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66 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2007
'Web Analytics: An Hour a Day' describes in an absorbing and insightful way the most important topics for a Web Analyst or any professional related to the management of a website. Topics covered include: basic terminology, tool selection/implementation, online segmentation, conversion rates improvement, competitive analysis, and many others.

The Business trinity, created by Avinash, is a very powerful business process that can radically improve the performance of online efforts. It is also the spirit of the book. Avinash describes the trinity as follows: "The goal of the Trinity mindset is to power the generation of actionable insights. Its goal is not to do reporting. Its goal is not to figure out how to spam decision makers with data. Actionable Insights & Metrics are the uber-goal simply because they drive strategic differentiation and a sustainable competitive advantage (...) The Trinity mindset empowers you to Understand the customer experience so explicitly that you can influence the right customer behavior which will lead to win-win outcomes for the company and its customers."

The book is indispensable to those who want to understand and practice the art and science of web analytics. It is organized in a very friendly way, turning the reading into a pleasant break amid the rush of day-to-day duties; like a challenging conversation. It is rich in examples, facilitating the understanding of the `what', `how', and `why' of online measurement strategies.

I have profited from Avinash's writings in various situations; the practical advices given in the book are clear and bring great results. I warmly recommend reading this book and following the author's blog.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2007
One of the first things that impressed me about this book was the fact that it went beyond what I was expecting to read: how to better read analytics dashboards. What I found was a sophisticated and marketing-oriented book that teaches how to use the available data to create a clear picture of return on investment in the online world. This is more than your typical programming book, this is a marketing book.

Kaushik does a great job with the format. As is the fact with any subject you are committed to knowing, reading the information and applying it in small pieces is the best way to learn. The bulk of the content is arranged by subject and segmented into daily readings allowing you to focus and build upon the knowledge one brick at a time.

The book is easy to read, full of practical application, and one that will be tattered, bookmarked, and referenced often.
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63 of 73 people found the following review helpful
If you buy 'Web Analytics ...' looking for some guidance, or even a few ideas, as to analysis of your internet marketing/sales endeavors, you will be disappointed. This book is about data collection ... nothing more.

To Avinash Kaushik's credit he appears thorough. I did appreciate his flagging the limitations of data collected by the various methods. On the downside the book is repetitive and could have been better ordered. The '... Hour a Day' is appropriate, as that is about all a reader can risk in one sitting. The text makes an arduous read. If better structured, this book could have been half its length.

If I learned one thing, it is this. I'll architect my approach to web analysis, define the data I need, and then recruit an IT type to build the process to collect the data. Having read the book, I now know what data there can be. For this I'm grateful to the author.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2007
We here at the ISG media & analytics team have been anxiously awaiting the publication of Avinash Kaushik's book, Web Analytics: An Hour A Day, since we first "met" Avinash at a webinar back in February. Avinash's passion for web analytics was evident throughout the webinar, and we've been subscribers to his blog, Occam's Razor, ever since.

Web analytics is an important part of what we do at ISG. Years of experience in online marketing has reinforced the idea that there's no point in having a website, microsite, or campaign page if you have no idea how it's performing. That's why Avinash's book is a must read for anyone involved in Internet marketing. His book is a great read for anyone from the director of media & analytics to senior analyst to summer intern. Whether you are involved in complex decision-making and web strategies or are looking at conversion rates to provide actionable insights, this book is great for people of all levels of experience, while providing a fresh look at web analytics.

The book is "a step-by-step guide to implementing a successful web analytics strategy." It is meant to be enjoyed over a span of eight months, but you can read it as quickly or slowly as you like. We here at ISG are sharing a couple of copies between us and are relishing each page as we read, so what follows is a summary of the book based on what we've read and reviewed so far.

The book is divided into four parts:

Part I: Foundation
Part II: Trinity Approach
Part III: Implementing Your Web Analytics Plan
Part IV: Advanced Web Analytics "Data in your DNA"

Part I gives a brief history of web analytics, which makes this book perfect for someone just starting out in the field. Avinash takes the time to describe all the metrics that can be analyzed, how they are derived, and how they are useful for web analytics. He focuses not only on the "what" but on the "why" and proposes a new framework called the Integrated Trinity Platform. Part I (19 pages in total) is chock full of information that will give you the background you need for starting your web analytics study or, if you are experienced in the field, propose a new way to think about the role your job plays in your company.

