The Portable Conversion Analyst

  |  January 16, 2009   |  Comments

A list of must-read books, plus resources, for conversion analysts.

In my last several columns, I've reviewed some basics of conversion optimization. "The Sciences and Disciplines of Web Site Optimization" covered some of the science and professional disciplines needed when doing conversion analysis. That got us talking around the company water cooler, and someone suggested creating a list of the best books and resources that a conversion analyst can not do without.

So we debated, scoured our bookshelves, debated, and finally came up with a list of several team favorites and grouped them into a few categories. The resulting list, below, is in no particular order and is far from comprehensive. It includes books and a few other resources that we know to be unavoidable if you want to talk shop and play like a real conversion analysis.

Usability and Information Architecture

Web Analytics


Direct Marketing Techniques

Psychology, Human Behavior, and Persuasion


There is a lot of science and rigor in the area of testing and statistics. And while marketing is becoming more accountable, we aren't quite ready for the amount of rigor possible in this critical area. But we will be, and when we are there will be a few more books that make this subject palatable for the average marketer and conversion analyst. Until then these are two solid choices to devour and have more than enough info to get you started testing and testing well:

Marketing, Branding, Selling

No doubt this is the hardest category because there are plenty of fine marketing, traditional advertising, and branding gurus. What we wanted to identify some books that will influence a lot of the great books still to come. Every one of these books is still relevant to marketing and the challenges we face online. You simply can't go wrong reading anything on this list:

SEO, SEM, Social Media

When it comes to search marketing and other dynamic markets, most of the treasured resources are blogs or sites like this. Search Engine Watch and ClickZ are a must (like Mike Grehan who writes about SEO (define); he's a friend and a fave). Here are a couple recent books worth mentioning:

Get Reading

As you can see, we likely left a few out. But every resource we listed will move you well on your way to understanding the ins and outs of how to be a great conversion analyst. Many of these books are required reading for our analysts, and they should be for yours.

Did we leave out one of your must-reads? List it in the comments section below.

Meet Bryan at Search Engine Strategies London February 17-20 at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Don't miss the definitive event for U.K. and European marketers, corporate decision makers, webmasters and search marketing specialists!


Bryan Eisenberg

Bryan Eisenberg is co-founder and chief marketing officer (CMO) of IdealSpot. He is co-author of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times best-selling books Call to Action, Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?, and Always Be Testing, and Buyer Legends. Bryan is a keynote speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as Gultaggen,, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others for the past 10 years. Bryan was named a winner of the Marketing Edge's Rising Stars Awards, recognized by eConsultancy members as one of the top 10 User Experience Gurus, selected as one of the inaugural iMedia Top 25 Marketers, and has been recognized as most influential in PPC, Social Selling, OmniChannel Retail. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of several venture capital backed companies such as Sightly, UserTesting, Monetate, ChatID, Nomi, and BazaarVoice. He works with his co-author and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at

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