Digital Analytics Scholarship @ CXL Institute— 1st Week Review

Mohammad Sammak
6 min readNov 23, 2020

I just started the digital analytics nanodegree program as part of a scholarship. Guys at CXL were so generous that they gave me this chance to participate in this great program and I am truly excited about it. So let’s begin the journey.

1- Google Analytics for beginners by Chris Mercer

  • I can’t believe I’m watching this course for the second time. Now it is time for me to watch it with a keen eye and understand it way better.
  • The differences between free and paid versions of products in the google marketing platform is not my point of interest, because I don’t need to use the paid versions. But I just need to know that there are some differences between them.
  • It is actually great to know that google analytics is only great at storing data. As Chris Mercer says (and it is true in reality), you need to use GA beside google tag manager and google data studio.
  • It is actually great to see that Chris insists on using tag manager besides google analytics. It is actually a power tool that any marketer needs to be able to work with.
  • After all of that, you need to know the difference between metrics and dimensions. These two terms are fundamental to know when working with google analytics. Metrics are simply numbers and dimensions are mostly strings. Using both, you can filter and sort your data.
  • I have always needed to learn how to use segments in google analytics like a pro, but I never truly learned how to use them. It is in my best interest to someday learn them.
  • Mercer then showed us how to use advanced filters in table reports. You can search for metrics and dimensions based on their values. It is actually great to learn how to use them. Believe me, when you need them, they will save you a ton of time. So learn them.
  • Being able to work with the GA admin section is a must for every marketer. You need to know the difference between account, property, and view in order to be able to work with google analytics like a pro. So learn the similarities and differences between them.
  • The real-time report could be looked at as your closest friend. Every time you want to test something, you need to open the real-time report and check if it is working as expected. You also have the privilege of segmenting data based on different dimensions in real-time as well.
  • Knowing that google analytics looks at the users be their client ID (cid) is something crucial. Users in google analytics don’t exactly represent what you expect in real life.
  • What I like the most about users’ reports is that you can find what their affinities are based on actual google data. Besides, you can find out what they are in the market for and are willing to pay for.
  • One of the things that I like the most about google analytics is its unique way of tagging traffic. You can use UTM parameters to find out about where your users came from. There are five usable parameters that you can use and there is nothing you can’t do with them.
  • It is always useful to know what your users are doing on the site. This is very precious data and you will know a lot by knowing that it is there. The difference between landing page and exit page, the difference between bounce rate and exit rate is something that you have to know as a marketer.
  • Isn’t multi channel funnels sexy to you? Because I think it is and assisted conversions are something that I like very much. It basically reveals the things that are behind data and it is fascinating.
  • I had the luxury of implementing eCommerce settings for a company and it was full of new experiences for me. But I like to learn how to set up enhanced eCommerce, because it is the pro side of eCommerce.
  • We have views, properties and accounts in google analytics. Each one of them have their own set of features some of which are extremely powerful.
  • Some features though are common among them, but are applied to specific levels. For example you have user management at account, property and view level, but they are independent of each other.
  • There are some great features in the property and view levels. For example I like setting up custom metrics and customs dimensions and I haven’t yet done it (odd enough, yeah?). I have done something called calculated fields in the google data studio and I think this should work similarly to that.
  • In the view level, I like filters and goals. But the most challenging part and at the same time the most lovely part is setting up ecommerce. I have set up standard eCommerce which was fun, but setting up enhanced eCommerce is completely different.
  • Changing default channel grouping and content grouping is something that I had the experience of leveraging and making changes in it which yielded profitable results. So I like it too!
  • Filters are kind of the power play in google analytics. They give you the power to make data cleaner and more readable. We have different kinds of filters like lowercase, uppercase, replace and advanced ones. Sometimes you will need to know a little about regex to be able to work with filters more flexibly.
  • A true marketer needs to know about UTM. you need to know about source, medium, campaign, term and content. They are yours to use and take advantage. When you can use them, why not?
  • Some of your data will eventually get fractured, whether you want or not. You can use filters like find and replace and fix this kind of fracture. Your previous data doesn’t get affected, but it will make the data corrected from that moment on.
  • Google analytics has a set of goals that some are useful and others are useless in my opinion. For example destination goals are quite handy and can be leveraged on multiple occasions. But for example we have duration goals and pages per session goals. These aren’t that practical and I think almost nobody uses them.
  • If there is one thing for you to know about google analytics, it is this: never think that the numbers are exact numbers. Chris Mercer says truth is in the trend and power is in the pattern.
  • You have to know that time is measured in google analytics differently from the real world. There has to be a timestamp (start and end) for GA to be able to understand that a certain amount of time has passed.
  • But I like the event goals the most. Even in the real time reports you can find what goals possess more value in the eyes of google itself. Events are very fun to play with and they have great power in their hands. If you want to use them, you either need help from a developer or using google tag manager to do it yourself.
  • Events have category, action and label that are sorted based on their importance. Category is the broader term and label is the more specific one.
  • And when it comes to eCommerce, google analytics becomes even more exciting. There are two versions of analytics tracking in GA: standard eCommerce and enhanced eCommerce. The enhanced version is for sure the more complicated one, but it gives you access to hell lot of more data.
  • Implementing eCommerce is a heavy task and you might need to ask for help from a developer. But when it is correctly implemented, you will benefit from a great set of insights.
  • This was just the beginning of the way to learn google analytics. Chris Mercer is a great tutor and he teaches you whatever he knows. I really enjoyed being in this class.

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Mohammad Sammak

A marketer who tries to act based on data and never stops learning.