There's also a bonus CD with 5+ hours of podcasts for your listening pleasure, a 45-minute video presentation, PowerPoint presentations, and other useful web analytics resources. And at the end of the book, Avinash directs the reader to two companion websites so that they may continue on their web analytics journey.

The best part about this book is that it is written by someone who is so passionate about web analytics that he is voluntarily receiving no profit from his book: 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Smile Train and Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders).
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2007
Avinash Kaushik focuses on the key issue: the visitors. Learn what your visitors want and then give it to them. Use analytics, competitive intelligence, and user polls to find out. Many sites focus only on customers (the ones who actually buy) and pretty much ignore the remaining visitors (who make up 60-80% of the traffic). By looking at visitors, you can improve the overall experience, and very likely the conversion rate as well.

Avinash's book is far away the best book on analytics. He has solid experience in using analytics tools at large companies. He also has a degree in engineering and an MBA, so he understands both the technical and the business aspects. The book is a solid presentation of how to use analytics to establish and reach business goals. As you've figured out by now, analytics is not about tracking URLs or auto-generated reports. It's business.

For Kaushik, there are three main strategies: discover the visitors' intentions, compare your website against benchmarks, and use analytics.

The first item is to understand your visitors. Learn what they want. Find out what they are seeking at your website. It's a mistake to focus on conversions; at best only 20-30% of your visitors will convert. If you concentrate on them, you're ignoring 70% of your visitors. To learn their intentions, ask them. Add polls and surveys at your site. Avinash offers several questions to ask your visitors: What are you looking for at our website? Were you able to complete your task? If you were unable to complete your task, please explain why. How can we improve our website to make it more useful for you?

The second item is comparison with your competitors: how are you doing in your industry. It's very nice to say that you have two million monthly visitors, but... compared to your top competitors, is that low? If they're getting one to two million visitors per month, then you're fine. But if they're getting 50 million monthly visitors, you're in trouble. So, find out. Avinash describes two services for competitive information and the features of each. You can find out your competitor's traffic share, level of activity, conversion rates, demographics, and so on. Other tools let you compare the amount of traffic for you and your top competitors. It's all in the book.

The third step is analytics. There is so much useful content in this book that I can't give a short summary. Avinash has solid experience in setting up KPIs and dashboards for dozens of companies and you'll learn how to do this. He describes what is useful, how it matters, and how to use it. He tells you why you should avoid real-time reporting.

A major issue in analytics is the soft numbers. Computers and the web gave us the promise of fully-trackable activity. Web analytics itself implies accurate measurement of data. This turned out to be an illusion. Nearly all of our clients are unaware that the numbers are off by as much as 30%. This is caused by a number of factors: the various analytics tools use different definitions for an event. Users block JavaScript, so tagging can't collect data. As much as 40% of users delete cookies every day. There are tracking problems with Ajax and Web 2.0 sites. And there are many more problems. The book has a clear explanation of log files, tagging, web bugs, and packet sniffing, along with the advantages and disadvantages for each one. You need to understand the technical issues to understand the strengths and limits of your numbers.

Along with describing what to do, Avinash also tells you what to ignore. Analytics is not reporting, so don't deliver reports. Reports are not useful for business decisions. If they want reports, set up automated reporting. Nobody reads these anyway. You should also ignore page views, clicks, and exit pages. These are useless for business decisions. It sounds very nice to say you have four million monthly page views, but so what? What matters is the visitors' intentions and your KPIs.

Avinash doesn't shy away from bold statements. He points out that analytics is interpretation and recommendation. But expensive analytics tools (which cost $50,000 to $100,000 per year or more) can simply be report-generating engines for your company, unless you have mastered their complexity. With tools like ClickTracks Analytics (which costs $90 per month) and Google Analytics (which is free) you can get all the reporting you want at a very low price. This allows you to invest in people or getting help from external consultants to move from reporting to doing analysis. You can even use both ClickTracks and Google Analytics. Google Analytics uses tagging and ClickTracks uses log files (or tagging); ClickTracks is good for SEO and Google Analytics is good for PPC. Each has features that the other is not capable of producing. By using easier tools, you can focus on the business goals instead of using the tool.

