Google Analytics is by far the most popular analytics tool in digital marketing. Although competitors exist—even some by big players like Adobe and Microsoft—it remains the gold standard for most organizations.
However, Google Analytics is complicated, technical software. While setting it up and using it are actually pretty simple, there’s a substantial learning curve for those users without a background in web development. Thankfully, plenty of useful guides exist that can help you overcome the barriers to learning Google Analytics.
But what if you want to do more than simply see how many people visit your site? What if you want to harness the full power of this application by tracking specific campaigns, monitoring the performance of certain parts of your site, or tracking the user journeys of various cohorts of visitors?
Sure, you could Wikipedia your way through, starting with one article and following an endless chain of URLs only to emerge days later with a piecemeal understanding of things.
Or you could take a free course in Google Analytics.
Yes, there are completely FREE courses out there that can turn you into an analytics pro—FOR FREE!
Here’s a rundown of some of the best free courses for learning Google Analytics.
Google Analytics YouTube Channel
The Google Analytics YouTube Channel is a fantastic place to learn Google Analytics. Billing itself as “the official channel for Google Analytics,” it also covers related Google tools like Data Studio, Optimize, Surveys, and Tag Manager. Videos are grouped into playlists that focus on specific tools, themes, or goals, such as a playlist just for mobile app analytics or a series on the recently released Google Analytics 4.
Most of the videos on the Google Analytics Channel are under 6 minutes, which makes them perfect to watch during lunch or while taking a break at work. However, they also offer longer live streams with experts, case studies, and keynotes from Google summits. With such a range of content, this channel is great for beginners and experts alike.
How to Use Google Analytics: A Complete Guide from Search Engine Journal
If you’re a careful reader of our blog, you’ll know we love Search Engine Journal because we frequently link to them in our posts.
But there’s a reason for that: their guides are among the best out there.
This nice thing about SEJ’s guide is it not only explains the basics of Google Analytics, but it pushes beyond to explore how Google Analytics data can improve website SEO and marketing. The guide is broken down by the five reports offered in Google Universal Analytics: Real-Time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions. By walking users through each report, SEJ makes clear how the data in that report section can be used. It’s a great method for teaching users who may not have experience with data analysis to think strategically about the information they’re looking at.
Additionally, this guide will help you set up your first goals, set up custom dashboards, and create filters for data so you can fine-tune the information you gather. It even walks you through testing your account so you know everything is working as intended.
The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics from Moz
Moz has long positioned itself as an authority on SEO and inbound marketing. Beyond selling some of the best software on the market, they’re known for their incredible guides to everything digital marketing. Their Beginner’s Guide to SEO is where many digital marketers first get their feet wet, and they offer one of the best guides to keyword research out there. So it’s no surprise they also offer one of the best free guides to learning Google Analytics.
The guide begins with a walk-through of the installation process and setting up an account and property. Screenshots throughout the process illustrate each step, and author Kristi Hines explores different scenarios users might encounter, such as setting up multiple properties in the same account. Best of all, the guide is written in everyday language instead of technical jargon.
Moz’s guide won’t turn you into a Google Analytics wizard. But it will have you setting up automated reports, granting access to people on your team, and comfortably navigating the interface to get the data you need. And as you become more comfortable with analytics, you can check out some of their other helpful blog posts on things like Avoiding False Conversions in Google Analytics and How Do Sessions Work in Google Analytics? to build out your skills further.
Analytics Essentials from LovesData.com
What’s not to love about a free course? And when that course comes from a thought leader like the folks at LovesData, it’s really a tough option to beat.
The course covers Google Analytics terminology, methods for measuring different marketing streams, ways to use data to improve campaigns, building reports, and using data to drive conversions. It’s beginner-friendly, starting with the most basic elements of Google Analytics, but offers a lot for intermediate and advanced users as well.
Analytics Essentials includes over 10 video lessons that can be accessed from any device, as well as quizzes to help you assess your learning. It also includes lifetime access so you can review courses again and again as needed—which is a great feature if Google Analytics isn’t something you use everyday.
Now fair warning: Analytics Essentials is free because LovesData is really hoping you’ll spring for their full paid Google Analytics course. However, it’s a fantastic deal for people who want to see what analytics is about before investing too heavily, or for people who need to know just a little data analysis here and there in support of their primary job. Either way, the course is thorough and well-reviewed.
Google Analytics Academy
Google’s Analytics Academy is the resource we most recommend if you really want to learn Google Analytics, but that’s not just because it comes from Google. The courses are designed really well and in ways that promote genuine learning.
There are three courses available for users depending on their level of experience: Google Analytics for Beginners, Advanced Google Analytics, and Google Analytics for Power Users. (There’s also Getting Started with Google Analytics 360, Google’s paid version of Google Analytics, in case that’s relevant to your business.) If you’re already pretty comfortable with the software, you can jump into a higher-level course without having to complete the beginner course first.
Each course is broken into modules that include videos with demonstrations and interactive interfaces that let you practice sorting data or accessing features. You’ll also be granted access to a dummy Google Analytics account so you can practice with the real application as you learn. Quizzes at the end of each module let you check your knowledge. If you miss a question, the module will give you a hint for where to find the answer in the course materials and you can retake the quizzes as many times as you need.
Paid Courses For Learning Google Analytics
Although we encourage users to start with free courses, there are some outstanding paid courses available for learning Google Analytics. Sometimes paid courses are better organized or more thorough than free courses, and that can be a definite advantage.
So if you’ve consumed the free stuff and are ready for a paid course, here are a few we suggest:
Udemy’s Google Analytics Beginner to Pro User
Although Udemy offers many courses in Google Analytics, this is one of the most complete and up-to-date courses on the site. The course shows students how to set up their Google Analytics account, explains how data is collected and sorted, covers common vocabulary and concepts, and walks users through setting up common goals.
Complete with a demo Analytics account and hands-on exercises, this is an all-in-one package to master Google Analytics. The course is regularly priced at $94.99, but Udemy frequently offers flash sales where you can snag it for as low as $11.99. Our advice is to use a price scout like Camelizer or Honey to get the best deal.
Lynda/LinkedIn Learning’s Google Analytics Essential Training
LinkedIn Learning (formerly known as Lynda) is a great elearning platform that offers courses on a range of topics. (We actually wrote about it last February.) At $29.99/month (or $299.88 billed annually), it offers a lot of professional development opportunities for a pretty good price.
While the platform offers a number of courses on Google Analytics, the best one to start with is Corey Koberg’s Google Analytics Essential Training. Like many of the other courses on this list, Google Analytics Essential Training takes users through setting up an account, installing a tracking code, an overview of each report, and filtering and segmenting data. Although it’s shorter than some of the other courses on this list (coming in at a mere 2:34:55), it’s thorough and engaging. You can also follow it up with Advanced Google Analytics.
Get Help Managing Your Google Analytics
Feeling overwhelmed? Not sure you want to invest the time to learn Google Analytics? That’s ok! TracSoft is here to help.
Our experienced web developers will not only provide you with a beautiful, future-proof website. We’ll also optimize if for SEO and set up a Google Analytics account to go with it. After all, what’s a website without the tools to make it work for you?
Have us build and automate custom reports for you. We’ll have them sent to you on a schedule that suits your needs so they’re ready when you want them. Our digital marketing team can even offer insights and advice on how to improve the performance metrics you really care about.
Contact TracSoft today and find out how we can simplify Google Analytics (and more) for you.