What Does a Digital Marketing Analyst Do?

Marissa Sapega, contributor to the CareerFoundry blog

Digital marketing jobs are booming. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a faster than average growth rate, and eCommerce is on the rise, with an estimated $1 out of every $5 spent online. Several roles fall under the umbrella of digital marketing, such as digital marketing specialist, digital marketing manager, and digital marketing analyst—to name a few. 

This post will take an in-depth look at a digital marketing analyst’s role. You’ll learn what they do on a daily basis, what skills they need, and how their position contributes to an organization. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in digital marketing, becoming a digital marketing analyst may be a great fit for you. Curious? Keep reading to learn more.

In this post, we’ll cover:

  1. What is digital marketing analysis? 
  2. What does a digital marketing analyst actually do?
  3. What does a day in the life of a digital marketing analyst look like?
  4. What skills does a digital marketing analyst need?
  5. What tools does a digital marketing analyst use?
  6. Wrap-up and further reading

Before we jump in, let’s first set the scene: What is analytics in the context of digital marketing?

Two digital marketing analysts looking at graphs

1. What is digital marketing analysis?

Let’s begin with the basics. Digital marketing analysis is the practice of evaluating campaign results and looking for ways to optimize them. A campaign can involve any type of digital marketing promotion, from paid search ads to social media posts to YouTube videos. A digital marketing analyst curates actionable insights from various data sources and provides recommendations for improving campaigns, so critical thinking skills are a must! They help other team members understand campaign results by using data visualizations, statistics, website performance reports, and other measures. You can learn more about analytics and data-driven marketing here. For now, though, let’s focus on the topic at hand: What does a digital marketing analyst actually do?

2. What does a digital marketing analyst actually do?

Now that you know, broadly speaking, what digital marketing analysis involves, let’s explore what you can expect to do as a digital marketing analyst. You can learn more about what a digital marketing analyst does here, but for now, we’ll outline the main points.

First and foremost, expect to be immersed in data! If you’re more of a creative type who goes cross-eyed at the thought of staring at spreadsheets and numbers all day, this job is probably not for you. However, if analyzing metrics all day sounds like a dream, you may have hit the jackpot. 

Also, keep in mind that all the monitoring you do is ongoing—the rest of the team relies on you to constantly update them on what’s working and what’s not. If campaigns are not working, they’ll want your opinion on how to improve things; if the campaigns are going well, they’ll want to know how they can scale them for even better results. 

Digital marketing analysts also keep tabs on their brand’s online presence, stay abreast of marketing trends, and in some cases, actually run campaigns themselves (if the marketing team is small enough that people wear multiple hats.) They may also create marketing strategies. 

You’ll be expected to present your findings to stakeholders on your team, which could include senior management, so you’ll need to be comfortable pulling together presentations and speaking in front of people. 

A digital marketing analyst standing in a modern office, giving a presentation to a group of colleagues

3. What does a day in the life of a digital marketing analyst look like?

No two digital marketing analysts will have exactly the same duties—team size, company culture, and unique business needs all factor into what an individual role will entail—but here’s what a day in the life of a digital marketing analyst could look like. 

Morning

Check your email to see if you’ve received any messages about your campaigns. These could include alerts regarding a campaign’s budget status, duration (it may have ended overnight), or possible errors. If nothing requires your immediate attention, take some time to browse through emails providing updates about new and emerging trends in digital marketing as you sip your coffee. If something catches your eye, perhaps a new channel or an insight that could help your team, jot it down to suggest at your next meeting. 

Later that morning, it’s time to conduct an in-depth analysis on a Facebook campaign that has just ended. The ads sent users to your website to check out a sale and the marketing team wants to know the following details:

  • Which ad types were most successful in generating sales, and the finer details (e.g., cost per conversion, how many conversions they produced, etc.)
  • Your thoughts on why a particular ad format was successful or not
  • If the campaign should be extended further

You use various tools to pull together the data and spend the rest of the morning evaluating it and condensing it into insightful nuggets you can present to the team. We’ll explore the types of tools used by digital marketing analysts in section five.

Afternoon

Now it’s time to turn your attention to a presentation you’ve been working on for several days. The marketing team has been running YouTube campaigns for a few months with some success, and senior leadership wants advice on whether or not to continue them. You have most of it complete but need to work on some final polishing touches before presenting later that day. 

