Born and raised in Spain, Jorge moved to cold Berlin following a passion for Analytics. Five years and hundreds of data sets later, he’s still in love with the city and the job. With a background in Information and Library Science, he sees himself as an updated version of the old-school librarian that gives users the information they need. Currently, he’s responsible for leading several analytics teams at Zalando SE, the biggest online fashion retailer in Europe. Before that, he led the Analytics team at Rocket Internet, where he participated in the build-up and launch of more than 30 start-ups.
INTERVIEW TO JORGE RAMOS (Analytics Lead at Zalando SE):
Q: You have a degree in Documentation, with a specialization in Systems for information retrieval by the UPV, with a Master’s Degree in Content and Legal Aspects in the Information Society, specialized in Services and web content. In addition, you have been a research technician and web analyst among other things in recent years and currently you are nothing more and nothing less than Zalando’s Lead Digital Analytics… What led you to dedicate yourself professionally to analytics?
A: The truth is that it is a question that I’ve been usually asked about. How a librarian ends up dedicating himself to Digital Analytics? Looking back, the steps I have taken in my career seem to have been planned strategically, but I must admit that it was gradual and, in some cases, the result of chance. Maybe I should go back to my first years in the Librarianship and Documentation career, when some of my professors commented that the information that, at that time, was mainly stored on paper, would soon be surpassed in volume by information in digital format. That aroused my interest in databases and other means of digital storage of information. In the last years of my career, I came into contact with web technologies, cybermetrics and SEO. Especially SEO seemed like the modern version of the librarian’s role – if the information is online, it makes sense for the user to ask Google, rather than the librarian or documentalist. From there, I started to become more interested in the behavior of users in an online environment – not only what they are looking for, but also how they interact with their digital environment. And then I was aware that there was a huge opportunity in that field. If administrators / owners of digital properties (websites, apps, etc.) want to know how users behave, what better than to become the professional that is able to obtain that information, process it and provide it in a way that meets those needs? information. Once I saw it clearly, it was all about getting the proper training and trying things on my own, until I got my first job as an analyst.
Q: What do you think is, in your opinion, the most effective online marketing technique? And why?
A: Before answering, a warning: I do not consider myself an expert in online marketing. I have worked with professionals in the area, but my specialization is more in the onsite behavior analysis part, or what we call Product Analytics.
That said, I do not think there is a marketing technique that is the most effective, well, in general. The answer depends on a main question: what do we understand by effectiveness in this context? Or rather, what is the objective we are looking for when using this technique? Depending on this, we will have techniques that work better than others, although this is not the only factor. It also influences who is our audience or target audience, the positioning of our brand, the budget we have available, the maturity of the market and a long etcetera.
Q: And speaking of online marketing… What do you think is the most powerful indicator (or killer data)?
A: Again, it will depend on what our purpose is. Metrics or indicators are just a way of measuring how well we are achieving our goals. For example, if our intention with a marketing campaign is to increase the number of visitors to our website at any price, we could use click-through rate (CTR) or simply the number of new users that this campaign provides. If we want to acquire users, but in a way that is still profitable, then we could use metrics related to ROI, such as Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) in combination with Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
Q: We have heard that Google wants to end the URLs. If this really happens… What is the future of the sector?
A: I would not dedicate to this new even the time it takes to load in the browser. It is as if I’m here and I say that planes are dangerous and we should eliminate them. What real alternative exists right now? On the other hand, I can give you the example of the Apps, which are not governed by URLs and I assure you that, to my team of analysts, the Apps give them a lot of work.
Q: And speaking of the future… The digital business is transforming itself more and more and faster. With the emergence of Google Voice and natural language… How do you see it within, say, two years? How do you think it is transforming?
A: Honestly, I do not think I’ll change much because of this. The companies will know how to adapt -in fact, they are already doing it- and take advantage of it, in the same way that we did with smartphones and the IoT. In the end, it is simply the way in which the human relates to the machine. As long as there is an interface for the human being to interact with the machine, there will be a way to analyze this interaction and optimize the interface. The exception will come when we get to what is now practically science fiction and we start talking about brain interfaces and other related things… then things actually change.
Q: Following the line of a near future, and to finish, do you think that robotization will reach the SEO and analytics sector or that the added value of the human factor will allow the survival of SEO professionals?
A: Well, if with your question you refer to Artificial Intelligence, it’s not that I think it will come, it’s already arrived. There are already commercially available tools that collect and interpret data automatically, giving you a recommendation that a few years ago only a human being could give you. The precision and quality with which they do this is still debatable, but in my opinion it is a matter of a couple of years, if not months. In any case, as in any other discipline, artificial intelligence is replacing the repetitive tasks that human beings do, especially when there is a component of learning and optimization. The only thing that, for the moment, humans do better than machines is everything related to creativity. “Lightbulbs were not invented by iterating candles”