I first wondered this myself when drudging thru pages upon pages of study materials, videos, tutorials, mock-testing and memorization. I had in fact always used Google Analytics within Marketing to “some” capacity (usually the level that the rest of the world uses it at). It counts page hits, delivers keyword information and tells you where the buckets of traffic are rooted. That seemed to be enough at the time.
The reality here is that Google Analytics is a quite complex application offering alot more under the hood. Those offerings “usually” are under-utilized due to Google Analytics simply seeming to be overwhelming (when digging into all its levels and trenches of information).
Certification was a need that, I decided long ago, was something that would be of immense value to me.
That value is “not” only a bullet point on your resume.
To summarize…..once you’ve achieved certification, you will have gained a few important core pieces that you can attach to your personal package.
1- A really great understanding of how to use GA professionally, inquisitively and intellectually. How to tap into features that you can offer to your employer that they may have voiced as a need or concern (but unaware of how to do it or if it was possible).
2- Certification on a resume (from Google) is a sure sign to employers about your competence in Web Analytics (level of legitimacy). Certification on Google products is pretty well known as not being “that” easy to achieve. Those who study and pass will have done so only thru intense interaction with GA and its components. Or in the very least, knowledge of how to set up your company’s Web Analytics properly so that Marketing gets the numbers they need.
3- A qualified Web Analyst?
Now some might argue that web analytics can be intense and something that “just certification” is not enough to qualify for, however my experience is that unless your team has hired a qualified tried-and-true web analyst to your team, most of the time you will be the company’s default choice for taking on that role. If you are a Marketer, finding time to become GA savvy is not on the top of most marketers list. The surface level GA metrics are about as far as most Marketers go. I have found this as an additional reason for attaining job security (the lead analytics reporter on your team). In the very least, you may be the only qualified GA user on your team.
4- A firm understanding of Web Analytics tools is such a major plus to any online web position
(not to mention Marketing itself!)If you are a SEO, GA is one of the primary tools you will have to know to be a Great SEO (if you think differently, your sadly mistaken). The same goes for Search Engine Marketers, Social Media Strategists, and Web Specialists. Each position can greatly benefit from a firm understanding of Web Analytics.
5- If you understand Google Analytics, you can easily apply your understanding into quickly learning any other analytics tool/package out there.
Regardless of which “analytics software package” your company decides to embrace, your understanding of GA will easily prepare you to crossover much more easily than your co-workers who haven’t achieved that understanding.
6- You can boast being in the “Google database” for being one of the qualified individuals who are “Google Analytics Certified”. This addition may of may not provide an additional level of “being found” for positions, but in the very least you are verifiable
7- If you are looking for positions as a “Web Analyst”, having a GA certification will suggest your higher qualification over other applicants (who lack any certifications). (I have often received call-backs on most job applications because of certifications)
– Renewing every 18 months, can seems like an easy way for Google to keep collecting $ on your past achievements.
– Google tends to change their application often making some of the past study materials obsolete (Thus requiring you to recollect and update your previous notes). It would be more helpful if they supplied a yearly update page listing all the changes in the application and its interface.
-Whether you renew or not is up to you, I still believe you can leverage yourself with showing that you passed the qualifications for certification. Even a year old certificate is still proof that you took the plunge at some point and are extremely familiar with the application.
-Renewing certification forces you to learn new features that you make have not had time for in the past. Even if you use it on a daily basis, retaking the test does kick your intellect back up a notch with revisiting features that you may not be using at current.
(Example: remember when you have to learn basic REGEX coding in order to past the test??)
Hopefully this little article on the subject will help justification in your decision to move forward. I have often said myself that getting certified in Google Analytics (or Adwords…etc) has become one of the best career choices I have made for my career as an SEO.
You might also find that once “certified” , the certification bug will set in prompting you to expand into other training certifications (which is never a bad thing!).