Sydney Review: Web Analytics an Hour a day

Hi guys,

This post is for Sydney, my cat, who has been missing for about 48 hours now!
She’s a really lovely and smart cat and I hope that she will return soon!

Back to “Web Analytics an hour a day”, as you may know i promised to write different reviews for the book based on different personas and the first one is for Sydney (a different Sydney).
For those of you who don’t know Sydney, below is her profile:
Sydney’s 32, married with two kids: a boy and a gal.
She works in the marketing department of a MNC, whose regional headquarter is in Singapore.

Online is totally new to her. She’s started exploring about online marketing not long ago, just about 6 months. Most of the current “so called” online activities for her company are handled by the incumbent agency. Normally they put banner on Yahoo homepage or AsiaOne.

So coming to this blog, her main motivation is to find more information about online, what are the activities online etc… She wants to make sure that she understands enough about online to judge the performance of running campaigns, the competence of the incumbent agency or at least know how to justify to her manager the amount of money being spent online and the return.

For Sydney, she ‘s definitely not a technical person and web analytics is something brand new to her. However, she wants to know if it can help her in her daily work, or how it can help her to understand more about the company’s website.

Now, lady and gentlemen, I present Sydney to you!

Hi everyone,

About three weeks ago, i stumbled upon a book called “Web Analytics an Hour a Day” by Avinash Kaushik. My first impression was it’s such a thick and dry book. It’s a 400+ page book with a lot of words and not many pictures 🙁 And it covers a wide range of topics, not only Web Analytics.
I went ahead and read it anyway since the kids often play with the neighbor’s in the evening and I am totally bored with the TV.

I must say that the content of the book exceeds my expectation. Everything i need is inside and even more.
It completely changes the way i look at web analytics or Online Marketing. Previously, i felt that Web Analytics is more for geek and i was growing more and more tired of having to read through so many Excel reports sent by our vendors: number of impressions, clicks, click through rate, share of voice blah blah blah….
For this campaign, the CTR is 1%, for that campaign it’s 0.9% etc…
We read the numbers but let’s be honest, we didn’t see any differences or how we can make use of these numbers. Well at least that was the situation until now….

Now, i know that Trinity Approach is the corner stone, the fundamental: actionable insights and metrics.
The goal of this strategy is not to do reporting. The goal is not to figure out how
to spam decision makers with reports full of data via email. Actionable insights and
metrics are the über-goal simply because they drive strategic differentiation and a sustainable
competitive advantage.

In other words, this approach is not about reporting but about:

  • How to define online business goals and determine if those goals can be measured online
  • Business goals should not be only about sales but also about customer/user experience etc…
  • Having a clearly defined goals negates the need to generate mindless reports
  • How to take actions based on reports
  • How to influence the organization to embrace the analytics mindset

Actionable Insights & Metrics includes three types of analysis:

  • Click stream analysis or Behavior analysis
  • Outcome analysis
  • Experience analysis

While so far, we ‘ve only focused on Outcome analysis based on Behavior reports, we ‘ve missed out a very big component which is the experience of visitors to our websites.
At the end of the day, not all of the people who visit our sites, microsites with the purpose of buying something.

With this strategy in mind, Avinash went on to give us a really detailed suggestions on:

  • what i should do step by step in order to choose a web analytics tool. Hell! what he suggests is absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately, our corporate is already having a global deal with one major web analytics provider so that applies to SEA as well.
  • how to assemble an effective Online Marketing team
  • help my manager to hire a Web Analytics person
  • understand the importance of implementing the tool correctly in order to get correct data
  • understand the definition of important terms and the fact that these terms can be defined differently with each web analytics tool.
  • what type of data is more important with regards to Behavior analysis, Outcome Analysis and Experience Analysis
  • The three “So what test”.

This test is really useful especially for me since i am new to this field and there are just too many reports. What i will do from now on is to ask myself or the agency 3 “so what” questions and if there is no recommendation coming out of the third question, i know that the metric/report is not worth having.

  • How to get competitive analysis and more importantly understand the limitations of these data: This is exactly what ‘s been bugging me since our managers always ask us for this kind of information. Then when i ask the agency, they always mention that it’s not available etc… Now, i can clearly explain to my managers what type of information is available, what is free, what costs money and whether or not the need to get the data is justified.
  • Looking at trends rather than the absolute number is the key. Also segmentation, segmentation. When you think that you’ve really segmented your data, you segment it one more. The reason behind, according to Avinash, is really simple: traffic to your website comes from everywhere and more often than not, you have no ideas about the origin of half of the traffic to the site. So when doing analysis, it’s really important to segment the data, slice and dice, doing apple to apple comparison.

Reading a report while having a full understanding of its context is the key to derive actionable recommendations.

  • How to look at SEO, PPC and Internal Search reports. The PPC, SEO and Internal Search Best practices are really useful. However, it will take some time for me to digest all the information
  • How to measure effectiveness of email marketing and multi channel marketing. “Multichannel analytics is more than a buzzword, at its simplest it is the art and
    science of measuring the impact of marketing efforts on multiple sales / customer
    contact channels. It is of vital importance, and increasingly so with every passing day.
    However, anyone who says that they have a handle on multichannel analytics is probably not stating the complete truth. Multichannel analytics remains a challenge and an enigma. Any success that people have had measuring it is either a one-shot deal and
    not repeatable or it is not scalable.

Well, this is the first time i read about Multi channel marketing and Oh my god how it is possible that we manage to miss the big picture for such a long time. I remember that Chandler mentioned it a couple of times on this blog. However, the full concept only hits me this time round.
Offline and Online worlds are not separated. Customers’ behavior is becoming more and more complex. I will definitely spend more time on this topic. Avinash suggests a site called Non Line Marketing by David Hughes. His advice is that we in marketing should also evolve from being just online or just offline and become nonline. The challenge then is how to measure nonline (multichannel) customer behavior.

In conclusion, I will recommend this book to my colleagues and even my managers. We are forced to spend more and more dollars online due to the shift from our target audience and hence the need to be accountable for the company dollar online is highly stressed now more than ever.
“Web Analytics an Hour a day” is not only about Analytics alone but it’s also about the way to look at Online Marketing, to understand its limitation and opportunity… from social networking, to blog, PPC, SEO, Email etc….


Thank you very much for your time. Feel free to drop any comments that you may have and God bless Sydney!


  1. “Sydney” / Chandler:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read the book and share the review.

    I am thrilled that you found the book to be of value.

    PS: I hope that Sydney (the cat) will return home soon.

  2. Avinash,

    My pleasure to read your book.
    I intend to finish other reviews based on the remaining personas as well.

    Sydney version is just for her since she’s new to online.

    And i thank you on behalf of Sydney (the cat)

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