Web analytics as a career option

Last Updated 27 July 2010, 14:28 IST

The world wants to be online, but only a handful of people understand the medium in depth. The art of understanding the intricacies of the web is the key to develop your business on the ever-changing platform. This requirement has created a whole new career option for web enthusiasts who understand the platform well and know how to draw out the right analysis based on web trends.

A web analytics consultant helps with understanding a company’s web presence and uses those insights to chase a larger horizon. If the above line excites you, this might just be a career path meant for you. Here is a rundown on what a career in web analytics holds for those who are e-inclined.

Who can be  a analyst?

There is no definitive degree that makes or breaks a career in web analytics, but one must have knowledge and be well-versed in concepts of statistics, marketing, and technology to be able to optimise their career. Since it is an ever-changing medium, you will need to keep learning on the job.

After gaining experience, you may carve your own niche in the field by focusing on different web analytics tools or aspects of the web.

Some of the specific skills that a web analyst should possess:

*Basic knowledge of website design, information architecture, page layouts, and various internet marketing options like SEO, PPC, online advertising, email marketing, etc.

*Understanding of web technologies like HTML, JavaScript, server-side scripting, web servers, log files, etc.

*Understanding of how web analytical tools interpret numbers and a certain level of analytical bent of mind to read between the lines

*Experience in using excel and web analytical tools like Google Analytics, Site Catalyst, WebTrends, Nettracker, HitBox, ClickTracks, etc.

How to begin your career

If you are already in the field of web designing or online marketing then it would be easier for you to shift towards web analytics.  Basic knowledge of how the web works is necessary. The best way to begin would be to read a basics guide and then follow all the popular blogs and forums on web analytics. Gaining practical experience is extremely important. If you have a website, implement Google Analytics and explore its multiple options and features.

Business and technical side

Finally, get a job under a specialist so that you can learn more. The business side is all about measuring and achieving the business goals by interpreting data and finding a way to optimise the website. The technical side deals with accessing the technology, verification of data, choosing the right tools, configuring a suitable programme, and so on.  Simply speaking, the technical side would involve implementing the right technology and rules to generate accurate reports that give the required metrics, while the business side would involve analysing those reports to generate meaningful and implementable insights. It is ideal to make sure that you have a good understanding of both the aspects.

Areas of specialisation

Web analytics is an extensive field. There is a need for specialised analytical expertise, which creates a few sub-categories within the career scope that web analytics has. You may specialise in one aspect but you have to be well aware of the others.

*Website analyst: This person tracks what is happening on a company’s website.
Tracking visits, clicks, click paths, views, bounces, level of engagement, conversions, and the places through which the visitors came are a part of his job.

A website analyst must gather insights about how each page of the website is performing and what changes could be made to ensure that the website goals are met.

*Social media analyst: As the name suggests, this person is in charge of measuring and analysing the social media presence of a company (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, blogs, forums).

He is in charge of checking how effective your social media activities are and how they can be optimised.

A social media analyst tracks all the mentions of a brand name, what are the engagement levels and opinions, what are people saying, and what are the trends that the brand is going through. This field is more qualitative in nature.

*Competitive analyst: This person tracks the activities of competitors on the web and keeps up-to-date about the industry trends and how will they affect the brand he works for.

*Campaign analyst: Online advertising, email marketing, PPC campaigns are becoming extremely popular. The results of these needs to be measured by a campaign analyst.
They must ensure that the message is tweaked appropriately to increase clicks and leads and all the required changes are made to ensure optimum returns in future online marketing activities.

*Tool specialist: Having extensive knowledge and expertise on platforms like Google Analytics or Omniture helps when you need to look at specific data  This person must be a technical expert who can work on client-specific customisations.

Three roles of a web analyst

*Work as a part of marketing team of a company: Big corporations have huge growing websites and they need a specialist to analyse the visitor behaviour in order to make their website more effective. Many companies are hiring in-house website or online marketing analysts. 

*Work in the web analytics team of a digital marketing company or web analytics company like Nabler: It is ideal to start your career with a web analytics organisation .

*Work as a virtual web analyst: This is a new role coming up where experienced web analysts can take up analysis work of foreign clients or digital marketing firms. The visitor or campaign data is sent to them and they work virtually to offer meaningful insights.

Expected salary

As a web analytics specialist, your experience adds more to your resume than any degree. When you start your average salary would be similar to that of a management trainee. Thereafter, the salary of technical web analysts grows just like any other technical expert and the salary of business web analyst grows like a marketing expert. Your company might offer additional income based on the website goals that you help achieve. You can even become a freelance web analyst after you gain  experience.  Of course, a field as dynamic as web analytics changes every day, and there are new opportunities created. How and where you find the perfect fit, depends solely on your interests and your ability to adapt yourself to new things. So go right ahead and explore this option.

The writer is the Founder & CEO of Nabler Web Solutions

(Published 27 July 2010, 13:53 IST)

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