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In last 9 years, I have been a part of more than 100 SiteCatalyst Implementation Projects, and majority of these projects were either related to optimization of existing implementations or, integration with 3rd party vendors. All these projects were spread across different industry verticals i.e. Retail, Telecommunication, Insurance, Finance, Travel and Healthcare.
After being a part of this Web Analytics Industry for such a long time, and performing number of SiteCatalyst Implementations, there are certain fundamental problems that still need to be fixed in the organization in order to maintain the consistency and quality of the data month after month. Below mentioned are the Top 10 problems we usually encounter in every organisation along with few quick fixes.
This is one of the major fundamental problems reported in the web analytics industry, and its product agnostic. The majority of the organisations we have engaged with in last 8-9 years have reported this as the major reason behind data inconsistency, poor quality and lower usage of web analytics solution in their organization.
The challenge is, most of the analytics solutions in the industry don’t offer smarter and efficient techniques to fix the legacy data, and once you fed your analytics solution with garbage data, you have to live with that, and there are no retroactive data fix techniques available in these solutions. Though, Adobe SiteCatalyst made an attempt few years ago to facilitate certain tools in their solution, which allows the business team to fix the undesirable page names without involving the IT, which means no development cost, but these tools are quite understated in the solution and often times organizations are not aware that they are actually present and quite easy to use.
The 2 tools are:
Often times we meet certain clients, who are quite confident about their online visitor behavior, and how they engage with different section of the website, and result in various micro and macro conversions. Despite this great understanding, they are skeptical about data accuracy and often complain about overstatement or understatement of their micro and macro conversions. Here are some of the common concerns:
Above mentioned are some of the problems that can easily be fixed by a technique called EVENT SERIALIZATION in SiteCatalyst. You simply need to give a call to Adobe Client Care and ask them to enable SERIALIZATION BY VISIT or BY UNIQUE ID on any EVENT or METRIC of your choice. This technique would allow you to avoid OVER EXECUTION of an event per visit and maintain the uniqueness of the data.
SERIALIZATION BY VISIT is the safest and the most commonly used option while, BY UNIQUE ID works across visitors instead of visits, which makes it quite dangerous to use so; unless you can create some Unique ID per event per visit of a unique visitor, don’t use this feature.
Lately, we have started receiving lot of questions from our clients asking for a weighted metric in SiteCatalyst, which allows them to gauge the conversion potential of a page, and define a testing and targeting strategy considering that value as an input besides other relevant metrics.
Unfortunately, most of the clients are not aware that, SiteCatalyst offers a concept called “PARTICIPATION”, which allows the solution to assign a WEIGHTED and NUMERICAL value to each page, and help the analyst in determining the value of a page with respect to other pages.
For example, if the visitor comes to the website of Kenneth Cole to buy a BLACK DIAL LEATHER WATCH of $100.00, and browse through 10 pages prior to conversion then, all the pages would get $100 each as their participation credit during the conversion process.
If, you don’t turn on the PARTICIPATION then, the value of $100 would be distributed in a linear fashion to all 10 pages i.e. $10 each. This concept is called “ALLOCATION”. In order to enable participation on any metric, you need to give a call to ADOBE CLIENT CARE, and request them to enable PARTICIPATION on any metric of your choice.
The best practice is to enable it on REVENUE metric if, you are an ecommerce website. This would give you a new metric in the report suite by the name of “REVENUE PARTICIPATION”, and on choosing this metric as one of the column in the Pages report would give you a PERCENTAGE and CURRENCY value. Just ignore the CURRENCY value and focus on the PERCENTAGE prefix to it. For example, if the Home Page has a % value of 56% then that means, this page participated in 56% of the Revenue on the website.
Out of the box, SiteCatalyst offers GEOSEGMENTATION reporting, which usually gets enabled by making a request to Adobe Client Care. The GEOSEGMENTATION reporting allows the business team to determine the % of traffic coming from different countries, states/regions and cities. However, these out of the box reports, don’t allow the business team to add metrics of their choice i.e. Revenue, Orders, Email Sign-up, Lead Generation, Catalog Requested, Form Completion etc.
In order to make the above metrics available in the GEOSEGMENTATION based reports, the business team needs to make a request to engineering services to setup a GEOSEGMENTATION VISTA RULE, which creates a replica of the out of the box reports by leveraging CUSTOM CONVERSION VARIABLES, and would allow the business user to add any conversion metric of their choice in the above 3 reports. Since, you are making a request to engineering services, you need to go through a formal process and pay ADOBE for their engineering and consulting services.
As the % of marketing spend is increasing in the APAC region, there is a significant interest among the business and marketing teams to gauge the effectiveness of their spend across channel, across campaign and across demographics.
