Over the past 10 years, Kamel Boudjema has advanced in the world of the web. A specialist in SEO, website creation and web analytics, he’s been responsible for driving software publisher EBP’s digital strategy since 2007. Here Kamel talks to us about his background, his experience as a webmarketer, and the major trends he sees in the digital analytics sector. Read on for the interview.
What have been the decisive factors along your career path?
First and foremost, I would cite one of my high school teachers who passed on his passion for this profession. Then I would cite the Sunday night TV shows Capital and Culture Pub: from an early age, I remember being captivated by report segments related to consumer behavioural studies. These segments were usually followed by an interesting analysis of TV advertising. And another thing – I am someone who always tries to understand how things work. In order to better understand how it all worked in the backoffice, I dove into the depths of the web. And I liked it!
What are software publishers’ biggest web analytics challenges?
From year to year, both way of life and buying behaviours are undergoing profound changes, in large part due to the boom of the web. For a brand to successfully develop, a network of physical sellers is no longer enough. In terms of mobility, it has become a true challenge for EBP to account for the multiplicity of channels (marketplaces, social networks, etc.) and the appearance of new digital devices (mobile phones, tablets, Smart TV, etc.).
What’s more, dematerialisation (direct downloads) has sparked new ways of consuming content. And today’s software market has taken a new turn with “connected” solutions oriented toward SaaS. Web analytics has therefore never been so present in our industry!
Do you use digital analytics to optimise your own software solutions?
Yes, absolutely. With the rise of SaaS solutions, we’re increasingly interested in our users’ browsers and operating systems, for example. But we’re also interested in their screen resolutions and device type used (mobile phones, tablets, desktop). This allows us to offer our clients usable solutions that are adapted to their navigational habits.
Where do you see web analytics in 10 years?
With the multiplication of digital touchpoints and the development of performance-driven actions like RTB, ad retargeting (…and many other things to come, surely), web analytics will never cease to exist. Evaluating ROI remains essential, and requires the ability to measure the actions put in place.
However, web analytics is becoming even more refined and specialised – and as a consequence, it is becoming more difficult to master all functionalities offered by an analytics tool. Actually, today, it’s impossible to do without having been trained. Add to this the multiplicity of devices and channels, and we can see that it’s very arduous for a webmarketer to master everything. To my mind – and this is already the case – new, more specialised professions will continue to emerge, like those of web analyst, traffic manager, digital project manager, and others.
What particular aspect of web analytics will develop further?
Multichannel. I think we’re going to push cross-channel analysis further to even get close to measuring from offline. Touchpoints are increasingly numerous and complex. I think one day, in AT Internet’s tool, we’ll see sources like “Billboard campaign: République Street – Paris”. How? With geolocalisation, for example. We can imagine that, having entered the billboard campaign’s GPS coordinates, the tool will deduct that a user’s arrival on the site resulted from seeing this billboard, because the user will have passed this very spot with his smartphone… All this will require a certain minimum of data and automation J. But we’re already seeing the signs…
Today, what’s the principle obstacle you encounter on a daily basis?
It’s paradoxical, because we have never had as much data to analyse, but it is more and more difficult to make the most of it. Take, for example, organic ranking, which relies on identifying keywords that generate visits to your site. Considering data confidentiality issues and the greater weight Google gives to HTTPS sites, the share of “not provided” keywords won’t stop growing. It’s becoming difficult for Web Marketing professionals to do their job…
For me, the future of web analytics tools lies in their ability to keenly make the most of quantitative, non-private data of lesser importance, in order to extrapolate larger and sufficiently reliable segments that can be exploited.
What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most, and the least?
What I like: Website redesign projects. Accounting for current needs, all while anticipating future evolution as best we can, is enthralling.
What I don’t like: Google’s grey zones around ranking criteria – there are lots of questions and few answers. And Google plays this up, so you have to test different combinations. For example, in 2013, Google’s algorithm saw 890 changes (more or less significant)!
All the same, we must credit Google with some great advancements, notably when it comes to fighting spam and fake links. This helps genuine, quality sites to be better ranked, and therefore encourages webmasters. 🙂
What 3 essential traits should a web marketing professional possess?
- Always be on the lookout for information in a landscape that’s rapidly evolving,
- Which therefore requires constant learning and training.
- And, have an affinity for numbers.
What has been your greatest success?
My greatest success has been improving our organic ranking by 70% since my arrival (we appear on Google’s two first pages for the main queries for which we seek to be ranked in our sector).
Any interesting anecdotes?
Losing 50% of our organic ranking after redesigning our website in 2010. We had to start all over again… There’s never a dull moment for SEO experts, that’s for sure. 🙂
Any advice for analysts just starting out?
I have two pieces of advice to give:
The first thing is that you can’t do without client and user studies or surveys. Web analytics teaches us many things, but it has its limits. Above all, it serves to create observations. But we must be careful about jumping to hasty and personal conclusions. The numbers lead us to make hypotheses, but nothing replaces “offline” contact for confirmation.
The other thing, which stems from the first, is to not consider your own user experience as the norm. As Web specialists, we’re immersed in this world at all times, so we inevitably develop certain reflexes and habits, which far exceed those of basic Internet users.
Thanks to Kamel for sharing his insightful experience. We wish him much success… especially in the search engine rankings! 😉