10 qualities to look for when hiring a web analyst

How to hire a web analyst
A web analyst can help your marketing team get control of their data and become data-driven. But it may be hard to know what to look out for in a candidate. This article covers everything from the roles and responsibilities of web analysts to the qualities to look out for when hiring one.
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Author’s Note: This article was originally posted in August 2020 and has been updated with new content.

There are several signs which indicate your marketing team is in need of a fresh eye on their data. Maybe you keep on pushing analytics reporting down to the bottom of your task list. Or your insights are struggling to reach decision makers, slowing down progress and changes on your website. Or maybe you just simply know that your data is not accurate and you need someone to come in and fix it.

If you aren’t sure if now is the time to find support from a web analyst, read my blog on the best time to hire a web analyst

Now that you’ve decided to hire one, you need to find the right person.

When you’re not familiar with the world of data, traffic optimisation and conversion rate optimisation, it’s hard to know where to start when looking for a great web analyst. Both individual experts and analytics agencies will have different levels of experience and skill needed for specific tasks or specific industries.

In this post…

What are the roles and responsibilities of a website analyst?

A complete and detailed job description for a web analyst will help you focus on what you need them to do and what skills they should have.

Web analyst responsibilities

Web analysts can be responsible for several things. Below are some examples of the specific tasks they may be involved in. Your final list will depend on the size of your team and which responsibilities are currently missing:

  • Implementing tagging and configuration that ensures data collection is accurate and adequate to your business needs,
  • Data accuracy maintenance,
  • Working with business leadership to identify the right KPIs to track,
  • Working with web development team to ensure website code is suitable for tracking implementation,
  • Working with the marketing and optimisation team to ensure campaigns are supported with the right data,
  • Creating reports for management and other team members to update on website performance and to highlight growth opportunities,
  • Monitoring the performance of the website and marketing campaigns,
  • Staying up-to-date with the latest news, innovations and trends in web analytics, user experience, advertising and technology.

Web analyst qualifications and skills

Good web analysts have a blend of technical, business and creative skills. Here are some specific abilities to include in your job description:

  • In-depth knowledge of Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager – or a similar tagging and analytics package used by your business,
  • Quantitative and qualitative analytical skills,
  • Business and marketing acumen,
  • Customer centric – familiar with user psychology,
  • Good visual and verbal communication skills,
  • Excellent attention to detail, accuracy and organisation,
  • Ability to work well with different levels of stakeholders as well as both technical and creative people,
  • Bachelors or masters degree in business, marketing, statistics, computer science or similar.

Web analyst profile

The best web analysts hold a unique range of abilities and characteristics as shown above. Some of these may seem obvious, such as confidence with handling numbers. But there are many subtle qualities to cover when scouting for a consultant you can trust. More on these below.

Person reading through a web analyst job description on a tablet

The 10 qualities to look for in a good website analyst

Whether you’re looking to hire a new team member or outsource certain tasks to a consultant, here are the 10 qualities to look for when hiring a web analyst: 

1) They understand web analytics tools 

Most web analysts will have preferred tools for analysis, tagging, reporting and testing. The most common is the Google suite of products – including Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager and Google Data Studio.

Experience using these platforms for different companies and using different configurations means they have the wider insight to identify and solve your problems faster. As each website is different, it will pose new challenges for tracking. The more experience your web analyst has, the quicker they can solve these.

If your company’s main web analytics tool is different, e.g. Adobe Analytics, it might be best to look for a web analyst already well versed in this platform.

In addition to these quantitative tools, an analyst should also be familiar with survey, scroll tracking, heatmap tracking and user recording software. Some examples include Usabilla, Hotjar and Sessioncam.

2)They are confident with code

Any web analyst worth their salt will be familiar with a range of technologies and programming languages. Most will be familiar with HTML, CSS and Javascript, and will have the ability to read, reuse and customise code.

Coding skills can be overlooked when hiring a web analyst, and though you may not necessarily require an expert, a web analyst needs to know how code works so that they can confidently suggest code additions to developers to help your web tracking. 

3)They have a methodical mindset

When hiring a web analyst, you need someone who works in an organised and methodical style. They’ll need to understand the Google Analytics Governance already in place and ensure they follow the information within. This starts with ensuring that the data measurement plan is aligned with your overall business goals. 

It is key that you hire a consultant who relies on process over tactics. The analyst who asks questions about the organisation of your data will achieve better results than the one prioritising fad tactics which focus on short term growth.

There should be nothing random or unexpected about their approach. Data analysis is scientific at its core, and experiments should be set up with a trial-by-error mindset. It is that attention to detail which leads to finding small yet crucial errors, and building profit over the long term.

4) They follow the data, never their gut

Beware of the optimisation ‘expert’ who follows their ‘gut feeling’. Inspiring successes can start from a gut feeling, but so can spectacular failures.

