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44 Web Analysts Share What It Takes To Be A Great Analyst (Updated) 11 February 2016 | Piotr Koczorowski

Good to see you in our next episode of our series Experts Share Experiences.

This week we performed a deep analysis of various Web Analysts and datamined their knowledge on managing information.

We asked them our 3 standard questions:

  • What is the most important quality a good web analyst  should have?
  • What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?
  • How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

Use the list on the bottom to navigate the answers and enjoy their knowledge – it's worth it: 44 Web Analysts Share What It Takes To Be A Great Analyst.

Web Analysts

Click on the expert's name to go to their section

  1. Fernando Lamarre, 1800flowers.com
  2. Daniel Lee, Evans Cycles
  3. Tomasz Sienkiewicz, T-Mobile Poland
  4. Daniel Zawiślak, Play
  5. Christopher Ward, Shutterstock
  6. Sumit Srivastava, LexisNexis Risk Solutions
  7. Maciej Stanasiuk, Datalicious Pty Ltd
  8. Paweł Bęczkowski, Starcom MediaVest Group Poland
  9. Peter Marriott, Rentalcars.com
  10. Waqas Rafiq, Web Analytics Ninja
  11. Piotr Pater, Value Media
  12. Jakub Alizade Sani, alizadesani.com
  13. Oliver Paton, Complete Picture Analytics London
  14. Benjamin Lax, Rocket 9 Ltd
  15. Kamil Guzdek, E-ndependents
  16. Adam Piątek, uselab
  17. James Robinson, Zuto
  18. Anton Buning, Albelli
  19. Dorota Jałocha, Agora SA
  20. Katarzyna Jasińska, PwC Big Data Analytics
  21. Jeff Lukey, Periscopix, a Merkle Company
  22. Eugene Chudzilouski, Travis Credit Union
  23. Maciej Lewiński, iSURVIVAL
  24. Garrett Matthews, REA Group
  25. Elias Nuevo, Jellyfish Online Marketing
  26. Lefteris Grammatas, Slalom Consulting
  27. Raymond Chau, Fidelity International
  28. Trinadha Kandi, Deloitte Digital
  29. Lina Mikołajczyk, Hilton Worldwide
  30. Lucía Marín Sánchez, Aukera
  31. Michael Feiner, AEP Convert
  32. Eric Bernhard, Dixons Carphone
  33. Yoav Guttman, RealMatch Inc.
  34. BadriNarayanan Srinivasan, iProspect UK
  35. Puneet Mitra, Post Office
  36. Artur Karda, Netsprint
  37. Artur Żak, Starcom MediaVest Group Poland
  38. Paweł Ogonowski, Mavenec
  39. Adrian Ignatescu, Azimo
  40. Ashish Saxena, Cognizant Technology Solutions
  41. Qian L, Tesco
  42. Gareth Powell, JD Williams
  43. Damian Krawczyk, K2 Media
  44. Shi Li Li

Fernando Lamarre

Fernando Lamarre

Senior Manager, Web Analytics at 1800flowers.com

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

A good web analyst should be a great communicator. Since we constantly partner with various internal online teams working towards unique goal conversions on the site, it is essential for a good web analyst to be able to translate insights in a clear and specific manner to those individual teams.  

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

One of the constant challenges I've faced as a web analyst is changing the mental model of management in how they use web analytics data.

In my experiences, I found myself drowning in data reporting pukes that focus on typical web metrics like visitors, sessions, time on site, page views etc. However, the key to really witnessing the power of web analytics is focusing on outcomes.

Outcomes speaks to why the site exists in the first place and measuring outcomes will provide the knowledge into whether those reasons are performing successfully or not and if they're not, focusing on outcomes will help drive the action needed to resolving those problems on the site.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

By consistently answering these 4 ongoing questions fluently and impact fully:

  • How many users are coming to the site?
  • Where are these users coming from?
  • What are they doing on the site?
  • What do we WANT them to do on the site? My metric would be "action driving rate".  

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Daniel Lee

Daniel Lee

Web Analytics Manager Evans Cycles

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

In my experience, the most important quality is being able to naturally blend the technical aspects of the role, with the commercial elements and understanding the user. 
 
The modern day web analyst draws upon skills from UX, Web Optimisation, Web Development and Data Science. Being able to dip in and out of these skills is not only rare, but it's a very powerful resource to companies. A good web analyst will have a couple of these skills. The best have 3, 4 or even more.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

By far the biggest challenge I have encountered in many companies I have worked for is the lack of development resource being available to fully take advantage of the insight the analytics, or the wider business, has uncovered.
 
Many companies that are successful have ample development resource and are heavily user-centric. They build things good, quick and focused around the user.
 
The lesson I've taken away from this is that, as a result of limited development resource being available, companies with this issue need to focus relentlessly on prioritising the most effective changes first, whilst focusing on resolving this problem.
 
I've learned that the lack of development resource is almost the antithesis of website optimisation.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

Web Analytics, at it's core, is about understanding more about the people your business reaches out to. Whilst this sounds straightforward, the methods of gaining this information and developing insights isn't always as simple.
 
As understanding users is core to Web Analytics, a very crude (yet effective) measurement of Web Analytics effectiveness is to evaluate whether you are able to answer all the user related questions your business has of their customers. If you can answer all the questions and help the business make informed decisions, then you are well on your way to working effectively. 

The next level to this is ensuring the business has the data and insight it needs to make better informed decisions. This helps form a data driven culture, which is also user-centric. One effective approach to measure the effectiveness of the analytics department is to use AB Testing. For example, you could AB test a marketing campaign the business is planning to do (which serves as our AB test control) alongside a variation, which would be different in the way that it benefits from the insight your department is offering.

Involving the business in this process allows them to learn how effective optimisation, data and making user centric decisions can be – which helps the business overall.

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Tomasz Sienkiewicz

Tomasz Sienkiewicz

Web Analytics Expert at T-Mobile Poland

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Of course, analytical skill is a must, but for me communication skills are much more important. It doesn't matter how great analysis/reports/queries web analyst does, as long as he or she cannot communicate and explain them. Without such skills, analytical efforts are meaningless.  

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

I had to build web analytics environments for different companies and that is always exciting and takes a lot of time and effort.

As I see it, such environments are a construction of data gathering systems + people (analysts and business) + process. In other words – Google Analytics implementation according to business requirements, teaching non-analyst business people (marketing and sales) how to use and understand gathered data, project process of reading reports and analysis that lead to better data-driven decisions.  

What such projects taught me:

  •  work close with business/marketing/sales people, 
  • do not stay in a closed circle of analysts,
  • act fast, be elastic, do not plan to many details for too long (for example giant reports tracking dozens of metrics don't make sense), 
  • be essential,
  • those 2-3 numbers (KPIs) or sometimes just answer Yes or No to business question is actually the essence of analyst job,
  • no need to be 100% accurate, you are not an accountant :); better to have decision today with 80% accuracy than 99% accuracy but next week.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

I wish I could say I use ROI :) But to be honest, I have never seen calculations about effectiveness of hiring web analyst (comparison of changes that such people create or stimulate in business vs. their cost).

So, when assessing my work and business impact I made, I like to ask myself a question: How many of business decisions are not gut feelings, but data-driven. How many initiatives were initiated by my work with numbers? How did my efforts really influence people, projects and process in the company?

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Daniel Zawiślak

Daniel Zawiślak

Web Analytics Specialist at Play

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Inquisitiveness, curiosity. We should keep digging until we find the answers we need… and we should never stop asking "why"?

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

Never stop surprising or attracting people's attention. In this job you can easily get into a rut. People should want to listen to you, wait for the results of your work – you must take care about it all the time.

