Now in its 3rd edition (read the launch post), with over 70,000 copies sold and translated into 5 languages, I must admit to a feeling of pride for being listed as an Amazon bestseller. Reviews and feedback for Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics (ISBN: 978-1118168448) are both humbling and rewarding and I list a sample set of Amazon reviews for the 3rd edition:

Fantastic book for academia and professionals, 8 April 2012
By Nigel Bradley Bierman (University of Westminster, UK)

Must Read for Online Marketing Professionals, March 29, 2012
By Ken M (Colorado, USA)

 The best edition yet – worth every penny!, May 16, 2012
By Adrian Speyer (Canada)

More reviews…

Looking for the book errata?

As a great friend and mentor to me once said, “Advanced web metrics is about doing the basics very well and applying it in a clever way.” I wish I had thought of that phrase! It epitomizes everything about my approach to web analytics and this book. Thus, I have attempted to make this book’s subject matter accessible to a broad spectrum of readers—essentially anyone with a business interest in making their website work better. After all, the concept of measuring success is a universal desire. The 3rd edition was launched on March 19th, 2012 and is up to date on all implementation, features and screenshots as of that date.

Other languages:

Unfortunately I have no input on what other languages the book is published in. Essentially, local publishers purchase the rights from my publisher, Wiley, and print independently. If you have contacts with a local publisher, please give them a nudge to let them know that Advanced Web Metrics is a Amazon best seller – with over 30,000 copies sold in English alone! I also keep of list of other languages.

Author, consultant, and founding Head of Web Analytics, Google EMEA

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The following content is taken from the opening sections of the book…

Who Should Read This Book…?

As the title implies, this book is intended for people who want to go beyond the basics of simply counting hits. These can be grouped as follows:

1. Marketers
These are users who have experience with search-engine marketing (paid and organic search), email marketing, social search, PR, and affiliate management but have not yet managed to find a unified measurement tool to compare these side by side. If you are in this group, focus your on Chapters 1 to 5 and then Chapters 10 to 12 because these are nontechnical and do not require a technical knowledge of the implementation.

2. Webmasters
These are experienced website builders who have the skill set and authorization to modify a website. For this group of users, the book offers sections and exercises that require you to modify your web page content; after all, web analytics is all about instigating change using reliable metrics as your guide. Therefore, knowledge of HTML (the ability to read browser source code) and experience with JavaScript are required. If you fall within this group, the book’s entire content is for you. The technical implementation parts are contained in Chapters 6 through 9.

3. Senior Managers
These are decision makers who require guidance on preparing a data-driven strategy and action plan for their organization. I hope to supply these readers with an understanding of what can (and cannot) be achieved with web analytics and specifically provide information they need to plan the resources and timelines required for building an effective Google Analytics measurement team. My aim for this group is to provide you with the information necessary in order to make “informed decisions.” Focus your reading efforts on Chapters 1 to 5 in the first instance, and delve further if required.

With a better understanding of your website visitors, you will be able to tailor page content and marketing budgets with laser-like precision for a better return on investment. I also discuss advanced configurations (Chapter 9, “Google Analytics Customizations”), which provide you with an even greater understanding of your website visitors so that you can dive into the metrics that make sense for your organization. In as many areas as possible, I include real-world practical examples that are currently employed by advanced users.

You can use this book in several ways. The most straightforward (and demanding) is to start at the beginning and follow all the steps to completion, building your knowledge in a step-wise fashion. Alternatively, I have deliberately designed the book so that you can skip around and delve straight into a chapter as needed. To help with this approach, I frequently reference content within the book or other resources for further reading. However, I do recommend you put time aside to review the initial chapters (Chapters 1 through 5) because they introduce important approaches to web measurement, such as accuracy and privacy considerations, as well as the key features and components of the reporting interface.

What (I Hope) You Will Learn

You will learn how to implement and use Google Analytics in a best-practice way. I deliberately emphasize the word use because this is the primary purpose of this book. That is, you will learn how to leverage Google Analytics to optimize your website—in terms of marketing, user experience, and ultimately conversions, all based on solid, reliable data.

What You Need

First and foremost, you need an inquisitive mind! This is not an engineering book, and you require no additional software or tools to apply the advice—just a good understanding of what your website is supposed to achieve, how your organization is marketing it, and an idea of the type of metrics that would help you judge its success.

That said, a couple of chapters do require you to have a good understanding of HTML and basic JavaScript skills. If that doesn’t describe you, read this book in conjunction with a col- league who can help you. As you will learn, web analytics requires a multidisciplinary skill set, and collaboration is the key to success.

What is covered in the 3rd edition?

Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics is organized to provide you with a clear step-wise progression of knowledge building.

  • Chapter 1, “Why Understanding Your Web Traffic Is Important to Your Business,” introduces you to the world of web measurement, where it fits in, and what you can achieve.
  • Chapter 2, “Available Methodologies and Their Accuracy,” provides the context of what can be measured via web analytics and its limitations.
  • Chapter 3, “Google Analytics Features, Benefits, and Limitations,” focuses on what Google Analytics can do for you.
  • Chapter 4, “Using the Google Analytics Interface,” walks you through the user interface, highlighting the key functionality.
  • Chapter 5, “Reports Explained,” reviews in detail the top reports you need to understand.
  • Chapter 6, “Getting Started: Initial Setup,” gets you quickly up and running with the basic install.
  • Chapter 7, “Advanced Implementation,” takes you beyond the basics to give you a more complete picture of your website’s activity.
  • Chapter 8, “Best Practices Configuration Guide,” provides you with the knowledge to define success metrics (KPIs) and segment your data.
  • Chapter 9, “Google Analytics Customizations,” gives you some lateral thinking for adding extra functionality to Google Analytics.
  • Chapter 10, “Focusing on Key Performance Indicators,” is about how you focus on the metrics most important to you—KPIs and the process required to build them.
  • Chapter 11, “Real-World Tasks,” jump-starts your analytical skills by showing you how to identify and optimize poor-performing pages, site search, and online and offline marketing. Website optimizer is introduced as a method for testing a hypothesis.
  • Chapter 12, “Integrating Google Analytics with Third-Party Applications,” shows you how to integrate data either by capturing cookies or using the new Google Analytics export API.
  • Appendix A, “Regular Expression overview,” gives you an introduction to understanding regular expressions.
  • Appendix B, “Useful Tools,” describes some useful tools for helping you implement and use Google Analytics.
  • Appendix C, “Recommended Further Reading,” gathers together books, blogs, and other web resources that can help you.