What is a Product Analyst?
Data stories work to answer particular questions around product performance, and often uncover several insights and recommendations for improvements. These insights are all backed by data, and incredibly valuable to their employers to help determine prioritization of resources and success of new programs.
To gather data, product analysts use tools like Google Analytics, Heap or Amplitude. These platforms allow for highly customizable dashboard creation, and allows analysts to actively monitor and analyze stats like website traffic, order conversion rates or products viewed.
Another extremely important role of a product analyst is identifying key performance indicators (commonly referred to as KPIs, or sometimes OKRs) to measure the success of changes being made on the website or application. Product analysts track things such as a redesign to a popular page on a website, and how that affected product views and orders.
A very common theme of this role is the importance of A/B testing, which is where the statistics job requirement often comes into play. Product analysts are in charge of keeping track of the metrics used to measure website changes in a controlled environment, and reporting on results to their teams.
Product analytics is a great entry-level field into a technical role (which are often remote!), and often leads to becoming a product manager or user experience manager. If you’re technically savvy or inclined towards numbers, read on!
What does a Product Analyst do?
Product analysts spend a bulk of their day monitoring data, looking for any friction a user may have on their product, and presenting insights and recommendations to team members.
A product analyst's day is broken primarily into two parts:
1- trendline monitoring
2- exploring for fixes
Trendline monitoring is watching product metrics to make sure there are no bugs or abnormalities with user behavior. This is often done by monitoring some basic metrics (learn more about metrics here). Often a product analyst will keep tabs on things like how many users add to cart that week, or general people who view a page. If this drastically changes, it’s the analyst’s job to alert the team.
Exploring for fixes is the meat of the product analyst role. This often involves diving deep into a particular question and trying to find trends, such as “what’s the most popular path taken before ordering on our site?” or “why do our users make it to a certain page then leave?” From there, the product analyst is encouraged to craft up hypotheses that the product manager can work with UX designers and engineers to solve.
Do I need a degree to become a Product Analyst?
While this role seems more technical, product analysts can come from all backgrounds.
Job descriptions will often mention a requirement of something STEM related, but often psychology majors do well here because they’re able to understand the “why” behind user interactions. This is also a popular bootcamp role.
Some great experiences for aspiring analysts:
- STEM majors- anything math, science, or technology related
- Academia - Psychology or Sociology Degrees
- Data entry or receptionist roles
If you're new here to bridged, we're glad to meet you! We are huge fans of alternate forms of education, and recommend specific certifications to target skills. While this job works great with degrees, you have other options. Learn more here.
Our Favorite Product Analyst Certifications
Google sponsors a data analytics certificate program through Coursera. This is one of the more coveted certificates in the industry for Google Analytics.
UC Davis teaches a class in Tableau to manipulate and visualize data. It's included with a Coursera subscription ($49/month) and has a rating of 4.5 stars with almost 6 thousand reviews.
Analytics for Decision Making
This is a newer beginner-level class that has a great overview of types of analytics, and when to use each method to maximize effectiveness.
Some other notable Analytics certifications:
- University of Michigan's Applied Data Science with Python (4.5/5 with 25,000+ Ratings)
- UC Davis SQL Basics for Data Science (4.2/5 with 8,200+ Ratings)
- Duke University's Data Analysis with R (4.7/5 with 5,600+ Ratings)
Do Product Analysts need to know how to code?
Analytics is often associated with coding, including SQL or Python to access huge swaths of data stored in warehouses. However, this is incredibly company dependent, and often product analysts are not required to code.
Most popular web analytics tools -- Google & Adobe Analytics, Amplitude, Heap and others do not require programming to access data and have an intuitive user interfaces. If a company is requiring "coding" or "programming," it may be worthwhile to ask about the reason in an interview. If they have lots of data only accessible by warehouse, this may be more of a data scientist role!
