Matthias Müller is web analytics manager of Deutsche Telekom AG and manages a large number of websites, mobiles sites and mobile applications, of which T-Online is the most important. As the group’s internal digital analytics consultant, he’s responsible for projects such as the implementation and strategic optimisation of web analytics solutions.
Matthias, how did you arrive at your current position?
At university, I specialised in business studies with a focus on tourism marketing and management. Because I was one of the first users of the “modern” Internet at that time, I like to consider myself a “digital native”. I took great interest in so-called new media and examined “one-to-one marketing on the Internet” for my thesis. My first position was as an account manager in distribution supervision, but regardless of that title, my main job was developing the online shop, coordinating online marketing activities and gaining insights through web analytics. Then, ten years ago, I joined Deutsche Telekom. From the first day on, I used web analytics. At that time, we started some interesting web analytics projects and gradually raised the professional level.
Can you tell us what Deutsche Telekom has to offer in a few words?
Deutsche Telekom (DTAG) has more than 150 different websites, mobile sites and mobile applications to offer, which are managed by different locations and business units. Our digital offers include a wide range of business models: content portals (e.g. T-online), eCommerce and customer self-service (e.g. customer centres). All in all, DTAG has a traffic volume of over 3.5 billion server calls. T-Online is the leading portal for general interest news in Germany and is our biggest asset in terms of visitor reach.
Which web analytics challenges must a company like Deutsch Telekom face?
Our web analytics team has to manage lots of different offers, which is very demanding due to the large number of contacts involved across many different business units in many different places. Also, the content is very diverse and distributed to various content management systems. With that kind of complexity, it is impossible to provide centralised web analytics consulting for all offers. Our team is part of the portal department in Darmstadt. Our main web analytics points of focus therefore gravitate around that. They include:
- Establishing a web analytics culture
- Managing requests
- Managingtagging projects
- Analysing data
Our team in Darmstadt is the central hub for all other departments. They can ask us if they have questions about AT Internet tagging, and we’ve developed blueprints for defining tagging standards for different business models. But we don’t have the resources to take detailed care of each and every single asset after tagging. Topics like data analysis and data interpretation must be organised locally, supported by our services. And then there are the usual questions, which every web analyst has to answer: How can we make sure that every project gets enough funding for tagging?
We have standardised processes that guarantee funding for our portals for a long time, but there are still some cases we have to work on. How can we establish a web analytics culture and really bring it to life? How can we get data to be analysed instead of only reported?
We focus on building dashboards or integrating data, for example, into our CMS (overlay analysis in the CMS preview). I think an optimised data visualisation and a simpler access to data are very important. There shouldn’t be any barriers preventing any person working on the job from getting in touch with web analytics and its benefits.
When analysing your performance, how does the market influence your goals/KPIs?
Monetisation of our websites is the most important business model for T-Online. So our success is linked to our visitor reach. We follow important data guidelines provided by IVW/AGOF (the online study consortium of German online marketers). For our AT Internet data, we therefore define page views and visits as our KPIs, and watch their evolution. Because it is most important for T-Online’s homepage to draw visitors deeper into our offer, the homepage was previously managed mainly according to click-through rate for teasers. But AT Internet helped us develop new KPIs thanks to the virtual shopping cart analysis. Now, every teaser is evaluated on its ability to generate a long click stream inside our offer. In this way, we don’t just evaluate the traffic flow from page A to page B – we can instead see the complete customer journey. Another issue is the mobile shift: because we have to provide more content for younger people on T-Online in order to stay relevant, segmentation by device and sociodemographic data is more important than ever for our databases. AT Internet allows us to monitor engagement KPIs to optimise our content. For market research and other topics, we use additional tools to get high quality data (awareness tracking, customer experience tracking).
Where will web analytics be in 10 years?
I hope that the professional level of web analytics will keep rising over the next 10 years. My hopes for web analytics are the following:
- More companies in which the management understands the need for a web analytics team; web analytics will be the central hub between management and operations
- Web analytics will be the tool to drive profits
- “Data-driven company culture” will be a reality – data is the foundation for decision-making; KPI sets that are relevant for the business will be defined; analytics data will be collected, reported and analysed throughout.
- Data visualisation with dashboards is very important to make sure that the right stakeholders get the right data relevant for their business in the right way
- Real-time analyses are more important than ever to drive business in real time
- Web analytics providers will use data in a more flexible way – with the right interfaces, web analytics data can be linked to other data sources very easily
- “Advanced analytics” and business intelligence is the foundation of web analytics – analysing raw data will become more important
- Web analytics tools will become full-service providers thanks to cooperation with special tools (e.g. mobile application campaigns or testing)
- Tagging will become less demanding thanks to (partial) automation
- There are proven alternatives for cookies in accordance with privacy rights
- Analyses across devices will be much easier than today
Which 3 qualities should a web analyst possess?
A web or digital analyst’s job is demanding, because the workplace is ever-changing. A web analyst should be able to adapt to new technologies, business areas, markets and trends:
1. Flexibility and the drive to stay up-to-date
Every stakeholder should know what the analysis data suggests for business activities. Web analysts must turn requirements into technical specifications or bring the interests of stakeholders together.
2. Good communication skills
Web analysts need to know how to provide information and what restrictions (e.g. unique visitors and cookies) must be faced. That’s the only way to a clear interpretation of KPIs.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’ve noticed that we have picked up steam thanks to the close collaboration of diverse teams: technology, editorial, product management, web analytics and management, especially in the last three months. With the introduction of dashboards, integration of AT Internet data in our CMS, and increasingly sophisticated testing, we’ve found interesting new solutions and approaches to our analytics challenges. But that’s just the beginning – I hope for further inspiration for exciting developments in 2015.
Thank you, Matthias Müller, for this interview!