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on 15 December 2009
Few things can be better than a book written by someone on the inside (though he isn't any more). Brian Clifton has written an excellent book for both beginners and intermediate users of Google Analytics, and most of the tips and thoughts apply equally easily to any other web analytics program that people may be using (and, indeed, everyone with a website should be using some form of analytics!). Especially the section on tips and hacks is extremely interesting and handy once you have used Analytics for a bit, giving you an insight into how you can adapt Analytics to your exact purposes. If you are at an advanced level then I wouldn't recommend this book, also because it was written a while ago so newer features like event tracking aren't covered at all, and some code is defunct now with the more recent updates. But for everyone getting started it should be at the top of the book pile on your desk.
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on 18 May 2008
I've been running Google Analytics on a number of web sites since it was first released in 2005. I've got a lot of good information out of it, but I've always suspected that I'm not using it to its full potential. Having read this book I now have a much better idea of what I'm missing and, more importantly, how I can put that right.

Brian Clifton has written a really useful guide to getting the most benefit out of Google's free web analytics system. He is, of course, well-placed to do that as he leads the Google Analytics team for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Part one is a good overview of web analytics is. Chapter one explains what web analytics is and what you can get out of it. Chapter two goes into more detail about the method that people use to analyse their web site traffic and chapter three introduces Google Analytics and explains where it fits into the web analytics landscape.

Part two gives an introduction to using Google Analytics. Chapter four looks at the interface to Google Analytics. This chapter gives the reader a good free for the interactivity of the Google Analytics interface. It's this interactivity that makes Google Analytics far easier to use than many of its competitors. Chapter five looks in more depth at ten of the reports that the system generates. By the end of this chapter I was already learning new little tips about the system.

Part three is about implementing Google Analytics on your web site. chapter six shows you how to tag your web pages so they are included in your reports. This is about as far as my Google Analytics knowledge goes. So chapter seven introduces ways to customise the Google Javascript code in order to have more control over what data is recorded, it was all new (and very interesting). For example, the chapter has techniques for measuring page load time and tracking outgoing links. Chapter eight is all about Google Analytics best practices and is full of the kinds of tips that only an expert in using the tool would be able to share with you. Having read this chapter I configured up some of my sites to track search queries and set up more goals on my sites. Chapter nine is called "Google Analytics Hacks" and is a really useful cookbook of tips and techniques for getting even more out of Google Analytics. Top of my list of things to implement from this chapter is to add tracking to all of my error pages.

The sections we've discussed so far have all been about generating as much useful data about your web site traffic as possible. But, of course, huge piles of data don't do you any good at all unless you can make some sense of the data and then act on your findings. This is what part four is about. Chapter ten offers some useful hints on how to make sense of all of the data you have collected. Clifton looks at a web site from a number of points of view (sales, marketing, web content creator and webmaster) and for each of them suggests a number of key performance indicators that will be of interest to them. He then shows how to construct these KPIs out of the data that Google Analytics has captured. Chapter eleven moves on to the next stage and looks a number of real-world examples where data from Google Analytics can be used to identify poor performance from areas of a web site and suggests ways to improve matters.

I'm no web analytics expert and, to be honest, some of the stuff in part four made my eyes glaze over a little. But my company doesn't rely on its web site for income so I've never had to worry about the number of visitors I get or how long they spend on the site. Web analytics has really just been a hobby for me. If I was in a company where those kinds of things were important, then I feel confident that this book would be the right one to turn to in order to learn more. This book certainly goes into more depth when talking about both the technical side of Google Analytics and how to interpret the data than any other book I've read on the subject.

