GAIQ Ultimate Guide

This guide is to help you prepare for the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) exam and it is broken down into the following four sections.

  • About the GAIQ test
  • GAIQ test resources
  • GAIQ test strategy
  • Conversion University Lessons review

About the GAIQ test:

The GAIQ exam is a ninety minutes open book online exam comprising of seventy multiple choice questions. It cost $50 US to sit the test which is non refundable if you fail the test. Google also provides free GAIQ voucher codes to agencies and some Adwords clients.

Individuals who pass the GAIQ test with a pass mark of at least 80% are awarded a GAIQ certificate as proof of proficiency in Google Analytics.

Your GAIQ qualification is an individual qualification that belongs to you; however, you can link your GAIQ qualification to a company’s Google Analytics Authorised Consultant (GAAC) account. Linking your GAIQ qualification to a valid company GAAC account allows you to claim the status of Google Analytics Authorized Consultant. You can unlink your GAIQ qualification from a company’s GAAC account at any time.

GAIQ test resources:

The following resources have been put together to help you prepare for the GAIQ test and act as a quick point of reference while completing the test.

  • The Conversion University site is the official study resource for the GAIQ test and it is highly recommended that you go over each of the Conversion University lessons before taking the test.
  • The Google Analytics help centre helps you get an even greater understanding of how Google Analytics actually works.
  • The Google Analytics API provides information about the different functions and parameters available for Google Analytics.
  • The Google Analytics Cookies API page provides a quick reference to the different Google Analytics cookie variables which are covered extensively in the exam.
  • The IP Address Range Regex Tool can be used to save time writing a regular expression to filter out IP addresses even if you good with regular expressions.
  • The Google Analytics URL tagging tool allows you to quickly tag URLs with paid search campaign data.
  • The Conversion University lesson review section below provides a brief revision of the important bits to focus on and can be used as a cheat sheet during the exam.
  • The Conversion University notes is a compilation of the entire text from the Conversion University lessons into a single location which can be quickly searched for answers by using CLT+F on a windows computers for example. Please do not rely completely on this resource as not everything is covered in this resource.

GAIQ test strategy:

The following few tips should help you while sitting the exam.

  • Firstly, keep this guide as well as all the URLs listed in the GAIQ test resource section above open in the browser to be used for quick reference.
  • A few questions in the test might appear to have more than one correct answer; unless asked to select all that apply, select the most relevant or important answer to the question.
  • Do not spend too much time on a single question; mark difficult questions to be reviewed later but wherever possible also select a default answer for the question, even if at random, before proceeding just in case you run out of time and are unable to review the marked questions
  • The 90 minutes allocated for the test should be more than enough time to complete the test. You would be happy to know that you can pause the test at any time to research a topic further, however, it is unclear how often and for how long a test can be paused.

Conversion University Lesson Review (Cheat Sheet):

The following section reviews the important lessons from the Conversion University and can be used for quick revision or as a cheat sheet in the exam which as you must be aware by now is an open book exam.

Profiles:

What are the benefits of creating profiles?

  • Separate traffic and report for sub-domains or a section of your site.
  • Separate traffic and reports for paid or natural search.
  • Separate reports to grant users access to only reports from specific profiles.

Note that once data is filtered in a profile you cannot go back to retrieve or view the old un-filtered data within that profile. It is best to keep at least one unfiltered profile for this purpose.

Each account can have up to 50 profiles

Filters:

Filters are used to filter metrics that are reported within a profile. Once filters are defined they can be applied to multiple profiles under the same account.

Note that Google analytics does not split your Adwords cost data into the different account profiles by default. You will need to apply a filter to do this otherwise the full account cost data will show in each profile. To avoid this you must apply a custom include filter to each profile using the filter field “campaign target URL”. Once this filter is applied only Adwords data applicable to the URL pattern specified in the filter would be applied to that profile.

There are two types of filters:

  • Predefined filters:
    • Exclude all traffic from a domain (this is referring to the domain of the visitor’s IP)
    • Exclude all traffic from an IP
    • Include only traffic to a subdirectory
  • Custom filters:
    • Each custom filter has three main parts
      • Filter Types: There are six filter types available: Include, Exclude, Lower/Uppercase, Search & Replace and Advance
      • Filter Field: These are the numerous fields in which you can apply the custom filter to including: Request URI, domain etc
      • Filter Pattern:This is the text string that is used to attempt to match page view data

Regular Expression:

Learn the regular expression basic syntax bellow and especially those to do with setting up filters.

