Can a Google Analytics Certification help your career?

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Thinking it’s time to earn that prestigious Google Analytics certification?

Well, before you spend a lot of time studying, read along to understand what to expect.

You probably want to know how hard the exam is and how much work it will take to pass. And if you do pass the exam, what’s the value of your certification? Will your certification help you get a job or land clients?

Google Analytics Individual Qualification Assessment

Well, I have good news. I am going to answer all those questions for you. I’ve worked as a Google Analytics certified professional for more than a decade. More importantly, I’ve helped over 10,000 digital marketers prepare for their Google Analytics certification exams.

In this guide, we’ll walk through the exact steps you need to follow to get certified. I’ll share some insider tips for prepping to ace the exam, along with a quiz you can use to gauge your exam “readiness.”

Then we’ll talk about the value of your Google Analytics certification. Our expert panel of digital marketing agency owners will share their insights about how a GA certification can impact your status on the job market. They’ll also weigh in on which analytics skills are the most valuable in the current marketplace.

Here’s a quick overview of the sections in this article:

Taking the Google Analytics Certification assessment
Should you use your personal or business account for your Google Certifications?
What do I have to do to get Google Analytics certified?
How do you know if you’re ready to take the certification assessment?
The key to using your Google Analytics skills
Are marketing agencies more likely to hire Google Analytics certified professionals?
How much value does a Google Analytics Certification potentially add to a marketer’s salary?
Which Google Analytics skills are most valuable to your agency and clients?

Taking the Google Analytics Certification Assessment

Let’s clear up one crucial detail right away. It’s doesn’t cost you anything to take the Google Analytics certification exam. You can take the assessment for free anytime.

To take the exam, you need to sign in to your Google Account and navigate to the Google Skill Shop. (Update: Skill Shop was launched by Google in the fall of 2019 to replace the short-lived Academy for Ads, which replaced the Google Partners Portal.)

Google Skill Shop
Google Skill Shop

Finding the Analytics exam on the Skill Shop takes a little bit of searching. The Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) exam is included among the certification options in the Google Marketing platform category.

Google Analytics Certification Exam

Once you’ve located the GAIQ page, all you need to do to start the test is to click the exam link.

Google Analytics Certification exam

Should you use your personal or business account for your Google Certifications?

I always recommend that people use their personal (not their company) Google account for their certification tests and training records.

Google Account

Here’s why…

Although your certification could be a job requirement, it’s also yours to own. Meaning, if you leave your current job, you can take your certification with you. But if you use your business account for certification, then you could get locked out that account and lose access to your records when (if) you change jobs.

What do I have to do to get Google Analytics certified?

All you have to do get certified is pass the GAIQ assessment. It’s that simple. Pass the exam, and your certification will show up right in your Skill Shop account.

How do you get a passing score?

The certification assessment is comprised of 70 questions. You have 90 minutes to complete the test, and you need to score 80% (56 correct answers out of 70) to earn a passing score.

Passing the Google Analytics Exam

Once you pass the exam, your certification is valid for 12 months. After those 12 months are up, you have to retake the GAIQ to update your certification.

What happens if you fail?

There’s no real penalty for failing the assessment, just your time and possibly a bruised ego. If you fail the GAIQ assessment, you have to wait one full day before you can retake the exam.

Every assessment uses a slightly different set of test questions, so failing over and over again until you’ve seen all the questions probably isn’t the best approach. Also, Google doesn’t reveal which questions you answered incorrectly.

So, you’re better of leveling up your knowledge before you take the exam, then subjecting yourself to multiple rounds of testing.

Google Analytics Certification test questions

How hard is the GAIQ assessment?

Depending on how much experience you have in Google Analytics, the test questions will range in difficulty from obvious to very advanced.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this guide, I have over a decade of experience in Google Analytics. I was invited to start testing the Analytics platform when it was in beta. And, at one point, Google even recruited me to be an educator. Despite all that experience, I still have never obtained a perfect score on my GAIQ exam.

Google Analytics Certification test score

So, yes, this assessment can be challenging. But if you prepare thoroughly and you’re passionate about digital marketing, the assessment should be a fun opportunity to test your knowledge!

Can you cheat on the exam?

I suppose you could cheat on the exam. There are plenty of sites out there trying to sell you answer guides. But those answer guides become outdated the second Google changes up the exam questions.

