Analytics Academy with Google
Digital analytics provides insights into how consumers are interacting with a brand’s website.The consumer digital journey is becoming increasingly complex and in order to gain competitive advantage, businesses need to measure these interactions and leverage actionable data. According to W3Techs, Google Analytics (GA) is the most widely used web traffic analysis tool on the internet, and to support new and existing users Google provides a free and comprehensive training course in Digital Analytics Fundamentals. The Analytics Academy course uncovers the many features and reporting tools of GA and by understanding how to get the most out of these tools, businesses can identify opportunities for unlocking data and using the insights that matter.
Course content and structure
The aim of the Analytics Academy course is for users to learn the core principles of digital analytics including how to create a GA account, collect data, and navigate reporting tools. The course contextualises digital analytics and the objective of the first chapter is for users to recognise why digital analytics tools are important to implement for their business. Training is delivered through video tutorials, text-based learning content, lesson activities, and a final assessment exam. There are also links to additional resources for users who would like to dive deeper into the world of analytics or simply for those who require further experience. Key metrics and dimensions are defined throughout the course and the functions of different reports and filters are discussed.
One disadvantage of the course is perhaps the over-reliance on video instruction and subsequent lack of practical exercises. With this course, users do have some opportunities to practically apply learnings on a mock analytics account. However, I feel that it is only by manipulating real data in Tourism Ireland Nordics account that I have gained a real understanding of how to access and interpret different reports.
Questions in the final assessment were drawn from the course topics. It was disappointing that no feedback was provided following the assessment, except for the overall score. Having answered 18 of 20 multiple-choice questions correctly, I repeated the test a second time to try to find the answers to the remaining 2 questions. This was easier said than done and I eventually had to search through the GA Help Center to find the correct answers.
Using analytics to extract meaningful information and inform decision-making, moves us from being “reactive” to becoming “proactive” marketers (Kang, 2015). Data can be used to understand what has happened but to also predict what is going to happen, anticipate future outcomes and set targets. Gaining insights into how customers use your website is a fundamental step in improving future digital marketing campaigns and continuing to optimise the consumer experience. “Creativity is necessary to develop new ways of using data or to identify new opportunities for unlocking data” (Bhandari, Singer, van der Scheer, 2014) and the efficient use of digital analytics is related to a continual improvement process: measure, report, analyse, test, improve. Consumers move across channels and devices, and in order to effectively optimise and attribute value to each interaction, technical and marketing teams must build systems of insights together (Hopkins & Schlader, 2015). Your overall measurement plan and business objectives will influence what you track using GA, but a strategic and multi-disciplinary approach to analytics is essential for implementing tangible business actions based on consumer insights.
Bhandari, R., Singer, M., & van der Scheer, H. (2014). Using marketing analytics to drive superior growth. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved 5 April 2016, from http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/using-marketing-analytics-to-drive-superior-growth
Hopkins, B., & Schadler, T. (2015). Digital insights are the new currency of business. KMWorld Magazine. Retrieved 6 April 2016, from http://www.kmworld.com/Articles/Editorial/Features/Digital-insights-are-the-new-currency-of-business-106445.aspx
Kang, J. (2015). How to achieve one-to-one marketing. AgilOne. Retrieved 4 April 2016, from http://www.agilone.com/how-to-achieve-one-to-one-marketing