Besides, right now the interesting issues are: a cross-channel measurement (between online and offline), a customer journey and the ways how to monetize mobile traffic.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

My effectiveness should be measured by right business decisions (based on my analysis/conclusions) having added value in a particular case. Keeping up with innovations and their implementation is more than welcome.

For some people an orders measurement, CR, CPO, ROI, a customer life cycle will be important, for others – NPS, engagement, user paths and so on… You are the person who should find the way to measure it and sell it in an accessible form. A mass production of reports is often pointless and will get you nowhere. We should be still thinking not only about what and how to measure, but first of all – why – what it will give us, our colleagues. 

We should treat the team as an ecosystem, where we are the link between different areas, you must pursue to get the bigger picture. A good way to do it in practice is to have a weekly status with your team when you can sum up what was made, what was measured in particular areas and show people in what way some decisions affect other moves.  

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Christopher Ward

Christopher Ward

VP, Product at Shutterstock

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Above all, a person’s ability to understand the underlying business strategy and the value to that strategy of focusing on specific metrics and KPIs.

A web analyst with the ability to comprehensively understand the business/user context of data will be better able to proactively discover insights in our customer data, work with the product team to develop hypotheses, and identify which metrics are most important to measure for our bottom line

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

With every launch of a new product or feature, it goes without saying that we want to know how effective it is. In smaller product experiences, this is straightforward. However, in larger platforms, the attribution of a new search filter to an overall success KPI (acquisition, conversion, reengagement, etc) can be quite thorny.

Coming up with smart ways to track attribution across a global product experience is something web analysts are well suited to support. Of course, having a web analyst involved from Day 1 ensures that proper measurement and attribution is included as a milestone in every product launch. 

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

Product teams are most effective when they operate as a laboratory, testing hypotheses and learning quickly from both their failures and successes.

If we are iterating quickly, thinking big, and taking risks, I expect teams to ‘miss’ often, to quickly learn from the data and iterate toward a better hypotheses. Web analysts are crucial to this process of learning and, thus, essential to any product technology team. 

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Sumit Srivastava

Sumit Srivastava

Head of Corporate Marketing Analytics at LexisNexis Risk Solutions

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Being action oriented in their analysis and thinking.  “What action will it drive?” should be on top of the mind of a web analyst when creating an analysis or a report.

With the vast amount of data available from a Web Analytics platform it is easy to fall into the trap of creating beautiful reports which are really data dumps and do not drive any action.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

As someone tasked with setting up the Marketing Analytics function, I would say setting the right expectation for my stakeholders, my team and myself was critical.  Challenges around data quality, current analytics implementation and processes can appear overwhelming and it takes time and commitment across the organization to fix them.

We need to be able to support business needs with what we currently have while we build the analytics foundation for the organization. The key is communication, focus, persistence and lot of education.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

In a B2B company where conversion happens at sales and sales cycle can be long, Analytics plays the critical role of measuring marketing effectiveness and its contribution to Revenue. E.g. measuring number of leads generated from the website, while an important metric, is not sufficient.

We track and report prospect’s journey from our campaigns, which in most cases begins with a digital touch point, through the marketing and sales funnels and are able to link a Marketing Campaign with Revenue. This allows for better understanding of a campaign’s performance and opens up conversation around opportunities for Optimization and improving Marketing ROI

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Maciej Stanasiuk

Maciej Stanasiuk

Senior Technical Analyst at Datalicious Pty Ltd

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

I believe there are two, actually. The first one definitely is open-mindedness. A good Web Analyst has to work with multiple stakeholders and they very often have different backgrounds and goals. Ability to understand them and to customize the message is crucial for success.

Another important thing is attention to detail, that makes both analyzing large chunks of data and implementing WA tools much easier.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

Definitely project management. Implementations are huge part of my daily work and technical-wise they are similar to any development project. Proper project management makes them a lot simpler and less frustrating for the team, so that's something I'm currently working hard on.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

Depends! In terms of "external" effectiveness, ie. how your work is perceived by others, clients recency helps a lot. That's why I try to focus on building long-lasting relationships where every side is happy. Internally, though, I try to work in a regular SCRUM sprints, such methodology gives you a lot of insights on what stage are you at and how much work is left. Oh, and don't forget about qualitative data, that is feedbacks… a lot of feedbacks!

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Paweł Bęczkowski

Paweł Bęczkowski

Senior Web Analyst at Starcom MediaVest Group Poland

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

A good web analyst should have the ability to connect the right dots. What I mean is that right now we have lots of data. A good analyst should have the ability to select meaningful data and analyse it in a way that provides useful insight for a client’s business.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

The biggest challenge I’m facing right now is convincing clients that they need to be data driven organizations. In Poland we still have the problem that offline and online departments don’t exchange data and analytics knowledge. Sometimes departments even fight with each other and deny access to “their” data.

Luckily, in the company that I work for, we were able to convince some of our clients to take proper approach to data. 

Right now I’ve learned that only language that CEO understands is language of money. No matter what we propose in terms of data management, if we can prove (or be convincing enough) that this allows to save money, we have a green light. But a green light from CEO doesn’t mean that all the people in the organization will understand how important this is. To be successful in that kind of project there must be someone inside the organization who believes in data and will be connection between client and analytics agency. Otherwise, people treat analysts as strangers, as people who don’t understand their organization, culture, product. If we pass through these two obstacles, we can think about changes.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

For me the best thing that shows me that I’ve done good job is clients' satisfaction.

Not long time ago I presented post-campaign analysis to one of my company clients. Not a big client nor a big campaign, but we’ve done some quality job there. Web analytics part was rather small, only ¼ of the whole presentation. But this part was the only moment when the client was asking a lot of questions and took notes. After the meeting, he said that he didn’t expect that web analytics could be so useful and he wants to do a lot more. I know that this is not “hard” KPI, but I think, that for those moments most of web analysts are doing their job.

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Peter Marriott

Peter Marriott

Product Owner – Digital Analytics & Insight at Rentalcars.com

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

In my view a good web analyst has to be curious. Curiosity should drive investigation and help ask questions that others may miss or ignore – this will ultimately lead to opportunities.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

The biggest challenge in my experience (mainly a CRO aspect) is not only convincing others that sometimes their perceptions will be wrong, but also that our own could be. Learning to accept this and moving towards a "Idea, Test, Iterate" process can enable us to understand behaviour and achieve goals.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

Measuring the impact of Analytics is notoriously difficult.  For me, a large part in understanding performance is having an open feedback process with the areas we support. In a support environment helping others to use a data driven approach to inform decisions, identifying / visualising opportunities is so important but very difficult to associate a volumetric KPI.  Having this open communication should ensure that "lack of analytical support" isn't a viable reason for others to miss their own KPIs.

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Waqas Rafiq

Waqas Rafiq

Director at Web Analytics Ninja

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

The most important quality for a web analyst is to understand the different web analytics tools and how they technically work.

As a consultsant, you need to be the expert and have a broad business understanding but also know how Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Webtrends etc. collects and handles data. From my 9+ years in this industry, you still meet people who don't understand the data collection behind the tools that they are using.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

I think the biggest challenge that I see, and also have seen is the lack of investment in people who are using the tools in larger companies.

Often web analytics is something that you do 1 hour a month to send out some reports. But you never get to analyse and the discovery phase, where data turns to insight. I always recommend my clients to have a workshop with the everyday users of the tool, because that is where you can inspire and showcase what can be done in the web analytics tools.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

We always thrive to do things as fast as possible.

But we never rush with implementations; hence data collection is something essential that many people will rely on. The easiest way for us to track effectiveness is through "time-on-project" estimates. Often we have a good idea of how long a project will take and we make good-case and worst-case scenarios to ensure that we have enough time to deliver a good product.

