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Marketing Insights Q&A: Where do I get started learning marketing analytics?

Marketing Insights Q&A: Where do I get started learning marketing analytics?

We get this question and its variants, like “how to learn marketing analytics” often. There are three sets of content to pay attention to when learning marketing analytics: courses, books, and blogs. Courses will help you build a foundation of knowledge, books will help you dive into the specifics, and blogs will help with your continuing education.

The order is important. You need to prioritize courses first as the foundation, you’ll want to understand the frameworks, while will help you think about the big picture. One of the things I’ve seen people do wrong is rushing to start reading blogs first and skipping the foundational learning. It’s like hopping on a treadmill that’s already in motion; you can do it, but it’s probably not the best safest way to do it. Start with the courses. This will allow you to get the basics down. While some courses offer certificates when you’ve completed, the real purpose should be for the acquisition of knowledge.

Let’s dig deeper into each component.


Google Analytics Academy is by far is the gold standard in the marketing analytics industry. Included are courses for Google Analytics, Google Adwords, and Google Tag Manager. Google also has a certification called Digital Sales, which tells you how to talk to your customers about analytics. This is really powerful for solo practitioners, consultants, agency people and for people who work within the agency context or in any service type business. It is also valuable for people who work inside larger organizations where you have to essentially sell the idea of measurement to executives and stakeholders. For this, you would go through the Google Data Studio course, which is Google’s visualization and data product. Next is the HubSpot Academy courses, there are roughly 40 of them. The primary one to start with is the Inbound Marketing course. This will give you a really a solid foundation for marketing analytics, and there is no financial cost. There are a lot of great courses out there but you can’t beat the price and quality of Google Analytics Academy and Hubspot Academy.


The gold standard in books is Edward Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitative Information This is the book to think about analytics. It helps you understand and see how to display data, and how to show data to people in a way that they’ll understand. This is an older book but it is still one of the best books for visualizing data and facts for learning how to think about showing people data. Daniel Waisberg’s Google Analytics Integrations is a great book. It is officially endorsed by Google. Again, there are a ton of analytics books out there but I tend to recommend the ones that were endorsed by Google. Google endorses books publicly and gives them away at events. Daniel Weisberg’s a Google Analytics integrations is one of those. Another good book, also endorsed by Google, is Avinash Kaushik’s Web Analytics 2.0. This book is pretty far out of date. It’s about nine years old, but the parts that are valuable are the how to think about analytics and analytics strategy. Lastly, I’ll make a quick plug for Chris Penn’s book, Marketing Blue Belt.


And then finally, on the blog side of things we have Avinash Kaushik’s blog (Occam’s Razor), Annie Cushing’s blog (Annielytics), and KDNuggets, which is a fantastic big data and analytics blog. You also have the Kissmetrics blog, Tom Webster’s blog (BrandSavant), and his company’s blog, Edison research.The IBM Big Data Hub blog is excellent because it’s it’s a ton of resources about how do we think about analytics, and how do I present this data to people. Lastly, you have Chris Penn’s daily blog, Awaken Your Superhero.

So that’s the sequence courses for the foundation books for the deep dives into specific topics and then blogs to once a once you’re running you get on one of the many, many treadmills and read. Can you do it in a different order? Yes, I think it’s not as efficient and can be a little bit more confusing, especially if analytics and mathematics and statistics, don’t come naturally to you.

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Here is a full list of linked resources for easy reference:

Unless otherwise noted, all courses are free of financial cost.
Analytics Academy: Google Analytics
Analytics Academy: Google AdWords
For solopreneurs and consultants: Google Digital Sales
Google Data Studio training
Hubspot Academy: Inbound Marketing

All links to Amazon are affiliate links for which I earn a small but non-zero financial payment.
Read Edward Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
Read Daniel Waisberg’s Google Analytics Integrations (officially endorsed by Google):
Read Avinash Kaushik’s Web Analytics 2.0 (officially endorsed by Google):
Shameless plug, my book on analytics:

Subscribe to these blogs on marketing analytics, data, and thinking about data. Unless otherwise noted, all blogs are free of financial cost.

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