Google Offering Online Digital Analytics Course for Digital Marketers

The free self-paced analytics course runs from March 11 through 27 online and is the second offering in Google's Analytics Academy to help marketers get more from Google Analytics.

Digital marketers who use Google Analytics can gain new insights and lessons about the platform by participating in a free online Google Analytics Platform Principles course being offered by the company from March 11 to 27.

Registration for the course was announced by Justin Cutroni, an analytics evangelist for Google, in a March 4 post on the Google Analytics Blog. The course is the second one being offered through Google's Analytics Academy, which was launched in October 2013, he wrote.

The Google Analytics Platform Principles course will "dive deeper into the details of how the platform collects, transforms and organizes the data you see in Analytics," wrote Cutroni. "Understanding how these processes work is the first step to refining your implementation and uncovering more valuable insights about your business."

Participants will learn about the four components of the analytics platform, including data collection, processing, configuration and reporting, as well as about how analytics collects the data you need across different devices, he wrote. Also covered by the course are key concepts for customizing analytics data in useful ways, he wrote.

Registration for the class, which begins March 11, is open immediately. Prospective participants can sign up by answering a few quick questions on a registration site.

The latest course is designed for intermediate users who are interested in building a deeper understanding of how Google Analytics work, according to Google. New users of analytics can first begin with the Digital Analytics Fundamentals before diving into the intermediate course, the company suggests.

The Google Analytics Platform Principles course includes 15 video lessons of two to six minutes each, as well as related activities. The course should take about one to three hours to complete for participants, according to Google. Teaching assistants and Google Analytics experts will be available to students for the duration of the course via the online course forum and the Google+ community, the company said. Participants will also be able to join in for a live Google+ Hangout on Air session that will be hosted by Google Analytics experts on March 18.

"It's never been a more exciting time for businesses as technology is driving innovation at an astounding rate," wrote Cutroni. "With the introduction of mobile devices (and tablets) and the ability to understand user behavior—the fundamental way that we do business is changing. And the key driver is data."

Learning more about how to use this growing pool of data is key for companies to improve their sales, operations and business futures, he wrote. "All of these new technologies create information—data that we can use to better understand the needs of customers. If we understand the customer better, we can help them achieve their goals, while we achieve ours."

Through the Google Analytics Academy, the company is working to help digital marketers continue to improve their skills to be able to generate the data that their companies need, Cutroni wrote. "Nowhere is this more evident than in digital marketing and digital advertising. Seventy-eight percent of marketers feel the need to become more data driven and almost 40 percent of major brands see a talent gap in analytics. Marketers need to know how their campaigns drive direct conversions, and more importantly, how they improve the overall performance of other campaigns. This can be an imposing task for someone that doesn't know the difference between a conversion and bounce rate."

The first Google Analytics Academy course last October attracted more than 145,000 students, with some 30,000 completing the course and earning a certificate of completion.

Google often offers free online courses to train users in a variety of Google programs and services. In September 2013, Google launched a new DoubleClick for Advertisers (DFA) Academy to provide more advice and self-paced training for marketers.

In July 2012, Google updated its Google Analytics suite to improve the collection of Website data that helps measure user patterns and responses. Included in the additions were real-time, mobile and social media reports.

Google Analytics is used by Website owners to track the success of their online advertising campaigns, analyze their Web traffic, and evaluate what is and isn't working to pull in eyeballs. It also includes multi-channel funnels that allow users to visually see how all the different parts of a marketing campaign add up to customer conversions over a 30-day period, as well as the ability to conduct content experiments so that site owners can see how different versions of a page can affect their audiences.

Google Analytics was launched in November 2005 to give Website owners deeper insights into who was viewing their Web pages. It sounds quaint today, less than seven years after its debut, but it was seen as a way for Google to "keep pace with advertising-related strides made recently by rivals Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN, the two other leading Internet portals, revenue-wise," according to an eWEEK report at the time.