You don’t need to cheat an open book test

Also, the exam is open book… Or open “Internet” as the case may be. So the better way to prepare for the exam is to use all the available training tools and soak up as much GA knowledge as you can (like you’re doing right now).

Are the answers in the computer?

When you’re ready to take the exam, keep a few go-to resources open to help yourself out on any questions that really have you stumped.

How to find answer to the Google Analytics Certification Exam

One of the best exam helpers is your actual Google Analytics account. When you get stuck on a test question, a quick skim of your Google Analytics reporting menu will typically reveal the answer.

If you don’t have your own account yet, you can use the GA demo account.

How do you know if you’re ready to take the certification assessment?

We’ve prepared a brief, 10 question quiz to help you gauge your exam “readiness.” You can take our quickie quiz below to see how your current knowledge stacks up against our test questions.

Take our Google Analytics quiz to see how exam-ready you are

How to prepare for the exam

There are lots of ways to get yourself ready for the exam. If you’ve never used Google Analytics before, the training videos on the Academy for Ads are a good starting point.

If you want to learn skills that you can put in to practice while also achieving the knowledge that we’ll help pass the exam, check out this great discount on our Data Driven Google Analytics Course.

https://www.datadrivenu.com/programs/google-analytics-mastery/

The difference between exam prep and practical knowledge

The Data Driven Google Analytics Certification course is a favorite among agency marketers because we don’t just focus on prepping you for the test. We train you to think about how to use Google analytics in terms of a businesses’ objectives while at the same time preparing you to obtain your certification.

As you’ll hear later in this post, direct from the marketing agency owners we interviewed, earning your certification is a great way to get started. But without a practical understanding of how to use Google Analytics to solve the needs of real businesses, your certification won’t help you become an in-demand digital marketer.

The key to using your Google Analytics skills

The real key to understanding how to use Google Analytics, the thing that most people don’t tell you about this tool is that you have to adapt it to speak the language of your business.

Sure, you’ll get web traffic stats the second you put the Google Analytics code on your site. But if you want to start using GA to improve your marketing results, you’re going to want to move beyond the most basic capabilities of this tool.

Practical knowledge that can drive results at any level skill level

Here are some examples of beginner level Google Analytics tactics that many businesses need assistance deploying. Mastering these skills can help you get your foot in the door at a digital marketing agency, or earn freelance income.

Goal tracking

Goals allow you to track the micro-conversions that are part of your customer’s journey. Surprisingly, many Google Analytics users don’t set up goals. And that’s a big mistake. Using goal tracking to measure and improve lead collection or customer engagement by even just a percentage point here or there can have a massive impact on overall sales objectives.

Goals in Google Analytics

Campaign tracking

Campaign tracking is another area of Google Analytics that new users tend to overlook because it can be intimidating. But with all the tools available today, it’s not hard to add campaign parameters to your URLs. Tracking campaign data is one of the simplest ways to figure out what’s driving results and how to get more of those results.

Campaign Tracking Report

Views and filters

View and filters are critical data quality tools. But most businesses don’t understand the best practices when it comes to collecting “quality” data using Google Analytics. As a consequence, their reports are overrun by spam traffic and hits from internal IP addresses. Learning how to structure analytics accounts to maintain high data quality is a valuable skill.

Views and Filters in Google Analytics

What can you do with your Google Analytics certification and skills?

Now that you know what the certification process involves and how to get trained in Google Analytics, let’s talk about the value of these skills and how you can use them in the marketplace.

We interviewed four successful owners of growing marketing agencies to find out how much value they place on a Gooogle Analytics certification. We also asked them about the analytics skills they look for in new hires, and whether or not a certification can help a prospective employee land a job.

Here’s what they shared with us:

Are marketing agencies more likely to hire Google Analytics certified professionals?