One of the main distinctions between product analytics and data science is the ability to code-- and data scientists are paid better for it. Don't be fooled into doing data science for lower pay!
Entry Level Product Analyst Salary
We've aggregated thousands of salaries across glassdoor and linkedin, and product analysts can make anywhere between 75k - 98k, depending on their location and skillsets.
Career Path of a Product Analyst
Skills of a Product Analyst
We've compiled thousands of job descriptions for Product Analysts to record the most common requirements to save you time. While preparing for interviews, keep in mind specific times you've demonstrated these skills.
- Craft and tell compelling data stories
- Develop hypotheses for testing prioritization
- Assist with team's prioritization with data-driven methods
- Gathering and utilizing data to create strategic product decisions
- Identify popular user paths & funneled experiences
- Scope user friction from observing drop offs and engagement rates
- Design compelling data visualizations to showcase findings
- Experience with AB Testing and Optimizations
- Knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research methods
Tools of a Product Analyst
We've also compiled the most common tools listed in job description. If you're serious about becoming a Product Analyst, get familiar with these and be ready to talk about them.
Gathering Quantitative Data
- Google Analytics
- Adobe Analytics
Gathering Qualitative Data
- Excel/Google Sheets
Key Traits of a Successful Product Analyst
Quantitative research methods can be learned through classes. Gathering data and presenting it is incredibly important for product analysts.
Presentation and data visualization skills are imperative for product analysts to communicate results of their analyses.
This goes hand in hand with quantitative research. You have to pull the data from somewhere!
Product analysts have to be able to craft a story with their data. They have to tell the when/what/where/how about the users on their site, and in a way that makes people listen.
While this one sounds scary, some concepts like statistics and percentages are crucial to say "X% of users dealt with this problem."
This helps with analyzing trend data.
Product analysts need to find joy in sifting through structured and unstructured data sources. Identifying user friction points is a massive part of being a product analyst.
As a Product Analyst, you'll work with:
Difference between Product Analyst and Marketing Analyst
Marketing Analysts focus on the best ways to attract users and potential customers to the site. They specialize in breaking down different customer acquisition channels like SEO (search engine marketing, meaning organic google or bing), paid search (google or bing sponsored ads), or paid media and tracking traffic levels and performance. Learn about the different types of marketing traffic here.
Once a user is on the site, often from the optimization efforts of the marketing analyst, the user is passed along to the . Product analysts focus strictly on a website or application, and how customers interact with it. The primarily role of a product analyst is increasing site metrics like order conversion or product views.
To recap: a marketing analyst is responsible for analyzing and improving the ways at which a customer accesses the product, while a product analyst is in charge of making sure that customer completes the product's desired actions once acquired.
Difference between Product Analyst and Data Analyst
To recap: a product analyst is a specialization within data analytics. Learn about the different types of data analysts here.
Get Product Analytics Experience
Key takeaways: a product analyst uses web tools to find, gather, and organize data to help teammates and colleagues make decisions about the business. Product analysts focus strictly on a website or application, and how customers interact with it, which makes them different from marketing or operations analysts.
Learning on the job is one of the fastest ways to get familiar with new topics, and showing is much better than telling. Use a website creator to write about something you're passionate about, and use Youtube videos or our recommended classes to learn how to implement free Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Then monitor your data! Think about what paths you'd expect users to take while engaging with your content and write about why.
Congrats! You've written your first data story. This is great content for a mini"portfolio" to talk about on interviews. Expert mode: find a local business to trade work for-- maybe you throw up GA & GTM, they give you a meal., and you can give them a few insights to improve their user experience. Win, Win, Win.
Some popular product analytics questions:
- How are users interacting with the site?
- What page are users leaving the site?
- What's the most common path to conversion for users?
Here at Bridged we are huge fans of stacking micro-certifications to achieve desired career results. We're building a product to make your career planning fun and affordable, and we'd love to talk to YOU! Was this article helpful? Did you land an interview for a product analytics role?
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