A simple way of ensuring you are doing right is to send out a quarterly survey to your clients to ensure that they are happy and satisfied with your service and deliveries.

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Piotr Pater

Piotr Pater

Chief Web Analyst at Value Media

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Never stop asking "why" and "how".

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

The biggest challenge I'm currently facing is to build a bigger team of experienced digital analysts. It's not that there are no good specialists on our market at all – the thing is most of them are happy with their current positions – there's just too much cool things to do at the moment on our market.

What's my learning here? To create our own digital analytics youth academy and train the new Leo Messi of digital analytics :)

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

It depends on the specified task, but given the fact our main goal is to deliver insights and recommendations that would improve our clients' businesses, it also depends on the time horizon you take into account. 

Once our recommendations have already been implemented, it's relatively easy to determine the exact factor we improved someone's business by. Hovewer, it's not possible to determine this factor during the analysis itself. That's why while conducting the analysis we take into account the following set of constraints: the amount of time in which we have to prepare the analysis, the focus on aspects having the greatest impact on the business, the ease and cost of both testing the specific recommendation and implementing it.

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Jakub Alizade Sani

Jakub Alizade Sani

Search Marketer / Web Analyst at alizadesani.com

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Web analytics first of all involves understanding business goals and the ability to recommend the most effective actions leading to these goals with respect to the huge amount of gathered data.  Hence, the most important quality of a good analyst is not the ability to generate reports or configure analytic tools, but it is rather the combination of their skill in drawing the right business conclusions and the acquired “factual background”.

Combining the technical and business spheres is definitely the most important quality of a business analyst, which can be required of them at every stage of work. 

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

The challenges of web analytics are numerous and include e.g. improving the implementation process, developing the indicators, or measuring the success itself. But in most cases, the accuracy of data being the basis for the analyses is definitely the biggest challenge we may face.

I have many times seen this is true, working with companies that are usually focused on gathering large amounts of data and on more and more advanced reports, but not paying attention to their quality. It is always beneficial to mirror data variability as closely as possible – this ensures the reliability of the conclusions based on the data. 

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

The development of appropriate indicators is an important element of implementation, as it allows to meet various information needs of all the stakeholders.

Obviously, the targets must be closely connected with business goals, but is also worth remembering that too many indicators should not be created for a person (10 is the maximum).

A good metric should be a clear measure of the assumed target. In the case of sales increase, it will definitely be the monthly turnover, but in the case of building trust, it may be e.g. the number of returning users. And this is where the essence of KPIs becomes visible… However, the basic metrics used for entirely e-commerce sites, which need to be taken into account and which I apply in the work with my clients, are first of all:

  • conversion rate
  • route effectiveness
  • % of returning visitors' orders
  • time to market

At the final stage of creating key performance indicators it is very useful to prepare dedicated dashboards to present these metrics.

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Oliver Paton

Oliver Paton

Managing Director at Complete Picture Analytics London

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

This question is hard to give a straight answer without saying… To be multiskilled. Good Web analytic professionals link business with technical. They have a deep understanding of the implementation of their tool set, whilst being able to deliver business insight which really hands off a good understanding of the business and what it values.

If I have to nail it down to one thing… It's the questioning of the numbers… 85-90% of the web analytics implementations I have worked with are nowhere near perfect, and the recognition of this along with the technical knowledge to debug and understand the real meaning of the numbers is essential. I see many people reporting on false numbers, because developers have not implemented properly.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

Within a/b testing and Analytics of… Communicating the meaning of statistics to business users is a tough challenge. There is often a desire to take what yoy want from some results, and as a result different stories are told at different levels of the business based on the same date.

To deal with this we try and remove ambiguity, and create ate a common method of reporting every figure. Publishing all results through an official channel like a wiki page helps with this dramatically, and helps become q central point for the truth.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

Essentially every idea we generate is a/b of MVT tested. All ideas generated by the analytics team are tagged in jira for the analytics team. Results for the a/b test are then attributed back to the analytics team, and hence the analytics team get credit for the idea.

Luckily the value is seen across the business, but as with any company, it's best to keep shouting about your work, keep a record and make it public. It's great to see it crop up again a year later.

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Benjamin Lax

Benjamin Lax

PPC Manager at Rocket 9 Ltd

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

When it comes to analysing a specific segment, make sure you are fully aware of the issues that could impact it from the wider market.

It's easy to be consumed with the numbers and metrics, but every now and again something will crop up that just cant be explained. It's either a fault with the data or it's an influencing factor from something you might not have anticipated.

Reading into the wider environment will help give a sound understanding of what and why things happen. This also makes understanding the data that little bit easier. 

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

I've come across a number of issues when looking at data, but the biggest challenge has been knowing how to present data for certain people in a company's hierarchy.  

A simple rule of thumb that has helped me overcome this is know your audience, e.g. Directors need diagrams and top level core numbers with an analysis of what this means and what this could lead to, Senior Managers need to see the graphs, know the general numbers with analysis of why it happened and what will change next time, Your Manager will want to see the maths, understand your train of thought and have some input into the analysis. Always know your audience. 

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

The effectiveness of campaigns is the most important metric I need. Unfortunately throughout my career this has never been one clear crisp KPI.

Aligning elements such as acquisition cost, variables and the actual profit minus these costs is the only way to measure how well something has worked.

Overall, using month on month metrics to show growth is key. This year on year journey will show an overall map of how things have gone and allow for anomalies to be identified and explained.

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Kamil Guzdek

Kamil Guzdek

SEA Manager & Web – Analyst at E-ndependents

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Versatility.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

The biggest challenge was a total redesign of whole analytics system for one of publishers, which included switching to tracking via Google Tag Manager, tracking over 90 properties that should collect accurate data within themselves, mobile versions, forums, sending and opening of newsletters, and ideally show traffic data in cumulative view for each topical group.

This implementation took us over 4 months to include and test everything, include all necessary data, check whether all KPIs are being measured and if necessary – add custom dimensions. 

Best Advice we could give after this journey ? Ask your customer a ton of questions what do they need to track and how do they want to see it. Work with them on selecting the right KPIs, otherwise you might end up doing the actual work 3-4 times before everything's OK.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

The best way to measure what we do is how our customers are satisfied, if they understand what's going on and how it is measured.

Also we need to meet deadlines, but we take into calculations heavy workshops with the customer so they understand the logic behind all we do. If in the end our customer is proficient in using Analytics and knows his implementation by heart – we succeeded :)

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Mateusz Cygan

Adam Piątek

Senior Web Analyst at uselab

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Curiosity. There are many traits which a good web analyst should possess.

Better yet, it should be a set of traits, which taken together ensure that the analyst's work makes sense.

If I had to choose the most important one, the primary trait – I would bet on the "researcher's curiosity." It is that trait which makes it impossible for someone to quickly brush through a problem. It does allow – together with inquisitiveness – to find the best possible answer to a given problem. An answer which initially might be hidden behind the very first likely explanation.

Then again…

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

… sometimes you have to be able to say " let's NOT do it."

The grandeur of the problem at hand cannot overshadow the profit of solving it. Ultimately; analyses and proposals are done for businesses and it is their needs that are the most important factor. Therefore return over investment should always be the highest priority. Simple economy. You can't get stuck in a problem which is not worth it.

Especially given that…

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

…everything is relative.

There is no simple set of KPIs which will describe a business exactly the way stakeholders would have it. Which indicators are better in a given situation depends on:

  • the business model – you have to take different approaches when working for a content site, a typical e-commerce site, or an online publisher.
  • the department for which the analysis is being done
  • the work product recipient's depth of knowledge and their place within the structure of their company.

