How to Find Great Web Analysts [Video + Summary]

You know you need a good web analyst who can do more than just “puke out data” – but where do you find these talented people?

At Search Engine Strategies San Jose, 2008, I caught up with Avinash Kaushik, author of Web Analytics An Hour A Day, Google Analytics evangelist and Elastic Path webinar guest, and asked this very question.

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Here’s the Coles Notes version of the interview:

One of the biggest mistakes when crafting job requirements is putting too much emphasis on knowledge of the tools, whether Omniture, Google Analytics or Coremetrics or whatever. If your candidate already has knowledge of the tool, fantastic, but it shouldn’t be a requirement.

In a few weeks you can teach the tool, but you can’t teach the mindset and techniques that make a great analyst. Without curiosity and out-of-the-box thinking, your analyst will simply “puke out data.”

Avinash shares that in his experience, women and younger people make great analysts. You want to find someone who has a range of life experiences (even jail time is useful!) and “gets the power of the web” – whether it’s Flickr or blogging or other social media or other technologies – because today’s web is stale tomorrow. You want someone who thinks like your customers.

Often you will find star analysts emerging from finance or advertising careers – they can apply this real-world experience to make good conclusions from numbers and data.

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7 Responses to “How to Find Great Web Analysts [Video + Summary]”

  1. Analytics is such an art form. LIke SEO and SEM, it’s an area that combines the dual requirements of extensive real-world experience with a solid educational understanding of statistics, psychology, and research methodology. Hats off to analysts – ecommerce businesses should truly consider finding an expert in this field to rely upon!

  2. Another area to find great candidates for the role of web analyst is from the direct marketing world. This industry has been analyzing the performance of their creative materials and campaigns for years, and have made a science out of their marketing. I have met a few people who have transitioned very successfully from the world of direct marketing to the world of web analytics and conversion testing.

  3. So Linda, if you are available for Web Analytics help, let me know :-)

    You meet at least 2 of Avinash Kaushik suggested requirements.

  4. Eric says:

    Avinash is a fantastic resource. If you ever have the opportunity to talk to him or hear him speak, I would highly recommend taking advantage of the chance.

  5. [...] Avinash, when Jason suggested to Linda that she should interview us. Avinash went first on how to find a great web analyst and I followed with why you should “always be testing“. The video is embedded below. [...]

  6. The notion of understanding the Web is an interesting one because there is a risk. Some people are so embedded in the connected 2.0 world that they struggle to understand people that aren’t on 4 social networks, blogging, using Twitter, etc. Does your site’s market includes people who are less Web savvy? Are you trying to cater to an audience who are still really struggling with the whole security of financial information hurdle (still a big proportion of Internet users according to stats)? The analyst needs to be able to understand the way these people use the Web. Indeed, whatever your market, it is important to be able to see the website experience you are offering through the eyes of all your potential customers.

  7. [...] Hire a good web analyst and conversion optimization consultant. And ask yourself if you would enjoy shopping on Canadiantire.ca as-is. Exhibit A: the category page for “House and Home” [...]

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