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Evaluating the media: Google Analytics Individual Qualification -

PR geekiness - the tools & techniques to gain insights from PR exposure

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Google Analytics Individual Qualification -

Google is a strange organisation. It provides all these free tools but has one product (Adwords) which seems to make all their money. Many of us have been playing with their gadgets and properties over the years. Things like like Trends, Maps and YouTube. I have experimented with early versions of Adwords, Motion Charts, and of course, Analytics.

It is this final Google property which received a revamp almost 2 years ago, this latest version referred to as Universal Analytics. My early plays with Analytics were laced with confusion (on my part) as it did not seem relevant to competitor intelligence, which is core to my interest.

For a number of years Google has been running a Analytics Individual Qualification. Within the past year it has received a revamp, now making it free. It now has to be done in a single 90 minute sitting; no pausing or browser closing to 'stop' time, like before. You are presented with 70 question in turn, with no opportunity to go back at the end. In the screens bottom corners there are an indications of how far (as a percentage) you are through the exam and how long you have left of the 90 minutes.

Why take it? There are other analytics tools you can use to analyse your site and without exception they are easier to use. Google Analytics is difficult but it is the benchmark for tooling needed to gain insight from your site, be it with or without an e-commerce element. 

In preparation I spent time going over the Google course video/dec tutorials and self tests making notes as I went (not that I could read them). This I would say is a must and the most accurate indication of the type of questioning you will face. There also a number of third part testing sites which on the whole were harder than the Google ones. My feeling was as many of these were prepared by named (with links) individuals who were showing off their prowess with Analytics to be difficult not to be disillusioned reader.

How long you take to prepare on how familiar you are with Google Analytics (GA). I would suggest at a minimum you review their tutorials, which would take a good 6-8 hours. I am a slow learner and not terribly familiar with the tool and so spent a week preparing. 

I delayed taking the Exam until I started getting more than 50% of the harder questions right.  The Exam structure is all multiple choice, tick 1 box questions. A large number of the questions have a 'catch all'....all the statements are right or wrong. My feeling was this option seemed to apply an awful lot of the time. That said, I can not be entirely sure as you have no way of knowing if you answered specific questions correctly, it only tells you at the end how many you got right and if you exceeded the 80% pass rate. If I had passed in the upper 90%'s I would know with certainty, but I did not. If you pass your Google Analytics Individual Qualification certificate should appear on your Partners profile within two days

As the Google Analytics course covers a broad selection of topics, I would restate that even if you use GA on a daily basis, I would suggest going over their tutorials. Once you are ready to face the Exam I would suggest diverting the phones, opening a single browser with the exam and another with you resources, a blank browser, cribs notes and help screens like this one which I found really useful..

In case your were wondering, you can not grab the text from an exam questions and insert it into a help page or search engine. I understand if you do pass you can not retake it for a week.

While this would seem relevant to advertising and marketing people, I would strongly recommend PR people consider this qualification. Google is not going away anytime soon and analytics is increasingly becoming a core discipline within PR, and the quest for the linkage between effort and outcome.

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