Google Analytics 4 Logo

Google Analytics 4 Assignment in the Communication Research Class [Updated]

Google Analytics 4 Assignment for the Communication Research class (GA4) [Update]

For a few years I’ve taught Google Analytics in my Media & Audience Analytics class (formerly titled Communication Research).

Recently, Google converted to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). I spent time during my sabbatical (woot!) updating my lectures and assignment to the Google Analytics 4 environment.  Below, I provide a summary of changes that I made, with a particular focus on the assignment itself. This post is an update to my 2020 post about teaching Google Analytics in a Communication Research class.

First, if you haven’t checked out Dr. Scott Cowley’s video overview of how to use Google Analytics 4, I strongly recommend it. He shared it on the Social Media Professors Community Group this past February. It was instrumental in helping me quickly get up to speed with Google Analytics 4 and in helping me update my project assignment. I’m going to suggest to my students that they reference it while working on their projects.

Dr. Cowley, who is always extremely generous in sharing his teaching resources (and who has been a big inspiration for several assignments I’ve discussed in the past on this blog), kindly shared his slide deck and student assignment with me.

Preparing Students to Work with Google Analytics 4

To get students up to speed with Google Analytics 4, I had students complete a portion of the GA4 training provided by Google via SkillsShop. I gave students the option to complete the certification as extra credit. Students completed the training before we started working on the Google Analytics project.

Google Analytics 4 Assignment Overview

The Google Analytics 4 Assignment is the second research project students complete in my class. It is a group project. My goals for the project are to get students using Google Analytics, to instill an understanding of web traffic analytics, and to provide hands-on experience in crafting insightful reports using digital analytics tools.

The assignment centers on the Google Merchandise store, an actual store which sells branded Google and YouTube products. Google provides anyone with a Google Analytics account the ability to see the web traffic data for the Google Merch store. So students get hands-on experience working with real web traffic data.

The hypothetical situation for the assignment is: After a post-holiday slump, Google launched a digital campaign aiming to boost awareness, engagement, and revenue. The class is asked to evaluate the campaign’s success and propose enhancements for the next campaign (I designed a series of goals and objectives that the hypothetical campaign was trying to achieve). The assignment requires students to answer 10 questions about the Google Merch store’s web traffic in order to evaluate whether the measurable objectives were achieved. These questions are referred to as the Research Questions on the assignment to remain consistent with the other projects in this class.

–> See the Google Analytics 4 Assignment on SlideShare. I apologize. I was not able to get the SlideShare to embed in this post.

Google Analytics 4 Assignment Supplementary Materials

I provide a Google Analytics 4 terminology handout, a document with common terms and definitions that I’ve culled from various sources. A robust list of terms can be found at lovesdata.com.

As I did with the previous Google Analytics assignment, I created a Google Analytics 4 lab guide to help walk students through answering the research questions.

I have mixed opinions about providing this guide to the students. On the one hand, it is a great refresher to me in helping me help the students work through the problems. It also helps me help many students at once as I’m racing around the computer lab in class— this students use the lab guide to work their way through the problems at their own pace. On the other hand, you may find that the guide, well, guides the students a bit too much, making finding the correct answer a bit too easy. Ultimately, I find the lab guide super helpful in making sure everyone is on the same page.

Conclusion

The update to Google Analytics 4 creates opportunities to update our teaching of web analytics. This post contains of how I am teaching Google Analytics 4 and includes a link to my GA4 project and the accompanying lab guide that students can use to help them complete the project. I hope you enjoyed it.

I plan to write a bit about my sabbatical in a future post. Stay tuned.

– Have a wonderful day.
Matt

I used ChatGPT and ProWriting Aid to help write a small portion of this blog post to help me get more hands-on experience with AI. 🙂

Image source.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.