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David Hughes (Reigate, Surrey, UK)

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Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity
Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity
by Avinash Kaushik
Edition: Paperback
Price: 18.35

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you buy just one digital marketing book..., 14 Nov 2009
Avinash Kaushik has been de-mistifying the world of web analytics for years through his excellent blog Occam's Razor. He took us deeper into the murky world of Java-script tagging and standard reports with his comprehensive "Web Analytics: An Hour a Day" in 2007. Now he has written a book that all digital marketers should buy, read and leave on their desk to refer back to on a regular basis.

Web Analytics 2.0 shows us how to move from shovelling buckets of meaningless "clickstream" data around our organisations and develop a love for true insight. In short he encourages us to move towards adding qualitative data to our limitless supply of quantitative data in order to really understand what people are doing on our sites. We must learn to use our hearts as well as our minds.

Lets take a simple example - that old favourite of "Engagement". Marketers run so many analytics reports to get a fix on engagement that the lights in most offices regularly dim. And the bad news according to Avinash is that you will NEVER be able to measure how much people are enjoying themselves on your site just with the click-stream data. For instance, to paraphrase Avinash, 2 people visit your site and spend 10 minutes looking at 12 pages. Both happy right? One loved your site, but the other was frantically trying to find some content and gave up after 10 fruitless minutes - you will never ever ever know this just from your data. We'll need to augment our click-stream view with some kind of attitudinal research and Avinash guides us through what tools to use and how to get the best of this case an on-site survey with simple questions such as "did you achieve what you set out to do on our site today?" will take the guesswork out of our analytics.

So Avinash takes us on a journey to show us where we should be using our hearts to make sense of data. On our way we look at the need to move away from once a week reports to continuous streams of meaningful data; we are constantly reminded that customers, not marketers, are the best people to inform us what our site should look and feel like; and we are taken on a guided tour of the mountainous areas of competitive insight and told how to mine it profitably.

But this book does so much more than just change the way you think, critical though that is. It shows you what buttons to press to make your reports more actionable, tells you what sites to look at when considering additional solutions and gives clarity to virtually all the web analytics jargon terms. Some of the content will be familiar to regular readers of his blog (like the excellent explanation of multiple-tab time on site calculations!) but that makes this even more of a reference book for all our analytics needs.

As you may know I am a huge fan of testing everything that we do in digital marketing and so the chapter titled "Failing Faster: Unleashing the Power of Testing and Experimentation" took me around all my favourite sites in the digital marketing landscape: A/B testing, Multi-variate testing and some really sound advice about where to start and a few quick wins to get you in the mood!
Avinash shows us that web analytics is woven into all our digital marketing activity - from search to site usability and email campaign analysis to off-line integration. I even spent a rewarding few minutes simply reading the sub-heads and being reminded of things we ought to be doing all the time:
- Segment or go home
- Five Rules for creating a Data-Driven Boss
- The Key to Glory - Measuring Success
- Context is Queen
- Failing faster - unleashing the power of Testing and Experimentation

So there we are - a digital marketing book that takes you from thinking differently to doing better, packed with explanations about the things we ought to know about (or showing us how wrong we have been!). It comes with a CD brimming with Podcasts, Video and Powerpoint material as well as lists of additional resources. It's taken me 2 weeks to work from the start of the book to the end but it's been a fantastic journey...and at over 450 pages you may want to pack a lunch before you set off!

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