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This post is contributed by Burtch Works’ web and digital analytics team, led by Sandy Marmitt.

This time of year, it’s not uncommon to take stock of shifts in the market, and look at which major trends are set to make the biggest impact on both careers and hiring plans. A few weeks ago, my colleagues posted their predictions for the data science and analytics market as well as analytics within the financial services industry, and since I specialize in the digital and web analytics space, I thought I’d take a look into my crystal ball and see what trends are coming up on the horizon in this field!

I’ve covered five major trends here, as well as what I think their implications will be for both digital and web analytics professionals and firms looking to hire them, to hopefully provide you with more insights on how these trends might impact you.

2019 Digital & Web Analytics Trends

1. The rise of MarTech

The increasingly complex nature of the marketing technology landscape has led many employers to wonder if they’re taking full advantage of the tools they employ. Marketing tools like Salesforce, for instance, offer a plethora of services and options that can be difficult to parse and master without an experienced guide. Especially lately, I’m seeing increased demand from senior digital leaders for experts that can optimize the company’s usage of connected cloud tools to make sure they’re getting their money’s worth!

Implications for digital and web analytics professionals: The influx of data and tools to manage it has left many companies wondering if they’re truly realizing the potential their digital and web analytics teams. As I’ve stated before, the ability to distinguish the signal from the noise can set digital professionals apart, and this includes the ability to determine what new areas to pursue to make the best use of your company’s tools.

Implications for employers: While finding individuals with a keen sense for technology and how to best capitalize on it is one potential challenge for employers, another is selecting the right tool for their organization and objectives. There are a plethora of solutions that offer a multitude of out of the box elements and picking the right partner that can find customer segments, create email and retargeting campaigns, and works seamlessly with other existing solutions is a big need.

 

2. Companies are looking for more technical tools, especially SQL

Whereas previously SQL requirements in the digital space might have been handled by IR or development teams, companies are increasingly looking for web analytics professionals who can be more self-sufficient and have stronger SQL and tag management skills. If there are fewer resources on the team that understand analytics, having a web analytics expert with robust SQL abilities – or, increasingly commonly, even Python and R – is a serious value-add to the team!

Implications for professionals: Having more technical tools under your belt is an excellent way to position yourself for today’s market. With data needs only increasing, the more capable you are of managing different data sources and adding value through data manipulation or visualization, the better.

Implications for employers: While there are growing numbers of web analytics professionals with these capabilities, if you’re struggling to find them I’d recommend considering training up your current staff. There are numerous online resources available for tools like SQL and Python, and that might help your organization bridge the gap if you’re unable to hire an expert right away.

3. The “curious candidate” stands out in interviews

Along the lines of trends 1 and 2, there has been a distinct trend of companies looking for professionals who can think outside the box and answer the key question – what should we be doing next?

This is partly about searching for digital and web analytics professionals who can be autonomous, but it’s also an extension of how leadership capabilities manifest themselves in professionals with no management responsibility. These professionals are generally subject matter experts, they can determine what questions to address, which issues to solve, and determine the direction of analysis. If the MarTech movement is about optimizing marketing technology tool usage and technical tools are about self-sufficiency, then the “curious candidate” trend is about determining direction.

Implications for professionals: Making an impact in this sense is all about becoming an expert in your field, and learning to ask questions instead of waiting for direction from your leadership team. Digital and web analytics professionals who exhibit this strength are often asking themselves:

  • Do we have the right data?
  • Are there more data sources we should be including?
  • Which questions should we be asking?
  • Are we tracking the right KPIs?

Implications for employers: With budgets stretching a little thin, this trend is all about finding inquisitive candidates that can think outside their job or role description. Investing in the right candidate to help improve and grow your business can be just as empowering in developing strong employees as management opportunities.

 

4. Demand for Voice of the Customer (VoC) experience is growing

We’ve noticed an uptick in requests for digital and web analytics professionals with Voice of the Customer (VoC) experience, and our survey research has also shown this is an area of particular interest to marketing researchers. On the digital and web side, this might mean using web data to understand the customer journey and funnel, including matching search terms with website analytics to better understand how customers are interacting with your brand.

Implications for professionals: I most often see this trend for eCommerce professionals as the improvement of understanding frustration points or drop offs, which can lead to an increase in conversion rates. This is also becoming important for adding context to traditional web analytics as those “curious” candidates are utilizing the broader context provided by VOC to truly understand the full picture.

Implications for employers: For eCommerce employers, VOC work can be critical to ensure conversion rates stay high or show improvement, but other digital and analytical areas can benefit from knowing the full context of the digital landscape and help enable a smart way to retarget customers using MarTech or AdTech initiatives.

5. Chatbot adoption will fuel the need to align disparate data sources

As part of the rising need for VoC experience, the rolling adoption of chatbots by more companies for their online experiences will likely add more fuel to the fire that is disparate data sources. We’ve been hearing about the chatbot revolution for a while, but advancements in natural language processing are increasing the possibilities for this rollout to actually have a widespread effect. With usage rates continuing to climb over the next few years, many companies are wondering how to integrate this data source in their digital and web analytics strategy.

Implications for professionals: Harnessing new data always comes with some risk, as there are no established benchmarks to ensure accuracy or consistency. Being able to focus on meaningful data and add context from web analytics can help ensure the right data is being included. It’s also important to keep in mind short and long term goals when reviewing data like this, as some issues will be quick fixes while others will require multiple phases and an agile approach.

Implications for employers: Like VOC data, integrating chatbot data allows direct insight into customer feedback. Finding the right team members and tools to harness the power of this data and a commitment of resources for its adoption will help employees feel empowered to make actionable changes based on their findings.

 

Area to Watch: GDPR

Although it’s still too early to tell the full ramifications of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for digital and web analytics teams, things are already changing significantly. GDPR introduced sweeping changes for any business interacting with consumer in the European Union (EU), and if similar regulations are passed in the US it will affect even more businesses.

Many are wondering, how will this affect data accuracy? For third party tools like Adobe Analytics or even internal customer relationship management (CRM) systems, this could present a significant headache for any marketer looking to retarget consumers.

 

Curious to see whether we have any roles that fit your experience, or looking to hire web and/or digital analytics experts for your team? Feel free to connect with Sandy Marmitt on LinkedIn!

 

Learn more about the top 2019 trends in the digital and web analytics space – as well as their implications for professionals and employers – in the video below!

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