November 3, 2015 | Sarah Sullivan | Digital Strategist

Westwerk is Down with Data

A Google Analytics certified “partner” has proven that they have a grasp on the fundamentals of the Google Analytics platform. That means they understand the difference between a “property” and a “view” and a “metric” and a “dimension,” and are aware of some of the key reports for gathering clickstream data.

The Google Analytics Individual Qualification test (GAIQ) is a 90-minute test consisting of 70 multiple choice questions, each with anywhere from two to five options. Passing the exam isn’t a given. In many instances, options like “none of the above” and “all of the above” require the test taker to conduct a critical analysis of all of the options within a limited amount of time.

Passing the test and attaining the credential provides an individual consultant a way to boost their professional profile. It can also help an agency establish a measurable baseline qualification for their employees or contractors. If all you’re interested in is reporting clickstream data, i.e., the number of people that viewed or bounced from a page, it may be an adequate level of expertise.

However, if you’re interested in using data to actually make business and marketing decisions, the dedicated Google Analytics student will need to keep exploring!

Going Beyond Clickstream

Working with Google Analytics is more than just a left-brain exercise in numbers crunching. I was never much good at math and kind of hated it anyway. The most interesting thing about Google Analytics is figuring out how to make the data reveal meaningful business insights – going beyond clickstream data reporting.

Should the company invest more time and resources in its social media campaign? This answer is only teased out by understanding if previous goals or benchmarks were met, what the ROI was for those efforts and how that balances against the ROI of other marketing channels. This is not something you’ll be able to conjure with a single report and certainly isn’t covered in-depth in the GAIQ course.

That’s why it’s so important to view Google certification as a starting point, and continue to explore ever more advanced applications of data reporting and analysis.

Perhaps a better gauge of an analyst’s potential effectiveness at providing useful Google Analytics reporting isn’t whether or not they’re certified, but what they learned or implemented yesterday that helped advance a data-driven marketing strategy!

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