The latest installment of Google Analytics Academy: Google Analytics Platform Principals launched last week, and is open until March 27th, 2014. The first installment (and suggested pre-requisite), Digital Analytics Fundamentals, finished at the end of 2013, but the self-study module is available here: https://analyticsacademy.withgoogle.com/course01.
Google is offering these complimentary certification courses as a grassroots means of getting more people to use their Analytics product. The more users, the more data for Google, which they then use to sell advertising back to us.
Having completed the Fundamentals course in December, I felt compelled to continue the process, if not only to receive the fancy Google certificate. More importantly, I wanted to report back on my experience to assist those who are interested but undecided whether it is worth the time to complete.
With that said, I consider myself an above-average Google Analytics user; not a novice but in no means an expert. I went into the second course with an open mind, as the initial course was too basic to wet my whistle.
Overall I recommend anyone involved with e-commerce and Internet sales or anyone looking to advance their knowledge base to take the time this month to complete the second course for the following reasons:
- Certificate of Completion: I must admit, this alone is worth the 2—3 (Google suggests 4—6) hours it takes to complete the course. Whether you are in the job market, looking to impress your boss, or like me, simply enjoy collecting achievements, Google provides a completion certificate when you score over 80 percent on the final assessment. Providing you finish the course before March 27, Google will award you an online certificate, which you can print or attach to your LinkedIn profile.
- You will learn something: Even though I would consider this course a 3 out of 10 on the difficulty scale, I did walk away with new knowledge. The composition of the course focuses on basic principles, but with sprinklings of intense code examples. It does feel a bit like they jumped from first grade, to eighth, and back to second. For example, the course has a large focus on how Google gets the information from your source (i.e. website) to Analytics (basic), but also looks at examples of how to identify parameters in code and how to input data manually.
- There is plenty of extended learning: All of the units contain links to “Explore Related Topics,” “Read More on This Topic,” and most importantly, “Take Action in Your Account.” The additional learning is beneficial to both those looking to dive deep into the lessons and those who need additional experience in order to pass the final assessment. The “Take Action in Your Account” option is most important, as executing what you learn is the hardest challenge of all, “Strategy gets you on the playing field, but execution pays the bills.”—Gordon Eubanks
- As Google describes: “When you know how Google Analytics works, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about how to collect the data you need and understanding the platform will help you better interpret and analyze your data since you will know where the data came from and why it looks the way it does in your reports.”
- The Learning Community is pretty good: If there was ever a reason to finally sign on to Google+ this is it. The community is comprised of a private forum (with very strict rules, unlike Google’s video counterpart), live Google+ Hangout events with Google Engineers, a variety of video resources, and general G+ community. Not only can you get help with the course itself, but you can also find like-minded Google aficionados to add to your digital friends repertoire.
- There will be more: Google plans to release several more Analytics courses, and they are not skimping on anything. The Analytics Academy is comparable to any online course system I have been a part of. Jumping on board when the ship is close to shore is a lot better than trying to catch up when it’s fully at sea.
Overall, there are many benefits to participating in the Google Analytics Academy whether you are looking to learn the basics, expand your knowledge or simply to add another notch in your resume.
As for the ROI on your time, the few hours spent away from putting out fires at the dealership is definitely worth it. Even if it’s to accomplish something in a world where we are currently chasing a never-ending target.
Head on over to check it out: https://analyticsacademy.withgoogle.com/
If you already have, what are your thoughts on the Analytics Academy? What did you get out of it?
Let me know in the comments:
Robert Karbaum arguably has the best name in the automotive industry. His combined experience over the past decade in E-Commerce and the automotive industry has allowed him to master the art of “AutoSpeak”; the ancient language that bridges the gap between internet geeks, the showroom floor and everything in-between. He manages the E-Commerce, Social and Digital Marketing operations at Weins Canada Inc. (formerly Don Valley North Automotive Group); a prestigious automotive group in Canada which includes the #1 volume Toyota and Lexus dealerships in the country.
Catch him on Twitter (@karbaum) or DroppinBaums.com.