2018 Google Analytics Workshop #1: Post-Workshop Observations

2018 Post-Google Analytics Workshop Observations

Zeffective leads a two-day Google Analytics Workshop several times each year. Our first workshop of 2018 was held on Saturday, February 24th, and Sunday the 25th. I find it helpful to document my observations about each workshop immediately it’s completed—this self-feedback serves to improve the workshop for the next batch of students. We never posted our workshop notes—a.k.a. our after-action report—to our blog in the past. Until now, that is.

In today’s post, we’re sharing our observations and feedback—what worked, what didn’t work, and what should we do more of next time—on the Google Analytics Workshop that we led in late February 2018 in Charlotte, NC.

This was the first of four Google Analytics Workshop courses that we’ll be offering with Tech Talent South in 2018. The hardest part about teaching a workshop like this is not knowing how familiar each student is with the subject material. Have they used Google Analytics before? If yes, how much? Do they have access to a Google Analytics account? And so many more question marks about who will be attending and how much they know (or don’t know) about Google Analytics.

The workshop is two days long, held over a weekend. It was a full classroom with nine students. I’m not going to recap the topics we discussed for each day. Instead, this is an after-action report of sorts with the sole purpose of documenting the learnings from this first workshop so I can apply them to the next one.

Day one should be all about learning the basics of Google Analytics e.g. exploring the interface, key terminology, and the four pillars. This should be followed by a more in-depth look into each pillar and a few other beginner topics. Day one should begin with a discussion a discussion about the customer journey and the path to purchase. This should lead to the topic of web analytics, the evolution of Google Analytics, and its purpose i.e. what it gives you or enables you to do and ending with how to use it (use GA to tell a story about the business objectives and goals of both your company and your users).

Make a point to encourage students to follow along with their own GA account or with the demo account if they don’t have one. Use the “tell a story with your data” to transition to showing Google Analytics on screen. Begin with the home screen of Google Analytics and how it’s overwhelming. Instead, focus on the four pillars. Explain what each pillar is in simple terms e.g. who’s coming to your site, how are they getting there, what are they doing on your site, and are they doing what you want them to do.

Once the four pillars have been defined, dive into the first pillar, Audience Reports. Get a volunteer from class to sit in the driver’s seat. Ask them and the class what they see. Start defining terms as people blurt things out. Challenge them to answer their own questions and other people’s questions. Talk things out. Guide the volunteer where to click, making our way through each report in sequence.

Get a new volunteer for the Acquisition Reports and repeat. Get a new volunteer for the Behavior Reports and repeat. Repeat again for Conversion Reports.

Day one should end by explaining the agenda for day two and asking for volunteers to share their own Google Analytics accounts to audited as a class.

Day two is all the workshop portion of this course. Students volunteer to share their Google Analytics accounts and have then audited and analyzed by the entire class in real-time. We use my computer to display the volunteer’s GA account onto the large-screen display. Another student—not the one volunteering his/her GA account—sits in the driver’s seat using my computer at the front of the class to navigate in and around the account as we audit and analyze site metrics of the volunteered account. My short, unedited notes from day 2 are:

Flip the classroom and let students drive at the computer while we review Google Analytics for one of the other students in the class. This was a big hit. People really loved this. The GA Merchandise Store demo account is great, but it’s too focused on E-commerce and it’s too much data.

In the afternoon of day two, talk about the admin and account configuration e.g. settings to enable, creating multiple views, filtering internal traffic, and creating goals.

Finish day two by reviewing Google Analytics resources and asking everyone to complete the feedback survey (provide the link to the Typeform in class).

Other stuff

  • Take (more) pictures
  • Take pictures on both days
  • You only one or two slides to show the lesson plan and agenda for each day would be helpful
  • No additional slides are needed. The absence of slides promotes and encourages a back-and-forth discussion, rather than a “me talk, you listen” environment
  • Index cards for me of important topics to discuss would help to stay on track and ensure we cover what needs to be covered
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