One of the best tools to help any business on the web, free or paid, is Google Analytics. It can help you track the highest level metrics like total users or average session duration all the way through to the return on investment for a specific campaign, and everything in between.
The fact that you can do so much with Google Analytics is both its greatest benefit and its biggest challenge. It’s so powerful that it is easy to get overwhelmed by where to start and end up not doing anything.
We’re heavy users of Google Analytics and have published several blog posts covering different areas of the tool. Google has also published lots of content on how to make the most from their analytics tool.
We’ve put all of this together into a recommended order of resources to review and use. Happy analyzing!
The Google Analytics Academy is a series of five courses (all free!) and Digital Analytics Fundamentals is the first one. Regardless of the web analytics platform you use, this is a great primer to understand how data is collected with most tools, including Google Analytics.
Google Analytics Platform Principles is the second course in the Google Analytics Academy and will show you how to get started specifically with Google Analytics.
Google offers a certification for their analytics tool. The Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) is a certification test consisting of 70 questions pertaining to analytic theory, vocabulary, application, and the Google Analytics platform itself. Read this post to get started – it’s a great way to review and reinforce what you learned from the first two resources in this list.
By the time you get to this step you’ll understand how important UTM parameters are to get deep insights into your web traffic and campaigns. Read this blog post we published to learn how to set yourself up for success when using UTM parameters.
Practice makes perfect :) Google recently released a demo account tool for Google Analytics to help you practice your new skills.
There are A LOT of reports available in Google Analytics. Add in the ability to create custom reports, plus layer in custom segments and custom variables, and oh my. Before you get too overwhelmed, here are three basic reports you can use to dip your toes into what’s available in Google Analytics.
Collecting the data is one component of analytics. Building reports is another component. After that, you’re still not done – presenting the data in a useful and actionable way is a critical step that makes the rest of this work worthwhile. The Data Studio is another recent release from Google (and another free tool!) that provides a powerful method to bring all your data and reports into a single place where you can share it with everyone in your organization.
This is perhaps the most useful website out there on web analytics. Avinash Kaushik dives deep on all things digital analytics, from the simple to the complex, and does it i and very readable and relatable way.
These two books are your web analytics desk references. If they are like my copies, they’ll soon be filled with bookmarks, highlights, and worn pages from being accessed frequently.
What other resources have you used to master Google Analytics? Share them with the community in the comments!