Classifying Out-of-the-Box Reports
Published by Adam Greco on August 10, 2009.
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While there are many great out-of-the-box reports in Omniture SiteCatalyst, there is one key limitation to them that can cause problems from time to time. This limitation is that you cannot apply SAINT Classifications to out-of-the-box reports. In this post, I will demonstrate why this can cause issues and how I get around this limitation.
What’s The Big Deal?
So you cannot classify some out-of-the-box reports. What’s the dig deal? Let me show you a real-life example of where this limitation comes into play. Let’s imagine that your boss tells you that he needs to see a weekly report of the top 25 Natural Search Keywords leading to Site Registrations. No problem! Simply open the Natural Search keywords report, add the Site Registrations Success Event and schedule the report for delivery (easy enough!). However, the life of a web analyst is never that easy. Next your boss says that he needs to see the same weekly report, but broken out by Branded vs. Non-Branded Natural Search Keywords. Uh oh! Now you have a problem. Your first thought is to use the ExcelClient to download the Natural Search Keywords report and then use a pivot table to group each Keyword into Branded vs. Non-Branded buckets. However, you soon realize that this will soon become a maintenance nightmare as you will have to manually do this each week and there isn’t an easy way to distribute the report to all Omniture users like you can through a SiteCatalyst Dashboard. So next, you recall reading a [brilliant] blog post about Classifications and realize that the easiest thing to do would be to classify the top 200-300 Natural Search Keywords and then add the Branded vs. Non-Branded Classification version of the report to a SiteCatalyst Dashboard. This would only require a one-time work effort and barely any maintenance. Problem solved! However, when you go to the Admin Console to add a Classification to the Natural Search Keywords report, you soon discover, that there is no way to do this (why, Omniture why?). The inability to classify this report can have a real negative impact on end-user adoption, which is why at times, this can be a big deal.
But this is not the only place where this limitation can haunt you. Another common example, is the Visit Number report. It is pretty cool that you can look at the Visit Number report and add a Success Event metric and see what percentage of success takes place within the first visit, second visit, etc… But if your site has a “long tail” it may take many visits for success to take place. How would you like to present your boss with a report about Internal Searches that looks like this:
While not the worst thing in the world, this report does not provide an easy way to perform analysis, nor does it “tell a story” at an executive level due to its level of granularity. However, if you could classify the Visit Number report, you could create a more functional report like this:
Here we can more easily see that the bulk of Onsite Searches are being conducted by first timers and those who have been on the site many times which can lead to follow-on questions.
The following are some of the places where I have run into this limitation:
- Search Keywords
- Search Engines
- Visit Number
- Referrers/Referring Domains
- GeoSegmentation Country, Region, City, etc…
About Adam Greco
Adam Greco is a longstanding member of the web analytics community who has consulted with hundreds of clients across every industry vertical. Mr. Greco began his web analytics career managing the website for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and then became one of the founders of the Omniture Consulting group. While at Omniture, Mr. Greco managed accounts large and small and helped clients maximize their use of Omniture technologies. In 2012, in partnership with Adobe, Mr. Greco is publishing the first-ever book on Adobe SiteCatalyst - The Adobe SiteCatalyst Handbook: An Insider's Guide.
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