The great news is, you don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to get better at Google Analytics. There is no “master” program; all you need is to log in with your Google account and start tracking. You can get started today and be tracking in a matter of minutes. This means you can start building custom reports to use for your ecommerce website, pay per click campaigns, PPC advertising, social media marketing, and almost anything you can think of. And, if you want to really dig deep, you can set up a Google Analytics account to track not only web site traffic but also mobile phone activity as well.
So, what do you do if you want to get better at Google Analytics? First, you must take the time to become familiar with the tracking tool. If you already know how to use Google Analytics, you should see no problem. If, however, you are still a total newbie to the world of tracking programs, I would recommend looking into one of the following advanced Google tools:
Google Insights – (free) – Insights is a great tracking tool that includes several advanced capabilities. For example, you can create custom dimensions. This gives you the ability to analyze your data based on keywords, search patterns, and even geographic location. The best part is that you can analyze data in different formats such as text, bar or line charts. You can also create pivot charts and axis charts with just a few clicks of the mouse. All of these features make Insights great power users’ reference tool.
Google Analytics Pro – (free) – Google Analytics Pro includes an excellent set of video tutorials that walk you through every step of setting up your analytics account. You can run the free version once, but you will have to pay for upgrading to the pro version. It also includes practice tests related to various Google analytic operations. There are some other minor inclusions in the pro version. The pro version is recommended for most beginners to learn how to set up Google analytics accounts, how to install tracking scripts, and how to conduct proper data analysis.
Microsoft Money – (recommended) – Money is often used by small businesses as their go-to budget tool. The free version of Microsoft Money does allow basic tracking of the account, but it does not have any depth or resources that enhance your data analytics needs. However, this is an ideal platform for a data analyst who is just getting started, as it includes a number of tutorials and data visualization tools. It is a good place to begin looking for information on how to manage a small business’s finances.
Six Sigma Certification – (requisites vary depending on the level) – Six Sigma is a powerful methodology that emphasizes process improvement. As such many companies who are implementing Six Sigma as a core strategy are requiring advanced degrees in data science and statistics, as well as a solid grasp of Excel. For those not already in the analytics field, the Six Sigma certification process will introduce you to various approaches to data visualization and reporting. However, it is very hard to take the exam with no prior experience. Before taking the Six Sigma course, be sure to do some work on the foundation of your data science project. This will greatly increase your understanding of the entire process, allowing you to better apply your prior experience to your project.
With these three distinct paths from Google Analytics to obtaining your Google Analytics certification, there are numerous options available to an individual interested in tracking their own business. It is important to remember that these tracking tools are still in early days, and Google is adding new features all the time. As such, it is important to keep your skills current so that you are prepared to analyze and communicate the information to your managers and peers. Google Analytics is not just a standard business tool; it is also a gateway to understanding the broader field of data science and statistics. If you want to expand your career in the field, it would be wise to consider taking the appropriate courses to prepare for the Google Analytics certification exam. As with any other certification exam, pass rates will vary based on a number of factors, and Google Analytics is no exception.