This book has taught me a lot of new and interesting things about Google Analytics and I feel sure that I'll be going back to it in the future when I need to know more. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to get the most out of their Google Analytics installation.
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on 27 November 2008
Announced and marketed as a breakthrough in terms of explaining Google Analytics it delivers a lot of static knowledge. Most of it you can read up logging onto Googles own websites, for example Google Analytics Conversion University. It is written in a cumbersome and dry style and obviously aimed at people who are already "in the know" but it fails to address marketers and business owners with less specific knowledge.
If you really want to understand how Google Analytics works and how it can be utilised for your own business purposes, I would recommend
Web Analytics An Hour a Day by Avinash Kaushik.
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on 3 July 2012
I cannot tell you how much this book has opened my eyes to what is possible with GA. I knew there was potential but what you can achieve is really good.
The information present in this kick ass book gives you the data you need to tell who ever owns a site that you need to understand everything and wehter you think your website fits in their ethos, it should be considered.

Monetizing your site, as the authors says gives you the language to talk to your boss and say, 'Look, you're losing money here. Lets do something about it..'

I didn't read this all in one go thought, I had read it gradually.

I recommend this book, alot.
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on 22 June 2010
I haven't had time in my life to read this book form cover-to-cover just yet, but having dipped in and out of it, I am very impressed so far. Although a 'starter' with web analytics, I'm a reasonably competent user of MS Excel and so needed a book which could cope with my potential ability to understand a step or two beyond the basic, but yet which will take me to that point from first principles, which it appears to do. Although I didn't read other books prior to this purchase, I did some pretty intensive searching and this book gave the impression of being able to take me through from basics to the reasonably sophisticated and it hasn't let me down yet.
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My favourite in-depth analytics book. Admittedly the only other one I've read is the one by Avinash Kaushik, but I find this much more useful simply as it focuses on Google Analytics, rather than talking about other analytics packages.

This book clearly explains the basics, then goes into huge detail about certain aspects. It's very easy to skip the more complex sections if you wish, and the author explains that you won't be missing anything crucial if you do skip it.

One of the most useful sections is that it explains what metrics different types of websites should be looking for, for explain showing what an e-commerce site should be particularly focused on.

Yes there are lots of blog posts around the net explaining analytics, but I'd still recommend reading this for the expertise and advice contained.

The only downside, it is outdated in some places. Within a few weeks from writing this review (Mar-11) a redesign of GA is coming out, so some guides are likely not to work in the future.
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on 29 April 2008
It only took me three evenings to read this book. This book is catchy, it has coherency and is very well written. It contains numerous tips and has a lot of clarifying images.

Don't expect the full story about web analytics and how to interpret figures and metrics provided by Google Analytics. And I guess this wasn't the true purpose of the book. Web Analytics is quite difficult. It can't be explained on paper.

But you can surely expect an excellent in-depth overview of Google Analytics and how to properly collect and find actionable data in the generated reports.

After a first reading, this book remains highly valuable. I'm sure I will use it a lot as a reference book (with a handy index). Therefore, I suggest a hard cover for the next issue. A special edition for the fans?

If you're interested in the measurement side of online marketing, this book is highly advised. I've you like to learn more, if not everything about the Web Analytics power tool of Google, this book is a must read. You will not regret it.

It is a recipe for a growing enthusiasm for Google Analytics and Web Analytics. Brian Clifton gives you a long enduring ROI with his book. Five thumbs up for that!
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on 14 October 2010
A great book that delves into the intricacies of google analytics. I have had a google analytics account for quite a while now but didnt do much with it bar looking at the basic stats. All the different options just seemed too complex and time consuming to learn. Purchased this book and now I know my way around analytics and feel like I am getting the most out of it now.

If the perfomance of your web site is important and google analytics is a bit of a mystery to you, then buy this book.
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on 6 February 2016
Boring to read I found.
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on 30 November 2011
Working as a Web Analyst, new to google Analytics, (used Sitecatalyst before) I found this book VERY helpful. My aim is to become a certified practioner and this book may be able to let me pass the exam.
The book has alot of theory (in a good way) and contains alot of practical screenshots, tagging instructions and recommendations and other useful hints.

Links to other useful websites and articles are also available. It is very well written and takes you through every possible Google Analytics scenario. I use this book daily and would say that this book is great for a novice as well for an advanced practitioner.

I would say: BUY IT! You won't regret!"
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