This is the second blog that I will discuss about Google Analytics topic. It reminds me how close that I will face to Google Analytics Exam. May Google Analytics Exam bring me up or break me down? Scary! I give up. Just kidding! Not only do I need to pass the test, but I also want to be the master of information with solid analytical skills. I will spend the rest of this blog to demonstrate about Google Analytics Platform (GAP), and go deeper in the way it works. Google Analytics (GA) is a powerful analytics tool which helps marketers collect and analyze data across a variety of devices and digital environment. Due to the fast changing of technology, Google updates the version regularly to catch up with new release of devices or digital environment. That is the reason why Google Analytics Certification is expired after 18 months. Wait!… Is that mean I have to take the test after 18 months? The answer is yes, if your job requires.
Collection configuration, processing and reporting are four main parts of GAP which help you to gather, customize and analyze the data. Collection part responsibility is gathering user-interaction through the Google Analytics code. To activate the tracking code, you need to add it to your devices or digital environment that you want to measure. Configuration allows you to manage how the data is processed. Processing processes the user-interaction data, with the configuration data. The important note during the Processing & Configuration stage is that once your data has been processed, it cannot be changed, so you have to make sure that you have unfiltered view. Reporting provides access to all the processed data though reporting tools and data visualizations. API is a great tool of GAP, because it allows you to customize your own reporting tool, pull data from the Google Analytics and put it in your marketing dashboard.
Data model is the next important part of platform principles. Users, session and interactions are three components to this data model. User is visitors to your website, or app. The amount of time that visitors spend on your website called session. Interaction are user’s activities while they are on your website. With different digital environment, we use different tracking technology to create the data hit. For example, to collect data form mobile apps, we use SDKs, Measurement Protocol is used for other digital devices, and the Google Analytics Java Script code is only for gathering data from websites. In addition, each individual interaction within a session is hit. We use hits to collect and send data. In this part, distinguishing the difference of retrieving data way is very crucial, such as between clicks and sessions, sessions and users, sessions and entrances, and page views and unique page views.
Furthermore, I am amazing by the powerful of GAP, because GAP provides many awesome aspects which help to eliminate the wrong data or invalid data, such as session timeout length, and the processing hits into sessions and users. Nonetheless, if users clear their cookies in a web browser, or uninstall and then re-install a mobile app, Google Analytics cannot identify the returning users. This is a shortcoming of Google Analytics which make the gathering data process become less effective if the these “problem” data is big.
According to Google Analytics Blog, there is 78% of all marketers report feeling pressure to become more data-driven. What a huge number! Thanks to Google Analytics, marketers can reduce the burden now. Importing data into Google Analytics feature of GAP allows marketers better measure the performance of the business and maximize the efficiency of gathering data process. Users can importing data by account linking and data import. With Account Linking function, users can link Google Adwords, Google Adsense and Google Webmaster Tools to Google Google Analytics. I found it is really cool that users can save vast amount of their time by building a APIs program, when users use Dimension Widening Data Import way. APIs program automatically send data into Google Analytics on a regular basis. Interestingly, using Cost Data import tool is extremely helpful when users want to compare the performance of advertising campaigns.
After the success of importing data, transformation and aggregation are the next crucial parts of processing data. It is the time marketers turn the data into meaningful information, by filters, goals and grouping functions. As my imagination, this process is the same as grouping puzzles process when I play with 1000 pieces puzzles. For instance, I group all blue pieces as a group, green and brown pieces as a group, and red, white and yellow pieces as a group. The reason is blue pieces can become sky, green and brown pieces are trees and red, white and yellow pieces are house. In Google Analytics, Channel Group is a collection of data which have common marketing activities. Content Groups are like Channel Groups, but it lets you to create and analyze a collection of content. If you have a lot of content to analyze, Channel Groups function is very useful and helpful.
The last stage is reporting. In reporting stage, dimension describes characteristics of the data, such as the name of the page that user viewed, while metric are the quantitative measurements of the data. Total number of users on a website or app or average number of pages users see during a session on the website are metrics. Then, you can use the APIs to integrate the business data with Google Analytics, build custom dashboard, and extract the data. Finally, report sampling is an analytics practice that generates reports based on a small, random subset of the date. It helps you to speed up the time of calculation the data for your report.
I think it is pretty much information that I learnt from Google Analytics Platform Principles videos. Of course, these information is not enough for me to gain success in the exam. I need to do more practices, read carefully the materials and some information blogs and attend today’s class to boost my score. Although I am now overwhelmed with new knowledge and Google Analytics skills, I believe that I will use proficiently Google Analytics in the next coming weeks.
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