Web Analyst Interview: Pere Rovira

Continuing my series of Interview with Analysts, here is my interview with Pere Rovira.

What is your current position and the name of the company you work for?
I am Head of Web Analytics for WebAnalytics.es, a company of e-interactive.

How long have you been working in this fields
I was previously a web manager for several large commercial websites in Spain, with a focus on classifieds. As a web manager, analytics was part of my day to day work, even though it was not my only task. It has not been since I joined e-interactive last month that I’ve started to work exclusively on web analytics.

Tell me about your work, education prior to Web Analytics?
I am a physicist, though later I specialized in information systems with a postgraduate course from University of California at Berkeley, and a MSc. in Administration, Design and Management of Information Systems from the London School of Economics (LSE). Web Analytics is quite an interdisciplinary field; you need number skills but also broader analytical and business skills. A physics background helps me with number analysis and modeling, while an information systems background helps me with an understanding of the technology and the business we work with.

As for my working experience, having worked as a web manager for a big internet company really helps. I got the chance to experience the day to day tasks required to run a web site, as well as interact with all the players involved: management, IT, marketing, sales force… Each of them has different interests and ways of seeing the web business. To me, it is essential to know what their needs and tasks are in order to provide them with what they need from a web analytics tool.

Why did you decided to switch to Web Analytics?
First, because I think it’s a field with an enormous potential for growth, especially in Spain. It’s always exciting to start working on something you believe in, and that in addition is still not widely used in your own market. Second, because web analytics encompasses so many areas I really enjoy. You need to really understand your client’s business in order to be a good analyst, but also the marketing strategy, and of course the technology behind your client and your web analytics tool. Finally, and that’s something I did not know when I decided to “switch”, I am finding a community of web analysts who are really enthusiastic about their job, always willing to help and attentive to your comments and opinions. It’s a charming professional sector.

How did you find this job? How long did it take? Did you interview a lot?
I applied to a job post on a major online job board. I went through two interviews and some emails, and that was it. Pretty straight forward and to the point.

What are you job responsibilities? Describe your typical work day.
Right now, my main responsibilities are understanding deeply the different web analytics tools available in the market and help with business development. Also, I will be implementing Omniture SiteCatalyst for one of our clients. So my typical work day revolves around reading a lot, writing a lot, and networking. I have my own blog at webanalytics.es (mostly in Spanish); we hope the web and in particular the blog will be an excellent tool for business development.

What education or work experience, other than that you mentioned before are helping in your job.

Other than what I already mentioned, Omniture training to become certified for implementation was also a good source of know-how, but above all, I am learning so much from some blogs on web analytics and SEM, written by really smart people with lots of interesting things to say. It really helps to be able to read from very experienced analysts who share tips and advice from their broad working experience.

What education or experience is lacking, education or experience that would have helped?
I am a believer in self-education for specific subjects (like web analytics is). However, if I was to dream of the perfect course / seminar right now, I would go for one tackling the organizational aspects of web analytics that deals with questions such as: How does web analytics fit into an organization? What are the factors involved in decision making (economic, politics,… )? What should be the role of the analyst in different types of organizations?

What web analytics/online-marketing books have you read and/or own?
I have read Web Measurement Hacks by Eric T. Peterson, which I really enjoyed, and so now I am reading two more of his books: Web Analytics Demystified and The big book of KPIs. I went through a couple of tool-specific books which were a bit disappointing, and right now I’d like to go for a good book on marketing… any suggestions?

I am sure some the visitors of this blog will recommend some good marketing books.

Which book(s) have you helped in your new job or finding new job?
Eric’s books are being really useful. As for finding a new job, I haven’t really used any book (but, I worked a couple of years for a major online job board, maybe that helped J)

What are the major challenges you are facing in this industry?
I suppose the situation is quite different from one country to another. Right now in Spain, I think the challenge is to make web analytics easy to use and understand, as well as actionable. Managers and decision makers need to perceive real value in web analytics solutions, and it is our job to help them do so. I like to think of web analytics now in Spain as of usability a couple of years ago. Not many companies were putting usability at the centre of web development two years ago, but now it is unthinkable not to do so if you’re serious about online business. The same will happen with web analytics: it will simply be the standard methodology/techniques to manage websites and online marketing in general, and even carry on some usability studies J.

How do you make sure you are learning and growing in this field?
Reading as much as I can, as well as trying to answer my clients and colleagues questions.

Tell me more about your blog what kind of article do you write?
My blog is available at www.webanalytics.es . It’s mainly written in Spanish, and I am now writing on organizational aspects of web analytics. I always have in mind a non-technical reader, quite business oriented, looking for solutions to her everyday tasks.

What is your advice to aspiring web analysts?
Read as much as you can, and try to action what you learn. Having your own website really helps to learn by trial and error, but if you can work for some large websites for some years, you’re going to get invaluable insights that, even though not directly related to web analytics, will be really useful to become a good analyst. Finally, it really helps to find a good mentor at work who can teach you and guide you through the vast amounts of resources available out there.

Thank you for your time, this was great.

Thanks to you Anil for giving me the opportunity to have this chat with you and your readers. Your series of interviews is one of my favourite reads from all of the online resources available on web analytics

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