Google’s new Analytics Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik, has also been busy writing a book. Web Analytics an hour a day is a new resource to help us make sense of the masses of user data on the web.
Google has been making big news in this area. When they released their free tool Google Analytics it sent shock waves through the industry, suddenly any Tom, Dick or Harry could get involved and it significantly raised the industry’s profile. Of course many people are worried Google has increasingly too much data on us.
The same way I don’t want to use a supermarket’s loyalty card, instinctively I also don’t want Google to know my every move on the web. It’s become an unavoidable trend online, more and more companies are going to create profiles of each and every one of us to help them flog their products. I believe its time to embrace this. If we’re going to get marketing emails they might as well try to sell us something we might actually want. If we take the opposite approach; go undercover and delete cookies and never give out our details, we’re hardly participating are we? So what is web analytics? At its simplest level it’s the pursuit of making others lives better online. This may involve personalising the experience to your needs; thereby making what you are looking for easier to find, or it may involve asking you about your experience in an online survey to help define what is missing or what can be improved. The mix of quantitative and qualitative data is at the cornerstone of Avinash’s vision – we need to understand not only what people do online but why, and use this information to drive change which is in our users interest. A happy visitor is more likely to come back. Though the book runs to 420 pages it is very accessible, Avinash makes complex concepts simple, he also writes with a passion from someone who has found his calling. I know it is sincere because I met him last year here in London after a conference. Through his blog, Occam’s Razor, we organised to take him out for dinner and pick his brains. It cemented him as a guru in my eyes; he had thought of ways of torturing the data that I would never have dreamt of! The explosion of web analytics on the online scene has left companies scrambling to find analysts. This has created a huge demand for online marketers and analysts but employers are realising there is not enough professionals out there to go round. A new generation needs to be trained quickly so employers are turning to bright, inquisitive minds to move into this arena. If you fancy looking at what people do online, play detective and come up with ideas to improve the internet you might want to pick up a copy of this book. You are sure to impress any prospective employer, have a brilliant new career and then it’s just a question of waiting for Google to come knocking.