My favourite session at the Adobe Omniture Summit EMEA 2011 was a panel based session for power users from Adam Greco, Jan Exner and Brett Dykes. It was full of tips, tricks and ideas for extending the capability of SiteCatalyst and getting more value from it. They explained potential approaches to resolving ten predefined questions and then took questions from the floor.
I didn’t always record the exact questions and answers, instead jotting down thoughts which were inspired by what was said. The following then is a mixture of the ideas presented and what I took from them (apologies for any mistakes made in the translation). For more ideas from the summit, check out my post on Experiences from the Adobe Omniture Summit EMEA 2011.
Include price in “add to cart” events
When recording an “add to cart” event, Adam recommended including the price of that product within the measurement. This enables calculations around the value of abandoned shopping carts. I wonder if this could be used to give a weighting to the Product Page Success Rate within the Merchandising report used to evaluate your most important products.
Use Counter eVars to understand behaviour pre conversion
A variable I wasn’t aware of are Counter eVars. It allows you to count the number of times an event occurs before a conversion. Examples of this include:
- the number of product views before a cart is created
- the number of internal searches before a result is selected
- the number of articles viewed before subscribing
The process for a successful implementation of SiteCatalyst
While it might seem obvious, the next piece of advice was to take an implementation or re-implementation seriously or web analytics will fail within your organisation. There are three elements to doing this properly:
- Plan – the process you will take during the implementation
- Talk – to all key stakeholders about their business/reporting requirements (what they need to know)
- Document – the business/reporting requirements, what is being tagged & configured
Matching up online and offline data
Use the Transaction ID variable to match up online data with offline data that you load into SiteCatalyst at a later date. I knew that you needed a unique identifier/key to match online & offline data but didn’t realise there was a specific variable available for this.
Streamline the SiteCatalyst UI for non-analyst users
Streamline SiteCatalyst through:
- customising menus
- renaming the menu items to make more relevant to your business
- hiding reports that are not relevant
- reordering the reports so that users can easily find the reports they need
- creating custom reports
- writing instructional notes for each reports
I recently worked with a client where the campaign section of the menu was completely reworked with custom reports and labelled for different stakeholder groups. Putting this work in can be the difference between SiteCatalyst being used by non analysts or being just another expensive reporting tool.
Create custom dashboards with the API
Use the API to build custom dashboards – this does only apply to online dashboards or those ones you see on big screens in the office. For Excel dashboards, use ReportBuilder (will work nicely with my free Excel Dashboard Templates).
Success Event Pathing
An idea Adam had previously written about is to capture all events as a sProp. He suggests you then turn on pathing for that sProp and you can do Success Event Pathing.
I was quite annoyed when I first read this this post as I had been planning to make the same suggestion although for a different reason. I love being able to look at the % of visits in which an event occurred and this allows you to do so. It can even give you an approximate funnel if you are tracking the key stages as events.
Evaluating the success of content
There were some ideas around how to evaluate the success of content including:
- Event participation
- Applying an eVar to capture the last page viewed prior to a success event
- Applying an eVar to capture the second last page viewed prior to a success event
Tracking and reporting on Internal Search
Internal search is one of the fundamental things that should be captured in any web analytics implementation and some ideas around doing so with SiteCatalyst were mentioned here:
- Use an event to capture use of internal search
- Use an eVar to capture the search term used
- Use an event for the visitor clicking on a search term result
- Create calculated metrics to evaluate the performance of search terms
- It was not mentioned but you should also capture internal search categories (as per Google Analytics)
- Also not mentioned is capturing the number of results, especially so you can identify search terms with zero results (as per Sitestat/Digital Analytix)
I do continue to be surprised that some specific Internal Search code and relevant reports have not been developed for SiteCatalyst instead of having to use traffic and conversion variables.
Measuring Visitor Engagement
It got really advanced at the end but counter eVars can be used to give points to visitor behaviour to calculate a measure of visitor engagement. I wrote down something about an incrementor event which I think is an alternative way of capturing this information, allowing you to compare the performance of other dimensions such as traffic source based on their level of visitor engagement.
Pathing for products
A bonus idea thrown out there was to enable pathing on products, allowing you to view how visitors navigate through the different products on a website (although I am not sure how this information could be used).