Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in some Google Analytics professional development with several of my colleagues at our campus in Pembroke. Chris McFarlane, the Google Analytics guru from our Ottawa Campus of Algonquin College, made the long trek down the 417 Highway to give us an overview of the features and capabilities of Google Analytics.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this tool, Google Analytics is a service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about a website’s traffic and traffic sources and measures conversions and sales. It’s the most widely used website statistics service. Google Analytics can track visitors from all referrers, including search engines and social networks, direct visits and referring sites. It also tracks display advertising, pay-per-click networks, email marketing and digital collateral such as links within PDF documents.
We were all very excited about this PD session because we have been making strategic changes to our website recently. With the help of Google Analytics we can track the effectiveness of any changes and reported on.
Though I knew all the participants in the PD session, it was an opportunity to get to know the facilitator a little better. As you can see from the photo above, our group was small. This allowed us to drive the conversation and exploration to suit our needs specifically – creating custom reports and exploring metrics relevant to us.
I am not shy when it comes to asking questions – I like to get the most out of my professional development opportunities as possible. We all asked a number of questions and contributed to the discussion in let’s say an ‘animated’ way…we get excited about new tools! Chris was very patient and fielded our questions like a pro.
During the session, I quickly realized that some additional PD would be beneficial. Google Analytics offers some great free courses and I plan to explore these further in the New Year. As Chris said “this is a powerful tool that takes time and energy to become comfortable with it.”
I wouldn’t think twice about attending a similar event down the road and hope that such an opportunity presents itself again soon.
If you haven’t had the chance to explore Google Analytics, I highly recommend you take the time to check it out!