Tag Archives: Adobe Analytics

Is it a good idea to run two digital analytics tools in tandem?

These questions come up a lot:

“Is it a good idea to run a double analytics implementation on one site/mobile app (i.e. Adobe + Google)?”

“Can we install GA and Adobe Analytics on the same website or do they conflict?”

You can add as many tracking tools as you want, they won’t adversely affect each other. I’ve seen companies that have Adobe Analytics, Google Analytics, Parse.ly, Mixpanel, and Coremetrics installed on the same site concurrently. It might affect page load time, but won’t affect data quality.

While you technically can have multiple tools in place, it doesn’t always mean you should. As a consultant I feel like I should have to put a dollar in a jar every time I say, “It depends,” but… it depends. Some of my clients do this, most don’t. There are reasons to do it, and reasons to avoid.

Advantages of tracking with two different tools:

  • A second source of data can be very handy for validation purposes or as a backup in case something catastrophic happens with the other tool.
  • Adobe is strong in some areas where GA is weak, and vice versa. Having both implemented gives you the best of both worlds.
    Novice analysts will be able to ramp up on GA faster, but seasoned analysts might be frustrated by the limitations of GA and need the more sophisticated functionality of Adobe.
  • Most companies use AdWords, so it’s likely that GA is already in place, anyway.

Disadvantages of tracking with two different tools:

  • $$$ – Assuming you’re on GA360, then you’re paying for two tools.
  • Double the tools, double the maintenance. New tagging requests will likely need to be implemented separately on each tool.
  • The idea of “one source of truth” can get muddied if you don’t have strong governance in place to choose and enforce which one is your system of record. Analysts could potentially cherrypick data and provide biased analysis.
  • You will inevitably end up down the data discrepancy wormhole when users report that the data from Adobe vs. GA don’t match perfectly . Expect to spend time and resources investigating those issues and/or educating your user base that it is normal and expected for two tools to yield slightly different data and to not freak out about a 2% variance.

If the advantages are something that you need and the disadvantages are something you are equipped to deal with, then running two tools in tandem might be a good option for you.

If the cons outweigh the pros, save yourself the $$$ and the trouble of implementing and maintaining two tools.

Cross-posted from  https://www.quora.com/Is-it-a-good-idea-to-run-a-double-analytics-implementation-on-one-site-mobile-app-i-e-Adobe-Google/answer/Halee-Kotara.

Does Adobe Analytics Have Its Own Version of Google’s Custom (UTM) URLs for Campaign Tracking?

Adobe Analytics has similar functionality, but it works slightly differently.

Adobe Analytics has a pre-defined variable called s.campaign which is reserved for campaign tracking. However, the URL parameter that sends data to s.campaign is NOT pre-defined. As is usually the case with Adobe Analytics, it’s customizable and you can choose your own query string parameter. My clients often use “cid” or “cmpid” or “camp,” but you can use whatever you want.

In order to map data from that query string parameter to s.campaign, you’ll either need to:

    1. Implement the getQueryParam plugin.
    2. Specify the parameter and map it to s.campaign in your tag management tool.

In Google Analytics, there are five dimensions related to campaign tracking: utm_source, utm_medium, utm_term, utm_content, utm_campaign. Adobe Analytics was designed to use only one dimension / campaign ID, and then to supplement that unique campaign ID using classifications (formerly known as SAINT). These classifications add supplemental data into Adobe Analytics using that campaign ID as a key, and can be accomplished by either uploading a lookup table, or using Classification Rule Builder to write logical/conditional rules to automatically generate the classifications on the fly.

One benefit of Adobe’s method is that it gives you far more campaign-related dimensions. With Google Analytics you get five, but in Adobe Analytics you can have up to 30 classifications. I typically see classifications for Channel (paid search, display, social, email, etc.) and Campaign Name at a minimum. But it’s completely customizable and you can use it for whatever makes sense for your company: the Campaign Manager responsible for a campaign, what day of the week / time of day an email was sent, ad placement size, ad network, etc.

