Why Am I Starting This Blog? [Inside Omniture SiteCatalyst]Tuesday, 5 August 2008 @ 9:20, by Adam Greco
Three years ago, when I joined Omniture Consulting after being one of the early Omniture SiteCatalyst customers, I thought I knew everything there was to know about SiteCatalyst. I had used the product for years, had created hundreds of reports/dashboards and presented data to the highest levels of my organization. Then I started working side by side with the (then) small band of Omniture Consultants and with each passing day, I quickly realized that I had much more to learn. My fellow consultants had done things I never dreamed of and had a ninja-like mastery of SiteCatalyst that put me to shame! As I learned from them and began working with great, cutting-edge clients, thankfully I got to the point where I could honestly call myself knowledgeable in SiteCatalyst. After going through this evolutionary process, I was often quoted as saying: If every Omniture client could learn some of the things I learned in the process of going from an Omniture client to an Omniture Consultant, wed have a lot more clients doing amazing things with our products! Therefore, I have always made it a priority to recall the things I didnt know then, but have since learned and to impart as much of that knowledge as possible to my clients. Time and time again, I meet Omniture clients that are using twenty to thirty percent of our product capabilities due to a lack education or simply not knowing about the existence of key features. As evidence of this, we did an experiment at last years Omniture Summit. I gave a presentation on SiteCatalyst Power Strategies which was very atypical in that it focused on SiteCatalyst features vs. web analytic concepts. The response was overwhelming (as rated by the # of positive emails I received!) and appeared to have struck a nerve. Those in attendance were self-described power users and many contacted me afterwards to say they werent familiar with many of the concepts I had discussed. If these power users learned something new, imagine what the rest of the SiteCatalyst user base has the potential to learn! The feedback we received from this session was that customers need a venue (for which the word blog was mentioned repeatedly) for helping them transition from novices to experts so that they could know enough to maximize their investment in SiteCatalyst. What This Blog Is While nothing can replace the classroom training provided by Omniture University, my goals for this blog are to accomplish the following: 1. Ensure that all Omniture clients have a venue to learn about the fundamentals of SiteCatalyst so that they can be successful in their Web Analysis or Marketing roles. Much of the content will be educational in nature, but I will strive to provide only the essentials and do so in a non-user manual way! Provide power user tips and tricks on how to answer real-world web analytics questions by leveraging SiteCatalyst. These may come from Omniture Consulting or directly from you! So as not to overwhelm those who are newer to SiteCatalyst, I will start with the basics, but promise to get more advanced soon so power users get value as well Do my best to answer questions you may have about SiteCatalyst features or answering key business questions you have via SiteCatalyst
What This Blog is Not It is equally important to state what this blog will not do. This blog will not cover conceptual web analytic topics. There are plenty of smart people out there blogging about web analytic processes, theories, etc so I will leave that to them. In addition, this blog will not cover technical or implementation related topics since it is meant for people using SiteCatalyst vs. people tagging/implementing SiteCatalyst. Finally, this blog will not cover Discover, Survey, Test & Target, etc but if this blog is successful, it may open the doors to similar blogs for those products. However, I will include Excel Tools, Data Warehouse, ASI, VISTA and all other tools related to SiteCatalyst. Lastly, I feel that the success of this blog will ultimately be determined by you. The more you share posts with co-workers, add comments to posts and/or contact me with topics you want me to cover or questions for me to answer, the more successful it will ultimately be. So heres hoping for the beginning of a fruitful, mutually beneficial forumEnjoy!