  • Dot (.) Matches a single character.
  • Square Brackets ([]) are used to enclose character sets.
    • Hyphen (-) in a character set specifies a range e.g. [0-9A-Z]
    • Caret (^) in a character set negates a match e.g. [^0-9]
  • Quantifiers:
    • (?) Matches zero or one character
    • (+) matches one of many characters
    • (*) matches zero or many characters
  • Repetitions ({}): Rather than specifying a range you can specify exact repetitions allowed
    • 31 {2} matches 311 but not 3 or 31 or 3111
    • 31 {1,3} matches 31 and 3111 but not 311
  • Grouping (()): Group and remember content as an item
  • OR (|):
  • Character classes:
    • \d matches digits
    • \s matches spaces
    • \w matches any letter, number or underscore

Cookies:

Google Analytics uses first party Cookies only as oppose to third party cookies.

  • __utma
  • Stores the visitor’s account id identifier which expires after 2 years
    << include screen grab here

  • __utmb
  • Stores a permanent cookie which expires after 30 minutes of inactivity, this cookie is used as a session identifier and contains the domain hash and some extra information

  • __utmc
  • Stores a temporary cookie which is destroyed when the window or tab is closed, this cookie is used as a session identifier and contains the domain hash

  • __utmz
  • Stores a permanent cookie which is the campaign identifier passed in the URL and expires after 6 months, although, this expiry date can be set to some other time frame.

  • __utmv
  • Stores a permanent cookie which identifies the visitor segmentation and expires after 2 years (this cookie is set when setVar method is called)

Adwords Auto-tagging and URL Tagging:

To track your marketing campaigns such as paid search campaigns you can tag your paid search URLs with campaign information which is then discovered by Google Analytics. For Adwords campaigns you can auto tag your campaign with the gclid which allows Google Analytics to import Adwords data such as clicks, cost, keywords, adgroups etc. This is the best way to import paid search data for adwords into Google Analytics. For Google analytics to be able to import data from Adwords it must be link to the Adwords Account. Note that you can only link 1 analytics account to 1 adwords account and to link an Adwords account to a Google analytics account the Adwords account would need to be given administrator privilege in Analytics in order to be able to link the accounts.

For non-Adwords campaigns you may wish to manually tag your URLs with the campaign data which would be discovered and shown in your Google Analytics Reports.

After linking your Google Analytics and Adwords accounts you can then enable Auto-tagging of Adwords and cost data would be imported into Analytics automatically if you don’t want this imported you can disable this in Google Analytics. Also Google Analytics takes on the time zone of the Adwords account once linked.

Adwords data is uploaded once a day to analytics so data might be temporary out of sync on the day.

  • Manual Tagging Variable:
    • utm_source: identifies referrer e.g. Yahoo, Bing, News letter etc (required)
    • utm_medium: identifies advertising medium e.g. cpc, banner, email (required)
    • utm_campaign: identifies the campaign name e.g. product name (required)
    • utm_term: paid search keyword used
    • utm_content: used to differentiate between links/ads in a campaign for example to track the different links in a newsletter.

E-commerce Tracking:

To enable e-commerce tracking you will have to enable this on the profile edit page and ensure the Google analytics code snippet is implemented on the site’s receipt page.

To track transactions the transaction details will need to be added to GA on the receipt page using the three functions below:

  • _addTrans: adds and starts a transaction e.g. _gaq.push([‘_addTrans’, ‘order id’, ‘store name’, ‘total required’, ‘tax’, ‘shipping’, ‘city’, ‘state or province’, ‘country’])
  • _addItem: for each item a user purchases call add items to add the item
  • _trackTrans: sends transaction to Google Analytics

Cross Domains and Sub-domains Tracking:

You may sometimes need to track across a domain or sub-domain for example when the shopping cart is located on a different domain e.g. Google shopping cart or when you have separate sister sites on different sub-domains. To do this Google Analytics uses a set of functions detailed below.

  • Cross Domains e.g. domain A to domain B:

Add this to the GA code snippet (you will need to apply the same code snippet on domain B if you wish to also track links from domain B to domain A):

_gaq.push([‘_setDomainName’, ‘None’]);

_gaq.push([‘_setAllowLinker’, true]);

Use the functions _link and _linkByPost to link between domains

e.g. <a href=”http://www.abc.com” onclick=”_gaq.push([‘_link’, ‘http://www.abc.com’]); return false;” >go to our sister site</a>

e.g. <form action=”http://www.shoppingcart.com/processform” method=”post” onsubmit=”_gaq.push([‘_linkByPost’, this);” > ... </form>

  • Cross Sub-domains:

Add this to the GA code snippet:

_gaq.push([‘_setDomainName’, ‘.yourdomain.com’]); (notice the dot before the domain name)

  • Cross Sub-domains and Domain:

Add to code snippet (add the domain snippet code below to the domain and if you wish to link back to the domain from the sister domain also add the sister domain snippet to the sister domain):

Add this to the GA code snippet (you will also need to apply the code to the GA snippet on domain B if you wish to also track links from domain B to domain A):

Domain A snippet:

_gaq.push([‘_setDomainName’, ‘.domain.com’]);

_gaq.push([‘_setAllowLinker’, true]);

_gaq.push([‘_setAllowHash’, false]);

Sister domain snippet:

_gaq.push([‘_setDomainName’, ‘.sisterdomain.com’]);

_gaq.push([‘_setAllowLinker’, true]);

_gaq.push([‘_setAllowHash’, false]);

Use the _link and _linkByPost functions as describe above between the domains but not between the sub-domains under the same domain.

