Get your Analytics in order

Do you know what UTMs are? I did not know until a week ago. Now that I have finished the Google Analytics course, I know. They are very cool tools to know exactly where leads come from and what is happening through all sources and media that bring traffic to your website. Now a 7-hour course on Google Tag Manager awaits me. I must say, I am not very happy: but I know that it’ll be a great opportunity for me. So, I will just take a deep breath, open my Google Tag Manager account and start following the instructor. This is what happens already in the Google Analytics course. If you love statistics, it will be great for you: actually, this is where the fun begins.  Because you do not just see the basics – as they tell you in the course – it looks like you learn what professionals do every day to have a very powerful lead-calculation machine working for you.

The fact that they consider the course – and the Google Tag Manager course, which is seven hours in total – basic, scares me a bit. Well, I am only half-way through, and I have learned so much, and I understood almost everything as the videos are clear and very practical, so I should not be afraid to delve into more number and statistical tools. The fact is, I have never looked at statistics in my life. I have always been the soft-skills guy, and that has been my problem: I did not know what the heck was happening in my company, or why. Then I took a Lean Six Sigma course and I became a Black Belt and I fell in love with statistics and their clarity: numbers can tell you a very interesting story and they are always truthful if you know how to use them. Numbers never lie and, if you follow the suggestions provided in the Google Analytics course, nor does Google Analytics. The GA course is very thorough – 9 hours in total, I wanted to cry a little bit when I saw that – but once you get to know the tool, you understand that it was necessary. Lessons are very practical and there are lots of pro tips that make you feel good, as you have now “secrets” of the trade that you know people do not learn in school.

I appreciate the choices made – what to teach and how – as you can see that the CXL always focuses on professional tools and not just academic lessons. They do not give you theory, they explain you immediately how to apply the tools in practice. So now I know what UTMs are – and they are really, really cool if you know how to use them. You know exactly how to analyze your traffic and set up Google Analytics in a way that really serves your purpose.

At the end of the course you feel kinda professional and can’t wait to use the tools you have learned to use. On the other hand, some of them are not straightforward, and you know you will mess things up. But that’s ok, you can review the lesson and try again and, as Peep Laja says, “90% of Google Analytics account are broken” anyway, so you know that even professionals mess things up.

This is a course for which listening is not enough, and I guess for Google Tag manager it will be the same. You need to practice and write down everything, with screenshots and notes, to flip through them once you apply the lessons to your own Google Analytics account. Lessons are explained very well, you understand everything, but I doubt you will remember everything – there is so much they cover in nine hours it makes your head spin. I have more than 150 pages of notes and screenshots, a sort of “definitive guide to the professional use of Google Analytics” that we will use in the months and years to come in our company.

I was amazed by the level of details and opportunities for optimization a professional use of Google Analytics gives you – the set-up of Goals, for instance, with the possibility to build and measure your won funnels in Google Analytics speaks to the level of analysis you can reach if you know how to use the tool.

You also see the opportunities to improve your e-commerce, your website and the perspective you can have on traffic, lead generation and sales.

Everything is analyzed in details – for instance, in the destination goals lesson, you see all types of destination goals you should track – not only lead goals, remember that! – how you should track them all tricks to keep your data clean – unfortunately, you will need to learn also to use Regex language, which is not complicated bur requires a bit of getting used to, I guess – and how you can trust but verify – always trust but verify! – with real-time sessions and, once again, UTMs. At the end of the lesson you feel you really know your stuff – and you know It not in theory. You feel you have all the tools to apply them so that you can have the results you want with Google Analytics at a level of detail that, I suspect, is beyond many professionals we will work with in the future. In fact, this is a great course also for those that will never become CRO specialists but want to know everything there is to know about CRO, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Audits, statistics and so forth for their own business.

 It is invaluable knowledge because  you can finally know who you are hiring to do the job: you can ask them the right questions and verify – always trust but verify, remember! – if they know what you are talking about or if they are improvised Google Analytics consultants who took a three-day theoretical course and know far, far less than you. It feels good, to know so much, but I would not like to be those consultants meeting someone that took the CXL course on CRO optimization.

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