Web Analytics: An Hour a Day

Web Analytics: An Hour a Day

Avinash Kaushik’s book Web Analytics: An Hour a Day will be released by the end of May. The readers of the WebAnalysts.Info blog can now enjoy an interview with Avinash.

The following information is provided on the website for the book:

In Part I, Avinash explains why traditional web analytics is dead and introduces the Trinity mindset and strategic approach for web analytics. He then details the data collection options at your disposal for robust analytics and the pros and cons of each methodology (such as clickstream, outcomes, research, and competitive data). He concludes Part I with a deep dive into qualitative data and its critical role in any web analytics program.

In Part II, Avinash provides insights that will challenge your knowledge of what it takes to create a successful web analytics program. He covers customer centricity, optimal organizational structure, how to identify great analysts, and his (now famous) 10/90 rule of web analytics. From his experience, he outlines radical strategies for how you should select the right tool for your company (while saving money and peace of mind) and identify truly valuable metrics with his three layers of So What? test. He concludes Part II by providing a fresh perspective on some of the most common web analytics reports that you’ll never look at in the same way again.

In Part III, Avinash guides readers to a successful web analytics strategy and implementation month by month, day by day, and hour by hour. A customized quick-start guide for different businesses (including blogs) is followed by increasingly advanced and crucial analytics topics, such as search analytics (SEO, SEM/PPC and internal site search) and multi-channel marketing analytics. That’s followed by the revelation of the key ingredients of a great experimentation and testing platform, performing competitive intelligence analysis, and Web 2.0 analytics.

The interview:

How was the idea for the book born?

Actually it was more like the blog was born and then a publisher came calling.

Before I started my blog I followed the blogosphere for some time and took Guy Kawasaki’s advice to heart when he said “when writing a successful blog think of it like a book and not a personal diary”. My blog has always tried to live up to that mantra.

I had never imagined that after six months of writing someone would want to actually make it into a book. That took me by surprise.

What does it add to the selection of web analytics books?

The books in the market today are sourced from a time when web analytics was mostly about technical details and about simply analyzing clickstream data to get all your answers. It worked perfectly in the past, you could get the recommended KPI’s and that’s all you needed.

The web has evolved, it has gotten complex and customers are using it in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago.

My book does not take the prescription route, it will not provide you with a pre-cooked meal. It hopes to stretch your brain and teach a new mindset and thinking about what it takes to make decisions on the web. It goes well beyond clickstream data (the What) and shares how you can understand the customer experience to understand the Why.

The book humbly hopes to challenge current thinking and share practical real world insights that a newbie can apply right away and a seasoned analyst can use to take their analytical capability to a new level.

Did you enjoy the process of writing the book?

It was stressful to write a book, especially while keep up a real full time job, conferences, kids, blog, and more. But it was an amazing process.

I had all these ideas in my head and things I talk about at conferences and I have implemented in my various jobs. It is great to pull all those out and create a story.

This book is a true labor of love for me, I am not doing it for money, I am doing it for fame, I am not doing it for page on Amazon. I am doing it because I want to change the world (the tiny little web analytics world). I very much wanted this to be an awesome book because I want it to sell a lot so that I can raise money for my charities.

I want people to buy the book and for them to love it and I also want them to be proud to join me in raising money. For this core reason it was fun to write the book.

How many hours of work went into it?

I don’t even think I can count! A lot more than I had anticipated.

Do you think you’ll write any more books on web analytics?

I had promised to write 280 pages and I ended up writing 480 pages. I think I might not have anything left to say!

I love writing and I love teaching and I am thrilled when I can change someone’s thinking in a tiny way. For now I think I’ll express my writings through the blog and we’ll see where that takes us.

If you were only allowed to give one piece of advice to aspiring web analysts, what would it be?

Every great Analyst I know is a great Marketer with a very keen business acumen. Getting good at numbers is easy, it is better to get a broad exposure to business so that you can develop solid business acumen.

Would you like to tell us a little about the charities that are receiving your proceeds from the book?

100% of my proceeds from the book (hence from Wiley) will go to two charities.

50% of my book proceeds will go to The Smile Train, they change the lives of children in the developing world by performing cleft surgery. This contribution has very special meaning to us.

The other 50% of the proceeds will go to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), they provide emergency medical assistance across the world and bring relief to thousands each year.

My wife and I have supported these charities for a while now, but based on our finances we could never do enough. While first time authors don’t get paid lots, the book will enable us to support them at a scale that we otherwise would not be able to.

I am deeply grateful to have been given this opportunity.

Thank you Avinash for answering my questions.