Should I Get Google Analytics Certified?
If you’ve ever spent time in GA this is probably a question you’ve asked yourself or someone you work with. While the answer is most likely “yes,” a few other questions can help support the decision and validate the investment of time.
Does your job require you to use analytics data to assess website performance or influence marketing decisions, like what content to write or which landing pages are effective?
Have you ever used Google Analytics? Going from barely knowing how to access analytics to certification can be a pretty big leap. But if you’ve spent a fair amount of time in GA, and understand what most of the reports are saying and where to go to find the information you want, you’re probably ready. When you’ve reached that point the next logical step is to become certified. Because the process of getting your certification will help deepen your relationship with what you know and reveal what you don’t.
So you think you’re a good candidate to become certified, what’s next?
How To Get Certified in Google Analytics
First, let’s clarify. There are two kinds of Google Analytics Certification, the one we’re talking about here is Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ). This program results in a certificate demonstrating proficiency. For agencies, there is the Google Analytics Certified Partner (GACP) program, which is a much more exacting series of requirements that results in the “Certified Partner Badge” once an organization meets all of the conditions.
From there, you’ll be able to choose from four different exams: AdWords, Analytics, Digital Sales and Mobile Sites. All of which have their valuable applications, but for now we’ll focus on the Analytics test. From this screen click, “See Exam.”
On the next page, you’ll have the opportunity to do one of two things, launch directly into taking the Google Analytics Certification test or study first. The test consists of 70 questions, lasts 90 minutes and requires 80% correct answers to pass. Once you have passed, the certificate is valid for 18 months. Google makes updates to analytics pretty regularly on anything from functionality to interface, which means that 18 months from today there may be new features to test you on.
Getting Ready For Your GAIQ Exam
Before taking the test though, it’s a really good idea to spend some time using the study guides. Even if you’ve set up a Google Analytics account, and even if you’ve been using and reading reports for months or years. The thing is, as they say, “you don’t know what you don’t know.”
The Analytics Academy courses cover both basic and advanced concepts. Each course will help you become more familiar with the material and get you thinking about the areas that may still be undiscovered territory for you. There are both videos and text transcripts of videos available to help you based on your own best learning style.
Additionally, outside sources make it possible to see example questions and take practice tests. However, it’s likely that your own questions will be much different, and it’s a good idea to set time limits for yourself if you’re practicing. The GAIQ exam time gives you only 90 minutes to complete the test and there is no option to pause at any point. With that in mind, make sure you’re in a situation where you won’t be interrupted when you begin the exam. If you don’t get the requisite 80% on your first (or even second or third) try you can retake it after 7 days.
Studying ahead of time will help your chances of passing on the first try or improving your score on subsequent attempts. Even though you may work in GA frequently and this is a self-initiated exam, it’s still wise to do your homework and come to the table prepared.
The Benefits of Google Analytics Certification
Maybe you’re not one of those people that love to take tests. Perhaps you’ve been using Google Analytics for years without a piece of paper that says that you know how. Or on the flip side, maybe you think that data analysis is more complicated than 90 minutes and 80% accuracy on 70 questions can provide. In either case, take the test anyway.
Being certified benefits you by:
- Making you more knowledgeable and proficient in using arguably the most powerful free tool set provided by the largest search engine in the world.
- Providing an added layer of validity to your already excellent experience and qualifications.
- Taking a test that includes several scenario-based questions. These will help you apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills that you’ll be able to use later when evaluating your own clients or website data.
- Giving you something to brag about at parties.
Being certified benefits your company/clients by:
- Allowing you to conduct more thorough, informed and granular data analysis. Even though the standard reports and big picture data may be worth reporting to clients, you never know what crucial piece of insight might be buried somewhere in a report modified by custom segments and secondary dimensions. Learning how to use the bells and whistles in Google Analytics is more than just a luxury, it could be the difference between carrying on the status quo and spotting something that may revolutionize a campaign.
- Digital marketing is still a relatively new specialty in the grand scheme of things. Advertising has been a thriving sector since the days of “Mad Men,” but even if we credit the digital age as beginning in the mid-nineties, digital marketing as a profession is barely approaching its quarter-life crisis. Even so, in the last decade, it has exploded. With an increasingly crowded market vying to land both clients and in-house positions, any advantage is worth having. Not to mention, with a rapid influx of “experts” whose expertise is dubious, passing this exam at least establishes that, by Google’s standards for individuals, you understand what you’re doing.
While there’s not a rule that says you have to become certified to be a pro at Google Analytics, the process of taking the test will certainly help you get there. If you’re experienced, but looking to take your skills to the next level, wondering how you can get better ideas out of data analysis or just trying to find a new way to stand out from the crowd, then getting certified in Google Analytics may be your answer. No matter what your job description is, if you touch GA for a living, the GAIQ test is ready and waiting to help you become better at what you do.