Google Analytics

Digital Book Club

Justin Cutroni
O'Reilly
ISBN 978-0-596-15800-2
google%20analytics%20book.jpg
Solid, well structured, detailed and insightful; this is the perfect companion for anyone implementing Google Analytics.

Analytics had been part of website strategy and development since the mid nineties, but before the analytics software made the data accessible there was no hope of weaving analysis into routine management reports. Hundreds of counting platforms developed, but it was Google’s acquisition of the young ‘Urchin’ platform that proved the game-changer. When Google made analytics free, and with their familiar knack replaced the process of complex webmastery with a single click, analytics went mainstream. This changed the culture of web marketing and unlocked a new type of ROI.

Cutroni has created the perfect manual for understanding, implementing and rethinking Google Analytics. He guides through the implementation to show how the tool can deliver far richer insights than the familiar entry level reporting most sites restrict themselves to. He shows how to set up conversion modelling in online stores to track the performance of websites from entry point to sale. For marketers, his guide to offsite tagging reminds the read that Google has a low cost lightweight alternative to more complex third party measurement tools. This tackles a challenge that vexes media planners and brand managers alike when they try to unravel lead attribution to identify which media sites produce the best results.

As the role of analytics grows in business, and as analytics starts to drive business decision making, every marketer needs to have the basic insights in place. One of the challenges in online communications comes when those who have the creative energy to build new approaches are not close enough to the tools that can measure what’s working and what’s not. That’s why Google Analytics should have an appeal far wider than those directly involved in implementation and optimisation of website design.

It’s difficult to produce accurate texts in a space moving this quickly. Google makes significant adjustments with every product release, but the insights Cutroni has assembled should continue to give value in the medium term because much of the focus is not simply about the software but instead about its use.

Where Cutroni goes further than authors of previous titles is in guiding the meaning and context of each aspect of Google Analytics; readers will come away with a clear sense of not simply how to install and operate the tools, but what matters, why it matters and how to act. This feedback look is what’s so often missing in the use of analytics and Cutroni tackles it head on.

The only thing missing? On-screen integration of the chapters within Google Analytics itself: but for that one we might have to wait a while.

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