Chapter 1 Introduction

1.1 What you will get from this textbook

If I asked you how you wanted to level-up in web analytics, it would be fair if you said "I can't answer that - I don't know enough about web analytics to know what I don't know".

This textbook will take you from "I don't know what I don't know" to knowing the content areas of web analytics and broadly knowing what can be done with web analytics skills.

In addition to shifting your knowledge base from unknown unknowns to known unknowns, by the end of this textbook, you will be able to take any question that can be addressed with web analytics and answer it. Specifically, you will be able to:

  • answer specific questions in under a minute;
  • answer broad questions in under 15 minutes;
  • automate the above answers in under 24 hours.

1.2 Model of Web Analytics

Web analytics is using data that a website collects from its visitors to answer practical questions, complete tasks, and make decisions.

I find it useful to think of web analytics as a 4 step process, shown by the arrows in the model below:

It starts with a decision someone needs to make, a task they need to complete, or a question they want to answer.

The first step we take is to take those varied starting points and re-frame them as questions that are practical for the client - "practical" meaning that it is clear to the client how they would use an answer to the question.

The second step is to translate those practical questions into technical questions - questions that can be answered using web data and that contain the information needed to find the answer.

The third step is using Adobe Analytics to find the answer to the technical question.

The fourth step is translating this technical answer back into a practical answer - one that clearly speaks to the client's practical question and that they know how to use for their bigger objective.

1.3 Structure of the Textbook

Throughout the textbook you will have an overarching web analytics project. Each phase of the project will have content before it to help you complete that phase.

The content is broken into two parts.

Part 1 focuses on going from practical questions to technical questions, to technical answers, to practical answers. This workflow covers steps 2-4 in our model of web analytics and you will practice the minimum of what it means to "do web analytics".

Part 2 levels up that workflow by optimizing for 4 situations: (1) when you need to get practical answers fast, (2) when you have multiple projects to manage, (3) when you are working with others in Adobe Analytics, and (4) when you need to do something more than twice (automation).