This second day of DGM Camp was solid, as we delivered the Google Analytics Certification Training Class that we normally deliver as a standalone, 1-day class. I always open this class, and so opened this day, with something to the effect of, “This class is horrible. It’s not fun. But you’ll learn a lot.” And that held true today, as many students commented at the end that their brains hurt.

For our lunch break, the group took a tour of the Mailchimp campus at Ponce City Market, and my former student Lawrence O’Connor joined the class and led a great discussion on reporting in Google Analytics.

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As usual for this class, we spent the entire morning learning “Analytics-speak”, aka how Google looks at your web data and the language they use. Some of the more important terms include:

  • Filter – there are (at least) 3 uses of the term “filter” in Analytics: a permanent exclusion/inclusion of certain data from at the Account level; a search function from within the standard reporting UI; and a descriptor for an audience segment. It’s a tough concept to get your mind around when Google throws the term around in so many different ways.
  • Session Timeout – by default, Google Analytics ends a session after 30 minutes of inactivity. You might want to increase that default value if you publish a long video and you don’t want users’ sessions to end before the video ends, and you might want to decrease the default value if your web app requires certain security measure, like a bank.
  • AJAX/js Event – a javascript event on a web page that, when activated, does not cause the page to refresh, like an embedded youtube video on a WordPress blog. Google Analytics doesn’t track any activity on that video by default. You have to have event tracking code added to each event you want to track.
  • Conversion – my conversion is not the same as your conversion. My conversion is a lead form in exchange for a white paper. Your conversion is an item sold in an ecommerce store. Google counts both as a conversion. How you use that data depends on your business model.
  • UTM Parameters – Urchin Tracking Manager Parameters (now you know) are simple codes added to the end of a standard URL, which are then processed by Google Analytics to help you accurately track your marketing campaign results. In my opinion, the simplest and most effective use of Google Analytics that doesn’t require any knowledge of Google Analytics.

That’s just a few of the fun words we learn. No, this class day (or the class, if you take the one day version) is not fun, but you learn a lot. NPS score for today’s class: 50.

Tomorrow is “content day”! We’ll learn blogging, podcasting (Scott Alan Turner), video marketing (David Caron), email marketing (Joy Ugi), and how to wrangle all that content using a content marketing calendar (Tami McQueen).

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