Thousands of online marketers and webmasters use Google Analytics on a daily basis to monitor the vast amount of data generated about their websites, but few manage to use this invaluable free tool to its fullest potential.
The Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) examination is testament to just how complex the product is, and the vast amount of metrics it provides for you to track to determine your website’s performance and standing in the search engines and on social networks.
The Google Analytics IQ exam is now free!
The Google Analytics exam has, as of September 22, 2014, been made available for free. However, you’ll need to register as a Google individual partner, which is a bit more complicated than you’d expect, so we’ll run through it.
First, visit the partner’s page here, and click the “I’m an Agency’ link on the top right of the page.
Then click “Join Google Partners”. At which point you’ll need to sign into your Google account (or sign up if you do not already have one).
Fill in the details on the next page and continue, at which point you’ll be required to fill in your company profile details. If you are registering as an individual, you can just hit “Skip for now” at the bottom of the page. You’ll then be prompted to finalise the signup process.
Once completed, you should be taken to the “Partners” dashboard at google.com/partners. Look to the left and you’ll see a section for “Certifications” with options for Analytics, AdWords, and Video Ads.
Click through to “Analytics” and you’re there! From this page, you’ll be able to sit your exam.
Towards a bottom of the page you’ll see a series of video lessons created by the Google Analytics Academy, more on that below.
Webmasters and search marketers should already have a degree of familiarity with the most important metrics to track and how to retrieve the data required for analysing their clients’ websites.
However, many people don’t use Analytics to its fullest potential, nor have an extensive enough knowledge of things like e-commerce and RegEx tracking codes and how they are implemented.
In order to be confident in your knowledge regarding all areas of Google Analytics, which you will need to be to pass the test, you’ll need to prepare yourself for a considerable amount of research and revision.
However, nothing beats a hands-on approach when it comes to learning more about any subject matter, and one of the best ways to garner a better understanding of how the system works is to implement some of the tracking codes for yourself and get reporting.
Related: 7 analytics tools worth your time
The Google Analytics Academy
The best place to start is at the Google Analytics Academy where you can run through a series of lessons covering every area of the platform.
The Google Analytics Platform Principles serves as an introduction to the various aspects of the product through a series of videos and slideshows.
Digital Analytics Fundamentals – Lesson 1.1 Course overview
While you work your way through the course, be sure to pay particularly close attention to the following topics:
- Interpreting reports
- Virtual pageviews
- Event tracking
- Online commerce tracking
- Regular expressions
- Filters and advanced segments
Before you take the exam, you should also take a look at the Google Analytics IQ Study Guide.
Conveniently broken up into small sections with links to the relevant lessons from the Google Analytics Academy, it also provides practical examples of the application of various features and useful notes and other resources.
Getting that pass
In order to pass the GAIQ exam, you’ll need to get a score of 80%, up from 75% in 2010. The exam consists of 70 questions randomly chosen from a pool of around 260, so you cannot afford to get many wrong if you want to pass.
The exam should take around 90 minutes, though you can pause it as many times as you like, and the certification remains valid for 18 months after your pass date.
On a final note, be aware that the exam is an open-book one, so be sure to have all of your revision notes and resources at hand before you get started.
A few of our favourite resources.
- Google campaign URL builder (you can’t be without this!)
- IP address range to regex converter
- Google Analytics Exam test notes
- Analytics reference guide (print this out and have it ready when you take the exam)
Have you taken the exam before? How did you find it? If you plan to soon, what resources did you find helpful?