analytics Advanced to refresh our memories and give us an idea of what the questions would look like in the exam.

It is important to note that with 70 questions in 90 minutes, you have on average 1 min 28 secs to answer each question and once you have pressed submit for your answer that’s it, you cannot go back. So make sure you read the question carefully and be 100% sure the answer you have chosen is the one you want to commit to.

Any exam is nerve racking, no matter how much revision you have packed in. However, I felt less nervous about this exam due to using Google Analytics most days to check data such as Bounce Rate, Average Session Duration, Users and Sessions on the site during a particular time period.

It also helped that I had set up Custom Alerts and Custom Reports to not only give me a brief outlook on the business, but also for my own benefit. I was able to really work my way around Google Analytics so I had a higher chance of getting questions on any subject that appeared correct. I was over the moon, to say the least, that I passed the exam first time.

Google Analytics IQ Assessment
The page you should see after you have logged in to Google's Academy for Ads

How did I revise?

Some of you might be wondering if I have any tips to pass this exam first time, especially as it is a combination of Google Beginners, Google Advanced and other questions you have never seen before. I will say this exam is harder than the assessments, so get prepared and revise.

Personally, I revise in the classic way, using note taking. I have notebooks full of notes from all different areas of digital marketing, and I find these handy to look back on when I need to.

There are other ways that might work for you, like mind maps, flashcards, watching videos without taking notes, or simply reading big chunks of text, but none of them work for me. I watch a lot of videos but I always write as many notes as I can. A lot of sites have the option to slow down videos, or you can always pause them, so you can make notes at any pace you want.

Reading my notes over and over again helps the knowledge to stick in my brain, and I have shortened them to only the most vital information, to make it easier to learn. I feel the trick is to not over-revise, otherwise your brain could become burnt out with trying to store too much knowledge at once. Even just one hour a night should help you gain the knowledge effectively whilst not over-cramming, as this might stress you out more.

I also Google searched study guides for the IQ exam and there are definitely some helpful ones out there! Study guides are always good to look at, and will usually have a mixture of information and questions to get your teeth into before the exam.

Here are some links for more information:

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Michael Walsh by Michael Walsh