Another benefit of the classification method is that you can retroactively add or modify the supplemental data. If a campaign manager accidentally passed the wrong values to any of the utm campaign tracking parameters in Google Analytics, the data will be incorrect in the reporting. (It would be possible to write some transformation filters to correct it, but it would be a pain and not scalable.) In Adobe Analytics it would be a simple matter of either correcting/re-uploading the lookup table, or correcting the rules in Classification Rule Builder.

As far as what values to pass to s.campaign, here are the two most common and effective ways to handle:

    1. Using a obfuscated campaign ID – The value in the query string parameter would be some value like “234987423,” and then all the details about that ID would be captured elsewhere, i.e. in a simple spreadsheet, within campaign planning software, or in a tool like Tracking First | Campaign Code Validation. Then the supplemental data would be exported from that other tool and imported into Adobe Analytics.
    2. Using a concatenated series of values – The value in the query string parameter would be a delimited, concatenated series of values like “soc:111:555,” where “soc” is a reference to the channel being Social, “111” is Campaign = Memorial Day, and “555” is Partner = Facebook. Using Classification Rule Builder you can parse those three delimited values apart using regex, and dynamically populate “soc,” “111,” and “555” into their respective classifications.

      If you wanted to get fancy, you could also use sub-classifications (a classification on a classification) to give a friendlier name to the other values so instead of seeing “111” as a line item in the Campaign report, it would say “Memorial Day.”

So while Adobe Analytics doesn’t work exactly like Google Analytics, it does have similar (and arguably more sophisticated) campaign tracking functionality. The difference is that there is a lot more upfront configuration work to set up Adobe Analytics campaign tracking, whereas Google Analytics campaign tracking is ready to go out of the box. But on the flipside there is a lot more flexibility and ability to customize the data in Adobe Analytics, where you’re just stuck with the default in Google Analytics.

And honestly you can extend that observation to any feature that exists in both tools!

Cross-posted from https://www.quora.com/Does-Adobe-Analytics-have-its-own-version-of-Googles-custom-UTM-URLs-for-campaign-tracking/answer/Halee-Kotara

What are the biggest differences between Adobe SiteCatalyst and Google Analytics Premium?

The short answer I always give is that Google Analytics is like a one size fits all t-shirt, and Adobe Analytics is like a custom-tailored suit. The rest of my answer is not so short.

Google Analytics:

  • The standard reporting interface is usually easier for beginners to learn, but isn’t very flexible when you want to orient the data differently than the default. Same goes for dashboards.
  • With Universal Google Analytics there are a lot more implementation options than there were in Classic Google Analytics, including far more ecommerce tracking options, along with custom dimensions and metrics. With enhanced ecommerce you can now track products from product impression to product view to cart to checkout to purchase, where in Classic GA you can only track products on the order confirmation page. With non-Premium Google Analytics you get 20 custom dimensions and 20 custom metrics. With Premium you get 200 custom dimensions and 200 custom metrics. However, the amount of customization and the degree to which you can configure these custom dimensions and metrics are very limited compared to Adobe.
  • One of Google Analytics Premium’s selling points is you get unsampled data, but to be clear, you do NOT get unsampled data in the browser-based reporting interface. You simply get an option to download the unsampled data into a .csv or .tsv file.
  • With Premium you also get support service, which I believe is Google partnering you up with an official Google Analytics third-party partner.

Adobe Analytics:

  • The standard reporting interface has always been super flexible. You’ve always been able to drag whichever metrics you want into a report, breakdown line items by other dimensions, and customize the reporting menu to your company’s needs and internal terminology. And now with their new Analysis Workspace interface that launched on 9/17/2015, it is even MORE flexible. Honestly, Analysis Workspace is the most nimble digital analytics interface I’ve ever seen. You can pivot and segment the data quickly and easily, and the load time is extremely fast.Adobe has other ancillary tools like Report Builder which is an Excel add-in, Ad Hoc (formerly known as Discover) with very powerful segmentation features, and Data Workbench (formerly known as Insight) which allows you to pull in other data sources.
  • The implementation options are really only limited by your imagination and availability of dev resources to put them into place! In regular Adobe Analytics you have 75 eVars and 100 events, and in Adobe Analytics Premium you get 250 eVars and 1,000 events. Each individual eVar can be customized on which value gets credit for conversions (first click / last click / shared) and how long values get credit for conversions (time-based, session-based, or on the completion of some other event). Similarly with events, they can be configured to be incremented, deduplicated per session, or deduplicated across multiple sessions with the use of some unique ID.Not to mention you can easily create calculated metrics in Admin, too.
  • Data is always unsampled.
  • Support is usually directly with Adobe’s account team or Adobe Client Care. The account team seems to be far more focused on selling you other tools in the Marketing Cloud than helping you with the ones you’ve got, and Client Care is usually worthless.

