The Top 5 Must Read Analytics Blogs, and Maybe Something You May Not Know About Them

Wait, another "Top #" list?!

Wait... wut?

Wait... wut?

Listen, we all know that all of these “top” lists are subjective, and everyone has their own flavor of blog. However, instead of creating another Top 47 or Top 1,329 list, I figure five should do it. Digestible, easy to remember, simple. The five that I have are where I get SO much information from, and touch on so many other facets of marketing that it makes them invaluable.

Two things can happen as you read this. Either you tell yourself that you know all of these and move on about your day, or you don’t – in which case I am glad to have helped enlighten you. In either case, thanks for reading!

(Are they gone?)

Whew, glad those I-need-a-top-1,329-list-ers bailed, now we can get into the meat of it. As a reward, I’ve added a whole bunch of extra links and people to follow. As the late great Steve Jobs notoriously said, “Patience is rewarded with some additional valuable content in a blog” or something, so congratulations. Onward, to the list!

I think one thing is clear – if you are in Analytics and you don’t know about Avinash, consider this your “coming to [insert religious figure here]” moment. He’s written books, spent more time guest speaking in conferences than I’ve spent puking data (spoiler: it's a lot), and has the analytics blog to end all other analytics blogs.

I’m talking about Occam’s Razor.

No, not the Law of Parsimony, (although I’m sure it had something to do with why he named his blog that) but the blog at www.kaushik.net written by Avinash Kaushik (@Avinash).

I’m convinced Avinash spends every waking moment coming up with hilarious lines to somehow use in the new content he creates. There is so much knowledge that he has put into his blog, I’m not sure that he can even write anything more without plagiarizing himself. Based around his intimate knowledge of Google Analytics (and analytics in general), he takes us through the wonders, risks, challenges, and often times frustratingly desk-flipping scenarios we all have dealt with as analysts at one time or another – and holds our hand as he guides us through them like a Data Willy Wonka. 

It’s also absolutely and undeniably apparent when someone is reading his blogs. The orange side borders on his site are as subtle as Gary Busey getting locked out of his wi-fi.

Occam's Razor by Avinash Kaushik

Occam's Razor by Avinash Kaushik

Topics span the gamut – content, ad block tracking, existential analytics crises, and mobile marketing to name a few. He’s been blogging here for over a decade and the breadth of knowledge stored in these virtual vaults of glory is honestly incredible. There’s a 158 pages of blogs as I write this, which, frankly, isn't enough for me. If you have any question related to digital analytics, I’m fairly positive you can search his blog to find the assistance you need.

Something you may not know

He also distributes what he referred to at one point as an experiment. Shirking the shackles of traditional old-timey blogging and the fetters of online content creation, he decided to try out this newfangled word-delivery technique called “Email.” In a unique move, he decided that he had more idea juice (orange, of course) than he can fully curate into his blog, and distills these small, more consumable chunks of insight into an email newsletter dubbed The Marketing < > Analytics Intersect,” or “TMAI” for short. They are stories, thoughts, and sometimes vent-like rants with a lesson to learn at the end that bring in some ideas for us all to ponder over our coffee.

TMAI #41 from Tuesday, August 30, 2016

TMAI #41 from Tuesday, August 30, 2016

In his words, it’s “…a newsletter to share short stories from my experiences driving strategic change in companies big and small.” In my words it’s “…an email that I look forward to, wishing it would be a daily newsletter because it’s enlightening and super awesome.” I missed about thirty-two superlatives, but I think you get the point. I implore you to sign up for it here.

Speaking of enlighteningly awesome, we can segue (no wheels) into our No. 2 spot:

Analytics Demystified

Starting my career in analytics, I looked up to these great folks to help me understand the things I needed to. What sets them apart from many other blogs is their focus on Adobe Analytics. I started in analytics using Adobe (formerly known by the ‘cool kids’ as Omniture) and the team at Analytics Demystified really has the prime in-depth explanations about many of the specific questions I had.

Analytics Demystified Blog

Analytics Demystified Blog

Again, topics run the gamut – from “Nailing Digital Analytics,” a meta view written by Michele Kiss (@michelejkiss) for getting your strategy just right, to a slew of foundational calculated metrics explained by Eric Peterson (@ericpeterson). They really have taken an incredible amount of time answering the tough (and often ridiculously specific) questions analysts using Adobe Analytics have. Each contributor has their own style, and even though it can be dense, it’s never hard to read.

At the time of this writing, there are 105 pages of blog posts. Again, if you have any questions about analytics-related topics, it would behoove you to check here first. Not just for Adobe analytics, but for Google Analytics as well. They’ve consolidated all of their blog content into one convenient place for you to peruse.

Something you may not know

Most of the team at Demystified do public speaking engagements and training all over the world. Everything from Master Classes in R, Symposiums (like the upcoming DAA Symposium in Dallas on September 22nd), and can even be hired for their ridiculously super-expert-level experience to help your company get right on your analytics implementation. They even offer training services and placement of full-time contractors to support your business. Talk about the full package.

I feel like they are the Justice League of Analytics. Bringing righteousness to a dark, dark world of analytical chaos. I’m pretty sure Adam Greco (@adamgreco) is Superman, considering he’s everywhere, all the time. 

And I've never seen Adam and Superman in the same place. So... coincidence??

ClickZ

Shocker? Shouldn’t be. ClickZ is much more than meets the eye, and not in a creepy Decepticon kind of way. Much more Optimus-Primey. ClickZ has new content published every-spanking-day, and revolves around the digital sphere. Their Analytics section has a new stuff on a very regular basis.