Instead of proposing a prepackaged solution it's much better to work with a complex approach and together set up indicators which would satisfy the need for knowledge on all the levels of management. Combining the customer's experience of the business with the analyst's knowledge will yield best results. This is the moment when it pays to invest time in the planning stage.

KPIs should be refreshed from time to time. Some of the indicators should be replaced with others. Those which turned out to be the most important should be introduced to other departments. Generally – the topic should be alive and should be able to provide answers to the most important questions

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James Robinson

James Robinson

Head of Analytics & Optimisation at Zuto

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Curiosity. 

It's really important to look past 'what' is happening, and be curious about 'why' it is happening. It's the difference between delivering data, and delivering insight. Usually it's easier to be curious about changing trends, but often some of the really interesting insights can be found by exploring areas which have stayed static for some time – why are they static, and why at that level?

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

Establishing a single version of the truth that everyone understands. 

The longer systems are in place the more likely there will have been some historical problems with data that have eroded trust at some point, or different systems producing slightly different views of what is happening. For example, some tagging issues meaning some campaigns were misreported last year, or an internal CRM system giving different conversions to the web analytics system.

I've learnt that without everyone having confidence in the figures there will always be debates about the accuracy of any insights. Having a single, robust, and easy to access place to look is a really necessary foundation.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

Although we help generate and report on KPIs for the wider business, we don't measure our own effectiveness with particular metrics. 

Our goal is to empower more individuals across the business to understand analytics and generate hypothesis, and evaluate the results to these hypothesis themselves. As any measurable improvements these individuals make help move the KPIs in the right direction you could say we measure our effectiveness by the KPIs of the business improving.

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Anton Buning

Anton Buning

Manager User Experience & Web Analytics Albelli

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

It's hard to pick one quality as good a good analyst needs to have multiple skills. However, if I need to name one key quality, then I would say that an analyst needs to be able to think critically.

This is needed to solve complex questions, how data requests from the business are actually answering the underlying needs, and to continuously see how data can contribute to the wider business.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

My biggest challenge was joining a company where there was no solid Web Analytics tracking framework in place with unreliable data, whilst there was an immediate need from the business for data. It felt like already opening a store with customers running around (the business), whilst the whole store is still under constrution to get the right product in place (reliable data).

My main learnings during this challenge:

  • It's important to educate stakeholders around Web Analytics (having a tool doesn't mean that you have reliable data) which helps you to manage expectations about which data is and isn't available.
  • Ensure that you get buy in from management to get the needed IT resource to get a foundation for a framework in place.
  • Ensure that you have a long term vision on where you want to go. It's quite easy to get lost in the daily operation and questions from stakeholders, whilst you need to work towards your vision.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

Within our team, goals are set around three main pillars for Web Analyst:

  • Maintain and improve the tracking framework: Project and tracking requirements are defined within this area and afterwards is visible if the goals are met.
  • Business consultancy: This is mainly around supporting the business with data. This is harder to make SMART on forehand and therefore 360 degree feedback from stakeholders is an important element.
  • Conversion Rate Optimization: Within this area, I'm looking at the results of A/B test and the way a Web Analyst is contributing to those activities.

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Dorota Jałocha

Dorota Jałocha

Web Analyst at Agora SA

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Analysts are usually mathematicians or programmers. They have strong skills of measuring, counting, making automatic visualizations or other technical things, and I admit that these are necessary in this job. But there is another important side of being an analyst, which most people often ignore – the soft attitude.

Soft attitude means understanding a common user’s behavior and the ability to get across the information to people who are not technically involved, but often responsible for making decisions concerning money, deciding about the life of the project.

It is not easy to be both – a scientist and a humanist – or to work with the people who see the world in a different way. But this is the  way to be a good analyst / web analyst.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

Big data is always a problem and a challenge. Big data requires not only a common ability to analyze and to understand the behaviour of the user, but it also needs the tricks that allow you to process terabytes of data without losing time and forgetting that the recommendations in the end of the report are the most important.

In reality, nobody else will see the effort you did to make huge data useful. What did I learn last time when I had to make automatic reports based on hundreds of millions of records? The ambition is valuable and dwelling deep into records can be interesting, but the client is your 'boss'. Never forget he or she is waiting.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

Firstly, the project must be done. That is of course the most important thing. Secondly, it must be done on time ($$$) what is not always so obvious.

Other things are more complex. We consider client’s satisfaction, devoted sources and what interesting we have learned or how much pleasure the project gave us. Yeah, our job must satisfy us. Otherwise we wouldn't be good in what we do. It depends on the project very much.

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Katarzyna Jasińska

Katarzyna Jasińska

Senior Consultant – PwC Big Data Analytics

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Curiosity.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

The majority of clients wants measurable data. However, online data comes often in the form of text or visual content, which, when quantified, loses a lot of valuable information.

To give an example: We can measure consumer satisfaction by assigning a variable called “sentiment” to entries we collect from the web. Typically, there are three discrete sentiment categories: positive, negative, neutral. That will not tell how much consumers like or dislike our product, only that they do. Thus, we can go one step further and create 5 categories or even make sentiment a continuous variable. Yet, that will just be the tip of the iceberg. To really understand what our consumers think it is best to read all the entries.

We do that applying various qualitative marketing research methodologies. The end product comes often in the form of descriptive summaries and recommendations, but clients want something they can measure. To meet the client’s needs, we use text mining and other methodologies to change words into measurable data where possible. At the same time, we educate clients about the strengths of qualitative research and try to change the prejudice surrounding this type of research.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

Online analytics is a very broad topic, so there is no one way to measure the effectiveness. It is done case by case depending on the project. Sometimes clients turn to us with certain expectations, for example: “I want to increase sales via our website”. In those cases we set certain KPIs, like: “Increase revenues from website sales by 10% on a month-to-month basis compared to the same month last year”. The situation becomes more tricky when clients want to improve the brand image or gain new consumer insights…

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Jeff Lukey

Jeff Lukey

Group Head – Analytics at Periscopix

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

I think there are several qualities all good web analysts have: curiosity, logical thinking and a real passion for web technologies.  

The first of these ensures that the analyst will start to pick up on small trends and data that look interesting and want to understand them without necessarily being asked to dig that deep.  

The second trait then allows the analyst to investigate such data in a systematic fashion that enables them to identify root cause in an efficient manner.  

The final quality helps on multiple levels: providing context in terms of what atypical data looks like; completing concise investigations (knowing and checking most likely causes first); and making recommendations for enhancements/improvements resulting from their investigations.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

The biggest challenge I think we continually face is making sure that as a team we are embracing, understanding and helping our clients with new technologies, tools or methodologies.

Three years ago, Universal Analytics and Tag Management Systems were not on our radar, whilst remarketing and conversion rate optimisation were far more in their infancy. We have to be pro-active in testing tools and methods in order to ensure we’re offering clients the best service possible and helping them to succeed through adoption of this new technology.

We try to achieve this through a couple of team initiatives – the first is dedicating time each week for everyone in our team to explore an area they are interested in.

The second, hopefully based on the first, is our weekly “kaizen” meeting  where we share what’s been learnt that week, whether it be tools or simply good examples of a piece of work.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

As an agency a lot of our work historically has been focussed on GA audits and implementation work.  Proving ROI on these types of projects is inherently difficult so we generally measure effectiveness in terms of client happiness and retention.

Being able to convert a simple audit into an ongoing technical support contract or, better still, having the client engage us with more strategic planning and analysis or an ongoing CRO project is a real endorsement of our work.  We often ask for 360 feedback from our clients in order to better understand what  we are doing well and what we could improve.
 
Fortunately, our clients seem to like us and we’ve been able to build up a nice portfolio of CRO and attribution projects which are fun to work on. These type of projects often enable us to work closely with our PPC and RTB teams and have led to us winning several industry awards which provides external ratification of our work.
 