I do not look for certifications, either Analytics or Google Ads. It is easy to pass a certification test without really knowing your stuff, and it’s possible to really know your stuff without having a certification. This isn’t important to me in a hiring decision.” – Kirk Williams, Zato PPC Marketing

Certifications definitely standout.” – Jacob Baadsgaard, Disruptive Advertising

Most of the people we hire have some type of certification or experience. The most common, probably, is certification in Google Ads or the GAIQ. I’m not sure we’re actively looking for that because even with the certification, they’re usually pretty far below the level we need them at.” – Fred Pike, Northsoftwoods

Certifications are not very important for us when we hire people working with the standard Google stack. There are two reasons for this. First, the certifications are not really that useful for proving someone’s real hands-on skills in, e.g., Google Ads or Google Analytics. Asking a couple of questions in a face-to-face discussion is usually more informative. Second, for senior hires we kind of expect them to have the certifications as they are so easy to acquire (and free!). The situation is somewhat different with other products. For example, if someone has, e.g., Eloqua, Adobe Analytics or Salesforce certifications, I wouldn’t have the skills to evaluate the skills myself. In those cases, the certifications are more important for signaling the skills. I think the certifications are more useful when you are in the early phase of the career or looking for an entry-level job. In this case, the certifications like GAIQ  (or HubSpot’s free courses) help you to demonstrate your interest in marketing or analytics and that you have at least some basic understanding of the topic.” – Mikko Piippo, Hopkins Inc.


How much value does a Google Analytics Certification potentially add to a marketer’s salary?

“To me, an Analytics certification is worth 0 amount incremental salary or pay rate. I care about whether they know Analytics well and not whether they have passed a test.”- Kirk Williams, Zato PPC Marketing

“Someone who is certified and actually good in Google Analytics is probably worth at least $10k more in initial salary. That’s a bit of a guess, could be even more and I also know they’ll get up to speed so much quicker if they have a good understanding there. On the flip side, certifications often don’t mean much if it’s technical knowledge only with no practical application. We can sniff that out really easy.” – Jacob Baadsgaard, Disruptive Advertising

The GAIQ by itself doesn’t mean that much to me. It’s nice to have, but I don’t think directly means more of a starting salary.” – Fred Pike, Northsoftwoods

I wouldn’t pay a cent more for someone because (s)he has a Google Analytics certification. The applicant might have a certification or not, the skills are more important for me.” – Mikko Piippo, Hopkins Inc.

Which Google Analytics skills are most valuable to your agency and clients?

“Great, contextual, curious data analysis is an exceptionally valuable skill to develop. Many people can look at a graph and develop a theory, but the ability to ask the right questions to dig deep into the data to come to the right conclusions is not easy and is something desired by every company out there. Building Reports or placing tags can be valuable in its own right, but there are elements of that process that can be automated or replaced as technology evolves. However, a person who knows how to ask the right questions and troubleshoot curious trends in data to identify the true cause behind the movement? Priceless.” – Kirk Williams, Zato PPC Marketing

All aspects are important for different reasons, but actual analysis with actions that can come from the data is the most valuable for sure.” – Jacob Baadsgaard, Disruptive Advertising

Data analysis and creating/delivering/analyzing custom reports are probably the most valuable skills, from a client viewpoint – and are certainly the most visible. From a backend “invisible” viewpoint, great tracking and tagging skills, and GA set-up skills are super important. Even more important is the ability to hear and understand the things that are important to our clients and set up GA / GTM / GDS custom reports to deliver.” – Fred Pike, Northsoftwoods

I think it depends a lot on the client’s needs and the agency’s client portfolio. Currently, a lot of our work is tag management, implementation projects, and creating custom dashboards for the client. I think the situation is similar for most marketing agencies globally.” – Mikko Piippo, Hopkins Inc.

What’s the real value of your Google Analytics Certification?

As you heard from the marketing agency owners we interviewed, a certification in and of itself doesn’t provide a whole lot of value. It’s the underlying skills you can grow while working to obtain your certification that hiring managers and clients are seeking.

Each of the agency owners we interviewed said they need people who know how to ask the right questions and then use the data Google Analytics can collect to answer those questions.

If you can master the strategy and techniques behind using Google Analytics to provide answers to the challenges businesses face, then your skills (not your certification) will command a lot of value in the job market.

Developing your skills the right way

If you’re interested in acquiring the kind of analytics skills that agencies and clients needs, follow this link to get a great discount on our Data Driven Google Analytics Mastery Program. This 30-day training program will teach you step-by-step on how to use the vast capabilities of Google Analytics, while at the same time preparing you to pass the certification assessment.

A special thanks to the marketing agency owners that contributed to this post, Kirk Williams, Jacob Baadsgaard, Fred Pike, and Mikko Piippo. It’s not every day you get an insider perspective of how a successful hiring manager approaches the job market. We hope you benefit from their experience.

How much do you value Google Analytics Certification? Leave a comment sharing your thoughts below.

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