August 21, 2014

3 Roles in Web Analytics

Despite slow economy many companies are hiring web analysts. A quick search on Simplyhired.com, a site that powers the Web Analytics job board on my blog, shows that there are currently 2,007 open positions and indeed.com, another job sites shows over 4800 open positions. That is a huge number.

However, many job seekers I have talked to feel frustrated because most of the jobs have a laundry list of requirements and they don’t feel that they are a right fit for most of these open positions. A lot of “Web Analytics” job openings ask for many of the following:

  • Experience in online marketing
  • Experience in Web Analytics
  • Experience in – Google analytics, Omniture, Webtrends, Coremetrics etc.
  • Experience in implementing Omniture, Google Analytics, WebTrends etc.
  • Experience in A/B and Multivariate testing
  • Experience in Search engine optimization
  • Experience in search engine marketing
  • Experience with SQL
  • Experience in email marketing
  • Experience in Social media

The mismatch in what a company really needs and what they are asking in the job requirements is a cause of frustration on both ends. The issue really stems from lack of understanding of what web analytics is and what role a web analyst need to play in the organization.

Most of the companies looking for a “web analysts” are in one of the following three stages of web analytics staffing

  1. They don’t have any tool but they realize the need and are looking for someone who can help them with “web analytics”.
  2. They just installed Google Analytics or were sold one of the other paid tool but are not getting much value from their web analytics tool. They need an analyst to help them do “web analytics”.
  3. They already have a web analytics tool installed and have a web analytics team. Since the company is now using web analytics to made business decision they need to hire one or more analysts to support the growing demand.

Companies falling in the third stage know what they are doing and usually narrow down the requirements. They are usually clear on what kind of person they are looking for.

Companies who fall in stage 1 and 2 above are the ones who are usually not clear on the role of a “web analyst” and hence create this laundry list of skills. Hiring manger looks at few job openings posted by other to get an idea of what a “web analyst’ should do. She then includes all the buzzwords and sends the requirements to HR or the recruiting company. HR screens the resume and if the keywords shown above do not appear on the resume the resume is rejected. As a result, companies loose several good candidates while candidates loose many good job opportunities.

3 Roles in Web Analytics

If you are a hiring manager, you need to understand and thoroughly evaluate your need before opening the job req. This will help you remove the noise from requirements and find the best candidate for the job. To make your job easier I have categories web analytics work into 3 job roles.

  1. Implementation Specialist/Engineer

    If you are looking to implement a web analytics tool then you will need an Implementation Engineer. Implementation Engineer is usually the one who manages implementation of the web analytics tool and/or maintains ongoing implementation changes. This is a technical role. For this role you will need a person who has experience in implementation of the web analytics tool of you choice (Note: Tool Selection is a complex process and you should hire a 3rd party consulting company to help you with it if you have not already selected the tool). An implementation engineer generally takes the business requirements and converts them into technical requirements for the web development team to implement the code on the pages. Implementation Engineer works closely with “Web Analyst” (described below) web development and QA to ensure that correct data is collected. The right candidate for this role understands how internet technologies work. She needs to have a good grasp of JavaScript (most of the web analytics implementations require JavaScript tagging). She might also need to understand how to integrate various data sources together. For many companies, once the tool is implemented there might not be a daily need to make changes to the tool so it might make more sense to outsource this function to a web analytics vendor, agency building/maintaining your site or a web analytics consulting company instead of hiring a fulltime person.

  2. Reporting Analyst

    Are you doing web reporting or web analytics). If you are looking for someone to pull the data from your web analytics tools or other reporting application then you need to hire a reporting analysts. A lot of the companies confuse “web reporting” with “web analytics”(See my blog post titled Reporting analysts usually understands the interface of the various tools and can pull the data that is required by other stakeholder. A reporting analyst might need to have SQL skills to pull the data from databases. Some organizations might need a person who can make pretty scorecard and charts. For this role, it is good to have a person who has experience with the tools of your choice but don’t make it a deal breaker. If the candidate has worked on any of the web analytics tools then she can usually get trained in other web analytics tools. Determine what other tools do you have and what skills might be required to pull the data from all these tools, that you might need for you reporting and then write the job requirements.

  3. Web Analyst

    This is more of a business role and truly a web analyst’s role. This is a person who can make sense of the web data and drive insights to impact the bottom line. She will provide business requirements to the Implementation Engineer to work on and will use reporting analyst to get the data for analysis. Web analysts are inquisitive and analytical, they question the data to come up with the story that the data is telling. Web Analyst has the ability to understand and analyze various data pieces such as competitive, qualitative, web analytics, social media, financial etc and drive business changes. Web Analyst should also be able to run A/B and Multivariate tests to improve website performance. Depending on the size of your organization and A Web Analysts will not be afraid to stand in front of executives to explain and defend their findings. If you are looking to get actionable recommendation and drive business changes based on web analytics data then you need a Web Analyst.

Hope this will help you in properly wording your job requirements and avoid the frustration of not filling the positio

Read more: 3 Roles in Web Analytics – Web Analytics, Behavioral Targeting and Optimization by Anil Batra http://webanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/08/3-roles-in-web-analytics.html#ixzz1G8UjaJ8W

Comments

  1. Tim Wilson says:

    I like your three “roles.” I don’t know that they necessarily need to be three different *people*. I definitely see the laundry list job descriptions (and have had clients who are frustrated that they’re not seeing candidates who have both broad and deep knowledge there). I’ve seen it as a challenge for our industry, though — “web analysts” are going to be much, much more successful if they actually have done some implementation work (i.e., understand the physics of the internet and of page tagging) and have done (and continue to do) reporting work (i.e., know how to get the data they need quickly and efficiently, as well as how to present in a way that it is easy to *consume* — I see reporting as being “performance measurement,” and there is value there). The reality is that it takes time (experience) and interest in the field to develop the full set of skills to be a good web analyst, and those skills need to understand business knowledge *and* technical knowledge. It’s a challenge!

  2. Anything is possible Tim, and I believe you are spot in that overall, any analyst needs to have some level of understanding and experience in all 3. But like with anything, you will find some lean towards one over the other as to what they do best. The larger the initiative, the more data, the more hands on deck- who are specialists, will be needed.

    The trick to data is the framework you use for analysis. IMO

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