How do you set goals in Google Ads? 50+ PPC advertisers share their top tips and best practices.
Analytics | Jul 30
Elise Dopson on October 29, 2019 (last modified on May 28, 2020) • 10 minute read
But the vast majority of website owners don’t know how to harness Google Analytics’ full potential. It goes beyond checking real-time metrics; you can change your entire marketing strategy if you understand how to use Google Analytics.
…Yet over a quarter of the pros we polled said that Google Analytics is “somewhat difficult” to learn:
So, how do you get to grips with the Google Analytics dashboard–and the wealth of data inside of it?
We asked our experts how they learned their way around. We’ll share 11 of the best Google Analytics training programs, including:
Click the links above to jump to a specific Google Analytics resource, or continue scrolling to see how you can sink your teeth into what Google Analytics has to offer.
*Editor’s note: Not ready to face an overwhelming Google Analytics account? View your most important metrics (without the distraction) with our Google Analytics Website Traffic dashboard:
“The best resource is the Google Analytics Academy,” says Marta Ceccato of Sapiens Media Coaching.
“The Academy has a course for each level: Beginner, Advanced, and Pro. Everything is explained in a simple and clear manner and at the end of each unit you can practice via a demo account – linked to the course and, you can even take a quiz to test your knowledge.”
“There isn’t a better resource than Google Analytics Academy (in our opinion),” says Paul McIntosh of Siren Digital Marketing. “Getting the training straight from the source has been extremely helpful for all our employees.”
PopShorts‘ Jake Hay also “would recommend Google Analytics Academy because it offers a step by step guide on how to work Google Analytics and you can learn at your own pace from experts in the field.”
Kiwi Creative‘s Giselle Bardwell explains: “From beginner to power users, Google has smartly put together four distinctive training tracks that will teach you everything you need to take full advantage of the analytics platform. More importantly, you’ll learn quite a bit about data collection and analysis, which will help you make smarter business decisions.”
Sarah Anne of Good Life Marketing says the Google Analytics for Power Users is one you should take notice of: “Moving beyond basics, this course equips marketers with no-nonsense, practical data to assess current marketing strategies and make changes to poor-performing elements.”
In fact, the vast majority (86%) would recommend Google Analytics’ Academy to learn more about their data:
KDG‘s Keri Lindenmuth adds: “This academy features numerous lectures, classes, demos, and certification tests designed, developed, and taught by the experts behind Google Analytics.”
“Why pay for a third-party training session on something like Udemy when you can access free classes straight from the experts?”
IsItWP‘s Farasat Khan backs this up: “The best part are the instructors, who have years of experience with Google, so they know the product inside out.”
“The instructors include Justin Cutroni, Ashish Vij and a few more knowledgeable people to help you master the widely used tool in the digital space.”
“My favorite resource for learning more about Google Analytics is through its YouTube channel,” writes Directive‘s Liam Barnes.
“Video learning makes it so much easier to visualize Analytics and learn about various views and tools.”
“Internally in our agency [Break The Web], it’s become a required training for anyone in a marketing-specific role to go through the plethora of courses from Jeff Sauer/Jeffalytics,” Jason Berkowitz says.
“His courses go deep from beginner/newbie practices like account creation and confirming tracking to advanced processes like goal tracking and ideal filter views.”
Jason Thibault of Massive Kontent would also “highly recommend Jeff Sauer’s ‘Google Analytics Mastery’ course that he hosts over at DataDrivenU. He has completely overhauled the lessons so that they line up correctly with the new GA dashboard.”
“I originally took the course in conjunction with Google Academy’s free offerings. Jeff, however, goes into much greater detail taking you through beginner, intermediate and advanced modules. After covering the various reports he then takes you through consulting, Google Tag Manager and even GDPR.”
“There are 90 videos and a lot of supplemental reading material – so when you’ve completed everything you’ll be able to tackle the analytics exam with extreme confidence,” Thibault adds.
Brandnic‘s Nadia Khan adds: “Jeff was one of the beta testers of Google Analytics in 2005, and he has be teaching internet marketers about Google Analytics for more than five years.”
“This course is planned to take the students from beginner to “expert” level within a month. Another reason why JEFFALYTICS is the best source to learn Google Analytics is that the user can get access to continuous learning to keep updated about the latest features within Google Analytics.”
Sam Bretzmann of Local SEO Machine recommends this Google Analytics resource because “Annie does a great job with her training and has some very valuable free resources. [It’s] well worth checking out if you are looking to strengthen your analytics game.”
Brian Jensen of Congruent Digital agrees: “Annie has been an evangelist for Google Analytics for well over a decade.”
“Her knowledge, passion, and ability to make intimidating tasks in GA a breeze makes her training programs a go-to resource for any digital marketer looking to build or sharpen their analytic skills.”
“I would recommend that everyone check out MeasureSchool,” says Sagefrog Marketing Group‘s Ben Johnston.
“MeasureSchool covers a huge range of topics associated with Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and more! They also have a free email subscription that will blast all their standout content right to your inbox.”