You are not paying for Mystic Meg to tell you what’s written in the stars for the future of your business. A data analyst builds concepts based on data, research and experience – and then they test these ideas with experiments before declaring them successful – or not.

You need someone who is passionate about making the right decisions in the right way. Beware of those who merely like to please. Instead, look out for those who love statistics and are rigorous in their assessment of company data, even if these aren’t the findings your SEO wants to hear. You want a web analyst who is keen to explore your metrics with a fine tooth comb.

5) They have proven success backed by effective case studies

Any data analyst worth their salt will have a portfolio of relevant case studies to discuss with you. It is important to take a deep dive into their previous projects.

A great case study:

  • Leads with high value metrics and clear wins. How did their work lead to increases in conversion rate, sales, leads and profit? 
  • Highlights positive effects beyond the metrics – did their work cut down reporting time, help with directing marketing spend, or uncover additional revenue streams?
  • Presents statistics honestly. Keep an eye out for figures which appear to be massaged too vigorously. Look for details such as the period of time the statistic covers, and the source of the data.
  • Inspires you as to what benefits the web analyst could bring to your organisation. They can explain how the case study will help them solve your problems too.
  • Shows off project and people managing skills in addition to good revenue results.
  • Includes a testimonial from the client. You don’t want to hear just about the results, but the experience. Happy clients will share details which made the relationship a success outside of the percentages and upwards pointing arrows.

Results count, but the way those results are presented will also tell you a lot about a web analyst. Is the data clear? Do the case studies tell a story? Do you understand their process? Don’t forget that your web analyst is only worth their money if they can effectively convince you to follow a particular course of action.

Data analyst meeting up and reviewing case studies with the team

6) They are curious about your target audience

Look out for the analysts who ask you questions about your audience. Optimising experience is all well and good, but a great data analyst will also need to know who they are optimising the data for.

You are selling to a specific audience. Part of gaining value from your data also comes from understanding who your audience are and what drives their actions.

The analyst you want to hire will want to have an understanding of your user base early in your conversation.

7) They focus on strategy, not tactics

Investing in a web analyst or consultant means you are not simply reusing the run-off-the-mill optimisation advice present all over the Internet. An expert will understand the role of assumptions and data and they will be able to prioritise growth opportunities based on your unique business situation.

A strategy-focused web analyst will be focusing on details such as:

  • The targets they want to achieve 
  • The data they need to access
  • Fixing missing or incorrect configurations
  • Which software they use
  • Their security and workflow processes
  • Getting to know your team
  • Your onboarding process as a client/employer
  • Their reporting process
  • Your targets and KPIs

Weekly Web Analytics Strategies for Product and Marketing Managers

8) They can translate data into information, insights and stories

Data reports could read like another language to decision makers. You need a brilliant web analyst that can translate that hard data into actionable and convincing information. There is a huge difference.

Analysts do this by turning data into stories. Data is the starting point for human decision making, and needs to be framed in a way which provides inspiration and assurance to leaders and decision makers. A great consultant uses reporting, charts, pithy writing and engaging presentation skills to tell a story with their insights.

Good data analysts are articulate and good with their words as well as their numbers. Supported by representative samples and examples, analysts have the ability to influence and persuade using statistical evidence.

9) They have great soft skills

A web analyst can take quite a central role in a company, and will hold lines of communication with teams, departments and stakeholders across the company. 

When interviewing for a web analyst role, it is important to also assess their soft skills, particularly versatile communication. You need an analyst who can hold conversations with both technical and creative members of staff, alongside leadership.

It’s effective to hire an analyst who can adjust their language confidently and break down complicated concepts for a variety of audiences, including for training.

Web analyst freely communicating with others in the team

10) Their own digital marketing assets and business model ‘walks the walk’

If you are hiring an agency or consultancy, take a look at what they are doing with their own branding, marketing and advertising. 

Did you find the agency because of a well-targeted and relevant advert? Did they capture your attention with a Google result? 

Take a browse at their website – are they using the right language to persuade you? Do they appear to understand your needs? Is the website easy to read and understand?

In other words: Are they using their data to convert you?

Final thoughts on what to look out for when hiring a web analyst 

When interviewing for web analysts or meeting specialist consultants, keep these ten qualities in mind. Ask them about the tools they use and their coding experience alongside questions about their processes and methods. 

Ask for case studies and previous examples of how the candidate used data to overcome obstacles and increase profits. 

A brilliant web analyst can transform your data into your company’s greatest asset. Moreover, they can empower your teams by ensuring everyone can find valuable insights using Google Analytics Governance. 

Google Analytics Governance is the core of how I approach GA configuration methodically and with a focus on generating insight. If you’d like to learn more about what it involves and how it could help you find the right candidate, get started by downloading the cheat sheet I put together. Click the button below to get access.

Join over 500 Product and Marketing Managers in transforming their teams to become data‑driven.​
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