A digital, or web, analyst is a data analyst who focusses on analysing data collected from the use of digital devices. This is primarily user interaction data from mobile apps and web browsers. However, it is important for all data analysts to be open to understanding and analysing data from any source of data that may be useful to the goal of the data analyst at the time.
Opinions formed with the explicit aid of data analysis will generally be superior to those formed without data analysis. This is what makes data analysis valuable to everyone who makes opinions, which is almost everyone in the world. Of course not everyone can or should analyse data to form opinions. In circumstances where data is too limited, time is too limited, or resource is too limited, data analysis will be impossible or ineffective. As these three things; data, time, and resource, increase in availability then the efforts of analysing data become more effective and efficient, increasing to the point where it becomes worthwhile employing specific specialist resource to analyse data. Thence the role of the data analyst.
The massive increase in digital estate usage and technology associated with data collection, processing, and presentation, has led to a large increase in demand for digital and web analysts over the last 15 years.
The role of a data analyst is both to form opinions based on data and to order and present data to help others form opinions. The analyst has an advantage in forming opinions because of her deep understanding of the data. However the person employing the analyst has an advantage in forming opinions because of their potentially greater domain knowledge. This is why the role of the data analyst must be two-fold; to form opinions, and to help others form opinions.
The formation of opinions
In the case of data analysts; data is processed and presented, and opinions are formed, with the aim of reaching a better and more objective opinion than would have been the case without the data analyst.
The quality of the data analysis impacts the quality of the opinions formed. The intelligence and domain knowledge of those forming opinions also impacts the quality of the opinions formed. It is entirely possible for data analysis to be counter productive if the data processing and presentation is poor, or the intelligence or domain knowledge of those forming the opinions is poor.
The purpose of opinions
The purpose of forming opinions is to take actions based on these opinions. The effectiveness of the actions depends on how close the opinions match reality. Therefore poor data analysis or no data analysis is likely to result in actions that are sub-optimal, and good data analysis should result in actions that are more optimal.