Sometimes I take my advice and take Google Analytics Academy courses. This time it was something I was with which I somewhat familiar: Google Tag Manager.
I learned that with the help of internet research. However, it wasn’t until today that I looked into some more advanced featured (like tracking and creating reports with custom dimensions.
After learning about some of these functions, I’d have to agree with “Analytics dork” Greg Zguta that with GTM, “There is a corresponding learning curve and the high end of that curve feels more like the realm of a developer than a marketer or communications professional.” However, as more sites are using it, it certainly can’t hurt to learn it. Zguta later provided some tips for those starting out.
While I’d leave the heavy coding to real developers, I think the step necessary to implement cross-domain tracking have become so simplified that it is not hard to believe it will be an ability those in communications/public relations/marketing will be expected to have.
I think the predictions of Arik Hanson about the skills communicators will need to have by 2020 is right on track.
Chuck Hemann, then at WCG (and who spoke at Newhouse), believes that “[t]he time has long since passed where the PR pro can claim ignorance on how to gather, analyze and develop insights from data. There isn’t an expectation that he/she will be a data analyst, but if he/she isn’t comfortable working WITH a data analyst then they will be left behind.”
I think this is becoming more and more true in the corporate world. As competition in higher ed (and amongst independent schools) is projected only to increase, it won’t be too very before those skills become vital for us as well.