Piotr Korzeniowski, CEO at Piwik PRO: You’ve been in the web analytics industry for over 20 years. You’ve seen it grow and change a lot. How is the approach to analytics in marketing different than before?
Anil Batra, CEO and Strategic Advisor at Optizent: Since I started my career in digital analytics, the approach toward using data has undergone many changes. General fundamentals are still the same, but the most significant shift is that marketers are now becoming more customer-centric.
Even though we’ve been talking about it for years, marketers weren’t ready for personalization and one-to-one marketing. Now, they are more interested in using granular data for creating complete user profiles. Rather than just blindly putting their messages out there, they use the data to understand their audience and the content that resonates with them. They must also follow legal requirements and respect users’ rights, as this approach entails a variety of privacy concerns.
However, there are still many organizations that operate the old way. I advise them to learn how to work with technology and adapt to the new data-focused reality.
As companies become more data-driven, data quality can be a major challenge. Instead of randomly collecting every possible piece of data, digital analysts must focus on what’s relevant and ensure data quality.
Data quality can be a major challenge for companies to become data-driven. Instead of randomly collecting every possible piece of data, digital analysts must focus on what’s relevant.
Piotr Korzeniowski: Web analytics is a highly dynamic field. Its global market is expected to reach $11.35 billion in 2026 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.57%. What trends should data analysts follow to stay relevant in the industry?
Anil Batra: The field is indeed very dynamic and continuously changing, which makes it very hard for marketers to keep track of everything that’s happening.
We’re seeing a shift in the types of data that allow for targeting each particular person. There are individual-level, hit-level, or customer-level data. Each type demands different responsibilities to ensure the data is not misused. Furthermore, we should think about customer privacy as well. Also, as machine learning and AI come into play, now is the perfect time to figure out how this will affect everyone’s job. So a lot of tagging, reporting, insights and actions will become driven by AI, and this is something marketers and analysts will have to adapt to.
Piotr Korzeniowski: Data analytics is a steady job sector with high employee demand – there are 13k job offers at this moment in just the US, according to Glassdoor. Why is the situation in this industry so optimistic? Can we expect some changes in the face of the upcoming recession?
Anil Batra: This shift in technology has made companies aware that they need data. That is why they’re looking for people who can implement the right analytics solutions, make sense of all collected data, and use it to optimize marketing activities, sales funnels, and websites. They need people who can run tests to figure out what’s working and what’s not.
That’s why marketing specialists are in demand – to drive more revenue and profit, and to know how to cut costs.
But for each specialist, there is also a need for analysts just at the beginning of their path. Senior specialists can think about strategizing to the next level while supported by junior specialists who put pixels, collect certain pieces of data, use PowerPoints or Excel sheets to gather the data and use Tableau or Looker Studios to visualize it on the charts.
This shift in technology has made companies aware that they need data. They’re looking for people who can implement the right analytics solutions and optimize their marketing activities.
Piotr Korzeniowski: From your observations, what are the most crucial skills worth working on depending on whether you are a junior, mid, or senior in web analytics? How do those career stages vary, and what should web analysts focus on in each stage?
Anil Batra: There are several levels of success along your path.
At the beginning of your career, you have a basic understanding of digital analysis but no experience in the field. As you move to the next level, you’re starting to learn the role of web and digital analytics.
Then, you develop deeper technical reporting and analytics skills that you can use to start working with stakeholders, finding ways to push the technical envelope, uncovering insights, and connecting them to business goals. That’s what senior analysts and managers do.
As you reach a certain point in your career, you can choose two different paths – technical and business.
Then, if you want to become an expert, you need to know how to integrate first-party data, third-party data, and to combine offline and online data. You can also do cross-channel data planning, run AB test personalization and targeting.
Finally, you influence executives and develop a vision for the organization. You know how to leverage this data and where the primary focus should be placed. That’s when you become a leader that develops and executes the company’s vision, works closely with other executives, obtains the necessary resources, and grows mentors.
Every stage requires a different skill set. I always tell people that they need to comprehend and develop their mindset first, and only then can they understand how data works for them. This is what I teach at Optizent Academy as well.
Piotr Korzeniowski: The global economic situation is turbulent right now. The looming recession will take a heavy toll on marketing budgets, with many companies facing austerity. What challenges and opportunities await marketers? What do they have to prepare for?
Anil Batra: Marketers have to think: how do people in my organization know my value? The money they’re spending has to be justified. There needs to be a clear-cut understanding of what they are doing and what value they are bringing. This starts with data and numbers.
They have to start pushing those numbers as a part of their reports or ROI calculations and educate everybody on how marketing is helping various parts of the business.
That’s the approach, and that’s where the value is – not only in a recession or during times of prosperity, but all the time.
Piotr Korzeniowski: The issue of privacy is gaining significant momentum in the marketing world in terms of data collection. What advice would you give fellow data analysts and marketers on tackling privacy problems in their daily work?
Anil Batra: Data analysts have the biggest challenge in keeping track of privacy regulations that differ across countries, regions, and states. They need to cooperate with various departments within an organization, especially with legal teams, to explain what they’re doing and to check whether or not it’s compliant with the relevant regulations.
If you send data to Facebook, Google Ads, and other solutions, you need to ensure individual customers’ privacy and preferences. Having that constant communication between teams is going to be critical for analysts. Privacy is already gaining more and more momentum in many countries, and these developments will only continue.
Seeing the need to collaborate on a range of diverse issues, we created Optizent Academy. The idea behind it is that not everybody can know everything, but people can collectively share their knowledge and grow their skills exponentially. Being part of a group means that you can learn and grow much faster by exchanging experience, knowledge, and ideas. It makes everyday work more manageable. Together we can solve problems immediately instead of spending hundreds of hours identifying the proper approach.