As a part of the “15 for 15″ blog series, I’m going to take a look at the new met­rics, metric-related fea­tures, and break­down options avail­able in Site­Cat­a­lyst 15. If you were at the Adobe Sum­mit event last March, you heard how ver­sion 15 is essen­tially a new plat­form. One of the main ben­e­fits of this new Site­Cat­a­lyst plat­form is its increased flex­i­bil­ity in terms of met­rics and break­downs, which is excit­ing news for any­one using Site­Cat­a­lyst on a reg­u­lar basis.

New met­rics

One met­ric that has received a lot of atten­tion in the field of web ana­lyt­ics is Bounce Rate. In pre­vi­ous ver­sions of Site­Cat­a­lyst you could build a cal­cu­lated met­ric (Single-Page Vis­its / Entries) and add it to a page report. Many Site­Cat­a­lyst users won­dered why Bounce Rate wasn’t just a default met­ric in the tool. In ver­sion 15, all of your wildest land­ing page opti­miza­tion dreams have come true — Bounce Rate is now a stan­dard met­ric on the Pages report!

In order to fully appre­ci­ate the new Bounce Rate met­ric, you need to under­stand another under­ly­ing met­ric, Bounces (also new). A Bounce is defined as a sin­gle hit visit with no other link event. For exam­ple, a single-page visit is a bounce if a vis­i­tor does not inter­act with the page in any way that sends data to Adobe such as click­ing a link or start­ing a video. Bounce Rate is defined as Bounces divided by Entries.

It’s impor­tant to note the slight but key dif­fer­ence between how the Bounce Rate may have been cal­cu­lated in pre­vi­ous Site­Cat­a­lyst ver­sions, and how the new default Bounce Rate is defined. In essence, if a vis­i­tor inter­acts with your con­tent in a delib­er­ate way (i.e., fires a link event), that entry won’t be con­sid­ered as a bounce even if they only vis­ited a sin­gle page.

In addi­tion to these two new met­rics, ver­sion 15 also intro­duces some improve­ments to two famil­iar met­rics: Vis­its and Time Spent on Site. As a pre­view, the vis­its met­ric will be more con­sis­tent, and the aver­age time spent will be more accu­rate. Ben Gaines will be dis­cussing the met­ric improve­ments in more detail in an upcom­ing post.

New metric-related features

Site­Cat­a­lyst 15 offers sev­eral metric-related enhance­ments that are worth men­tion­ing. First, all three met­rics — Page Views, Vis­its, and Unique Vis­i­tors — are avail­able on most of the Site­Cat­a­lyst reports (a few excep­tions include Cus­tom Links, Refer­rer, and Refer­rer Type). For exam­ple, within the Search Key­words report, you can now see which key­words are dri­ving the most page views, vis­its, etc., and you can build a cal­cu­lated met­ric for aver­age page views per visit. Pre­vi­ously, you could only tie key­words to searches (instances) and cus­tom events — not page views (unless a cus­tom event), vis­its, or unique visitors.

Sec­ond, the Unique Vis­i­tors met­ric rep­re­sents unique vis­i­tors for the time period of the report rather than the sum of daily unique vis­i­tors. For exam­ple, if I select a three-day time period for a spe­cific report and the same 100 peo­ple vis­ited each day, I will no longer see them as 300 daily unique vis­i­tors (day1 + day2 + day3) but instead as 100 unique vis­i­tors for the selected three-day period.

Third, the new Key Met­rics report enables you to trend mul­ti­ple met­rics at the same time. For exam­ple, you might be curi­ous to know if your page views are increas­ing at the same rate as your unique vis­i­tors. If you’re com­par­ing a cal­cu­lated met­ric (e.g., aver­age page views per visit) against a total met­ric (e.g., vis­its), you have the option to nor­mal­ize the data to observe patterns.

Fourth, in a past arti­cle, I dis­cussed the steps required to cre­ate default met­rics for indi­vid­ual reports in Site­Cat­a­lyst 14. It involved using the menu cus­tomiza­tion fea­ture and cus­tom reports. In Site­Catayst 15, it is very sim­ple for an admin­is­tra­tor to apply default met­rics at the report level. You add the met­rics you want to the report in ques­tion and then click on the “Set as Default” option. That’s it.

New Break­downs

If you’re famil­iar with Site­Cat­a­lyst, you’ll know what cor­re­la­tions and sub­re­la­tions are. For those of you who don’t know, they are the break­downs that are pos­si­ble between sim­i­lar types of reports or vari­ables (prop break­downs = cor­re­la­tions, eVar break­downs = sub­re­la­tions). On the eVar side, the mother of all break­downs is referred to as “full subs” or full sub­re­la­tions, which means that a par­tic­u­lar eVar report can be bro­ken down by any other eVar report. In past ver­sions of Site­Cat­a­lyst, this was lim­ited to the Cam­paign vari­able and one or two spec­i­fied eVars.

In Site­Cat­a­lyst 15, full sub­re­la­tions are enabled on all con­ver­sion reports so you can break down any eVar by another eVar. You are not able to nest more than two break­downs like you can in Dis­cover, but you do get the flex­i­bil­ity to per­form a sin­gle break­down of any two con­ver­sion reports you like.

As Spider-Man was once told by his Uncle Ben, “With great power comes great respon­si­bil­ity”. With this new break­down capa­bil­ity, it becomes more impor­tant to prop­erly name eVars and add back­ground infor­ma­tion to reports’ notes sec­tions. You don’t want users to mis­in­ter­pret the data they gain through the break­downs. For exam­ple, you might col­lect “Cus­tomer Type” data from an obscure lead form that is still tracked but no longer being actively pro­moted. An online mar­keter may mis­un­der­stand the exact source of the data — think­ing that “cus­tomer type” would be a use­ful dimen­sion for analy­sis — and come to illog­i­cal con­clu­sions. Make sure your end users don’t hurt them­selves and are able to gain the full ben­e­fit of the new break­down options.

Note: The new met­rics and full sub­re­la­tions will only report data from the date of the upgrade mov­ing for­ward. For exam­ple, if you add unique vis­i­tors to a report and the cho­sen date range includes time prior to the upgrade, you will get zeros for that met­ric prior to the upgrade (and you will get a clear mes­sage at the top of the report let­ting you know this).

The com­bi­na­tion of new met­rics, metric-related fea­tures, and break­downs rep­re­sents a small sam­pling of the excit­ing new fea­tures in Site­Cat­a­lyst 15. Stay tuned to learn about more enhance­ments in the next “15 for 15″ article.

Brent Dykes
Brent Dykes

Yes, Kevin Willeitner will be posting a "15 for 15" article on the new segmentation features shortly. It will give you lots of good insight into the new segmentation functionality. Brent.


Brent: I would love to know more about the segmentation feature... will you write about that one? Thanks! Juli

Brent Dykes
Brent Dykes

Ellen, It gets even better. While I mention above that you can only break down an eVar by an eVar, my colleague Kevin Willeitner pointed out that you actually get another breakdown level when you apply a segment using v15's new segmentation features. For example, you break down report X by report Y but then apply segment Z to your analysis -- essentially you have a three-level breakdown. Pretty cool. Brent.

ellen goldberg
ellen goldberg

"In SiteCatalyst 15, full subrelations are enabled on all conversion reports" Hallelujah to this! Good job!