The Web Analyst Job

  |  May 11, 2012   |  Comments   |  

An overview of what a web analyst is required to know and do today.

In recent years with web analytics software/tools/systems becoming more widely used by companies that have websites, the necessity of having a web analyst role or even several web analysts for a web business is essential.

Back in the days before year 2000 when website traffic statistics were quantified as "hits," web analytics was not a common tool for many web businesses. The concept of "hit" means for every file that is requested by a site visitor, the counter of "hit" increases by one. This was never a meaningful way to look at visitors' traffic and how visitors interact with a website.

A web analyst's job description in the modern day should consist of the following tasks:

  • Trend and data reporting
  • Analyze current online marketing acquisition strategies and explore nw opportunities and/or new strategies
  • Understand on-site visitors' behavior and experience
  • Stay connected with the trends and the details

Trend and Data Reporting

Daily trend and data reporting is tedious and repetitive as you are possibly using SQL queries to extract all the required data from a SQL server database and then placing the numbers in an Excel spreadsheet.

One basic dimension for any reporting is the time period: daily reports, weekly reports, monthly reports, quarterly reports, and annual reports.

So that means data does get bigger after several months, several quarters, and several years, and now you're heading to manage multiple spreadsheets while still lining up all the numbers precisely in all the Excel cells.

Examples:

1. Weekly report: Visit trend this week vs. visit trend last week vs. visit trend this week last year by per day

2. Quarterly report: Revenue by per month for Q1 this year vs. revenue by per month for Q1 last year

3. Annual report: Purchase orders by per month for year 2011

Other reports (as examples) that should be compiled on a regular basis:

  • Direct traffic vs. referral traffic vs. search engine traffic report
  • New visitors vs. returning visitors report
  • Visitor recency and visitor frequency reports
  • Top pages report
  • Top landing pages report
  • Top keywords report (one for SEO and another for SEM)
  • Top landing pages by organic traffic (as traffic source)
  • Reports in geography, languages, browsers, and mobile devices
  • Site search keywords report

Analyze Current Online Marketing Acquisition Strategies and Explore New Opportunities and/or New Strategies

Online marketing acquisition channels that can be analyzed:

  • Search engine optimization (i.e., organic traffic)
  • Search engine marketing (i.e., paid search traffic, e.g., Google AdWords, Baidu Phoenix Nest)
  • Referring sites (i.e., partner websites, websites that link to your site, websites that show a banner and point to your site)
  • Social media sites: social isn't only about traffic to your website, but is also about social reactions/interactions (e.g., Facebook likes, Google +1)

Besides acquiring new customers, attention should be given to the existing customers who are already in your customer base:

  • Email marketing (i.e., email communications that go to your website's customer base once in every while)
  • RSS feed (i.e., your website content's readership, if you do offer a RSS feed)

Another part of a great web analyst's job is to explore and identify:

  • The existing acquisition channels that have the potential for further growth.
  • Potential new acquisition channels that haven't been utilized.

Understand On-Site Visitors' Behavior and Experience

With the right web analytics tools, web analysts can understand on-site visitors through many ways.

Examples:

Review of your important and high traffic landing pages (i.e., the first pages visitors open up when they come to your website). The bounce rate metric tells you about which web pages have problems or which traffic sources have very low quality visitors.

Purchase flow – web analytics tool Google Analytics has the goal funnels report that allows you to discover which web pages on your website have high exit rates.

Stay Connected With Trends and the Details

This has to do with passion: web analysts who are more than passionate enough and love to do data exploration will always discover much more insights and opportunities than anyone else. It is only through the following exercises that the web analyst roles can be highly invaluable to any website:

  • Understanding all the important principles within web analytics technologies
  • Long time learning and understanding of the specific online business they are working with
  • Digging through the details in the data

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gordon  Choi

Gordon Choi has paid search experience in Google AdWords and Baidu since 2003; Yahoo/Bing since 2002 and SEO and web analytics experience since 2005 across China, Asia, U.S., U.K. and Australian markets. He gathered China Internet experience through working in-house at Ctrip.com and Alibaba.com and now specializes in setting up SEM/SEO strategies, managing online campaign operations, and implementing web analytics solutions for clients.

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