Continuing our theme of Analytics books, here is a book focussed on web analytics.

However, the application of this practical book is much broader than just digital analysis. To explain why & to summarise the tips that have stayed with him, I am delighted to welcome back guest blogger Martin Squires.

Martin has written before on the importance of analysts and was one of our guests for our audio interview series. With his extensive experience of leading analytics teams & developing analysts it is interesting to hear his recommended book.

So, over to Martin to explain his choice of recommended book for today’s Analytics leaders…

Teaching an old dog new tricks

Being one of those poor unfortunates old enough to predate the internet (I hail from days when there were no mobile phones, DVD or VCR and TV comprised 3 channels none of which showed anything during the day, not sure how we all survived the horror!) I remember the shock when I was first asked to take on responsibility for web and digital analytics.

Realising I might need to get up to speed rather quickly, a few conferences and lots of blogs were consumed. One writer in particular has become a regular read, Avinash Kaushik.

This isn’t just because his books and his blog (Occams Razor) are great sources of information for learning the intricacies of omni-channel data and analysis. It’s because he shares an awful lot of wisdom that applies to data analysis whatever your data sources or specialism.

Why Web Analytics an Hour a Day?

Web Analytics An Hour A Day” was the first of Avinash’s books I read and is a great example:

Web Analytics

Web Analytics book. Read 26 reviews from the world’s largest community for readers. Written by an in-the-trenches practitioner, this step-by-step guide s…

If you are heading to the boom, from a web analytics viewpoint, then there is lots of useful stuff. Chapters 6 to 13 aim to provide the titles’ promise of an hour a day programme. This will get you up to speed with web analytics over an 8 month period.

There are better judges of tech content here than me but as a “starters guide” to get someone up to speed (whose analysis background was elsewhere) then I found this a really useful and accessible guide. The book was published in 2007 so the world may have moved on a touch but as an intro it certainly does the job.

Gems for analysts everywhere

Where I think the book really struck a chord with me though was the amount of content which is just great advice for analysts and Analytical leaders. There’s gems scattered throughout:

Chapter 1

Has a title that might seem dull, “Web analytics Past & Future”. But, it rapidly outlines the importance of good analysis merging the “what” and the “why” and how important it is to bring together behaviour, outcomes and experience insights to form an holistic picture.

Chapter 3

Takes this further, giving a useful overview of how qualitative and quantitative analysis can be merged to provide a fuller answer to a problem.

Chapter 2

Talks about data collection and importance, specifically in a web context. But it’s also for anyone who has ever struggled to merge together a myriad of different data sets and then deal with data of often dubious quality then are are lessons which are easy to adapt.

Chapter 4

Covers the “critical components of a successful web analytics strategy”. When the advice covers focusing on customer centricity, solving for business problems, a 10/90 rule I love (spend 10% of your budget on tools and 90% on people/brains) and the need to hire great analysts then the word web in the title is really superfluous. It’s a chapter on analysis strategy that deserves to be read over and over again.

Chapters 6-14

Maybe the guts of the web specifics but even here there is stuff which easily crosses boundaries: advice on A/B testing and how to build experiments, leveraging benchmarks, creating high impact dashboards. Plus, applying six sigma for process excellence & segmentation. While also making your analysis connectable via language and pictures (data storytelling before the phrase became popular).

Chapter 15

Is a dive into creating a data driven culture, with advice on key skills to look for in a (web) analytics manager/leader (or ones you may want to develop yourself. Then seven steps to creating a data-driven and decision making culture. This definitely goes well beyond a web silo and contains great advice for any analytics leader (current or future)

I’ve been an avid reader of Avinash’s stuff since picking this up and its one of those books I keep dipping back into, worth a place on any analytics library shelf.

Which book for analysts has helped you?

Many thanks to Martin for that recommendation. I am intested to see how diverse recommended books may be this month.

What about you, dear reader? Do you have a book that has helped you or your analysts? If so, please share your experience below.