The New GAIQ EXAM: What You Need to Know

Google released a new version of the GAIQ last Wednesday. If you didn’t hear about it, you’re not alone. There wasn’t any fanfare, no major discussions in the marketing community. I only noticed because I started studying for the test right after the New Year. When I went to the Analytics IQ Lessons page it said the test would be updated on or around the 15th, and that to study for the new exam you needed to check out the Analytics Academy Digital Analytics Fundamentals course. Curious about the new exam, I waited for its release and (thankfully!) passed.

                               Photo via

Since I’ve come out the other side, I thought it might be useful for all of you to know what the new test entails.

Comparison to the last test:

Similar to the previous version of the test, there are a number of questions about filters, site search, metrics, and dimensions. In these questions, Google tests your understanding of definition nuances as well as your ability to use these features. The new exam differs from its predecessor in that many of the questions focus on Google Tag Manager, demographic reporting, measurement planning, and multichannel funnels. It’s a subtle shift away from focusing largely on how things were calculated, to including more measurement application, metric relationships, and newer features. Google wants to make sure that everyone is up-to-date and knows how to apply features in addition to how Google calculates them.

There are still only 70 questions to answer in the 90 minutes, and you still need an 80% to pass.

What you need to study:

To study for the exam, I read through all of the units (the text version is in the upper right hand corner) and then listened to the audio as I followed along inside of my Google Analytics account. Since Google actually takes exam questions from the unit reviews and practice test, make sure you’re comfortable with all of those questions and answers. (Thanks, Google!) I highly recommend that you read the “additional resources” in the right hand column of each unit; it’ll definitely help you out on a couple of questions.

Lessons from the Digital Analytics Fundamentals Course

If you only studied the units of Google’s Analytics Academy Digital Analytics Fundamentals Course, not the further reading, and practiced the questions I’d say you’d know about 60% of the material you need to pass this exam. Here are some lessons:

  • Know your definitions: There were a couple of questions that were based off the nuances of a definition. For example, an event is not just an interaction like watching a video but something that is tracked independently of a web page.

  • Know how to apply these definitions: One of the easiest questions on the exam was based on your knowledge of ROI. What’s your ROI if you spent X amount and you make back X amount? Applying goal (destination, duration, pages per visit, event) definitions was another popular exam focus.

  • Understand the practice questions: Like I said, a number of questions were very similar, if not word for word, to the practice exam.  If you understand the reasoning behind the practice questions’ answers, you’ll definitely be ahead of the curve.

  • Know the subtle differences between two related but different phrases: Goal and ecommerce tracking is a perfect example of this. When or how does a goal conversion count with either of these forms of tracking?

  • Know feature details: Since many of the questions were the “click all that apply” type, make sure you can list all the parts of a certain feature. For example, know all of the goal, channel, and attribution types and how you’d apply each one.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

While I read all of the units, listened to each one, took obsessive notes, and studied for what seemed like forever, there were a number of questions you couldn’t answer from the units and further reading alone. Some of the questions relied on you having further knowledge — both basic GA as well as a bit of more in-depth stuff. Here’s what else you need to know and study in order to pass the GAIQ exam.

1.     Google Tag Manager

While Google’s Tag Manager only received a passing mention in Analytics Academy, there was a fair amount of emphasis put on this product in the test. Google realizes that you know that it helps you to manage your tags, but they want to make sure you understand all of the perks of using it, how it works, account best practices, and what happens to GA code when you add tag snippets. To be honest, I was surprised about the number of Google Tag Manager questions I received, and wished I had studied up a little more on these two pages:

2.     Ecommerce

What does ecommerce tracking actually allow you to track? Product, transition, and time to purchase information, right? But what do each of those actually entail? If you don’t know, check out this page. The test, in addition to questioning you about ecommerce tracking and reporting, wants to make sure you know what Google allows you to keep tabs on. Remember that no personally identifiable information such as names or social security numbers can ever be sent to Google, while it’s fine to keep an eye on what products are bought, the amount of revenue generated, and tax information.

3.     Real Time

While the name may be self-explanatory, make sure you’re versed in what real time allows you to see on the site as well as how you can use the data. For example, does real time allow you to see how many people are on your site right now? Which goal conversions have occurred? Does it allow you to verify that tracking code is working on your site or app? If you answered yes to all of this then you’re probably all set but just to to be sure check out this page.  

4.     Demographics & Interest Data

The GAIQ exam calls for more extensive knowledge of the demographics and interest sections of the audience report than the additional resources page gives you.  As a result, I recommend you study this “Overview of Demographics and Interests Reports” page to make sure you understand what kind of data you get as well as the various ways you can access it. Don’t forget that you’re privy to this demographic and interest information thanks to DoubleClick third-party cookies, but only when that cookie is associated with a user. As a result, your demographic and interest data information may only represent a subset of your users.

5.     Intelligence

Unless I missed something, and I mean really missed something, there wasn’t anything about intelligence in Analytics Academy though it was definitely on the test. Intelligence reports, according to Google, allow you to “monitor your website’s traffic to detect significant statistical variations, and then automatically generates alerts, or Intelligence Events, when those variations occur.” These alerts can be automatic or custom in that they can be about any large changes Google finds or ones you’ve specified to be notified about. Understanding what situations call for intelligence reports will make the GAIQ test a bit easier; brush up on your intelligence knowledge.  

6.     Site Speed Report

The site speed report measures aspects of latency: page load time for a sample of pageviews, load time for a hit, how quickly information is parsed, and how quickly it’s available for user interaction. While I only had one question about latency, it’s probably a good idea to make sure you’re up to speed on everything site speed related.

7.     Filters & Views

The GAIQ asks a number of questions about how to use filters and views in tandem, and the resource, “about view filters” will be particularly helpful with these questions. Be able to list all of the predefined and custom filters listed in this resource, and study their three examples on how to use filters. Don’t forget that you can track traffic to a specific directory through a filter, and subdirectories through separate views.

8.     Dimension Widening & Measurement Protocol

Dimension widening and measurement protocol were both options to a couple of different exam questions, so they’re definitely worth reviewing. Dimension widening, according to Google’s Justin Cutroni, allows you to import additional metrics and dimensions so you can have better, more representative reporting. Measurement protocol is something entirely different. It’s a part of Universal Analytics that gives developers the ability to see how people interact with their business through a variety of different platforms. You can read more on both topics here:


Good luck, everyone!

While the test may have moved away from focusing largely on how analytics are calculated, it still forces you to practice applying general knowledge. This application, not the memorization of definitions, is the key to passing the GAIQ exam, illustrating that while the questions may have changed the test is still the same at its core. The more things change, the more they stay the same, no?  Good luck, everyone!

Have you taken the new GAIQ exam (launched January 15, 2014)? What were your thoughts? We’d love to hear them, as well as any advice you have for those about to take the new exam.

About the author
Morgan Chessman

Morgan Chessman

As a marketing consultant at Distilled, Morgan performs audits and writes marketing strategy reports. She’s particularly interested in how companies build online brand awareness and loyalty. In fact, it’s this fascination with marketing’s influence...   read more