Speaker Spotlight: Using R for Search Analytics with Agnes Bungsy

Brighton R is a friendly group of local R professionals who meet regularly to share advice, stories and inspiration, working in the R environment.

At April’s Brighton R meetup, Agnes Bungsy (Founder of AnalyticsHacker.com) joined us to share her wealth of experience in using R for Search Analytics (which you can watch here). Agnes has been a marketing analytics consultant for over 15 years, working with some of the top growth businesses, including Yahoo, Trainline, Moonpig, Siemens, TikTok, Badoo.

We caught up with Agnes to learn more about her career, what inspired her talk, and advice she can offer others…

Agnes Bungsy

Agnes Bungsy

Hey Agnes, can you tell us a bit about you and the work that you do

I have been working in analytics industry in the UK for the past 16 years. I started off my career by working in a financial sector, but eventually I realised that it wasn’t for me so I moved into the tech/online sector. I’ve worked for many large companies in London, such as Yahoo, Trainline, Badoo, just to name a few. There was also a time in my life when I lived (mostly) in Mauritius and I was running my own online supermarket there. I sold that business to another company in Mauritius, so I could return to the UK and continue my career in analytics here.

I now run my own boutique size analytics constancy called analyticshacker.com. I have a small, but growing team of analysts, data engineers and data scientists. We cover a wide range of analytics services, however our main specialism is marketing analytics. And with all the technological changes and also regulations changing, the world of marketing analytics is becoming increasingly challenging. Our aim is to help companies to navigate through those changes. And we do that by helping them understand the best ways to measure effectiveness of marketing campaigns in this new environment, whether that involves incrementality testing, marketing mix modelling (MMM), or multi touch attribution (MTA).

Is there a moment that helped define your career?

I personally do not think that there was one particular moment. I think it has been more of a series of events which led me to where I am today, which ultimately is running my own analytics consultancy. Though there was a time in my life, at the start of my career, when I knew I was not necessarily on the right path. I spent nearly 6 years of my early career working in the financial sector. I just knew that it was not the right industry for me. I felt like a misfit. Though I did not have enough courage back then in order to make a change. The job was stable, people were nice, so I played it safe. Now looking back at the last 16 years of my career, I feel like quitting that job and then getting my first job in the tech sector was when my career really started to take off.

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

The moment I gained a bit of confidence and started changing jobs more frequently was how I managed to progress in my career. So if I could give my younger self a bit of advice, it would be to be confident, do not let fear lead your life, but learn to embrace it as fear is part of the process of becoming who you really are meant to be in life (and career).

In practical terms, for me it meant changing jobs more often (e.g. every 1-2 years, instead of 5+). I think changing jobs often is particularly important at the start of anyone’s career. It allows us to explore the different ways of doing things, the different sectors, the different styles of working, different technologies and so on. And once you have this diverse exposure to things it is only then that you are able to make up your own mind about who you want to be and how you want to get there.

What was the inspiration for your recent talk? Any key highlights / takeaways for anyone who missed it?

Working as a marketing analyst for several large companies, I was always frustrated by the disconnect and lack of communication and collaboration between Paid Search and Organic Search teams. Both seem to work very much in silos, often having their conflicting goals.

But the reality is that both can influence one another really strongly (in a positive or a negative way). Moreover, often the changes they are seeing in their respective trends might be driven by exactly the same thing (e.g. market trends). Unfortunately both teams do not tend to communicate enough.

That frustration was a reason for me to dwell into search analytics in a more holistic and coherent way. This led me to designing and building data pipelines and processes for organisations which allowed to consolidate, standardise, and enhance search data across paid and organic.

These became a very valuable source of insights for not just search teams, but across the wider business. I still see it again and again how many businesses underestimate the value of search data, and organic search data in particular. This data can be a really powerful and effective way of driving business growth, but there is little understanding how to use that data effectively.

During my talk at BrightonR I spoke specifically about how I used R in order to build those data pipelines, though to be honest the same could be achieved in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to Python. 

What’s your big tech prediction for 2022?

Oh gosh. Where do I start? I feel like there will be a few major changes this and next year. Firstly, the search engine market may become more fragmented, driven mainly by the potential search engine to be announced by Apple, as well as growth of other/alternative players (e.g. ecosia.org).

Also, many businesses will use migration to GA4 as an excuse to move away from Google Analytics altogether, and might start using other web analytics tools instead. So web analysts will need to be prepared for that and be able to learn new tools and technologies really quickly. This will also be a great opportunity for consultancies who provide such training.

And if you do Paid Search campaigns, you better keep a close eye on your Search Term reports. You might see that Google’s move to increasingly semantic search will give you less and less control over which keywords you are bidding on.

And finally, Silicon Brighton wouldn’t be here without people like you giving back to the community so… what does the word community mean to you?

To me ‘community’ is ‘home’. It is an environment and people who support, inspire and respect one another. Having moved to this country 16 years ago, and very far from my family, feeling part of the community was (and still is) particularly important for me. That became even more important as I had my children growing up. As they say, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. It might sound cliche, but I think that the best way to give back to the community (as an individual) is to be the best version of yourself. 

Anything else you would like to share?

We will soon be launching a course about Search Analytics. Anyone interested in this course (or other similar courses or training), feel free to contact me on agnes@analyticshacker.com. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel as we will post updates there.

Missed Agnes’ talk at Brighton R, or want to watch it again? Check it out here…

Working hand-in-hand with Brighton’s tech community, we run a range of free meetup groups that cover a broad spectrum of specialist areas; from marketing to programming, product design to data. Check out what’s coming up here and join our community of like-minded individuals in the local tech scene!