Book Review – Web Analytics: An Hour a Day by Avinash Kaushik | Cardinal Path Blog
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Book Review – Web Analytics: An Hour a Day by Avinash Kaushik

Avinash Kaushik is a business consultant at the leading edge of the web analytics frontier. He is the author the Occam's Razor blog which covers the topic of web analytics and web site optimization (which by the way is one of the top web analytics blogs on the internet). Earlier this year he took a consulting position with Google as their web analytics evangelist, as well as released his first book –Web Analytics: An Hour a Day. (a recent blog post also mentions that he will be co-founding a new consulting firm called Market Motive)

Having read a number of very good books on the subject of web analytics I feel that this is one of the most useful books yet to cover the topic. My reasoning for this comment is that this is the first book that I feel really provides the reader with a framework with which to approach web analytics. It goes beyond definitions, theory,… and helps those who are new to the field or struggling with web analytics to develop an action plan. The frame work goes beyond simply looking at click stream data and stresses the importance of qualitative data (user experience feedback from surveys, user testing,…), as well as the outcomes. At the end of the day web analytics is about action plans, making changes and measuring the success or failure of your changes. Web analytics is not about creating mountains of data.

In addition to providing a frame work for analysis Web Analytics: An Hour a Day also provides some insight in to creating a data driven corporate culture. Part of creating a data driven culture has to do with having the appropriate human resources (there is a section in the book on what to look for when hiring an outstanding web analyst) and financial backing. Having the appropriate financial backing is crucial as the vast majority of the money that a company spends on their web analytics should be spent on the people who are gaining insights from the data, not the tool that creates the mountains of data. Avinash quotes his 90/10 rule in the book – for every $10 spent on your analytics tool $90 should be spent on people analyzing the data (that doesn't mean that if you are using Google Analytics as your tool that you don't need to spend any money on the people who should be doing the analysis, however in some cases it may mean that a firm should stop spending money on their analytics tool and switch to Google Analytics and then spend the money that they are now saving on analysts).

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is in the analytics field whether you have been doing it for years or for days. This is a great book that is very well formatted and presented.

My current readings now include Actionable Web Analytics by Jason Burby and Shane Atchison of Zaaz. I have high hopes for this book as well.

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