Google Analytics Platform Principles

Let’s start things off with a little positive priming; the Google Analytics Certification Exam is manageable. Don’t let that fool you into being unprepared though. 70 questions in 90 minutes, or roughly 1.29 minutes for each question, means you will benefit from some studying and maybe a little insight from someone who has taken the exam.

That person, as of right now, is not me. I have not taken the exam just yet. That being said my preparation may still be helpful to you.

First and foremost in my prep work was accessing the Google Analytics Academy. You would hope that the designer of a system would know how to use the system. Fortunately Google has a reputation for making it’s services accessible. The Digital Analytics Fundamentals course and Google Analytics Platform Principles will serve you well, but don’t expect to do the bare minimum and pass. You need an 80% to pass and you won’t get that from only studying these courses. Still, here’s some of what I’ve learned from these courses so far (Along with a few things the course doesn’t tell you but is nice to know).

  • If you decide to take a filter out of your collection that will only give you that data for future recordings. Previous records that could have been taken when that filter was on never happened.
  • Raw, unfiltered data is not actionable.
  • Filtered data is not always actionable.
  • Filtered and reported data is only actionable if you understand what you’re looking at.
  • Campaign data can be analyzed during the campaign rather than at the end.
  • Google Analytics can do a lot, but some of it will require your insight or extra research. For example, a large influx of web traffic may be because of your campaign or it may be because something else is going on in the world.
  • Reports are your friends and then can be customized as you see fit.
  • Google analytics allows you to set the dates you would like to analyze, compare to a previous period (such as the previous month’s data against the month before that), and export the data into files that you can send to others.
  • Google Analytics sorts by Age, Gender, and Parental Status.
  • Google can also identify the languages that you use.
  • If something is connected to the web, Google is able to gather data from that.
  • Collection is how Google Analytics gets the data that it puts on your dashboard. In order to get data you must put the Javascript code on every page. Putting it only on the homepage means you’re only collecting data for that page.
  • Javascript can be used on all browsers. Mobile devices us SDK for their apps, but so long as they are using a browser you can still collect that data using the Javascript code.
  • When you get a hit on your website Google Analytics processes those hits based on your configuration. The most common configuration is your filter. This is where your dashboard report comes from.
  • GA goes by User to Session to Interactions:
    • Users are the people on your website.
    • Sessions are the periods of time those people spend on your website.
    • Interactions are the things people do on your website.

Just as a Google search won’t always give you the results you’re looking for you benefit from taking some time to dig deeper. Be sure to include the additional resources Avinash Kaushik and URL Builder in your studies.

But why should you care? Google Analytics is free and it is successful. While other large companies use Adobe, Google Analytics does have its share of success stories.

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