Traffic Variables (sProps) [Inside Omniture SiteCatalyst]Tuesday, 5 August 2008 @ 11:59, by Adam Greco
Like any software product you use, there are a few key elements that you need to understand to be successful. In working with clients I have found that many do not have a good understanding of the three fundamental building blocks of SiteCatalyst: sProps, eVars and Success Events. When I was an Omniture client, I will admit that I had much more important things to do with my time than to learn about Omnitures variable types and their capabilities. However, over time, I came to understand that these variables are the foundation of all SiteCatalyst reporting, so if I wanted to use Omniture reports to measure my website success and/or justify my re-design theories, I had better suck it up and learn about these three variable types. I hope you will do the same. In this post I will review sProps and will cover the other two types in my next posts. Traffic Variables Traffic variables (known to old-timers as sProps) help to track page-by-page site traffic activity. Site Traffic is normally measured via Page Views, Visits or Unique Visitors. The primary purpose of sProps is to allow you to breakdown Page Views, Visits and Unique Visitors into meaningful buckets. While SiteCatalyst provides reports to see total Page Views, Visits and Unique Visitors for your site, most web analysis needs to take place at a much more granular level. Without sProps, you would not be able to see such things as which pages are the most popular or what percentage of pages were viewed in the USA vs. Canada, etc. The following is an example of the most commonly used sProp report, the Most Popular Pages report:
Not Persistent An important thing to know about sProps is that they are not persistent. This means that they do not retain their value from one page to the next, a concept that often confuses Omniture customers. I find that the easiest way to understand sProps is to think of the most commonly used sProp: Page Name. Lets assume a visitor to your site starts their visit on the Home Page and the value Home Page is passed into the Page Name sProp. From the Home Page, the visitor clicks on a link and is taken to the Contact Us page. You would certainly not want the value of Home Page to persist and be passed into the Page Name sProp on this next page or it would look like the Home Page had two Page Views instead of each page having one Page View. Pathing Another important thing to know about sProps is that they are used for Pathing. Pathing is the ability to view the order in which values are passed to a particular SiteCatalyst sProp for a specific Visit. For example, lets say that each page on your site has a pagename and the values passed to the Pagename sProp are Page A, Page B, and Page C respectively. If Pathing is enabled for that sProp, SiteCatalyst would record the order in which the values were passed and allow you to view reports that show the percentage for which all site users went from Page A to Page B, etc I will definitely be talking more about Pathing in a future post. Did You Know? The following additional items related to sProps are worth noting: 1. 2. Visits, Daily Unique Visitors, Weekly Unique Visitors, Monthly Unique Visitors and Quarterly Unique Visitors can be enabled for any sProp (for an additional fee) SiteCatalyst provides several out-of-the-box pre-defined sProps including: Pagename, Site Section, Server, Browser, Country, etc These are similar to all other (custom) sProps with the exception being the Pagename sProp which is somewhat special in that it captures the page URL if no value is passed to it. Any two sProps can be correlated or broken down by each other Pathing can be enabled for any sProp Any sProp can be classified using SAINT
3. 4. 5.
Real-World Example In every post I will attempt to provide a real-world example of the topic at hand. Lets say that we are working for Greco Inc., an Omniture SiteCatalyst customer that owns several different types of web properties. One of Greco Inc.s web properties has a
translation utility which allows each page of the site to be viewed in either English or Spanish. The CMO is working on a marketing campaign targeting Hispanic customers and, as such, would like to get a feel for the percentage of all site Page Views viewed in Spanish. To accomplish this, the client would pass the language that the current page is being viewed in to a custom sProp. For best results, this sProp should be populated on every page so that the total Page Views in this report matches (or is close to) the overall number of Page Views for the same timeframe. Doing this might produce a report that looks like this:
Thus, by using a custom sProp, Greco Inc. now has a new way to breakdown Page Views and can answer the specific business question at hand.
Conversion (Success Events) [Inside Omniture SiteCatalyst]Friday, 8 August 2008 @ 6:00, by Adam Greco
SiteCatalyst Conversion Variables Omniture SiteCatalyst breaks its variables into two types: Traffic and Conversion. As discussed in my last post, Traffic Variables allow you to segment traffic metrics (i.e. Page Views) and utilize Pathing, whereas Conversion Variables allow you to quantify and segment the success actions taken by your site visitors. The Conversion area of SiteCatalyst is made up of two distinct variable types - Success Ev