In terms of individual performance we hold formal reviews on a quarterly basis and again try to get 360 feedback both from internal and external stakeholders.  However, the focus on this feedback is primarily for personal department rather than performance management.  In addition to this our leadership team have frequent informal catch ups with their direct reports and escalate as required.

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Eugene Chudzilouski

Eugene Chudzilouski

Digital Analyst at Travis Credit Union

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

A good web analyst should have a passion for data and deep understanding of the business he or she works for. Everything else can be learned.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

One of the biggest challenges I have faced was the implementation of a data-driven mindset in the company I worked for. It is not an easy task to incorporate a data-driven philosophy into the business where most of the decisions are based on gut feeling.

Unfortunately, this is pretty common problem for many companies in the United States. Important business decisions are made without any data proof. That often ruins businesses, especially those conservative ones, which are not ready for changes. Today companies from any industry can benefit from having a data-driven culture.

It has never been so easy and cheap to start gathering and analyzing data, running experiments and making the necessary improvements based on the collected data. Creating a data-driven culture takes time. But all these efforts will be paid off as a result of increasing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and improving conversion rate and user experience.      

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

The main indicator of our team effectiveness is the improvement of our core KPIs. In our case, these are the number of new accounts and the number of new loan applications submitted online.  

We're constantly optimizing our conversion funnels and experimenting with different acquisition channels. Our membership growth and conversion rate improvements that lead to company’s revenue increase are the main indicators of our productive work.

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Maciej Lewiński

Maciej Lewiński

SEM and Web Analytics Consultant at iSURVIVAL

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

The ability to ask the right questions related to the business is a feature that should characterize a good analyst. To achieve this you need to know perfectly analytical tool and have the basics of mathematics and statistics. Learning maths and statistics is an excellent way to develop logical and critical thinking. It makes you a better marketer and, of course, a better analyst.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

Last year I collided with the implementation of analytics in one of my clients. I was responsible for implementing the analytics side technology (implementation of Google Analytics on a new website). The technology from which a new website was built of, surpassed me. Seriously!

Technological solutions are awfully fast evolving. There is no way with them to keep up.
It made me thinking that you can not specialize in everything. Since then, I leave the implementation of technological tools to people from my team, and I deal only with numbers and drawing conclusions from them :)

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

For me the best KPI is the client's happiness, but every KPI is a metric and a metric is a number or ratio. So there is no way to quantify human emotion such as happiness, but this is my secret formula 😉

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Eugene Chudzilouski

Garrett Matthews

Web Analyst at REA Group

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

The ability to question the data and the way it is used.

There are so many factors that can influence data that the results are rarely as straightforward as they seem. Without asking why the numbers are what they are, and exhausting all possible influences, the data is not truly indicative. Equally important is to ask what the data is to be used for so that I can really understand the root of what the client wants to achieve and ensure the proper approach to analysis is taken. 

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

Working with new clients always comes with initial hurdles, particularly in regards to how analytics tools are implemented, what is being measured and why.

There’s no one size fits all approach so it’s important to build a joint understanding of business objectives and the user journey and ensure that proper tracking is in place to measure this.  

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

The value of data has been well-established in recent years but the challenge for many organizations is knowing what to do with the data or figuring out what it actually means. That’s where a web analyst comes in.

Ultimately, measuring this value goes beyond KPI’s and is more about identifying trends, issues, opportunities and developing understanding. If I can help a client solve a problem or help them to understand how they can make use of data to empower their business and improve the consumer’s journey, the value is apparent.

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Elias Nuevo

Elias Nuevo

Analytics Director at Jellyfish Online Marketing

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

To me the most important quality comes with the ability to match the right questions to business goals (which should be SMART), and to be able to substantiate your answers using data. But, as important as this is, it’s essential to be able to transform the information received into something digestible and tangible.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

The biggest challenge is to be able to develop multiple communication approaches and methods, in order to be able to reach and engage our audiences. Having an understanding of our clients businesses and goals is essential to support them whilst they move in the direction they need, and this is something that is not easy to accomplish in all scenarios. Clients need help and guidance to achieve their goals, and here is where we need to show our industry expertise to help defining and executing the strategy they need.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

Project/Service delivery: there are several indicator types that can be used for measuring the performance of the project/service in terms of delivery: communications/workflow, ownership, dedication , response, proactivity and timing.  Our clients need to meet targets and expectations for the projects they get involved into, and we must commit to hold their hand through it. Providing service quality with tangible results.
 
Client’s experience/feedback: meeting or exceeding client’s expectations. The satisfaction of the client, scored through different KPI’s, is generally the best indicative to measure the success of each project/service, and evaluate to spot opportunities for improvement.
 
Maturity progress: we must measure how much we are helping clients to move into more advanced stages of their maturity curve. The curve can be from the very basic new implementation to the most advanced use of offline/online integrations, attribution or data analysis. We must aim to conduct them through the journey so this growth is smooth and scalable.

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Lefteris Grammatas

Lefteris Grammatas

Senior Consultant at Slalom Consulting, Author at lefterisgrammatas

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Websites today are an integral part of doing business and for many businesses their business is their website. For that reason the most important thing I look for in  a web analyst is great business acumen. People with great business acumen view the data through the right lens, and they will  also use the right context to deliver the information to stakeholders in the most effective way.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

Most of the time stakeholders ask for the numbers rather than clarifying the business questions they want to answer. It is often genuinely hard to help them step-back on what they think the answer to their question should be and make them articulate the real questions they need to answer to be successful. 

I have learned that setting up a process for reviewing performance makes everyone coordinate with each other better, and stay more focused on the business problems. My typical process is to set up automated reporting for every stakeholder so they are informed on their metrics; depending on the business, I set up weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly meetings with all stakeholders to discuss how the business performs, decide what we should change, and share insights. In that way I keep the conversation focused on where we want the business to go, rather than reacting to a stream of metric request inquiries.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

The Return on Analytics with no action is ZERO. We can do as much analysis as we want, but if we haven’t persuaded people to make a change, or we have not developed the organizational mechanics for our Web Analytics program to effect change, then we are just a cost center in the organization. 

When I measure the effectiveness of a program or a team I count how many changes we effected and what their result was on the KPIs. When it comes to Web Analytics, quantity can be more important than quality. I prefer to have an organization make one change a week that increases the bottom line by 1% rather than wait for big changes that could increase the bottom line 10% every couple of months. That’s because the more changes we are able to influence, the more agile the organization will become, and ultimately the more actionable our insights are. After a few months of making constant changes, the organization develops muscle memory; then stakeholders ask for your input to inform their decisions, and then you become a very busy and successful part of the organization.

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Raymond Chau

Raymond Chau

Senior Web Analytics Manager at Fidelity International

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Curiosity.

A good web analyst needs to conduct many researches and ask many questions to validate hypothesis and understand the big picture. Without curiosity it's hard to do both well. 

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

The biggest challenge is to track the same customer throughout his / her journey in a single platform. 

What I've learned:

  • The "data silos" problem cannot be solved by just technology. Collaboration from all parts of the business is also a key element
  • Before you can perfectly track customers' footprint from all customer touch points, identify KPIs for each touch point and optimize each of them to gain "small wins"

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

3 KPIs to measure effectiveness of my team's work:

  • Media cost efficiency (e.g. avg CPC, avg CPA): Begin with this metric as the data is easy to collect. You can show cost savings as quick wins to the business, especially when it is hard to relate your marketing effort to revenue directly.
  • Return on marketing investment: The metric that business concerns most however not straight forward to compute when you're working for non-ecommerce focused company.
  • Team efficiency (i.e. budgeted hours / spent hours): Validate if your team is not fully utilized or overworked to stay efficient. You can bring in more business from an underutilized team while you should prioritize projects and resources for an overutilized team. 

