Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Web analytics professionals (or not...)

My phone rings every other day at the moment with recruitment agencies wanting to offer me the Web analytics "job of a lifetime".

Anyone with Webtrends, Coremetrics, Omniture or Websidestory on their CV will know what i mean.

There is a serious shortage of web analytics professionals at the moment. Worldwide.

This is a result of several factors
- Worldwide growth of web "eyeballs"
- Increased tendency to spend online
- Increased tendency to "do" online what you would otherwise have done offline in the past
- Increased pressure on Web marketers to justify online spend
- Pressure from competitors
- Clever advertising from the vendors themselves

and finally not to mention the ubiquitous Google analytics, which has raised awareness of Web analytics globally.

So why hasn't the increased demand resulted in an increase of available professionals?

There are several reasons including but not limited to
- Good marketing people don't always make good technical people. The reverse is also true. You need to be both commercially aware and technically astute to be a Good Web analytics professional. Hens teeth.
- Web analytics professionals are usually multi-skilled. Often those other skills areas are professional more appealing (or pay better!)
- Web analytics doesnt always pay the best (but things are improving)
- Web analytics roles are somewhat "professionally ceilinged". Presently these are new roles with somewhat uncertain career paths.
- Web analytics doesnt always find the right "place" within a company structure - meaning that being successful with Web analytics within the business can be like pulling teeth at the best of time.

But I personally believe the main reason for shortages is that the Good web analysts don't stay in the role for very long and this explains the shortage...Why?
Being able to read and understand a business's web numbers is that important/critical that the Good web analysts are (or were already) being propelled into more Senior and/or important roles within the business.

I know 3 good Web analytics professionals who have all moved into more senior roles at companies like Microsoft or senior consultant roles within the vendors themselves.

Now that explains the problem... anyone think of the solution!


Andrew Robinson said...

There is a similar issue in Email Marketing. It takes a combination of technical understanding and Marketing experience and knowledge to drive a successful email marketing campaign. Email marketing is a very successful medium at the moment driving often 20% - 30% of an e-commerce business's revenue. However, careers in email marketing are not seen as high profile. Many people still associate email with spam. So you see a similar moving on of good people up the chain.
The problem is there is a huge amount to learn to be confident and successful at email marketing. So the new person coming in to run the system is often months if not years behind. - Andrew

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Gavin said...

I think the problem is that, with any new type of role, people are unaware of what they actually want.
Do companies REALLY need "an analytics specialist" - I would suggest not. What they need is marketing and technical people in their company with a good understanding of the industry, ecommerce and of analytics.

A large amount of analytics is personal opinion or experience. Either way, the input of two or more knowledgable people from different areas of the business are going to provide much better input than the opinion of one person.

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