Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Web Analyst Task: Reporting

Update: Anil Batra, Online Advertising Consultant for ZAAZ is also very much interested in the web analyst role. See his post about "Web Analytics Salary and Skills survey" and others for interesting information about the job market.
In my study of the web analyst role and the resulting article I wrote about "The human metric of web analytics" I highlighted three key elements of a web analyst profile:
  1. Experience,
  2. Multi-disciplinary background or training,
  3. Attention to details and ability to focus
As promised, I will go a bit deeper into each of the 5 typical activities of the web analyst, the first one being "Reporting".

What is Reporting?

Reporting is about providing results from various metrics to find out about the "what and how much". Most of the reporting job is about information-gathering and is distinct from the analysis activity, the later being more about presenting recommendations. To make an easy distinction between reporting and analysis, think of a news reporter: their task is to report the facts in an unbiased way, without providing their own opinion (contrary to editorialist's job which is actually to comment the news).
"Reporting = providing data.
Analysis = providing insight."
Web Analytics guru Avinash Kaushik

Detailed study results

Web analysts where asked to rate, on a scale ranging from "Strongly Disagree" to "Strongly Agree", their feeling about Reporting is:
  • I really concentrated on this, spending some real quality time on it.
  • This was on my mind, but at a subconscious level; didn't really have to concentrate on it.
  • I'm excited by it; it is something that makes me happy.
  • I did not feel like I could avoid this; it was necessary or imperative.
  • I chose to focus on this; it was voluntary.
  • I might have suffered negative consequences if I didn't pay attention to this; it was not necessarily positive.
If a typical working day was 8 hours, a web analyst would spend about 2 of them doing Reporting.

Note: Sample size of 34 web analysts surveyed from April 26th trough June 6th 2007.

Skills for reporting

  • Background in statistics
  • Professional use of Microsoft Excel
  • Knowledge of database concepts and the SQL language
  • Knowledge of the specific product being used for web analytics such as Omniture, Google Analytics, Coremetrics, VisualSciences, WebTrends, etc.
The next task that will be presented is "Analysis".