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Trinadha Kandi

Trinadha Kandi

Specialist Leader – Digital Marketing & Analytics at Deloitte Digital

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Story telling skills! Seriously, I believe a good web analyst should have an ability to tell a story beyond the numbers. In the current digital / data world, it’s important not to caught up with just data points like impressions, visits and views, but able to drive the message around value drivers such as customer experience and business impact is the key.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

“Data-driven and Test & Learn” mindset. Either it’s overly complicated or simply ignored! Identifying the quick wins and deliver it through agile way helps companies to create a fine balance between data and it’s value.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

As we say and hear, Customer (satisfaction) is always takes a center stage! If we can help our customers (brands) to create a compelling data-driven experiences for the end customers (consumers), that’s what I call as success factor. The effectiveness of work can be measured on the value we bring in or impact we create!

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Lina Mikolajczyk

Lina Mikołajczyk

Senior Manager of Engagement; Ecommerce Analytics at Hilton Worldwide

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Chameleon-like balancing skills; one foot in technical analytics, another in eCommerce and revenue management, all the while speaking in layman’s terms to any and all stakeholders. That requires the ability to wear many hats and quickly adapt to situations, while being confident, empathetic, and ever-empowering.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

For me personally, because I tend to get overly excited about awesome novel sources of data and thrive on ad hoc analysis that can sometimes lead me very astray, DATA OVERLOAD is probably my biggest day-to-day obstacle.

If you think about it, outside of the traditional web traffic analytics platforms, every single social media platform has its own set of behavioural and demographic user data (well, except for Instagram, whose absence of reporting boggles my mind), and even the less social, but more habit forming brands – think Uber, Ebay, and even Spotify.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

My team is composed of many analysts who have all been successful in understanding the intricacies of web traffic. In Engagement Analytics, my KPIs are focused on 1) the satisfaction of our stakeholders and 2) the ability of our stakeholders to feel empowered and secure in their abilities to gain insight from web analytics data. The first can easily be measured with anonymous satisfaction and feedback surveys, but also, simply, by a smiling face – the easiest to catch, by far! The second is a three step process of: 

  • gauging the knowledge and skills of operating our analytics platform (easily observed by an increasing ability to act independently meanwhile producing correct data)
  • validating the activity of improving stakeholders to ensure them (and quadruple check ourselves) that their reporting is on pointe
  • observing that the web analyst’s work hours are less and less spent on instruction and reporting and increasingly more focused on explorative and innovative deep dives
  • In the end – the simultaneous happiness of both analysts and stakeholders is the truest indicator that I’m doing something right. 

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Lucía Marín Sánchez

Lucía Marín Sánchez

Web Analyst at Aukera

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

A good web analyst should be brave in his work :) Our job do not finish when we send the analytics report. We should always look for a better result, a better report, a better way to get CRO suggestions well done.

We are more than simple reporting “tools”, we need to make things happen in an optimal way. We are change agents. Sometimes, even when our client/boss thinks it is good enough, if we are sure we can achieve better results, we will have to persuade him/her to fulfill additional tasks.

Even when you are the only one who believes in them, so, you need to be brave enough to fight for things you believe in.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

In my opinion, the biggest challenge every analyst has to face is how to get people involved in changes & improvements.

We want to help organisations to transform themselves by focussing on such matters as usability, conversion rate, etc., while companies normally are focussed on more urgent/important business, organizational and hierarchical matters.

 Continuous improvement is not solely dependent upon development skills, but also the culture in which they exist. We should inspire, help and encourage people to increase their know¬how with simple marketing & analytics skills, such as reading a weekly PDF report in which they’ve got 3 relevant KPIs for their business area and for their potential clients – the magic word. 

I have learnt that the better way to make things and changes happen is to get people involved in them, as much as they want. For example you can send the Social Media team several automatic Analytics Reports per week, so that they become ready to analyse data and results without technical help, and to improve their next week’ results and tasks. The same with ads and campaigns team, etc.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

We measure it by reviewing the goals we have achieved and previously accorded with the customer. We also take the customer satisfaction into consideration, having regular reporting meetings or, simply, through daily emails.

We also take into consideration how many people in the client company is implied with changes and analytics. Eg. if there is more and more people following CRO advices, or we are requested training for new employees or we see how the analysis of results is being integrated in the company's culture, we consider it as very positive.

And to finish, if the customer recommends our services to other companies is a sign that we are doing things well.

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Michael Feiner

Michael Feiner

Director at AEP Convert

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Thoroughness. 

Sure, curiosity and intelligence are incredibly important for anyone dealing with data. But credibility is a pre-condition for the business to accept and rely on data. Therefore, thoroughness in the analytics process is critical if an analyst is to gain credibility. From understanding how the data is collected and processed through being able to validate the accuracy of the data to knowing how to manipulate the data to extract meaningful insight.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

Changing people’s perceptions around data. It comes back to the credibility of both the data and the analyst and the ability to show true value from data. Once people trust the data and the analyst they are much more inclined to embrace a change in their decision making process.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

Our case is slightly different as we are a consultancy so our targets are more commercial than analytical per se. We advise our clients to measure effectiveness as a direct measure of their potential impact. What I mean by that is aligning, as much as possible, the analyst’s outputs to the business goals. For example, in an ecommerce business I would look at the revenue/margin increase resulting from analytics’ recommendations. For a media business it could be the increase in content consumption based on analytics research.

I recognise these are potentially very simplistic views which are often complicated by organisational structures. Namely, in organisations where analytics teams have little authority over the executing teams (digital, marketing, product, ecommerce) – analytics recommendations are often ignored. Therefore, the KPIs would be different based on the specific circumstances. Nonetheless, the concept is the same – align your effectiveness measures as closely as possible to the business’ goals.

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Eric Bernhard

Eric Bernhard

Ecommerce Insights Manager at Dixons Carphone

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Inquisitiveness – the itch to dig deeper and know when to stop once they hit the point of diminishing return.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

Building trust with other teams.  Insight has the ability to make another team look good or make them look bad.  Insight it meant to be the unbiased source of truth, however both truth and bias can come into question when results are unfavourable.  

The challenge is to build trust with the key stakeholders so that they know when you are analyzing the data you are hoping that results will be beneficial and if they are not you do your due diligence to make sure that the numbers are correct.  In the past i have taken multiple tactics to build trust, some have worked and other have back-fired pretty drastically.  Some of the ways that I have employed over the years:

  • Open, constant communication with key stakeholders
  • Detailed methodology slides that include any assumptions made
  • Getting the key stakeholders to define KPI's upfront
  • Providing numbers with a confidence interval
  • Allowing key stakeholders to define target ranges based on your calculations (shrunken, targeted and stretch targets)

The one that really hurt me in the past is getting the key stakeholders to define the KPI's upfront because they really only focus on the things they know they will make better.  This often does not correlate with what makes the business successful.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

I measure my team on three KPI's:

  1. Ease of understanding insight that is presented, this is delivered through a survey post presentation
  2. Data accuracy – Using a 3rd party tool called ObservePoint we validate business and vendor rules every day.
  3. Completeness of data – survey based each quarter.  I ask "Are we communicating the things you are interested in?"

I don't measure "quality" of analysis because making sure our stakeholders understand what we are talking about is more important than producing something that only we understand.

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Yoav Guttman

Yoav Guttman

Marketing Operations Manager at RealMatch, Inc.

