Building on what we learned during day one and day two of the Omniture advanced implementation class, day three covered new material and finished with an exercise implementing the basics on a sample site. At this point, we felt we knew how to ask the right business questions to be answered by web analytics and that we had the know-how to implement the right solutions.
It’s worth staying for the entire session until 5 PM. Toward the end of the day a senior implementation consultant came in to answer questions that came up during the three days that the instructor couldn’t answer. Some participants left early to catch flights, but I’m glad I stayed until the end even though that meant taking the red eye home.
Here are my takeaways from the final day of class for those of you already familiar with Omniture.
- If you are rolling up multiple report suites to a higher, global report suite, each suite must use the same time zones for the data to work properly. For example, if you have sites in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York–each with its own report suite–and you want to roll up the data to an overall report suite (total organizational performance), you must select the same time zone for all the reports; if that’s Eastern Time because your most important stakeholders are located there then your LA report is going to be in Eastern Time.
- The SAINT application uses the same database as the campaign manager, although the two appear to be separate.
- How do you use clickmaps overlays on older pages where the design has significantly changed? Save a local version of the web page to your hard drive as an archive. You can then turn on the overlay to see what happened during that time period. Better yet, use your content management system to archive the changes or keep back copies on your server. For instance, imagine that your home page one month has a three-column layout, but that you later change it to a two-column layout. Your clickmap overlay will no longer “see” some of the links that are no longer there in the new design. By going back in time to your archived copy–and changing the reporting period accordingly–you can once again see which area’s of that page were getting the most clicks. Make sure your JS file uses an absolute, not relative, link for this to work.
- Use S_Object ID to track rotating ads that use separate URLs through clickmaps. For example, if your home page always has an ad in the corner, but it points to a different message and URL throughout the day, this variable will let you count how many clicks you’re getting in the corner. Now when it’s time to track internal campaigns, you’ll use a separate evar to determine which of those ads were the most effective. This one-two combination lets you track position (are visitors clicking in the corner?) and individual ads (which ones work?).
- Import your old log files or previous analytics package data into a separate report suite. You can’t mix and match with your new Omniture data, but the reports will be familiar when you want to look at historical data. So, if you moved from the WebTrends logfile analyzer to Omniture at the start of the year, then your December and earlier data from WebTrends could be imported to a separate report suite. Your day-to-day reporting would take place in your main report suite, but you’d still have access to your older data.
- If you have multiple domains or add your tracking code to third-party sites that do some of your hosting (such as for a promotional campaign, fundraiser or contest), make sure to specify these domains as internal within the Admin tab under Edit/General/Internal. If not, supposedly you’ll have some page names show up as “other” in the reports–in which case you’ll have to call Omniture to find out what those pages are. However, I had a case where I hadn’t identified a third party as an internal domain, yet the data came through fine; the senior implementation consultant who came to the class couldn’t explain this. Nevertheless, I’ll set the internal domains going forward.
- The Omniture debugger does not work on custom link tracking; use Ethereal, an open source packet sniffer, instead.
This class also included a hard sell for Discover 2, an expensive (even by Omniture standards) option that gives you real time access to the full, non-normalized database of your analytics data. It’s like Omniture’s Data Warehouse product without the multi-day wait for data. For performance reasons your data is normally chunked up and only the relationships and correlations you requested/configured ahead of time are available. If you think of some relationships you want to explore down the road, those have to be set up in SiteCatalyst and are available only going forward. Discover 2, however, gives you every combination right away.