He also brings up the problems with Web 2.0. We have a number of Web 2.0 clients. How do you use analytics in a Web 2.0 world? On Web 2.0 sites, the concept of page views is irrelevant, because Ajax and Flash tools don't require a new page or a page refresh. There are lines of code from Google that allow you to track JavaScript events in Google Analytics. His book is current enough to discuss these issues.

A number of chapters are recommendations from Avinash: what is important? What is useful? What can you ignore? What is useless? He includes a list of best practices. The recommendations are extremely useful. That's why he is asked by Fortune 200 companies to help them with their analytics strategy. The same advice is in this book.

Avinash Kaushik's book is easily one of the best books for analytics, SEO, PPC, SEM, or the web industry. If you read only one book on web commerce, this is the one.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2007
I got my copy of the book yesterday and read it last night--it's fantastic! I've been working with the web since the pre-Mosaic days and have used a number of WA tools, as well as parsing raw log data on my own. Your book is the absolutely first thing I've read that presents the business of web analytics from an objective and non-self-aggrandizing viewpoint. Thank you for the effort to get it all on paper, and thank you for bettering the world with the donation of proceeds.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2007
Avinash Kaushik is the best blogger on the web to write on the subject of web analytics and his book "Web Analytics an Hour a Day" is the best in its class. Web Analytics can be a very hard topic to write about (and still keep your readers awake!)but Avinash has a great way of breaking down complex ideas so that anyone at any skill level can understand them and begin using the techniques right away.

This book was an easy read and appropriate for people just beginning their discovery of web analysis or those seasoned pros who thought they knew everything! (After reading the book you will find that you will definitely learn something new - I certainly did!)

This book breaks down all aspects of web analysis. Most books of this type will belabor the what? and the how? with little mention of the why?. Avinash does a wonderful job of giving you the insight to understand user behavior so you are not just getting lost in thousands of charts and graphs and instead begin making sense of what reports actually tell you something.

It is my great belief that if you decide to buy this book you will immediately begin associating yourself with a higher class of web marketer. Web Analytics is the future of the web, and this book is an awesome opportunity for you to make your website(s) begin to actually work for you.

My last mention is that all of the proceeds from the book go to charity. So what do you have to loose?

If I could give 6 stars I would. This book is the best in its class!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2007
I purchased this book with the idea of learning (with very limited base knowledge to start from) about the analysis of a web site's effectiveness beyond "clicks"! I am about 1/2 way through Web Analytics - An Hour A Day and much of what is being discussed is over my non-tech head.

That being said, my takeaway from the book so far is that I have learned usefully "dangerous" information about what I should expect from my web site, how it should be configured to capture information for analysis and, perhaps most importantly, "best practices" based upon this author's experience and perspective. Given that he is an expert in the field and his recommendations strike me as practical, I think this book is potentially valuable to someone of early to middle web utilization experience.

Be prepared, however, it is technical and long.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2007
I pre-ordered my book over a month ago...it was well worth the wait!!

'Web Analytics: An Hour a Day' provides clear and concise information on how to best utilize the tools out there for measuring data for you web site. This book is an excellent resource for task-oriented realists who want to find a way to improve their Web site's search engine rank.

Avinash does a great job in guiding the reader to understand how to take into account user behavior. Why? With so much data to decipher from reports and graphs, you begin to develop a better sense of what the numbers are really telling you.

For those who are diving into using and understanding web analytics, this book is indispensable! The book is loaded with numerous examples, but is enriched even more with Avinash's input helping decipher the 'what', 'how', and 'why'.

Reading Avinash's book will help you look at websites differently, and how to make better use of the data that's collected with your company's WA tools. The devil is in the details. This book helps you sort our those little devils.

Avinash, well done my friend!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Got my copy on Friday and have been glued to it since.

This is a must read for anyone who is related to any work with the web.

Avinash presents a very practical approach to any organizations web insights strategy and most importantly presents a very easy to follow material that can be put into action right away.

The book also provides very revolutionary ways of approaching problems and gives a sense of understanding on various tools that are out there. The trinity strategy, the importance of Competitive Intelligence, and the importance on using qualitative data with the sense of importance in providing actionable insights is powerful. Every page and every insight is very practical and I like the direct and common sense approach to problems.

This book should be called (excuse my political language) "The Bible of Web Insights".

Cons:

Can't believe the book is for $19. It is worth more than the retail price of $29

Must read....
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