I like that Google Analytics gives you more out of the box to start with and there is less need to implement or configure the basic types of reports that are applicable across all sites (pages, campaigns, products, etc.)

On the flip side, I like that Adobe is so customizable and so flexible. This is a blessing and a curse. As others have stated, the quality of Adobe Analytics data is totally dependent on how well it is implemented. Going back to my original analogy, imagine someone who only knows how to sew on a button trying to sew an entire custom-fitted suit from scratch!

Cross-posted from https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-biggest-differences-between-Adobe-SiteCatalyst-and-Google-Analytics-Premium/answer/Halee-Kotara

Adobe Summit Breakout Session: ReportBuilder

At Summit 2014, there was a session called “Adobe ReportBuilder: Attaining data mashing (Excel)ence“.  (Here’s the PDF download of the presentation.  It will show more detail than this post.)  It was one of the more helpful sessions. If you don’t know what ReportBuilder is, it’s an add-in to Excel that allows you to build data blocks within your spreadsheet that pulls data directly from SiteCatalyst. (It used to be called Excel Client.)  It’s a lifesaver for recurring scorecards where you constantly have to pull the same metrics with updated time ranges. No more exporting / copying / pasting!

While I find ReportBuilder to be pretty self-explanatory and Adobe has training videos on the basic functionality, at Summit they shared these useful new features and/or best practices:

Use separate Excel tabs for controls versus data

One of the most powerful features of ReportBuilder is that you can have the report blocks set up to dynamically pull certain report parameters from cells in Excel. Adobe’s first tip was have one dedicated Excel tab for all your controls/inputs, and separate data tab(s) that contain the data blocks:
report-builder-tabs

Advanced / shortcut rolling date expressions

If you choose “Rolling Dates” from the date selection dropdown, there is an additional link for “Show Advanced Options”. Those allow you to write expressions to more exactly identify your rolling dates. Customized Expression Elements:

  • cd = current day
  • cw = current week
  • cm = current month
  • cq = current quarter
  • cy = current year

Expression Examples:

  • From cm-13m to cm-1d (returns the last full 13 months of data)
  • From cw-13w To cw-1d (returns the last full 13 weeks of data)
  • From cd-7d To cd-1d (returns the last 7 days of data)
  • *always add “-1d” to eliminate partial, current day data

report-builder-rolling-date-expressions

Editing multiple report blocks at once

While using cell-based inputs can eliminate the need for this feature, if you happen to still do it the old clunky way there is an option that will save you time by allowing you to mass-edit several report blocks at once. On the “Add-Ins” ribbon in Excel, select “Manage”, highlight the report suites you want to mass edit, select “Edit Multiple”, and follow the wizard to update the report parameters. Don’t forget to refresh!

Dependent data blocks

These are useful if you have a report that returns a list of line items that you want to use as a filter in another data block. I didn’t know this was even possible!

Anomaly detection

Using the previous 30 days as a training period, ReportBuilder can estimate the expected, upper, and lower range of data for a given metric.  You must be looking at a trended report with daily granularity to be able to use this functionality.  Enabling this will help you identify weird outliers in your trended data.
anomaly_select

Bonus

Since it took me 2 months to write this post, with the May 22 upgrade it looks like all the events/metrics are now in the same pane and no longer separated by traffic/conversion metrics!  No more having to build separate data blocks for visits and revenue, yay!