Category Archives: New to Analytics

Why I almost didn’t join the Digital Analytics Power Hour and what I’ve learned since saying yes

Believe it or not, I almost turned down being a co-host on the Digital Analytics Power Hour podcast (DAPH) when Michael and Tim asked me. In fact, not only did I nearly say no, I considered it for several weeks and the whole time I planned to say no.

The truth is, I was scared. I was scared that people would think I was too inexperienced to possibly join this all star cast. I was scared that the topics and guests would be out of my depth. I was scared that I wouldn’t be funny or have good banter. Most of all, I was scared people would say cruel things, that I wasn’t tough enough to endure. I was worried that future employers would hear me utter an opinion in a learning phase, that years later had evolved and I might lose out on a future role.

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Advice from a recent digital analyst. What I wish someone had told me (or just that I’d listened better).

Gone are the days of forging a career in digital analytics through trial and error, falling into it, or learning on the fly as we hear many of our industry leaders did. There is an abundance of resources and tools now. So much so it can be overwhelming. Here is what I wish I’d known when I moved into digital analytics.

  1. Have a good answer about why you want to move into digital analytics – yes, this means you will need to give some thought about why digital analytics is for you. Do you love data, are you interested in understanding how people tick, do you have a passion for data visualisation or learning R? If you can answer that well, and you are a quick learner; you will find people are receptive. It is an in demand profession – in that we don’t have enough people for the demand – so people are willing to train you if you have the right attitude.
  2. Join #measure slack. But…. remember to google everything before you ask a question – don’t ask people for help if you haven’t made any effort to find a solution first.
  3. Read a book – old school and controversial. If you have no experience in marketing, particularly digital marketing, start there. It will give you the basics of what is the difference between SEO and SEM (yes I didn’t know what that was when I started…) or what a session is in Google Analytics. A few personal recommendations are Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik or Benjamin Mangold’s recent book Learning Google AdWords and Google Analytics.
  4. The opposite of old school – read a blog. Often books can become outdated but blogs are full of new tips/tricks. My favourites: Simo Ahava for GTM, Adam Greco for Adobe, Lea Pica for data visualisation, Avinash Kaushik for simple explanations of digital analytics and Tim Wilson for all things KPI and measurement planning.
  5. Use free training. Watch everything in the GA Training Academy – get certified in GTM and GA in particular. If you know you’ll be using Tableau – watch their training videos and have a play with their free two week trial. If you need R – a coursera course is for you.
  6. Set up a website. Implement GTM and GA. People will struggle to believe you want to work in analytics if you are not interested enough to do this (I wish I had done this earlier…).
  7. Go to Web Analytics Wednesday (WAW) or any other meetup/event you can find and start making connections. This industry is all about shared learning so it is good to have some people you trust that you can ask questions of.