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Patience – getting things done takes time and people will always come to you with numerous different requests. It’s best to try to deliver what you can, as that is the key to your value

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

Maintenance – unfortunately with so much changing in technology, just staying on top of tagging and making sure that all expected analytics are being measured is a major challenge. Too often, we would only find out at the end or beginning of the month that some site had had major changes but they forgot to include analytics code or tracking.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

Being able to deliver recommendations to various business unit owners was the best way to measure effectiveness. If we could see trends and come up with creative ideas or suggestions, that delivered value from our team.

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BadriNarayanan Srinivasan

BadriNarayanan Srinivasan

Director of Analytics at iProspect UK

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

The term 'Web Analyst' definitely needs redefining, at iProspect we are already transforming to digital analyst. The difference is we don’t look at website alone, but at all the different digital assets of our clients to connect the different data sets.

Coming back to your question, If I get a situation to hire a person just based on one quality that would be either proactiveness or tech savvy. In the agency world, being proactive for our clients is very crucial or if you’re tech savvy it definitely helps to tackle even offline challenges using the technologies like beacons, sensors, kiosks etc.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

Educating your clients on the value of data and how to make use of it which was the biggest challenge around data & analytics. So the way we solved is to find the major factors such as

  • Understanding client business which is key if we want our clients to understand the value of data,
  • Choosing right analytics & CRO platforms (Google Analytics is not always the default pick for some of our clients) and installing it,
  • Visualising all the data together in a centralised and universal dashboard / reporting system
  • Generating actionable insights,
  • Finally, reinventing the budget strategy using the data, in other words attribution.

At iProspect, we have these different levels when approaching clients about the value of data and how we solve it

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

At iProspect, project management plays key role to solve the high demand with right number of employees. So we track each and every task of my team using Wrike – a project management tool that we use internally.

As the number of clients always increases, its important for the team members to be flexible to work on different verticals almost every hour. So we defined a process where once we onboard an employee they will have a clear view on what’s their role is and how they can grow their career at iProspect / Dentsu Aegis Network.

Every employee uses Wrike and we have a system called Horizons that shows the performance of each employee by using the KPI’s such as Teamwork, Decision Making Ability, Communication, Skill set growth etc.

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Puneet Mitra

Puneet Mitra

Web Analytics Manager at Post Office

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Being an effective communicator is immensely important. A great web analyst must be able to talk to technical and non-technical audiences.

Decision makers are not always technically proficient therefore it is important to present your message in a jargon free manner; clients/directors/VPs prefer stories to help interpret the statistics.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

Client(s) who are not data driven in slightest and therefore not utilising their analytics platform.

Upon taking the time and effort to understand their business objectives, marketing strategy, internal processes etc. highlighting throughout where analytics can provide further insight, you obtain their trust and are able to hold their hand through the journey of becoming more data driven. 

The base of this occurs from a robust implementation strategy. In doing so, they were able to start to understand their online performance and how it fits into their overall business and KPIs.This process helps an analyst understand different factors/considerations within multiple industries and build strong business acumen, as well as working on their interpersonal skills with clients. 

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

Monitoring KPIs is vastly important and are a good indication of the success of a project/campaign. Put simply, have mine (or my teams) recommendations increased conversions, leads, product views, click-throughs etc. 

Receiving feedback from clients/seniors/colleagues is always a great sign too. I’ve often provided training in web analytics to colleagues and have received positive feedback. It’s also nice to see them actually interacting with the tools instead of hiding in fear.

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Artur Karda

Artur Karda

Marketing & PR Director at Netsprint

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Oprah Winfrey in her talk show on TV needs only 30 minutes to bring secrets of interviewed people to light. A good web analyst should be like a good journalist: needs to investigate deep and ask – sometimes – audacious questions.

Good understanding of analysed business is crucial – do know a wider context of your analysis project before you focus on your topic. It doesn't mean you should be inside the company for 10 years to understand the business. Asking right questions to right sources (also people, not only web analytics systems!) at the right time helps a lot. 

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

Analysing of 0.5 mln search querries from e-commerce B2C website in Europe. My job was to extract from data as much as possible to help the client improve user experience and conversion rate from internal search engine.

What was really challenging: huge amount of the database and the fact that data was available only as server logs exported to… Excel file. Furthermore, the long tail of search queries was really long, so it was a manual analysis – not too much to automate in the process. 

It was the longest month in my life 😉 Finally, I found search patterns – not only what are the typical phrases users type in the search box, but also what they might think and need when typing (or re-typing, sometimes over a dozen times in a row). I also generated synonyms and acronyms dictionary,  lists of misspelled words and the list of the most popular searches – including products wanted by users, but not found in the online shop. 

What have I learned? Don't give up when you cannot use ANY online analytics tool in the web analysis project 😉 I was satisfied when the client came back to me few months later with the feedback of the project. They implemented changes in their search engine. The effect was so sensational, that they decided to roll up the project to other websites abroad. 

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

My favourite: ROI. When your analysis affects the finances of the business positively and the clients are happy 😉

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Artur Żak

Artur Żak

Senior Web Analyst at Starcom MediaVest Group

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

There isn't just one, but okay. Each of us must know the answer to the questions how, what and why. How the users entered , how they moved , what they watched, what they bought, why they left, and so on .

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

In my daily work, every project I take is a challenge. I create something new or perpetuate what I knew already.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

A well executed and timely project is the only KPI. We also need to divide the project into two parts: the implementation and reporting. Implementation:

If everything works and collects data correctly, then we recognize that the job is done.

Reporting: reporting is a long and tedious job. The main task is to extract interesting data and draw conclusions from them . If you succeed, that means good job. The happiness comes from the fact that the solutions are used by the client .

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Paweł Ogonowski

Paweł Ogonowski

Managing Partner @ Mavenec

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

That depends whether we are looking for someone who is going to conduct analyses or be responsible for deployment of tools and data quality assurance. When it comes to the former, the most important trait would be curiosity. Someone who is into analysis must possess this never-ending urge to dig deeper, to understand better, to challenge his outcomes and findings. Only then will he be a good data analyst.

When it comes to the latter, i.e. someone responsible for deployment of tools and data quality assurance, then I would say that the most important quality is patience. Getting the right data is usually a tiresome job that is really hard to get done. You need a lot of patience to reach the goal but hey, if this job isn’t done right how can you do a good analysis without the data that you can trust?

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

Hiring the right people is in my opinion the biggest challenge every company faces. In digital analytics market we have got a huge shortage in talents with analytics background. The competition for these talents gets fiercer every day as more and more companies realize the potential of digital analytics.

From my perspective hiring is one of the areas at every company where you simply cannot cut corners. To get hiring right we have come up with multi-step process to weed out candidates who do not match our expectations. If I were to give advice I would highlight two things:

  • have your requirements written down, use the list to assess every candidate and never ever let anyone slip through if he or she misses at least one of them,
  • hire for the culture-fit first.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

First of all we are assessed by our customers. We collect feedback from them to gauge the effectiveness of our work. NPS is the macro metric that tells us how do we fare. Additionally we gather lots of opinions on how we are doing.

The second assessment comes from our strategic priorities. We focus on generating the highest value from data that is possible. That is why we focus on measuring the outcomes of our work in monetary value. We use these values to calculate ROI from our projects.

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Adrian Ignatescu

Adrian Ignatescu

Growth Analyst at Azimo / Personal Website:techchangers.com

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

It's not an easy answer, but if I would have to choose the most important one I would say versatility. A web analyst must cover a wide range of responsibilities, from data crunching to insight creation and implementation.

That is why the web analyst has to be versatile and adapt fast to any of the requests above. Moreover, a good analyst has to be up to date with the latest releases, news and tools in the industry.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

The biggest challenge I have as a web analyst is to make things sound simple even if they are complex behind the scene.

