I have been a tag management contractor since 2014, or what others call a Technical Web Analyst, and have been lucky enough to experience various online businesses while auditing, implementing, and maintaining tag management systems. From small businesses with easy setups to more complex multi-national enterprises, tag management is a challenge a Technical Web Analyst should look forward to tackling every day.
During my tag management contracts, implementations have both amazed and surprised me. With no accreditation for tag management as a service, it is difficult to determine if a Technical Web Analyst is properly suited for the job.
It all boils down to one question that companies have a hard time answering:
What is a Technical Web Analyst?
In this article, I want to walk you through my perception of the skills and talent required to be a Technical Web Analyst and the problems companies face recruiting a Technical Web Analyst as a full-time employee.
A pinch of business and a dash of digital analytics
As Technical Web Analysts, we are a strange breed of digital experts. We are (usually) not developers, but we are also not web analysts. Nevertheless, having in-depth knowledge of both roles is the secret ingredient of being a good Technical Web Analyst. At its core, we need to understand how to collect the required data from the available sources and how it is processed so that it may be used to create valuable business insights. Simply following orders to place tags or track an interaction won’t make you exceptional.
Two differentiations I want to make before we proceed:
- A Junior Technical Web Analyst will have the motivation and basic skills to collect and deliver data, but most importantly possess a drive to learn more.
- A Medior Technical Web Analyst will excel because they know how data, its format, and underlying processing mechanics, is turned into a valuable asset that will help your company’s analysts deliver insights.
- A Senior Technical Analyst will go even further and challenge stakeholders and colleagues on methods of collection, the purpose of use, and privacy.
There is a lot of demand for Technical Web Analysts in the market, especially when you consider all the industry changes, from increased browser security to server-side solutions. While some companies have been slow to catch on, demand for high-quality data is at an all-time high. With the rise of artificial intelligence in marketing tools like Morphio, data quality can make or break a company’s acquisition efforts. To get high-quality data, you will need to consider your resources for obtaining that data, and that is where the Technical Web Analyst comes in.
A Technical Web Analyst is the general term used for people responsible for setting up and maintaining digital data collection solutions. Data governance is a driving force behind Technical Web Analysts’ daily work, aiming to achieve a continuous collection of high-quality, user consented, data from various digital sources.
What makes a good Technical Web Analyst?
Having defined the role, let’s get a little more practical and create a list of skills required to be a good Technical Web Analyst.
The following hard skills are foundational in a Technical Web Analyst candidate. Experience in any single tag management and digital analytics system is enough to get started. Preferably, the candidate also knows all 3 basic programming skills and at least one single-page application framework.
- Tag Management Systems: Google Tag Manager, Tealium, Segment
- Digital Analytics Systems: Google Analytics (Universal and Google Analytics 4), Adobe Analytics
A quick note on debugging. Debugging acts as a bridge between programming, tag management, and digital analytics skills. Being able to debug during and after implementation properly is a strong skill to have. When screening for the role of Technical Web Analyst, I find that watching candidates debug is where you will separate the wheat from the chaff.
In terms of non-technical skills, so-called Soft Skills, a few come to mind which are very relevant to a Technical Web Analyst.
- Communicate on different levels: Be able to talk with developers, web analysts, and stakeholders (i.e., managers at various levels). As a Technical Web Analyst, you are filling a gap between technology and insight reporting. You need to adjust your method of communication, your wording accordingly and explain data collection solutions from both a technical and a business perspective.
- Observe and adjust: A Technical Web Analyst will know how to use data to generate insights and different methods to collect that data regardless of the technical platform. When communicating with stakeholders, a Technical Web Analyst will need to listen to (possibly changing) requirements from both developers and web analysts. Then, recognize ways to solve these (new) requirements, for example:
- know where to find the data on the web, mobile, and offline platforms in use
- know how to amend an existing implementation for new requirements
- know when to collect data per defined KPI’s or company goals
- know the outcome of data processed by various digital analytics solutions
- know the best format the data should be in for effective use by web analysts
- Guard for quality and privacy: A Technical Web Analyst’s most passive function is to monitor data quality and privacy compliance continuously. Implementing a tag management solution is not a one-off task. Not only will you need to guarantee that only user consented data is being collected, but that the data being collected is still per the original tag management implementation plan. Any deviation in the original requirements or deprecation in the quality of collected data should be acted on immediately.
My theory on why recruiting for a Technical Web Analyst is difficult
On average, I am contacted by recruiters at least 2 to 3 times a week for a permanent position as a Technical Web Analyst.
To boil it down, my 3 reasons as to why Technical Web Analysts are difficult to recruit are:
- Experience is concentrated in a small group of people
- Tag Management contracting work is lucrative since full-time roles do not pay well
- Most tag management jobs are ill-fitted for Full-Time Employment
In my experience, developers find it difficult to adjust to tag management since they prefer to program, and web analysts prefer to crunch numbers since they have no affinity with anything technical. Like any other commodity, scarcity in resources leads to higher prices, so many chose this path with contracting work being lucrative.
Technical Web Analyst jobs are often ill-fitted for Full-Time Employment
I might be going out on a limb here, but again, the last point in my theory is based on my personal experience as a Technical Web Analyst. In the past, I have functioned as a Technical Web Analyst as a full-time employee before starting my contract work. I learned that after everything has been implemented and optimized, it really depends on the size of your company whether there is enough work to go around. More often than not, Technical Web Analyst work is best suited as part-time employment. In that case, there are a few options for you.
- Hire a part-time Technical Web Analyst
- Hire a full-time Technical Web Analyst who also has other valuable skills related to digital analytics
- Hire a Tag Management Consultant to own the entire process
A typical Technical Web Analyst’s approach to a tag management project
To give you more insight into how I would manage my time and effort when working on a tag management project, I have created a small graph. This is very generic, but it proves that the resources required are based on your company’s phase regarding tag management, the so-called tag management maturity model. I have added some call-outs to explain what happens at each step.
- Initial kick-off meeting with the client to discuss overall project goals and expectations. Perform initial tag management audits. Start documenting.
- Conduct interviews with stakeholders to align data requirements, learn more about backend system capabilities and available resources. Continue designing implementation.
- Start supporting developers with the implementation of the tag management framework. Start configuring tag management and digital analytics systems.
- Perform quality assurance checks as developers complete more stories of the tag management framework. Offer support for failed quality assurance checks.
- Start training stakeholders on new data collection setup by demonstrating practical cases in the digital analytics solution.
- Process final changes to the tag management frame and adjust documentation accordingly.
- Transfer tag management framework assets to the client’s product owner (if applicable) or commence maintenance and support work.
Technical Web Analyst candidate screening
If your company is looking to recruit a Technical Web Analyst either as a contractor or as a full-time employee, it can be challenging to determine a candidate’s skill level. I hope that this article has given you a better understanding of the Technical Web Analyst role. Besides knowing how to evaluate candidates, also make sure to ask for references before hiring. Past experiences with data collection and cooperation are also good indicators of a candidate’s potential.
I have been active in the digital analytics industry since 2005. With my experience in tag management and digital analytics as a whole, I am very suited to help you screen potential candidates for your business. Through a series of short implementation design and technical configuration tests and an interview, I will be able to tell you the level of expertise of your Technical Web Analytics candidate. If you would like to schedule a meeting to discuss employee selection assistance click the blue button below or contact me through email.