Until recently, the only credentialing / certification that was available to web analytics professionals was through the vendors and was obviously product-specific.
The Web Analytics Association has been working on a community-wide certification program for a while. A few weeks ago they launched the Web Analyst Certification Program. The program is broken down into three components / areas of expertise:
1. Site Optimization:
- Persona development
- Visitor activity analysis
- On-Site Search
- Navigation and Site Analysis
- Content Analysis
- Site technology
- Optimizing for Conversion
- Tracking visitor behavior and value over time
2. Marketing Campaign Measurement:
- Measuring beyond click-through
- Set-Up and Maintenance of PPC Campaigns
- Measuring email campaign effectiveness
- Setting up Application Tools
- Display advertising
- Understanding what can be tracked and measured
- Tracking brand, buzz ad PR
- Online / Offline qualitative data
3. Creating and Managing the Analytical Business Culture:
- For some reason these criteria are not outlined on the WAA site
You can see that the WAA is looking for BROAD knowledge of measurement across the whole digital space. Within Marketing Campaign Measurement, for example, it is difficult to find analytics professionals with expertise in any 2 or 3 of these, much less all.
Apparently this will not be a quick and easy certification stamp. There are probably only a couple hundred people in the world that can sit down and nail any of these tests without considerable study and preparation.
If you think you are one of them… or you are interested in starting the process and working toward certification, the WAA will be administering the test at the eMetrics Summit in San Jose next month.
From an employer’s standpoint, it is comforting to know that if a WAA Certified Web Analyst shows up in your office for a consulting engagement or a new job, they know their stuff. You are not even eligible for certification until you have three years of work experience in web measurement.
IF the WAA is successful with this program and IF certification becomes recognized by the community as the standard for excellence, it will undoubtedly elevate the entire field. Practitioners will be forced to understand analytics across the digital spectrum… not just in one or two disciplines. Your chances for delivering insightful analysis skyrocket when you understand digital measurement across channels… not just how to operate a handful of tools.
If the program gets traction it would be a dream come true for organizations that are not toward the top of the food chain on Stephane Hamel’s Web Analytics Maturity Model (the vast majority of the companies in the world) and want to hire top-notch talent to help elevate their business. It would be a dream come true for HR people around the world, and it would be an awesome differentiator for consulting companies and independent consultants.
All of these things are good for our business, and good for the community, so we are rooting hard for this program to take root.