Google Analytics for Power Users – walkthrough
Partly because it’s new, partly because I want to add another certificate to the list, I’m going to walk through the latest Google Analytics Academy exam
At the end of last month (30th August 2018), I received an email inviting me to take the ‘Power User’ assessment for analytics – promising to teach me how to understand users, attract high value traffic, improve site engagement and improve product performance. While it promised a lot, it was difficult to see how it could be more thorough than the last revamp of the Analytics IQ exam, but it definitely seemed worth completing. So here’s what to expect from the four section assessment.
1. Understand users
Beginning with a brief course overview video, the course material proceeds to give a guided tour through the ‘converting v non-converting’ report – giving you an overview of how to view and analyse the reports. The material then gives a similar walk through the process of analysing by device – making a point of the difference between mobile and desktop conversion rates, as well as offering some useful information on manipulating the standard Analytics reports by adding dimensions and creating pivot tables.
Provided you’ve paid attention, the first assessment is fairly straightforward, asking what insights you can draw from a displayed report and how to find other information (the eCommerce conversion rate for tablet, for example) as well as asking you about the pivot table and how to redefine the metrics displayed therein.
2. Attract high-value traffic
Moving in to the Acquisition tab in Analytics, the second module offers a look at how to compare the performance of your traffic sources – teaching you how to sort by source, conversion rate and more.
While focusing a lot on eCommerce, the sections do take pains to point out that the same techniques can be applied to any goal type – and demonstrating how to filter by sources with a specific user limit. It does, however, point out that these reports operate on the pretty much discredited last-click attribution – and while it doesn’t state this specifically, this does mean that insights gathered should be subject to further investigation. You can have a look at Click Consult’s views on last-click here.
2.2 Customising channels
The second part of section two offers two challenges and some solutions – the first of which requires the reordering of your channel definitions for the novel use of grouping referrals from specified sites as an overall ‘Key influencers’ group – achieving this by duplicating and reordering the channel grouping.
The second challenge deals with the issues around measurement of email campaigns and how to create a specific channel for a newsletter and details the benefits of splitting various email types in to their own channel.
2.3 When to send your emails
The final section before the second assessment helps you to find out when you should be sending email campaigns using the ‘Users by time of day’ card on the home screen. It then refines this by offering a challenge related to a specific item, then running through the creation of a custom report to recreate the ‘Users by time of day’ card and then adding further metrics to allow you a better view of the best performing times.
Longer than the first, but again fairly intuitive, the second assessment checks your recall of the 2nd module (mine was imperfect because I read one of the questions wrong, but it did – to my relief – also show that you don’t need 100% in each section to progress). The assessment was, again, multiple choice, dealing with the location of various reports (remember where you found your ‘Users by time of day’ card), and some insights you can infer from specified data.
3. Improve site engagement
The first section of module three is a set of informative videos on various KPIs, followed by a walkthrough that shows how to share custom reports and dashboards. It also suggests further research in to Data Studio (a topic that came up regularly at this year’s Benchmark Conference).
The first video deals with the creation of a new ‘calculated metric’ for use in reporting, the second deals with scroll depth and using the scroll depth trigger in Google Tag Manager in conjunction with custom goals. This also offers the advice that setting scroll depth as an interaction can help to better understand user interaction by treating a full page scroll as an event which stops a session registering as a bounce.
The third video details the uses of event tracking goal as well as the creation of calculated metrics to better understand the success of your video content. This is the video which genuinely taught me the most so far – Click Consult doesn’t create much video content outside of the conference, so it’s not something I’ve looked in to with any depth – but this video went some way to convincing me that it’s worth doing.
3.2 Which pages are helping conversions
The second section of this module is a nice summary of how you can look to gather and interpret data – in addition to how you can assign value to various pages and create segments to help you to determine how your pages are contributing to the overall value of each session.
As someone who seldom deals with eCommerce (as Click has no internal eCommerce requirement), the next part of the module was interesting and offered some new insights – specifically detailing how to judge the value of a page based on its inclusion or exclusion in the completion of a goal.
It then demonstrates how to use the ‘Reverse Goal Path’ to add further depth to your judgement of a page’s worth in goal assists.
Having learned the most from this module, I was initially concerned by the impending assessment but, in truth, the clarity of the study materials makes for pretty good preparation – I doubt I’d have achieved the pass percentage without going through the sections, however, as there was a lot in this section I hadn’t encountered previously.
4. Improve product performance
This section begins with two more walks through the example Analytics account and is the one I was dreading a little – as it covered the ‘Ecommerce’ reports, somewhere I genuinely can’t remember the last time I visited. Again, the instructions and the two walkthroughs are pretty clear and, whether or not I’ll remember tomorrow, it seemed to go in pretty well – with descriptions of how to analyse product performance per category and per product.
4.2 Best vs. Worst performing
With a walkthrough and a video, this section gives an overview of the ways you can improve your conversion by analysing your cart to detail and buy to detail rates – with improving the UX of pages with lower than average rates of each (whether this is that the traffic is coming from an ad which sets incorrect expectations, or whether they’re facing usability or functional difficulties on the page), it also demonstrates how you can analyse your Shopping Behaviour report.
4.3 Where are people dropping out?
The third section of the module deals with the Checkout Behaviour Analysis report – and features a short walkthrough of the process, what each part of the report means.
Video only, the summary is only a minute long and ends – worth the five hours I’ve invested – with jazz hands.
The longest assessment of the lot, this module’s assessment showed the effectiveness of the methods Google trialled with this certification. While the questions seemed fairly intuitive at the moment of taking the assessment, I’d have been lost without having gone through the materials previously.
Was it worth it?
While someone with a more detailed, day to day experience of eCommerce may not have taken so much from the certification process, as someone that deals predominately with SEO reporting, the modules and exams were able to introduce me to a number of interesting concepts I’d like to play around with.
While, as stated previously, I’m not sure how good my retention will be – as I don’t encounter these report types very often, the whole process was enough to trigger some dep thinking on ways that these functions could be attributed to various aspects of standard/non-eCommerce reporting.
Click Consult wishes you the best of luck with your own assessment – if you’d like some more actionable insights about all things search marketing, sign up to our blog, check out our resources, or contact us today.