There are many books that have been written about web analytics, web analytics platforms and web marketing. You should be reading them along with online blogs that are freely available. Blogs and books offer many ideas on new trends in the industry, but they lack discussion of the fundamental principles you need to be a great analyst. Below are the three stages 312 Analytics believes you need to be an expert web analyst.
Stage 1: Data Sourcing and Definitional Knowledge
Having a technical understanding of how your web analytics platform collects data will be an asset in your web analytics practices. Each system, Google Analytics, Omniture, WebTrends and Coremetrics collects data differently. Therefore, their definitions of Visitor, Session, Unique Visitor is dependent upon how their cookies works and should be mastered as a web analyst. These definitions will affect the data that is being reported on in the systems themselves.
Quality data is your friend. Considerable amount of time should be spent checking codes on specific pages and various templates of your site. Making assumptions about code, and analyzing data that isn’t complete is going to lead you astray from making good decisions for your website. Always keep in mind that IT can make changes to your live web environments and code can be omitted by accident.
Stage 2: Certification and Custom Data
Getting certification training should always be a goal of your web analyst. This will save you a lot of consulting fees in the long run. Certifications allow the web analyst to understand the data sourcing and customize metrics, reports, and dashboards. This will make the end users of the data in your organization happy.
None of the web analytics platforms come with out-of-the box metrics that exactly match your business. All platforms have to be customized to capture the KPIs of your organization. Your web analytics professional should be able to set up custom code to capture the current and future goals of your organization. Next, they need to create usable and actionable reports from the custom data.
Stage 3: Knowledge of Statistics
The systems we have in place today are incredibly sophisticated. We have the tools and dashboards to make reports appealing, easy to understand and share throughout the organization. With the ease of distribution comes a burden of being statistically inaccurate. The analyst has to have a basic knowledge of how data becomes statistically significant before everyone in the organization reviews a report or a dashboard. With these three stages, you should be well on your way to becoming a better web analyst.