Sometimes we forget that not everybody is data savvy so we have to be careful with how we explain things and build up the story of the analysis. The amount of data we collect and own is massive nowadays so we have to focus on the right pieces and explain them in a simple but comprehensive way (I love visualisations and explained screen shots). Also, it is our job to educate and show people how to use the data and the reports we produce.

Maybe as important as the previous is the actionable insights our reports must contain which improve the business and take it to the next level. Put in simple terms: keep things simple, visual, measurable and actionable.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

I believe the answer here is the classic road map and a few essential KPIs for the business or clients (if you are an agency for example).

At company level, every member of the analytics team should ideally have a road map for the next 3 to 6 months. Obviously, some of the tasks in the road map will intersect with other members of the team and the KPIs should be there as well. A clear and achievable roadmap usually helps to manage and reach the goals and objectives of the team, either client side or agency side. 

To keep things even more real, quarterly reviews with the management or the client (agency side)should give us a reality check and collect improvement ideas for the analytics team.

I think another important point here is self service for the different stakeholders in the company. This can take things to the next level. If we can empower other departments of the company to visualise the data and have their own KPIs, the collaboration between departments can be very smooth. Analytics to the rescue!

To be more specific, I'm talking here about custom dashboards, visualisation and segments specifically created for non data departments like marketing, finance,etc

A few example of KPIs or elements of the roadmap:

  • A few Critical CR% on the website/app: landing to registration, registration to first purchase/transaction
  • CPA for the users (do you know your different users?)
  • Roadmap elements: have X visualisation of the product categories  by Z date , ran 3 A/B tests by X date, implemented X,Y,Z elements in the data layer,etc

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Ashish Saxena

Ashish Saxena

Head of Digital Analytics – Europe, Cognizant Technology Solutions

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

PASSION as it has an addition & multiplying effect and it magnifies other qualities

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

  • Biggest Challenge: No team unity in the Service oriented, Diverse, Matrix Org.
  • Learnings: Every individual needs to  comprehend the strength of togetherness vs. selfness.
  • We experienced the power of togetherness, so we did everything in our might to achieve the feel of unity. I contributed by bringing togetherness wherever possible.
  • Second Biggest Challenge: Shortage of DIGITAL Analytics acumen across key potential areas.
  • Learnings: Increase awareness & open the doors across the potential areas/opportunities.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

  • Hygiene factors:
    • Client/s OR Stakeholders Feedback Overall score
    • Manager Feedback Overall score
    • Peers (360 degree) Feedback Overall score
    • Reportees Feedback Overall score
    • Zero escalations
    • Timely deliverables
    • Increased work quality
    • Increased productivity
  • Sustenance Factors:
    • Lower attrition
    • Business/Team/Diversity/Skills/Knowledge Growth
    • Effective Communication
    • Harmonious Interpersonal skills
    • Leveraging self/teams strength – Togetherness Spirit
  • Futuristic:
    • Clear Outlook/Direction
    • Risk appetite creating conducive environment
    • Resourceful/innovative/creative/collaborative
    • Well equipped

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Quian L

Qian L

Optimisation @ Tesco

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Once a problem has been identified, a hypothesis has been tested, the data has been analysed, the testing result is written up. However, without a great presentation key findings may be left out of product roadmaps and lost in the backlog for months or years.

So a good analyst shall be able to deliver a great presentation, grab their audience's attendtion, so that the key findings can be acted on.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

The biggest challenge I was facing was to unit business and analytics and optimisation.

Business demands faster analytics capability to provide insight for Optimisation to act on.

Proving causation requires analyst to pick the metrics carefully, and those metrics are tracked correctly!

From many many failed tests, I learned that a good analyst will have to keep pace with their efforts at managing data quality, analytics and optimisation integration, and adaptive planning to deliver a quanlity and insightful analysis.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

Use business KPIs to measure our performance

My team and myself use business KPIs to measure effectiveness of our activities. We will ensure those KPIs cover the overall goal and the why behind each activity.

By identifying the KPIs each team member is focused on, everyone will have a clear idea of what they’re trying to achieve and how they’re going to achieve it, which means less time spent managing and reporting, and more time doing.

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Gareth Powell

Gareth Powell

Head of Web Analytics at JD Williams

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Curiosity.  Traditionally I would be looking for someone who has a mathematical / numerical background but this discipline equates to nothing if you can't combine it with somebody who questions the data, develops a hypothesis and takes an iterative approach to analytics before delivering insights, recommendations and, above all, action.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

With the shear volume of web data that we capture (over 70GB of granular session level data a month) the challenge in the first instance was where do we start?  The approach we have adopted is to work with our stakeholders to understand their requirements.  

Through understanding business priorities and key questions this can help to galvanise your analytics strategy.  Once the confidence is built with the stakeholders it then makes it easier to get buy-in or adoption of initiatives that the Analysts have identified through the data.  

I think this needs to work two ways though I.e. it is imperative that you let the analysts find patterns within the data and take an R&D approach to providing insight.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

We try to take the mentality that if you can't measure it then why bother doing it.  However, the team provide a lot of insight to feed into Marketing that will ultimately see a change made off the back of the recommendation but in reality you can't measure absolutely everything.

We try to deploy test and control where possible and the key KPIs that we ordinarily consider include conversion rate, sales per session, gross margin per customer, cost per sale.  We also have tough objectives with £note targets for each analyst.  This enables us to understand effectiveness through the year.

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Damian Krawczyk

Damian Krawczyk

Web Analytics & SEO Director w K2 Media S.A.

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

Flexibility.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

Recently I had tried to build Analytical team in my company and It was very difficult for me. There is much more supply then demand on the market and finding right person who meet our clients requirements is a huge challenge. I’m still in a progres of it and recruitment could be the biggest challenge of 2016 too.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

I measure it by satisfaction of our clients. I’m totally sure that we made a great job when they are suprised what analytics can do with their conversion rate. Sometimes just bringing a new tool for measurement change a lot and suddenly client find out what are real KPIs of their website. Many users still don’t set their website target especially in non e-commerce platform.

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Shi Li Li

Shi Li Li

Web Analytics and Conversion Optimization Consultant

What is the most important quality a great web analyst should have?

The #1 quality is to possess technical skills – A good web analyst should understand how analytics tracking works and what the data gathered from the web analytics tools mean. This would allow him/her to trust the data that is collected and be able to communicate that data in the language of the business owner, whether it’s a marketer, product manager, developer, designer, CEO, etc.  Other important skills are curiosity/interest in understanding user behavior and logical problem-solving skills.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

Instilling a data-driven mindset when it comes to redesign, changes or adding features to a product/website. I’ve learned that to champion analytics and a testing culture, it is important to educate and communicate results/findings to stakeholders. Show how to use data and testing to guide changes. Empathize with stakeholders and speak their language.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

It’s effective when you find learnings from your metrics. Extract insights from data, hypothesize, test and learn from results. Repeat.

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Do you think we've got them all?

Is there anyone you’d like to see here? Or do you believe that you should be in the list?

Go the comments section or to the Twitter profile @UsabilityTools and tell us what you think – we’ll gladly make additions!

Be sure to spread the word around and share the list – everyone should benefit! See you next week.

Disclosure: All profile pictures of experts were taken from their official profiles in social media such as Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Piotr Koczorowski

Written by Piotr Koczorowski

Quirky, funny and energetic young blogger from Poland with a passion for video games, contemporary American literature, chillwave music, and pizza. Between studying Translation Studies at a Polish university, Piotr works at UsabilityTools where he blogs about UX and goes overboard with puns and cultural references. In his free time he dreams of space travel (and pizza.)


  • Shahid Abbasi

    Great stuff!

    Appreciated :)

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