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The Rise of the Product Analyst

  • Publish Date: Posted almost 3 years ago
  • Author:by Luke Adams & Bailey Snow

Last year, there were more than 205 billion app downloads, and the average smartphone user now has between 60 - 90 appsinstalled on their phone. However, apps aren’t just changing the way people access the internet, buy products, or fill their time - they’re also changing the technology job market. 

At Xcede, we’re seeing a significant increase in the demand for product analysts and product data scientists, as companies shift their focus away from traditional web analytics.

To explain further, Bailey Snow (Senior Consultant of Digital Analytics) and Luke Adams (Director of Digital in Web Analytics and Optimisation) sat down to talk further around this increasingly advancing topic.

Can you explain more about the shift towards product analytics?

[Bailey] Twenty years ago, we experienced the internet boom and companies needed web analysts for understanding user data, increasing page views, user experience, and converting visitors into customers. Today, more people are using apps instead of websites, and companies require product analysts to analyse app behaviour and drive solutions to improve user experience and conversions. You might have opened the Facebook app multiple times today, but when did you last visit the website? Companies must focus their attention to where most users interact with them or are likely to do so in the future. 

[Luke] Apps are more user-friendly than websites and much quicker to access. This is driving app use, and companies are recruiting digital product analysts accordingly.

Are all companies directing their attention and resources to app analysis?

[Bailey] The majority of companies we engage with are solely app-based or want to drive users away from their website to their app. Apps are beneficial to companies because they are user-friendly for customers and they are easier than websites to track user behaviour on and gather customer data. 

[Luke] Yes - while companies can monitor user behaviour on websites, it’s much more challenging. You must navigate different web browsers, cookie regulations and more, making it harder to collect data. With an app, you have immediate access to every move a user makes while in the platform, creating the perfect dataset to analyse and make future improvements to the app itself or the business. 

Do you think the increased demand for product analysts is because it is easier collecting customer data via apps?

[Luke] It is for many companies. While most product analyst roles seek candidates that can analyse cross-digital data, the day-to-day tasks are predominantly app-focused - analysing app data and devising techniques to increase use. 

[Bailey] I think the increased demand for product analysts is because companies want to push more users to their apps. With a website, companies rely on users proactively visiting them; with an app, companies can send push notifications that compel users to open the app. Apps also offer a more personalised experience than websites; an experience that users return for. The increased user engagement that apps generate, provides companies with access to more data that can drive future opportunities and target audiences. 

With the rise of these roles, which are some of the most common ones you are seeing in product analysis, and how do they differ from traditional web analyst jobs?

[Bailey] Product analysis roles fall under a variety of job titles, from product analyst to product data scientist. I’ve also seen data analyst roles advertised with the requirement of product and app experience.

[Luke] Whereas a web analyst pulls reports on user behaviour, a product analyst uses more advanced techniques to analyse data and gain insights from it. A product analyst also works in the product environment, alongside a designer, developer, technical engineer and product manager. This environment is incredibly fast-paced, with projects that are short, sharp and time-sensitive. 

Where do you see the product analysis trend in the next 1 - 3 years?

[Bailey] While companies have performed product analysis for a couple of years now, the area is still in its infancy, so I expect the next 1-3 years to look similar to today, but with a lot more recruitment activity. 

[Luke] I think product analysis roles will become more advanced over the next few years, demanding more statistical skills and cutting-edge techniques, closer to those of a data scientist. Companies will use more cloud-based and open source analytic tools and candidates will need appropriate experience. 

What advice would you give candidates looking to enter product analysis?

[Luke] I would encourage graduates to complete a STEM course that provides them with the right technical and soft skills to succeed as a product analyst. We see some candidates joining purely for the financial benefit rather than the merits of the role. While this factor should be considered, if you choose a role on the value it will bring to your skill set, then the finances will always look after themselves. As a result, you will be presented with the best opportunities within the most cutting edge businesses in the market as well.

[Bailey] I agree with Luke. Find a position that excites and stretches you, and the financial rewards will follow. 

If you’re interested in digital and product analytics, or you’re looking to enhance your analytics team, get in touch to find out more.