In November 2009, I became the second member of the Receptional team to gain the Google Analytics Individual Qualification having ‘graduated' from Conversion University, passing the exam with a very respectable score of 88%. In this post I thought I would share my experience with those of you thinking of taking the plunge as I believe it to be well worth the effort.
Google Analytics isn't without it's critics but love it or hate it, the importance of us becoming experts in this package is highlighted by the fact that around 57% of the 10,000 most popular websites on the internet use Google Analytics!* This, coupled with the fact that many more prospective clients were engaging our services already having Google Analytics in place, meant we really needed to develop ourselves and our level of knowledge if we are to continue being highly valued campaign managers.
As you may or may not be aware, the Google Analytics IQ test was launched in March 2009 to help us become exactly this. It is good for both individuals wanting to increase their knowledge, as well as those in agencies and other organisations who wish to become more knowledgeable Google Analytics users, as it enables us to take advantage of the whole host of features and functions that the package offers.
Google offer a free course in Google Analytics at their ‘Conversion University' covering all areas of the package such as implementation, administration, and analysis tools. Once you feel confident enough and if you so wish, you can take an exam consisting of 70 multiple choice questions to be answered within 90 minutes to become recognized as IQ qualified.
In the learning centre there are modules from 4 key areas, of which we would recommend paying particular attention to the modules on Cookies, Filters, E-commerce tracking and Goals. My biggest fears were questions related to Regular Expression use in Google Analytics but luckily I seemed to escape these questions, although it is apparent from various forums that others appear to have been less lucky!
So how difficult is the exam? This really depends on how much you use Google Analytics and how much studying you have done. We use Analytics on a daily basis which made me very familiar with it before reviewing the material at Google's conversion university. This experience coupled with a month working through the presentations at opportune moments meant I was better-prepared that I thought.
All in all, the studying certainly keeps you on your toes and its well worth going through the learning centres modules even if you have used Analytics for some time and/or don't want to take the exam. The learning materials introduce all the tools and ways of utilising the wealth of data available.
The pass mark for the exam is 80% and it costs $50(US) each time, including retakes if required! Once you pass, you'll be registered as Google Analytics qualified, valid for 18 months. You are also able to create and publish a link to your official test record. When someone clicks on your link, they'll be taken to a page that looks like this and you'll have a shiny certificate such as the one below for all your efforts!
If you start to get tired of the conversion University materials, or would like some bedtime reading on Google Analytics, we would recommend picking up a copy of Brian Clifton's book ‘Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics' (ISBN: 978-0-470-25312-0) to help you along the way. It is an excellent book covering everything you need to know about Google analytics in a very readable format complete with screenshot instructions.