I was happy to find this, if for no other reason than it introduced me to the author's Analytics Talk blog, which I was not previously aware of.
I wasn't so sure that the book itself would have much to offer, given that there are extensive help pages available directly from Google. My expectations were therefore rather low.
The beginning of the book didn't do much to dispel my feelings. As we'll see in a moment, it all turned out well and I do like and recommend the book, but why do some authors start out by explaining the basics in boring detail? That's fine if the whole book is meant to be just the basics, but if it is heading toward more advanced subjects, why bother to detail the basic stuff? The reader who needs that is going to founder abruptly a few chapters in and it just bores the rest of us to tears.
But never mind that - it's a common failing and is hardly the first time I have complained about that kind of thing. Once past the basics, this book immediately started giving me ideas about things I just had not thought of doing.
Why I never thought of them, I can't really say. For example, this talks about tagging links in your outgoing emails with "?utm_source=whatever" where "whatever" is whatever you'd like. That causes any usage of those links to show up in your Analytics Traffic Sources report. That's great, and the Google Help pages actually do tell you about that, but I missed it (probably because those pages are strongly focused on Adwords).
I also knew that I could track outgoing links, but didn't quite grok how easy it actually is. I went back to re-read the Google Help on that and I am a bit puzzled as to why I thought this was an onerous task, but just the same, this book helped me see that it isn't and made me realize that, yes, there are some outgoing links I would like to track.
There is more. The author mentions some third party tools and gives some hints and insights into things that are not on Google's pages. If you are interested in expanding your understanding of Analytics, I think you'll be happy with this.
Tony Lawrence 2010-09-09 Rating:
Order (or just read more about) Google Analytics from Amazon.com. Yes, I earn a small referral fee if you use that link to purchase the book.
Got something to add? Send me email.
More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2011-04-28 Anthony Lawrence