Review: Google Analytics Integrations, by Daniel Waisberg

Daniel Waisberg is an Analytics Advocate at Google, and the founder/editor of online-behavior.com. In June 2015 he published “Google Analytics Integrations“, according to the blurb a roadmap for “turning Google Analytics into a centralized marketing analysis platform“.

Integration” in this context does not mean integrating tracking code into a website; the book talks about integrating the Google Analytics data collection engine with external data sources so you have more data points available in your reporting interface for user group segmentation and performance measurement. Still there is an (rather good, in my opinion) introducing chapter about implementation planning for GA.

Waisberg covers what he calls the “offical integrations“, i.e. Adwords, Adsense, Appstores Search Console and Youtube, as well as the various kinds of data import, cross-device tracking, campaign- and e-mail tracking and content experiments (which are all apparently less “official”). This table of content suggests that the intended audience is small and medium-sized companies, since the additional integrations you get with Google Analytics Premium (e.g. BigQuery and Doubleclick) are not discussed (but then with Premium you have a support agreement and should not need to buy your own books on GA).

The individual chapters are concisely written; they explain what a specific integration is for, how to set it up (with screenshots and examples) and how the results look in the reporting interface. As Waisberg rightfully emphasizes your Google Analytics setup should be flawless before you start (else you’d be integrating skewed data and that would amplify any errors down the line) the actual integrations do not, for the most part, require pronounced coding skills, although it pays, as Ian M. Banks would have put it, to Just Read the Instructions (Waisberg’s instructions are easy enough to follow).

This is, I think, an excellent book if you are a campaign manager or marketing executive who wants to make the most of their Analytics data (it is less suitable for full-time web analysts who should already be familiar with the topics covered). As is is always with computer books its shelf life will be somewhat limited; some of the terminology is already out of date (e.g. Webmaster Tools is Google Search Console now) but for the time being that should not deter you from buying the book.

While you will find most of the stuff for free on the internet it is very handy to have everything condensed into some 180 pages (plus index etc, the official count is 216 pages). The Kindle edition sells for 21 Euro on Amazon Germany and it would take you a few hours to look the documentation up on the internet, so unless your time is incredibly cheap I’d say this is a very good investment indeed.

Google Analytics Integrations
By Daniel Waisberg
John Wiley & Sons, 2015

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