Ampjar‘s Quincy Smith agrees: “MeasureSchool on YouTube is incredible and I’ve learned a ton from them – they do a great job of explaining complex analytics issues in easy to digest and understand videos – a must for anyone looking to get more out of their data.”
Plus, Alistair Dodds of Ever Increasing Circles says: “They cover even more elements in greater detail and are particularly excellent if you need to set up Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager tracking combinations.”
Summarizing, Peter LaGregor of Under Par Goals says: “Hands down the best Google Analytics resource for me as a marketer has been the MeasureSchool YouTube channel. They give me all the tools and technical knowledge and that lets me use my creativity to accomplish the marketing goals I am after.”
Laura Gonzalez of Audi South Orlando recommends “Lynda.com’s training course for Google Analytics.”
“It covers the essentials and will not only help you learn but also prep you to pass the Google Analytics certification. It requires you to sign-up for a free for 30 days trial, but you have to pay after that. It also now lives on LinkedIn Learning.”
Growth Hackers‘ Jonathan Aufray thinks “Udemy is your top choice for Google Analytics training. Why? Because you’ve got the choice between many different resources, you can check other people’s reviews and you can easily select a specific skill in Google Analytics that you want to learn.”
Best Company‘s Rochelle Burnside adds: “Udemy’s “Google Analytics Certification: Become Certified & Earn More” is a quick and comprehensive resource that teaches to the certification test.”
“Because there’s so much you CAN do with Analytics, this was a good resource to keep myself from getting distracted in all the details and honing in on the basics I’d need to orient myself with Analytics. It was also a good resource for practicing for the certification test.”
Pickfu‘s William Chin-Fook adds: “There’s a number of highly-rated tutorials (thousands of 4 to 5-star ratings out of 5) and the cost is minuscule, roughly 12 USD.”
“Overall, they usually give you access to training materials that you can download and will walk you through how to even get your Google Analytics certification as well!”
“The best thing about the tutorials are, they really take the time to explain every intricate detail of Google analytics, and how to use the “free GA version” to its fullest extent,” Chin-Fook adds.
One of those courses is Google Analytics: Double Your Conversions With No Extra Cost, recommended by Adam Hempenstall of Better Proposals: “I recommend it because it is focused on marketing and more specifically, on improving website conversions.”
“Using the knowledge from this course, we went from a 2% to a 4% conversion on cold traffic.”
“My go-to resource for learning about new topics or marketing strategies is Clarity.FM,” says Michael Allen of Team Building Boston. “Clarity is a directory of consultants and experts who can advise on a wide variety of expertise, including Google Analytics.”
“I like doing the calls with these experts because you can learn the most important parts of what you need to know very quickly, and also ask questions along the way.”
“You pay by the minute, and the rates are usually fair, so it’s cost-effective. I’ve done 20+ calls on Clarity.FM to date, and have always been happy with the result,” Allen adds.
Convert Insights‘ Trina Moitra recommends “the Google Analytics Beginners course at the CXL Institute. It is not a free resource, but if you wish to start right with GA, it is the best, most stimulating way forward.”
“The videos are informal and fast-paced, there is zero jargon, the instructor shows you where you are likely to go wrong and the very first video (after the introduction) delivers massive value by diving straight into filtering data and constructing audience segment conditions. A total game-changer.”
Joseph Colarusso of ESM Digital agrees: “This course covers all the basics with Google Analytics. It provides step by step guidance with actual videos and problem sets along the way. The instructor answers common questions and provides real-life examples.”
Carol Hill of AnalyticsHelp says: “I would recommend the “Go from zero to effective in using Google Analytics” online course as it covers most of the reports that Google Analytics has and explains how to interpret the data from those reports.”
“Matthew Edgar has a great free, 20-minute Skillshare video that I find myself constantly sending to work associates who want to utilize Google Analytics,” says Elementive‘s Lexi Grafe.
“This video is a one-stop-shop. The video discusses what Google Analytics is and defines analytic terms to give a basic foundation of understanding before diving into how to install tracking code (without knowing code).”
“Matthew shows how to use different metrics and reports, such as date ranges, referrals, sources, visitor paths, and pages. It’s an easy to understand, in-depth introduction without being intimidating.”
Grafe adds: “Additionally, Matthew finishes the video by providing more resources, which is a great step to learning more about Google Analytics at your own pace.”
“When I was starting out as a blogger, I always heard good things about tracking stuff and Google Analytics seemed the best thing to learn for the start,” writes Adnan Rehan of Smart Hustle Income.
“Since I didn’t know anything about it, I found this Moz’s super-helpful guide on The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics which answered most of my newbie questions.”
Whether you’re a complete beginner or advanced user looking to up-level your skill, we’re sure you’ll learn something new in these Google Analytics training programs.
Don’t be disheartened if you’ve overwhelmed with information, though. Our experts said it took them weeks to learn Google Analytics–and there’s always more to learn.
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