The job of a web analyst is a complex combination of measuring and analysing the use of websites and applications, installing analytics monitoring and ensuring data quality, and understanding the different online platforms in the digital world. In simple terms, web analytics can mean tracking the number of visitors to a website, but in most cases it is much more than that.
Web analytics project steps
In practice, the work of a web analyst is determined by where the development and use of web analytics is at the start of the project. The work may start from the very beginning, i.e. from the first web analytics monitoring installation on a website or application. This strongly involves defining what web analytics should measure. In most cases, a website will have clearly defined objectives (e.g. sales for e-commerce or lead generation for b2b sites), which web analytics will try to monitor at different levels. This work will eventually allow you to start measuring and analysing the use of the service and the events that take place there.
Web pages and applications
Web analytics is often strongly associated with work on websites, but applications (mobile devices and TV, for example) are also familiar to web analysts. Working with applications, web analytics is broadly similar, although the setup of monitoring is different. There are also often differences in the user experience between apps and websites, so the analysis work needs to take into account the characteristics of the platforms.
Understanding traffic sources
Web analytics also includes a strong focus on analysing traffic to websites. These traffic sources include Google’s search engine, and various social media channels such as Facebook or Instagram. This includes, of course, an understanding of digital advertising channels and how to track and analyse them.
The work of a web analyst can be summarised as building reliable web analytics monitoring, understanding different digital platforms and analysing the data from them, not forgetting reporting and data visualisation. From the web analyst’s point of view, analysing data and searching for explanations for various phenomena is often the less common part of the job, which requires some background work in web analytics projects. The role of the web analyst is often conversational and guiding. Quite often the work is done in close collaboration with web developers and, for example, the marketing team.
Who does web analytics?
Companies may have several people working on web analytics, even if there is no designated web analyst. Personally, I have worked in web analytics more or less all my career, but the title I have used has often been something other than web analyst (e.g. seo consultant, business designer and digital marketing specialist). However, web analytics software has always been the main and most used tool in my work.
What do you use to do web analytics?
From my own experience, the most commonly used products seem to be Google’s products and in particular the different versions of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics, GA4). Google Analytics is also strongly associated with the tag management software Google Tag Manager, and the data visualization platform Google Data Studio. There are other web analytics systems on the market and I am particularly familiar with Adobe Analytics, but Google Analytics is by far the most common solution on the market. This is due to the free basic version and the ease of use.