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Avinash Kaushik : How Web Analysts Should Spend Their Day

In a flurry of recursive linking, Avinash expanded on last week’s interview (here and here) on his on blog: How Should Web Analysts Spend Their Day.

ALAN: Let’s imagine a hypothetical full-time web analytics person working for a major online retailer. Best case scenario, in a typical work week, what activities would he or she be doing, and roughly how much time would he or she be spending on each?

Inspired-Interns

If it is a major online retailer the first thing I would recommend is that they also hire a young person, perhaps a intern, to take over the reporting responsibilities (or pay someone at your Vendor / Consultant to do it). It is important to realize that this is the first step.

In any large organization you can’t get away from reporting demands from lots of folks (as in “our department needs these three reports every two days” or “we have to publish these standard metrics company wide” and so on). Your chances of massive success are low with just reporting and so please don’t expect your Analyst to do reporting and for that to in turn to bottom-line impacting results.

A fresh person out of school should cost you a lot less than your Analyst, and they, Mr. or Ms. Fresh, will work enthusiastically on reporting (and all the while get great training on becoming a true Analyst).

So if you are a Analyst then here is what I recommend you start with (customize for your organization as you see fit):

20% Reporting – Sorry you can’t escape this, you are still going to do reporting. But on the bright side it is a great way to keep in touch with reality.

20% Analyze Acquisition Strategies – What is your company doing to attract traffic to your website? SEM? Affiliate Marketing? Banners? Email Marketing? What else?

There is no faster way to win the hearts and souls of your company stake holders than helping them understand how their efforts are performing.

Focus your analysis on Outcomes (revenue?) that your company desires and you’ll do fine.

20% Understanding On-site Customer Experience – Using a mix of ClickStream and qualitative methodologies analyze what the customer experience is on your website. Really. Not what you think it is, not what your company wants it to be. But what it is in reality.

There is no better way to make money then this (and you’ll get happy customers as a bonus).

What Would Analyst Do

20% Staying Plugged into the Context – Most Analysts suffer because of a lack of context. They are put away in a corner with Omniture or WebTrends or HBX or Google Analytics and expected to produce earth shattering insights.

We need to have our Analyst use 20% of their time simply to stay plugged into what else is going on, in the marketing organization, on the websites in terms of operational changes, with senior management (anyone higher then their boss) to know what their strategic pain points are (then imagine how web data can solve them), with the phone or retail (big box) channels, etc.

Web analysis is not a silo and the analysts needs to be plugged into the context so that they can look at the right data, better and provide relevant insights (that they can’t possibly provide when locked in their ivory tower (!!).

10% Explore New Strategic Options – I don’t know where your company is but you always want to move the ball forward, this chunk of time should be spent in experimenting with new and different ways to move your program forward.

Think testing, competitive intelligence analysis, multi channel integration, usability etc. If you really are a one man band this is really hard to do (especially with 10% of your time) but think of tiny ways in which you can show that web analytics is not just about ClickStream, it is about creating better customer experiences and it is about creating a strategic advantage using data.

10% Bathroom breaks , oh and lunch! I am generous aren’t I. : )

I realize that each company is unique and each Analyst is unique, but I hope that the above picture provides a semblance of universal guidance for anyone how has the word Analyst in their title. Do a quick back of the envelope of how you spend your day/week and compare it to the picture above. What do you find?

Bonus reading material Top Ten: Signs You Are A Great Analyst.

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  • Alan Rimm-Kaufman
    Alan Rimm-Kaufman founded the Rimm-Kaufman Group...
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