A quick glance at Week 7’s roster of courses and it’s already clear that this week will be all about Analytics.
Plus an enormous course about Google Tag Manager, the ‘collector’ platform Mercer often praised in the Google Analytics for Beginners course.
And then there’s a surprise this week:
The Google Analytics 4 course by Charles Farina is available at the CXL Conversion Minidegree now!
I’m fairly certain that this is a new addition to the Minidegree, because I checked which courses I’ll be taking this week on my Week 6 post.
Or maybe I’m just careless and skipped the course when planning this week’s learning sesh.
Nevertheless, it means that the CXL team is keeping the courses up to date as the GA 4 just launched last year.
Always a good sign, especially as CRO is getting more popular and more conversion optimization tools are popping up every week.
Anyway, let’s discuss this week’s courses:
- Using analytics to find conversion opportunities by Jeff Sauer
- Google Analytics 4 by Charles Farina
- Google Tag Manager by Chirs Mercer
Using analytics to find conversion opportunities
While it’s been mentioned a number of times previously by Mercer in his Google Analytics for Beginners course, Jeff gives a more tangible approach to finding conversion opportunities from your analytics data.
Besides pointing out the common things people look for when they venture into their analytics platform, Jeff Sauer also explained the metrics you should monitor and what exactly happens there.
He also explained how you can use advanced segments, custom segments, and event tracking to level up your analytics setup and get more useful insights into your visitor’s behaviors.
He ended the course with an explanation of what you should check when you enter an unfamiliar analytics account.
Similar to Peep Laja’s earlier analytics health check, but this one focuses more on making sure that the setup (and data) makes sense.
Google Analysis 4
While Google Analytics 4 is an extremely informative course, there’s one thing I don’t like about it.
It’s a technical issue, which made me wonder if it only happens on my side of things. But in some videos, there are some moments where Charles’ audio is cut off and you’re left wondering what he wanted to say.
Relax, you can still try to guess what he wanted to say if you concentrate hard enough at what he’s doing on the screen. It’s just a little bit distracting, that’s all.
The course, on the other hand, is top-notch. Charles explained perfectly how Universal Analytics and GA4 differs.
Which made me want to try GA4 myself, since it seems way more intuitive than Universal Analytics.
Here’s the TL;DR of his course:
- GA 4 is the upgraded version of the Google Analytics for Firebase
- The data stream is now event-based and more flexible than Universal Analytics.
- BigQuery integration is now available so you can export your data with no hassle.
- You should use both Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4.
- GA 4 is still under development and there are still a lot of features unavailable.
- There are also a lot of new and powerful features in GA 4, most of which are present in the paid version of Google Analytics, Analytics 360. Some are brand new features not even available in Analytics 360.
In this course, you’ll also get your first taste of how to set up tags in Google Tag Manager, which prepares you for a (very) small part of Mercer’s GTM course.
I’d like to outline the two most fascinating features GA 4 offers: events and analytics.
Since everything is now detected as events, there are more insights available for us right off the bat. The structure of events is also simplified, now only consisting of the event and parameters.
The analytics module, accessible from the navigation bar, lets you customize your reports using the existing data from GA4. It lets you build funnels, discover new segments and audiences through diagrams, see path analysis, and lets you have a granular view of your users.
Let’s just settle with saying it’s an extremely powerful feature that lets you discover new insights with customized reports.
Google Tag Manager (partial)
Another humongous course by Chris Mercer, who explains what Google Tag Manager is, and how to use it, in a very clear and actionable way.
As it turns out, Google Tag Manager isn’t something exclusively used to help Analytics get more actionable data. It’s a platform that collects the data on your visitor’s behavior from your website and sends it to wherever you want.
Hotjar, Facebook, Paypal, CrazyEgg, you name it. As long as they need user behavior data from your website, Google Tag Manager can help.
While I’m halfway through the course, this deep dive to Google Tag Manager is too much to cram into one article.
So let’s talk about the first part: introducing the different components within Google Tag Manager.
- Tags: These tags are responsible for informing external platforms what your users are doing in your website. They’re marking what you want tag manager to do.
- Triggers: Triggers are responsible of when you want tag managers to send data. There are a few types of triggers — page view, click, engagement, and others.
- Variables: Variables are extra information Google Tag Manager will need to do the task you asked it to. For example, a tag that triggers when you play the video. If you want it to inform you of the details, you need to add variables, such as the name of the video or the status of the engagement.
- Data layer: Data layer is just a temporary storage that keeps the information Google Tag Manager needs to operate. It stores information in term of keys and values.
There’s a also preview mode you need to make sure that your tags are all in place before launching it to your website.
This preview mode will play a big role in your GTM workflow. It lets you see all the changes you made in one version. You can interact with your website and see if the tags are working properly before publishing the version.
Week 8 (2/3 milestone!) brings more of the Google Tag Manager course, lessons on user research and personas, and (hopefully) another round of heuristic analysis and analytics audit.