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Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics Paperback – March 31, 2008
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From the Back Cover
How Does Your Website Measure Up?
Are you getting the most out of your website? Google insider and web metrics expert Brian Clifton reveals the information you need to get a true picture of your site's impact and stay competitive using Google Analytics (GA) and the latest web metrics methodologies.
Which marketing campaigns work best? How do you quantify their success? What indicators should you track? Packed with techniques and insider secrets not documented elsewhere, Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics has the expert guidance you need to enhance your brand and increase your site's ROI. Learn how to:
Measure your web traffic and understand its impact on ROI
Configure your data collection parameters, then extract and analyze the collected data
Drill down to the precise visitor segments or time periods you choose
Discover how long it takes for your visitors to convert to customers
Follow best practices for page tagging and tracking dynamic web pages, Flash events, banners, and more
Optimize checkout systems, pay-per-click campaigns (including AdWords), SEO, and e-mail marketing, and use ad version testing in conjunction with multivariate testing
Centralize your data collection and track offline campaigns
This book is a recipe for measuring your success and optimizing your online marketing."
—Jim Sterne, Founding Director and Chairman of the Web Analytics Association
I can confidently recommend this book to anybody serious about turning web analytics into a competitive business advantage."
—Dennis R. Mortensen, COO, IndexTools, Inc.
Brian Clifton does a fantastic job of explaining how to effectively power a web analytics strategy using Google Analytics. Both new and seasoned GA users will benefit from Brian's book and his expertise."
—Justin Cutroni, Director of Analytics and Testing, EpikOne
What Brian Clifton doesn't know about Google Analytics probably hasn't been invented yet. In this book he shares his extensive knowledge in a concise and coherent fashion."
—Neil Mason, Managing Director, Applied Insights
What's fantastic about this book is the practical, detailed help it gives you to get real value out of your web analytics tool."
—Ashley Friedlein, CEO, E-consultancy.com
About the Author
Brian Clifton, Ph.D., leads the Google Web Analytics team for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He is a noted web analytics and search engine marketing expert who speaks at industry trade shows (including Search Engine Strategies, Emetrics Summit, and Search Marketing World), maintains a blog on web metrics and Google Analytics (www.advanced-web-metrics.com), and has written numerous white papers.
Top customer reviews
The title is a little misleading as the book spends a lot of time going through how to set up a basic analytics properly. Well maybe that is advanced for some people, because as Brian clearly and comprehensively illustrates, it's not as easy or simple as many people think.
For this information alone it is worth getting the book.
Other chapters on setting up ecommerce and campaign tracking, I would have thought were standard stuff, but again maybe they are advanced for some users.
Again, the book provides a lot of detail and examples of how to do this properly.
If you can't get your analytics set up properly after reading this book, well, you're not paying attention.
There is some advanced stuff on hacks and custom tagging towards the end.
I'm not complaining, I learned heaps that I didn't know that I didn't know.
As I said, it's a great book and an essential one, I just think the title is misleading.
Perhaps "Analytics: How to Do the Damn Stuff Right" would have been closer to the mark.
All that aside. This is a fantastic book. A deserving 5 starrer.
The flow of this book has been well planned. Clifton starts with what reports can be procured from Google Analytics, giving everyone a quick insight into what kind of information gathering is possible. A really good way to tell you how potent this tool can be. The next section deals with the implementation and how pages can be tracked. Discusses in detail some of the implementation issues like:
Using the same analytics account to monitor diff websites
How to create a local copy of the analytics info
Also includes Advanced Implementation how-to's for E-Commerce websites, online campaign tacking, event tracking. There's also a chapter on hacks. These sections are the most relevant and covers the first 211 pages.
The last section of the books starts with KPI's and discusses the topic in detail with examples related to e-commerce sites, Marketer's KPI's webmaster's KPI's and more. The last chapter also discusses Google Website Optimizer and is a good introduction for newbies.
This book is extremely comprehensive and does a very good job of introducing Google Analytics to both new users as well as experienced one. Javasript code shows up at various places and is definitely helpful as a reference for making quick changes to your website tags.
If you have a website that uses Google Analytics, just go ahead and buy the book. If you're using other analytic tools, this book is a good introduction to what Google Analytics has to offer.
A few standout features of Google Analytics:
Two click integration with Google Adwords. (Two reports : Adwords Campaign, Keyword Positions)
Can be used to track paid search, organic search, links from pdf's, videos, email campaigns etc
Site overlay report (something like a heat map. WebTrends calls this the click density report)
Map overlay report (shows which geographies people are coming in from)
Cross referencing (eg how many visitors from california, which keywords folks from california use)
Site search reporting (From which pages do visitors initiate a search. And which page do they go to. This needs some setting up.)
Event tracking of video files and load times, interactions in the file etc ..
(About Google Urchin: Urchin is a down loadable tool. Its a hybrid tool since it tags as well as processes log files. It can provide bandwidth reports, error page/status code reports, visitor history reports.
Can run behind firewall. Useful for intranets.
Data stored in house, so can be used beyond 25 months.
Google Analytics can analyze a max 5 million pageviews a month. Urchin doesn't have this restriction.
The Disadvantages pertain to the hardware and manpower needed to set up a server, maintain and backup.)
Companion site for the book: [...]
Scripts are at: [...]
Facebook Group: [...]
Advanced topics and methodologies: [...]
If you want to see pics of what some actual Google Analytics Reports look like, you can check them on my website Pune360.com:
For example, when setting profile filters, it is best practice to only set one include filter. Watch out for the reverse logic which means each data entry must match *every include filter*. An easy mistake to make. The book is loaded with little call out boxes that highlight these important points. This makes it easier to skim and find something you read and not remembered exactly where it was.
As a sidenote, I also own a Kindle, and while I love taking it with me when I travel, I find it harder to go back to find specific points (even with the search feature) than using the hard copy. I know own two copies of many analytics books (hard and soft copies) for this reason!
Whoever reads this book will realize how much data Google Analytics can yield. Of course, data overkill can lead to analysis paralysis. For this reason, Mr. Clifton emphasizes that acting on the data is the single most important aspect of web analytics. Yet it is this that most people do not achieve. Furthermore, Bill Hunt, CEO of Global Strategies International, who Mr. Clifton quotes at the beginning of his book, observes: "Eight out of 10 implementations of web analytics solutions are incorrectly set up." Search engine and web site optimization requires time and resources dedicated to this endeavor.
In conclusion, Mr. Clifton shows with success how web analytics can be used to improve the key performance indicators for one's online success without minimizing the amount of work required to get it done.