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5.0 out of 5 stars
The best guide to actionable insights from data, 2 Nov 2007
Web Analytics is a must read because it learns you how to view analytics the right way.
One of the hardest part when first diving into analytics is figuring out how to focus on the right data - the data that tells you what is happening with your site.
One of the first questions Avinash gets you to focus on is: "What's the purpose of your web site?" Your analytics strategy should be very much aligned with the answer to this question.
With this attitude towards the data, we can "infer the intent" of the user - ultimately, inferring is the best you can do with this type of data. Inferences are important, as they will inform strategy. If the strategy is then met with improved performance of the site, your confidence in the data and its interpretation grows. If not, you should re-analyze and re-strategize. Early in the book, Avinash identifies this as your top priority in analytics. In fact, he says, "Is it a bit extreme to dump clickstream in favor of measuring outcomes first? Yes. Necessary? You bet."
The challenge is that the quality of the information available from your traditional web analytics tools is too poor for you to analyze outcome. In order to make sense of the data, we need broader research and analysis, so that we can find relationships between the different types of data, and infer meaning from them.
To achieve this, Avinash enriches the data with Focus group analysis, continuous surveys, multivariate testing, etc.
Avinash also integrates competitive intelligence in his interpretation of the data. Services such as comScore and Hitwise can provide direct information about what your customers are doing.
It is a great book that teaches you all this from the ground up, and goes into amazing detail. I recommend it wholeheartedly.