ClickZ Analytics Blog

ClickZ Analytics Blog

The reason this site is in my top five, is it gives much more than just insight into Analytics-related topics. It has a crazy amount of other digital marketing related things you should know if you are in this space. Marketing, email, social, search… all the things.

Something you may not know

The authors that contribute content to ClickZ are from every facet of Digital Marketing. From casual guest contributors, all the way to the founder of the Digital Analytics Association himself, data guru Jim Sterne (@jimsterne). Something else to note, there are relentless webinars and discussions, I am certain you will find something that strikes your fancy for you to take part in. They even have a couple of tools, including a nifty little Website Optimization ROI Calculator that is fun to play with and kill a bit of time with.

Web Analytics World

Web Analytics World has some really great in-depth content on some cutting edge analytics topics, as well as other important areas of analytics like marketing channel attribution, mobile analytics, regex tips, and the like. They have a panel of featured bloggers with twelve metric tons of experience in the field, bridging the gap between analysts and lawyers. Really, one of their featured bloggers is a lawyer, which for some reason fascinates me.

I guess it would make sense that analysts would make great lawyers. …not sure if lawyers would make great analysts though.

Web Analytics World Blog

Web Analytics World Blog

Something you may not know

They can help you get learned. The owners of the site, Jump Digital, are heavily involved in the digital education space:

“We are delighted to be working as the exclusive content partner and facilitator of the University of Aberdeen M.Sc. Digital Marketing Leadership programme [sic] – a unique combination of the University’s Graduate Business school and Jump Digital as practicing [sic] digital marketing professionals.”

A fully accredited program for leadership and success in digital marketing? Not bad. Not that there aren’t other venues for getting certification in Analytics and Marketing (which may come as a future blog post), I just think it’s neat and very thought-forward to offer an accredited course of study outside of traditional means – especially in this field.

Last of the top five, but certainly not least, I find this site has an outstanding amount of good reads:

Kissmetrics

Not to be confused with Demystified’s @MicheleJKiss (which I was initially guilty of), Kissmetrics is not just a host for a blog, but actually an analytics provider much like Google and Adobe.

Kissmetrics Blog 

Kissmetrics Blog 

An analytics provider may be where the similarities end, because the personality and feel of the site is what sets it apart. The blog here, again, has content-a-plenty and personality like no other. If this blog were a person sitting in a room with other Blogpeople, you’d notice her by her spiky blue hair and charcoal suit coat. She’d be drinking a Redbull and telling you to stop capitalizing the "kiss" in Kissmetrics. 

More than just granular analytical content exploration, Kissmetrics does what I like most about many of these sites – they provide many avenues of enriching you as an analyst and a digital marketer. They are constantly holding webinars and sessions around different parts of the digital space, and team up with other great content marketers featured in my “Honorable Mentions” section later. Infographics, webinars, marketing guides… seems to be a recurring theme here.

Something you may not know

They have a section of their site called “Academy” where they actually list out some different meta-subjects in the digital space and sort the content for you. You can learn the basics of analytics, tips into acquiring new customers, and how to measure campaign performance, among other things. You can request a demo of what they have to offer as far as an analytics solution here

Honorable Mentions and Shiny Extras

Here’s some additional resources, blogs, people, and generally great stuff that I’ve stumbled across on my way through.

Number one in my Honorable Mentions is guided by a personal experience I had at an eMetrics conference in 2013 from San Francisco.

Portent - Ian Lurie (@portentint)

I first met him while attending talk on Data Visualization. He was hilarious. He still has the slide deck (albeit, a bit altered since then) available here where I learned the saying “Ink gets you fired.” Something that still sticks with me to this day. I recommend flipping through his slide deck, and even without annotations, I challenge you to try to keep from laughing. I also love the “timer” function at the top of the blog pages that shows you your time sink. VERY nifty.

LunaMetrics Blog

A great resource of everything Google-analytics related, plus they offer all kinds of services.

Hubspot Blog

I. Love. Hubspot. Really, their content was some of the first I read, and was always entertaining. Lately the blog titles have gotten a bit clickbaity, but they back it up with relevant content and great insights. They even get all super-meta and blog about blogging. They would be a top 5-er, but we were going for analytics here.

Google Analytics Blog

Because reasons. Obvious reasons. Like just in case those I-need-a-top-1,329-list-ers are still hanging around at the end of all this. Oh, and because it’s like getting-the-milk-straight-from-the-cow sort of thing.

Adobe Analytics Blog

Same as with the GA blog, they are the source provider – the golden goose that you want to make the golden 3-egg Utah Omelet from. I just wish they would post more, Ben Gaines (@benjamingaines) and Brent Dykes (@analyticshero) are two of the most brilliant minds Adobe has, and great authors to boot. Search Amazon for both of them, and get learned.

MOZ

Rand Fishkin (@randfish) is the thought leader in SEO as far as I'm concerned. Great blog, tune in for his Whiteboard Fridays and his immaculate mustache. 

Social Media Today

Fun blog, lots of tech news, all kinds of industry-related stuff to make you want to fire up a tweetstorm. I love this site because the content is always interesting. NFL, Netflix, and, naturally, social media stuff. #ReadItForReal #NotKidding #HashtagsForSocialMedia

Hopefully you found some gems in here, maybe a few glimmering nuggets of golden knowledge to stuff away for tomorrow morning’s coffee break. Let me know in the comments below what you think about my top five, and share some of your experiences with them if you have them.

Now go do some bookmarking, and Happy Analytic-ing!