How to Start a Career in Analytics, Anna Lewis Shares Her Experience

I spoke Anna Lewis, founder of Polka Dot Data about her talk at Conversion Elite. Having started out in SEO, I wanted to find out how Anna made the move over to analytics.

“You are going to be speaking about Analytics, Identifying and forecasting opportunities for CRO. Would you be able to do this with “free” software, eg Google Analytics only?

Absolutely! There is so much more potential to Google Analytics than people realise, which is why I’m often found sharing the benefits. Most people know about pageviews, engagement metrics, some geographic data and conversions, but if you get into the details and really customise it to work for your website and your business there is a lot that you can learn and do with it. Most of my clients suffice with free tools and achieve a lot, which is great.

What is your favourite analytics software and why?

Well that has to be Google Analytics of course. It was my first, ten years ago and it’s always been there long term for me. It has the ability to help any size business and anyone can use it without much stress, so I really love the power it gives people. In minutes you can get a comprehensive overview of what’s driving traffic to the site, which of these channels are successful, which pages are working well and how the business is performing against conversion KPIs. By spending longer you can pin down so many issues and opportunities and use this information to make improvements to marketing activity, content, user experience and conversion journeys.

How did you get into Analytics and how would you recommend someone start their career (or switch into this new career)?

I did a degree in Advertising and got an SEO job soon after finishing. In my first week of SEO I was introduced to analytics and measurement, something which the course had always skirted around. A few months later I could see the results of my work, driving up rankings, driving up traffic and increasing revenue for the businesses I was working on. That was what got me hooked on the data side of online marketing and business, so when the opportunity to work in house solely on analytics came up, I jumped at the chance. A few years down the line and I chose to work for myself doing this to help a wide range of businesses with all sorts of analytics challenges.

Anyone looking to get into the industry needs to get some hands on experience, whether through your own site, a client’s site or a even by helping a friend. Don’t just rely on training materials as one of the most important things to learn is how businesses work, what is involved from top to bottom and what metrics everyone needs to succeed. The experience I had within marketing agencies was broad, but what I learnt about how businesses function while I was working in house was invaluable experience. Running my own website alongside everything I did so that I had a platform to test out anything I was recommending was also very beneficial. I also have continually learnt by following relevant people on social media and trying to solve any problem I come across. There are a lot of background things you learn that are not clearly documented, so wide experience is much more beneficial than training course after training course.

How long would you recommend an ecommerce manager spend on their website analytics each day (and can you recommend the best reports to pull)?

This might be an unexpected answer, but I’d actually suggest don’t spend too long looking at the data, try to spend longer acting on the data. For this reason I always advocate creating automated dashboards and reports and ensuring they have trend lines and details so you don’t miss anything that you might normally find digging into standard reports. In general, always look at a range of metrics and how they have been trending to ensure you’re not on a downward trend. Always make sure you look at conversion data and other KPIs that tie in to business success. Comparing to last year’s data and seeing how the next month looked will help you forecast where you should be,so that you know what to expect and prepare the business for this is really beneficial.”

 

Thank you Anna for your time speaking to us at Conversion Elite. We cannot wait to learn more about analytics on June 6th.

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