This takes up most of the afternoon—that is, until your boss appears at your desk and asks for an immediate rundown on a particular paid search campaign that has been soaking up a lot of budget without great results for a few weeks. They want to know why you think it’s not doing well and how the team can improve it. 

Late afternoon

Presentation time! You take 30 minutes or so to re-familiarize yourself with the key insights and takeaways, then head into the conference room to present to your team. They’re all excited to hear your thoughts, and you are able to confidently answer all their questions, save for a few, which you jot down to follow up on later. 

Early evening

After the presentation meeting winds down, you head back to your desk to check your email and note a few tasks you’ll have to take care of the following day, including answering the questions your team raised during your presentation. 

The end of the month is coming up soon, and you’ll be expected to put together a website performance report that includes information like:

  • Site visitors and changes MoM and YoY
  • Channels driving the most site traffic and conversions
  • Top ranking blog posts / ones driving the most traffic
  • Conversions or sales and changes MoM and YoY
  • Funnel analysis (where are users dropping out and how has it changed from the previous month)
  • Organic search traffic, impressions, and top-ranking keywords

You’ll use Google Analytics to pull most of the data, along with supplement platforms like Google Search Console (more on tools later).

A digital marketing analyst showing graphs and data to colleagues on a laptop

4. What skills does a digital marketing analyst need?

A digital marketing analyst needs several skills to be successful at their job. These competencies can be categorized into two areas: tool-specific and general. The “tool-specific” skills require competency in analytics platforms like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, as well as Excel, PowerPoint (for presentations), and others.

The general skills include:

  • Critical thinking and analytical ability. This is perhaps the most essential skill for a digital marketing analyst. You must be able to process data and translate it into actionable insights. This means questioning each and every aspect of a campaign. Why do particular keywords perform well in your paid search ads while others falter? Why is your cost per conversion for one social media campaign so high while another is more reasonable? If one blog post is doing well generating leads, how can you replicate that success?
  • Curiosity. You should possess a curious mindset, one that is reluctant to leave any stone unturned. If you accept things as they are, you won’t be driven to find out how to improve them.
  • Excellent presentation and communication abilities. You’ll be expected to share your insights with your team and other stakeholders, often through presentations. Part of this ability involves translating technical insights into concepts that everyone can understand.
  • Attention to detail. This skill is essential because you’ll be expected to know the minutiae of campaigns and present accurate data. No one wants an analyst with inaccurate numbers!
  • Ability to manage several projects at once. Digital marketing analysts evaluate multiple campaigns simultaneously and need to stay organized. 

The best digital marketing analysts can harness most or all of these skills, but don’t sell yourself short if you’ve got some weak points. There is much to be learned on the job, and there is always room to improve! Want to figure out if you’re a good fit for a career as a digital marketing analyst? Ask yourself these questions. 

A digital marketing analyst sitting at a desk, reading emails on a laptop

5. What tools do digital marketing analysts use?

Digital marketing analysts use several different tools and platforms, but the exact ones depend on the types of campaigns their team runs and how their company operates. It’s a safe bet to assume you’ll need to be competent in Google Analytics, Microsoft Excel, and PowerPoint as a digital marketing analyst, but many others will be job-specific. That said, the more tools digital marketing analysts can familiarize themselves with, the better, as they may discover one that has a tremendous impact on their ability to do their job well.

Digital marketing analysts collect data from a variety of sources, which typically include:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • Customer-tracking behavior tools like Hotjar
  • Native paid search analytics (Google Adwords or Bing)
  • Native social media analytics (like Facebook Insights, Instagram Insights, Twitter Analytics, etc.)
  • Tools for measuring brand awareness like Google Trends or Mentionlytics for brand mentions

Here are some tools they may use to manipulate and visualize the data:

  • Tableau
  • Excel
  • Power BI
  • DataWrapper
  • Google Charts

This is by no means an exhaustive list of tools, but it will give you an idea of what you can potentially expect to use as a digital marketing analyst. 

6. Wrap-up and further reading

A career as a digital marketing analyst can be both challenging and rewarding for those passionate about the field and the tasks involved. It’s considered one of the top digital marketing jobs around, and you can also use it as a stepping stone to other digital marketing roles, like digital marketing manager or director of digital marketing. Understanding how to analyze campaigns and improve them are key capabilities for virtually all marketing roles, so having a foundation grounded in analysis is exceptionally helpful. If you’re keen to start a career in the field, follow this step-by-step guide on how to become a digital marketing analyst.

For further marketing insights, check out the following:

What You Should Do Now

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