Google Analytics for Power Users
Lessons learned from the Google Academy
Lessons learned a couple of weeks ago in the Google Academy: I was in Google HQ (Sydney) following Paul Hewett´s introduction about Google Optimizer. There are two versions of the program, the Optimize (which is a free product) and Optimize 360 premium testing and personalization tool for enterprise use. I tried finding the pricing but for some reason, there isn’t much information available. Apparently, it can be quite costly.
While Mr Hewett got further with the introduction I soon learned about the remarketing possibilities Optimizer has and how the e-commerce companies are using the personalized shopping experience along with the remarketing tool in a very intelligent way. The Optimizer with Analytics program can create new opportunities to get those conversion rates rising. In case you have left your shopping cart in eBay you probably know what I am talking about. They reach out to you asking and reminding would you like to make the purchase to create conversion. Google calls this segment the potential purchase segment, highly interesting and likely easiest to push to convert.
Paul Hewett asked had anyone familiarized themselves with the Google Analytics Power User training which was launched September 2018. Looked like I was the only one lifting my hand a bit (because I had just started the training) and that did spark some enthusiasm trying to finish it quicker to write my insights about it. My first impression of the certificate training materials was quite positive. Google has improved the content and made assessment a bit more challenging instead of just repeating the structure of the study materials. The learning materials are all online and consists of text, tutorials, video and are very much down to how to really use the analytics program for the benefit of your business or personal goals. It helps you to improve website content, optimize the checkout flow, and create marketing strategy with suitable KPI´s.
Naturally, the training videos are again very brief (just a few minutes each) but extremely easy to follow. In the first two Google Academy training courses, not all the videos worked and I was not expecting too much. Krista Seiden, who has been the face in all Google Analytics videos does a great job explaining everything with great clarity. However, in order to actually learn how to use the Google Analytics tools you really need to have a Google account, your own or company website to analyse. You will need to go back and forth between the study materials and your own website to actually learn something. The study materials are just to support the process.
After using WordPress and the traffic report on the mobile app as my primary source of information this was all very interesting. Google says the learning outcomes the Google Analytics for Power Users program has consists among other goals of analysing the converting and non-converting audiences which I found extremely interesting. Also understanding at which stage of the funnel shopper drops the cart and leaves the site is highly beneficial for ecommerce business owners. Potential problems customers face are numerous and one of the most important goals is to create platform which works regardless of the used device or system.
Determining the traffic sources driving the most value and identifying top performing content on the website site are both something you need to learn to evaluate critically. This is done through a set of goals with pre-determined and measurable KPIs.
From a practical (or professional) point of view, the learning material content is way too generic in order to provide these skills. In order to really work with the tool you need to seek alternative information and if possible practical experience with industry professionals. Would be much more beneficial to show various or even some industry examples. It does not tie the content into real-life business cases and I gave my feedback about this to the Google Academy (the second time). So, in my opinion, Google Analytics for Power Users is not 100% there yet.
There must be millions of others thinking and educating themselves about the same matter and I am sure everyone has their favourite industry professional to follow. I need to mention one great blogger in WEBSEO Analytics who writes highly usable content about SEO. He is Mr Dimitris Zotos, an Online Marketing professional specializing in search engines, social media communications and online advertising. He explains the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) extremely well. As in business, these are also in the context of Google Analytics a set of measurements reflecting the performance or success of an organization in terms of the progress of its goals. In the article I have linked above and here he explains the most important e-commerce or website KPIs from a digital marketing perspective.
I cannot highlight enough the importance of understanding and setting the Key Performance Indicators from reliability, comparability and business forecasting point of view. Instead of guessing and waiting for the digital marketing campaigns to end we can actually forecast the campaign success in such accuracy through testing and comparing the curve to our previous data. Without spending days trying to calculate and understand what just happened here. That alone is a great reason to educate yourself about these matters. The Google Analytics for Power Users program incentified me to seek more information and real life business cases. So it must have served its purpose quite well. Now I find reading articles about the Analytics tool extremely interesting and it is starting to make more sense to me.