Although it is only January 6th, I can say with a pretty high degree of confidence, that the analytics book of the year is Avinash Kaushik’s new book Web Analytics 2.0. As a follow up to his first book, Web Analytics: An Hour A Day, I think Avinash out did himself with this book. If you don’t know of Avinash Kaushik, among other things, he’s Google’s Analytics Evangelist and his blog, Occam’s Razor, is a great resource for anyone interested in analytics.
Web Analytics 2.0 is a nice balance of theory and practical tips, but more importantly, provides guidance for readers with a wide range of skill and experience. Over the 14 chapters of the book, Kaushik covers almost every aspect of web analytics, from competitive analytics to optimization, even guides for picking a solution vendor and starting a career in the industry.
By far my favorite part of the book was Chapter 3 (“The Awesome World of Clickstream Analysis: Metrics”). This one chapter should used as a primer for anyone thinking about buying, selling, or using web analytics. In the chapter Avinash covers all the basics including his eight standard metrics (visits, visitors, time on page, time on site, bounce rate, exit rate, conversion rate, and engagement) and also delves into how to define a great metric. If every website owner, marketer and developer read this, the world might just be a better place. [Note to Avinash/Wiley Publishing: release Chapter 3 as a inexpensive white paper/eBook]
Overall the book is an easy read for anyone interested. Avinash’s causal writing style and frequent examples makes the text engaging and entertaining. For the most part, you can dive into any area of the book without missing too much context from the rest of the book. Of course I recommend reading the whole thing, but even if you just read one chapter, say on social measurement, you’ll still get a lot out of it.
Included with the book is a CD-ROM containing presentations, audio/video, white papers and what maybe the best Easter-egg on the disk, an Excel spreadsheet with the 70 URLs reference in the book. Although the book has handy short URLs for every site referenced (like http://sn.im/gifors) having them all in one place is extremely useful. I’m tempted to publish them here, but that might violate copyright and I don’t want the folks at Wiley hunting me down.
If you are reading this blog, I 100% recommend buying this book. On top of being a well-written resource, all of the profits from this book (and his previous one) go to two charities: The Smile Train and The Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation. Get the book and start the new year off right with a quick education on the in’s and out’s of web analytics.