Chris Behrens graduated in December 2012 from the Crosby MBA program. He concentrated in marketing analytics. He was on the Crosby Analytics Society executive board and prepared members for the Google Analytics certification tests. He also served as a Crosby Ambassador.
Google Analytics is the premier web analytics toolset for Fortune 500 companies and small firms alike. The platform is powerful, intuitive, and thorough enough for most online marketing needs. Seeking individual certification for the platform can be a great way to differentiate yourself in a crowded applicant pool. Recently I passed this certification exam, and I would like to provide some tips on how you can receive this certification too.
Use Google’s Free Study Resources
The great thing about the exam is that all study materials are available online for free from Google (“Google Analytics IQ Lessons”). I used 90% of my study time reviewing these study materials. My ultimate tip is to take very thorough notes from all available study videos. There is almost no “filler” content in the videos so be sure you have a pen or a keyboard at your fingertips.
Sign up for a Google Analytics Account
One of the best ways to learn the tricks of the trade in Google Analytics is to actually perform the tasks shown in the videos. Luckily, signing up for a Google Analytics account is absolutely free. If you have a personal blog or website you already manage, you can begin to track analytics on your site with Google Analytics, using the tools you have learned about in the videos. Practice makes perfect!
Use Third-Party Resources for “Sample” Questions
Although I only spent 5% of my time using “unofficial” resources, the sample questions provided by others proved invaluable. Although you will not actually see these exact exam questions on your test day, the format and content of the sample questions is very similar and shows you where your weaknesses are. My favorite resource to use is the “Google Analytics Test”. This site provides questions on four of the major topics on the exam: Traffic Sources, Goals and Funnels, Accounts and Profiles, and Advanced Segments.
Use Study Materials and Google Analytics on Test Day
The exam is open book, open note so you should certainly use every resource you have to succeed. While there is a time-limit which prevents you from looking up every question in your notes, you can and should check your materials if you get stuck on a question. Print out your test notes or have them open so you can quickly scan your notes. In addition, you can check many answers quickly by having the GA software package open during your exam.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Study, Even if You Are an “Expert”
Prior to the test, I thought I had a good handle on Google Analytics. I had used the software for several years prior to the test so I imagined the test would be simpler for me than for new users. While this may be true, I still forced myself to review concepts I already had familiarity with and to learn a few things along the way. I spent approximately 40-50 hours studying for the exam. However for new users with little to no familiarity with Google Analytics, I recommend 80-100 hours of study material time in addition to a thorough exploration of GA software on your computer.
To learn more about this emerging field, go to the Crosby MBA program’s marketing analytics page.