Book Review – Google Analytics Demystified: A Hands-on Approach by Joel J.Davis (second edition)


The book has over 700 pages (which may seem a lot at first sight for some people) but I think this is not a reason to worry. (For reference purposes I placed in the image above a smaller book: “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose” which has 272 pages.)

The content is not overly technical and is quite easy to understand and follow. There are many pages that contain images with tables and graphs from Universal Analytics. I think the screens are useful for new users of the tool and they should help the readers to understand the concepts being discussed.

The author encourages the reader to become an active participant and apply the key concepts from the book by including chapter review questions, exercises and a free downloadable website. (The website is a fictitious travel agency.) Using a website demo when a new user wants to implement something new is a good approach because this way he can better understand the key concepts without the risk of damaging a real website.

Some of the books I have read don’t have the content updated to reflect recent changes in Universal Analytics. This is not the case for the second edition of this book: the content (released in July 2015) is updated for Universal Analytics and includes topics like:

  • cohort analysis
  • benchmarking
  • custom tables
  • tree maps

The book, however, does not address Google Tag Manager.

(There are other books on Amazon and online resources that discuss Tag Manager for those who are interested in taking this approach.)

While a wide range of topics are discussed, the topics that caught my attention were the events regarding video monitoring, form completion monitoring and page scroll. These are not in the standard configuration of Universal Analytics and I liked that the author included them in the book.

To summarize, I believe the book is a good starting point for people who are new to this tool (and it should provide a good reference for those who are already familiar with Google Analytics.

If you are interested in the book you can buy it from Amazon here.