Out of the box, SiteCatalyst offers TRACKING CODE report, which allows the IT team to extract the Marketing Query Parameters from the URL, and assign to the TRACKING CODE report but, as the number of channels and campaigns increases, it becomes quite tough to manage this report and interpret it in an efficient manner. For most of the clients we engaged with in last 5 years, it was like finding a needle in the hay.
Almost 18 months ago, SiteCatalyst added MARKETING CHANNEL reporting capability, which allows the Marketing Team to see the Conversion Numbers based on LAST and FIRST Touchpoint attribution. These reports have not been marketed well, and most of the implementations we audited in last 12 months, were not having these reports enabled in their report suite. So; we would request all the clients of Omniture to get these reports enabled with the help of their Account Manager, and configure them via ADMINISTRATIVE section. Prior to configuring these reports, you need to make sure; all the Marketing Channel URLs are associated with relevant tracking codes.
In order to see the effectiveness of marketing spend at CAMPAIGN LEVEL, you need to leverage the SAINT CLASSIFICATION utility. Using this utility, you upload all your campaign data via data feed to Adobe SiteCatalyst. This is in-fact a widely adopted approach despite of being quite manual and in-efficiently managed.
After Page Names, this is the second most frustrating aspect of the SiteCatalyst tool. Almost every client we have engaged with in last 8-9 years, have asked us this question. Before we talk about how to fix this problem, let’s explore why this problem exists?
Quick Action Items for the Business & IT Teams to avoid the above problem:
Majority of the companies we have dealt with in the past 3-4 years, have shown lot of frustration in regards to NON AVAILABILITY of Visits and Visitors as a metric in Conversion Reports but, they are not aware of the fact that, these metrics are available but, they need to be enabled with the help of Adobe Client Care.
So; if you are using Version 14.X or lower of SiteCatalyst, give a call to Adobe Client Care, and ask them to enable these 2 metrics for the Conversion Reports. In the version 15.X, these metrics are already enabled. The other difference you would experience while running a report in version 14.x and 15.x with VISITS and VISITORS as a metric in the Conversion Reports that, the version 14.X only shows the count of visitors who contributed in the success while, in version 15.X they show the total visitor count, which makes it more interesting and actionable.
In last few years, lot of clients have raised this concern that, SiteCatalyst out of the box Search Engine based reports are usually not in sync with their Search Engine Reporting Tool data so; they stopped relying on these numbers and just use them directionally.
There are 2 major reasons behind this frustration:
Usually, the SEARCH ENGINE channel has a 30 DAY COOKIE, and if you are comparing these numbers with out of the box SiteCatalyst reports, it will never reconcile and you would always get incorrect picture of the data so; go for an alternative approach i.e. Capture the Search Engine Tracking Codes in “s.campaign” variable, and set the EXPIRY value as “30 DAYS”. This will bring down the deviation to a great extent but, if you are marketing across multiple channels with different COOKIE EXPIRY values then, the % of discrepancy would be wider. The other major problem with SiteCatalyst is that, it doesn’t allow the marketing people to configure an ATTRIBUTION MODEL of their choice so; you either go for LAST CLICK or FIRST CLICK. There is no WEIGHTAGE or TIME BASED Attribution Model, which is more reliable and actionable.
Often times, we receive complaints from our clients that, SiteCatalyst lacks key conversion metrics in their metric list, which makes it, quite frustrating for us to analyze the data in an efficient manner. A FREE TOOL like Google Analytics offers so many metrics out of the box so; why can’t we get the same metrics in SiteCatalyst.
This is another mis-conception majority of the Omniture Clients has that; SiteCatalyst lacks key conversion metrics in their metric list. In fact, SiteCatalyst offers more conversion metrics than any other tool in the industry whether FREE or PAID. The problem is, the clients are not aware with the complete feature set of the SITECATALYST TOOL. When you click on “ADD METRICS” link on top of any report, it opens a METRIC LIST popup window. In that window, there is a dropdown on the Top Left with an option, CALCULTED METRICS. Using this option, clients can setup any metric of their choice using simple mathematics. Here are certain metrics that we usually setup for all our clients:
Irrespective of how good your web analytics implementation is or how smart your team is, your web analytics implementation will become CRAP with-in 6 months if, you have not put the right data governance in place. In last 8-9 years, we have not seen even a single company, who has done a good job in this regards across different industry verticals, and that’s why, we have more frustrating stories in the industry and frequent switchover from one analytics solution to another. Here is what you can do to maintain the quality and consistency of data month over month:
All the above solutions we have shared with you are cost free except for VISTA RULE.
In case you have any follow-up questions or concerns, please share your valuable comments.
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