Denis Dupouy is a Web analyst for the sites La Centrale, Promoneuve and Annonces du bateau, part of the Car&Boat media, an automobile and classified ads specialist which also owns the brands Caradisiac, Forum-Auto and Forum-Bateau. Denis works on a perimeter of approximately 8 million unique visitors per month. He gave us the honour of answering our questions …
What has been your academic and professional background to date?
I started with a Technical University Diploma in Information Technology which I didn’t really use as I quickly realised that I wasn’t made to code all day every day :). I then completed my studies with a degree in Marketing and Management. After some professional experience in the field of marketing, I had the opportunity to join the Car&Boat Media group in 2011 as they were working on revamping the Caradisiac site. I had never planned on becoming a Web Analyst because I didn’t really understand the job. In the end, this company placed their trust in me as I was able to stand out from the others thanks to my common sense in a job where it is necessary to ask the right questions to explain the data available.
What is your area of work today?
I am in charge of the following sites: La Centrale, Annonces du bateau and Promoneuve. My area of work involves the entire digital range including web sites, mobile sites and applications. In terms of traffic, this represents a total of approximately 8 million unique visitors per month.
Talk about your daily challenges.
Today, concessions must be made in a company where data culture (in general) and tracking are not strictly obvious. The main challenge involves defining the initial need and objectives of my internal clients. It is necessary to be pro-active by going to look for the different elements from the teams, as well as positioning my tagging plan in the right direction.
The other big challenge is being able to adapt to the different users of the solution. Some users have a strong data background, whilst others are more inexperienced when it comes to web analytics issues. It is necessary to be able to adapt to everyone’s level and to be able to explain concepts and set up training actions.
How would you describe your typical day?
There is no real typical day, even if every morning I look at the data to check if the sites are working. I focus on some standard variables such as page views, unique visitors, number of ads posted and sales made. If this is not the case, the rest of the day depends on the tasks of the moment that must be completed. I would say that the only common denominator is the use of the AT Internet interface in all tagging, testing, or data extraction.
What has been your greatest success?
My greatest personal success has been my ability to show the usefulness of the Web analyst in my team. In other words, being able to sometimes go beyond the boundaries of my tasks to bring added value. The reason I say this is because the job of a web analyst can often be limited to implementing tags and regular reports, nothing more. However, I believe that the analyst must continuously anticipate needs.
Have you already noticed any unusual data?
In the AT Internet solution, we use custom variables for common analyses and therefore evaluate the success of different models of cars through different geographical zones. With this data, we noticed that a luxury car, such as the Porsche 911, was part of our top 10 in terms of traffic, whereas it is not a vehicle which is particularly widespread throughout the market. We were able to see the difference between the reality of the car market and the dreams of our Internet users.
Another example is that we noticed the popularity of the Bugatti Veyron (one of the most powerful and expensive cars in the world) which had a lot of views on our site, even though there are only a few models of this car in France. We also noticed a huge difference in the brands and models which Internet users advertise on the site (in other words what reflects the market) and the results of searches made by Internet users (the share of Internet user wishes).
Let’s look to the future. It is 2024…How do you see digital analytics?
In 10 years’ time…I dream of automation. For example I can imagine artificial intelligence capable of automatically tagging a site according to its existing content, without having to manually rank and categorise information. In addition to this, I can also think of auto suggest functions for metrics and variables to be added to dashboards.
What motivates you and pleases you the most in your job?
… Understanding… I am very logical and curious. When something happens in front of my eyes, I need to understand. Today, I am always faced with numbers and I need to know what is hiding behind them. I don’t even like numbers! I prefer analysing to understand what the numbers really mean. I also think that this willingness to understand gives the Web analyst real added value.
In your opinion, what obstacles might hinder the evolution of the job?
Theoretically speaking, digital analytics is a field which is introduced and presented as being essential and which must be placed at the heart of projects, but in reality attributing dedicated resources to tracking is not always priority. Evangelisation within the company must start with considering the value on all levels brought about by tracking. However, I have also noticed a change in attitude over the past few years and I think we are heading in the right direction.
Are there any clichés which annoy you?
Yes, there are several! In particular, the image of the Geek (or Nerd) who is obsessed with data and who is blind to everything else. On the contrary, I think that having a creative personality in our field can bring a lot to the table. The other cliché, often shared amongst newcomers, is their perception of our job whenever they ask if I am able to keep busy 35 hours a week. Yes, of course. We even work more than 35 hours a week, but the readers of your blog know that already!
With hindsight, which piece(s) of advice would you give to anyone starting out as a web analyst?
I would say that they don’t really have to like numbers to be successful, but they have to know how to manipulate them and be at ease using them to explain what they mean.
Thank you Denis for this exchange. Your clear and pragmatic vision is definitely beneficial as it reminds us of the fundamentals of the job.
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