Tips for Preparing for the Google Analytics IQ Test

In Conversion UniversityAnalytics Help and Google Analytics for Developers pay particular attention to the information related to cookies, goal settings, ecommerce tracking, cross-domain tracking, event tracking, virtual pageviews, and AdWords integration.

Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) test

While preparing for the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) exam,  on web analytics sites and blogs I bookmarked some great resources for passing GAIQ.

Google Analytics IQ Test Tips

Inside Google Analytics with Phil Mui (podcast)
In this episode, the Beyond Web Analytics team talks with Phil Mui, Senior Product Manager of Google Analytics about the evolution of Google Analytics. The conversation covers the motivation behind the creation of Google Analytics through the many advancements that have been made to date. The group also covers the challenges related to providing to a tool to user groups of multiple skill levels, what type of companies can and should use Google Analytics, what “real-time” really means, the steps that Google takes to protect the privacy of data, and Phil even sheds some light on what it is like to work with Avinash.

The Power of Multiple Custom Variables
Google calls it “MCV” and I call it “Google’s gift to humanity”. Prior to the MCV announcement, we were limited to tagging visitors by a single variable (SetVar) based on their interactions with a site. With the new MCV feature we can now track visitors according to any number of interactions and behaviors on the site.

Session-level Labels – at the session level we will use custom variables to distinguish visitors’ behavior across sessions based on their conversion. In this way, we can segment visits by those who complete ecommerce transactions versus those who just browse products in the site.

Event Tracking – Google Analytics (Simplified Version)
Best practices for creating virtual pageviews:

    • Use clear and consistent naming conventions for your virtual pages.
    • Start your virtual page name with the word ‘virtual’ so that you can easily spot them in the GA report.
    • Create one or more virtual directories to categories your webpage elements. For e.g.

_gaq.push ([‘_trackPageView’,’virtual/guides/downloads/seo-beginners-guide.pdf]);

  • Create duplicate profiles which filter out virtual pageviews.

Best practices for setting up event tracking:

  • Use clear and consistent naming conventions for event categories, event actions and event labels.
  • Determine in advance all of the web page elements (like videos, gadget, image, external link etc) and type of events you want to track.
  • Create a hierarchy of event categories, event actions and event labels that is scalable.Then work with your report users to make sure that your hierarchy is understandable.

Tracking Events And Goals With Google Analytics Asynchronous

The Three Evils of Analytics Tracking: Images, Javascript, and Cookies

Measuring Non-Ecommerce Site Value
Google Analytics only counts one Goal per visit, but allows multiple ecommerce transactions – there’s an article on the Conversion University site by Brian Clifton (excerpted from his excellent book “Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics”) which describes tracking a lead generation site with ecommerce tracking, recording transactions for such actions as downloading a whitepaper.

Google Analytics, Web Marketing Campaigns, and Conversion Attribution
So for e-commerce sites with these high-involvement/long purchase cycle products or sites with very high visitor-to-sales ratio, analysts may want to direct Analytics to ignore these secondary campaigns, and each attribute conversions to the first campaign guided the visitors to your website. With links under your control (such as banner ads, external blogs, or links posted on your company Twitter) account, simply add the variable “& utm_nooverride = 1″ in the URL. Thus the original source of traffic will not be overwritten, thus preserving the origin of visitors.

Google Analytics Cookies
This is a basic overview of how cookies are employed to collect visitor data.

Web Analytics TV With Avinash Kaushik and Nick Mihailovski
(8:50) In which report can you find the PPC search terms (not bid terms)?

Thanks all! I’m now a Google Analytics Certified data zealot.

If you liked this article, I’d love it if you would share or bookmark it.

Update – April 12, 2011: In the new Google Analytics it’s possible to track Event Goals.

Update – December 9, 2011:  Google Analytics Certification Tips – Part II on Marketing Sutra.