The Google Analytics certification program has been around for a while, it is held in high regard by many companies who seek this as a guide of expertise in Google Analytics. Speaking as someone who has passed the exam it is by no means an easy exam to pass. The content of the exam is highly technical and covers everything from cross domain to e-commerce tracking (Something not everyone who deals with Google Analytics on a daily basis needs to know).
One key issue with the exam is there is very little within the exam itself on analysis of the data. Which as we all know is one thing that is always lacking with most analytics projects. Many would argue that a certification award for data analysis could prove difficult to define, however I am sure it would be a very sought after certification. Especially if it was backed up by material on the conversion university provided by Google to help up-skill analysts using Google Analytics.
The other thought is with regards to the introduction of Universal Analytics (Also referred to as “analytics.js”). The release of this new tracking method brings some nice benefits but ultimately a more difficult implementation. At present this is in beta so you can only hope that Google will be releasing a certification program to meet this need. When this does comes out of beta this will be the de-facto way to implement GA and thus the certification exam should be based on this going forward.
I would therefore propose Google Analytics should have three certifications post Universal Analytics release from beta:
- Google Analytics IQ – Implementation
- Google Analytics IQ – Advanced Implementation
- Google Analytics IQ – Analyst
It is difficult to decide what would fall into an “Advanced” Implementation versus a non-advanced. Especially in the new world of “Universal Analytics”. However here are a few possible examples of how it could look.
Google Analytics IQ – Implementation
This examination would cover off many day to day account management tasks and basic setup requirements including:
- Profile Setup including Filters, Basics
- Account Structure
- Basic tracking setup (Low level)
- Linking products including Adwords and Webmaster Tools
- Goal Setup
- Campaign Tracking
- Event Tracking
Google Analytics IQ – Advanced Implementation
The advanced implementation examination would be based on the more bespoke requirements including:
- Cross-domain tracking
- E-Commerce Setup
- Cost Data Import
- Custom Dimensions & Metrics
Google Analytics IQ – Analyst
It goes without saying that the analyst exam would cover data analysis tasks including:
- Segmentation techniques.
- Multi-channel analysis
- Using Alerts and Intelligence
- Utilising Custom Reports
- Utilising Custom Segments
- Relating business objectives to data
Whilst there is an argument that a good web analyst should be able to do all of the above and more, we know that it’s not only web analysts using Google Analytics with many marketing teams responsible for much more than just analytics. While a dedicated analytics professional (such as myself) would no doubt be happy to pass all three exams above there will be many who would never require such a level of certification in GA.
With Google updating other services such as Adwords alongside Google Analytics ongoing innovation there is a call for similar changes to those certification programs too. One thing is for sure, for the digital marketer amongst us the times they are a changing and we need to change with them to keep our skills relevant.
For those seeking to hire the right person for the job they need confidence in hiring the right person and that can only come from a clear, concise and readily updated certification program.