Goals:

Goals are used to track website goals on a site. There are three types of goals in GA.

  • URL visited
  • Time on site
  • Pages viewed per visit

You can create up to 4 sets of 5 goals each = 20 goals. A goal conversion can only happen once during a visit i.e. multiple completion of the same goal per visit are counted as just one goal completion.

URL visited Goal Match types include:

Head Match: means any URI with the specified head URI will match. E.g. for /offer/ matches /offer/index.php and /offer/index.php?a=b

Exact Match: means the URI has to match exactly including parameters example /offer/ does not match /offer/index.php or /offer/index.php?a=b

Regular Expression: means you can specify a regular expression to match example /.*/signup\.php matches /offer/signup.php or /newsletter/singup.php

Reports:

Report view types include: table, pie chart, bar graph, comparison by graph, summary report

Unique page view is the number of visits in which a page was viewed i.e. multiple page views of the same page per visit are counted as a single page view.

Closing the browser window/tab or staying inactive for 30 minutes end a visit.

The “Absolute Unique Visitor” metric counts visitors to the site only once.

Time on Site = Time on Page A – Time on Page B (note time on page B is not included in time on site calculation)

For average time on page bounces are excluded from calculation however for average time on site page bounces are included.

By default Google Analytics attributes conversions to the most recent campaign referral. So when a user visits a page via a PPC campaign and returns via natural search the later “natural search” gets the credit for the conversion. However when user returns directly then the previous referral gets credit for the conversion. To over ride this behaviour tag your PPC campaign with the variable utm_nooveride=1. The exception to this rule is that direct visits to the site i.e. through a bookmark or by typing the URL directly into the browser window does not override conversions attributed to natural or paid search.

$ index = total revenue + goal value / the number of unique page views of the page. This metric is used to give an indication of how important a page is on the site.

Custom Reports:

You can create custom reports that show only the metrics you want to see in the reporting by creating a custom report in GA.

When creating a custom reports “Dimensions” are the rows of the report and “Metrics” are the columns.

Site Search

You can use Google Analytics to track how users are searching on your site and what they are searching for simply by providing the URL search query parameter used on your site under the edit basic profile information section in GA. You can also provide a search category variable name. For example s in the case of searchconverse.com query parameter as shown in URL http://www.searchconverse.com/?s=analytics&x=0&y=0&=Go

The search term report only includes visits where a internal site search was made.

GA uses the term “search term” when referring to internal site searches and the term “keyword” when referring to external site searches in search engines.

Advance Segments:

Advance segments can be used to filter out a subset of traffic data in reports similar to filters, accept Advanced segments can be applied and unapplied to data at anytime and can be applied to existing and historical data.

GA comes with some default advanced segments such as “New Visitors”, “Returning Visitors”, “Non Paid”. Custom segments can also be defined and are available across all accounts and profiles. You can also compare up to 4 advanced segments side by side. You can apply more than one segment at a time.

Event Tracking and Virtual Page view:

Many websites use technologies such as Flash and Ajax to interact with visitors in a way that does not generate page views in GA. You can track these activities such as users clicking on a pay button or downloading a file using Virtual Page View or Event Tracking.

  • Virtual Page View

Virtual Page View is the approach of creating a page view using the _trackPageView method when a specific activity is performed such as the download of a file or playing of a movie. To do this simply call the _trackPageView function passing the virtual page as such: _gaq.push([‘_trackPageView’, ‘/the/virtual/page’]); The page view is virtual because an actual page was not viewed also the page view URI can be any URI including non-existent page URI.

  • Event Tracking

Event tracking is the approach of tracking activities on a site as events which are then reported on by GA in the content report. To track an event use the _trackEvent function and specify the event category, action, label and value as shown: _gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘cat’, ‘action’, ‘optional_label’, ‘optional_int_value’]) e.g. _gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘Videos’, ‘Play’, ‘CSI’, 5]).

Miscellaneous:

You can create a maximum of 25 accounts under a Google username but can be added as an administrator to an unlimited number of accounts.

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