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In our newly released Online Measurement and Strategy Report, published in association with Lynchpin, one of the key trends to emerge was how the shortage of experienced analysts is impacting on the ability of businesses to gain the most value from their data.

For this year’s report we asked respondents, “Which of the following tasks are web analysts in your organisation engaged with?” Respondents were asked to state to what degree their analysts had to focus on these, and what it showed was that analysts are being asked to perform a wide range of tasks.

While it is encouraging to see that for over two-thirds of respondents (67%) there is a major focus on analysts communicating insights to senior management, almost the same number (65%) state that there is a major focus on producing reports. While reports can be useful, a danger is that they are produced but that no one takes any action on them.

Almost four out of ten (37%) state that implementing tagging and fixing is another area where analysts have to focus significant efforts. With site tagging being a major headache for many marketers and analysts, there has been a rapid growth the in the number of vendors offering a tag management solution.

What these figures suggest is that rather than focusing on just those tasks which will add real value to the business, analysts are being asked to juggle other responsibilities, taking time away from their core purpose.

With resourcing being such of an issue that fewer companies this year are employing analysts, it is not surprising that those working in this area need to do more to keep up.

At a Web Analytics Wednesday meeting in London last week, where the research was launched, a number of attendees raised the question around how the talent issue within web analytics can be addressed.

As well as suggestions of hiring burned out bankers, one observation made by Lynchpin Managing Director Andrew Hood was that rather than looking for people with a rare combination of talents, companies should consider building teams that consist of members with different but complementary skillsets (from great analysis and insight skills, through to expert use of JavaScript). 

In addition, many companies are looking to train up their current staff (through courses such as Econsultancy’s Graduate Certificate in Analytics and Optimisation) to get the most value out of their web analytics.

What are analysts in your company doing?

Does your company place the same focus on communicating insight as producing reports? Have you found it difficult to recruit experienced analysts? Or are you an analyst with suggestions on what areas other analysts should be focusing on? Share your comments below.

Andrew Warren-Payne

Published 9 July, 2012 by Andrew Warren-Payne

Andrew Warren-Payne is a Senior Research Analyst at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or Google+

55 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

Philippa Gamse

Philippa Gamse, Adjunct Professor at Hult International Business School

Andrew - It's interesting that 1/3 of companies do not place emphasis on communicating the impact of the web presence to senior management. Given that the web impacts so many areas of the business operation, this should be of greater concern.

I moderated the table on web analytics at Econsultancy's "Digital Cream" event in San Jose a couple of weeks back, and one of the biggest topics of conversation (from analysts at major well-known companies) was frustration at not having C-level attention, and therefore not having access to resources and decision-making that would allow analysts (and the web presence) to perform better.

over 4 years ago

Andrew Warren-Payne

Andrew Warren-Payne, Senior Research Analyst at Econsultancy

Thanks for your comment Philippa, and indeed one of the most significant frustrations highlighted by companies in the report was the lack of senior management understanding (and consequentially, sufficient resources). This mirrors the feedback you received at Digital Cream.

One thing which we did do in the presentation (slide 11) was to see if there was a difference between those companies who placed a major focus on communicating insight to senior management, and those who only had a minor focus. The result was that 34% of those who placed a major focus in this area said that analytics definitely drove actionable recommendations, compared to only 17% of those who said there was only a minor focus in this area.

This provides further evidence that insight cannot just be collected in the form of 'reports' which nobody looks at. Insight needs to be communicated and action taken on its recommendations.

over 4 years ago

David Mulhall-Brown

David Mulhall-Brown, Chief Operations Officer at VexPop

Phillipa - I moderated the web analytics table at the last Digital Cream in London and I can assure you we had the same discussions on all three of our tables throughout the day. And these were 'top-100' companies, not SMEs.

IMHO I think the issue is that management (e.g. the Board) is not being given appropriate reports with information that will engage them. In my roles working for several web analytics vendors, I have had the chance to see the web analytics section of many sets of board reports and the data being presented is basic at best. No wonder management doesn't get it.

Until we collectively up or game it's gong to be a struggle.

over 4 years ago

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