My sis­ter had an expe­ri­ence while rais­ing her three-year-old son that has given me some perspective.She was try­ing to explain the impor­tance of rules in the house­hold and said, “These are the rules!Do you under­stand the rules?”My nephew looked back at her with a side­ways glance and said, “Rules?I like Cin­na­mon Rules!”

The release of Site­Cat­a­lyst 15 exhibits many fea­tures that are geared toward mak­ing the life of the Online Mar­ket­ing Pro­fes­sional eas­ier.  One of the excit­ing new pieces of func­tion­al­ity in Site­Cat­a­lyst 15 is called “Pro­cess­ing Rules.”Essentially, this fea­ture allows you to set the value of a vari­able (prop, eVar, or event) based on the infor­ma­tion sent in any par­tic­u­lar image beacon.While this may sound fairly sim­ple, the effect has pro­found poten­tial and may just change the way you think about your implementation.Note: At the time of the writ­ing of this blog post, this func­tion­al­ity is still in beta.Please con­tact your Account Man­ager if you are inter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing in beta testing.

The con­cept of pre-processing is not new to SiteCatalyst.You may be famil­iar with the other two ways of doing some data pre-processing: VISTA Rules and Mar­ket­ing Chan­nel Pro­cess­ing Rules. The dia­gram below shows the pro­cess­ing stack that Site­Cat­a­lyst data goes through before becom­ing avail­able in reports.

So what is pos­si­ble with these pro­cess­ing rules?Let’s look at what you can and can­not do.

Pos­si­ble

·Sim­ple Pat­tern Matching

·Con­cate­nate Values

·Detect Val­ues from the URL and Query String

·Detect Val­ues from any avail­able Site­Cat­a­lyst Vari­able includ­ing Con­text Data (we’ll talk about that one shortly)

Not Pos­si­ble

·Split delim­ited values

·Exclu­sion of data based on IP address

·Mov­ing traf­fic from one report suite to another

The good news isall these things are pos­si­ble using other Site­Cat­a­lyst func­tion­al­ity or VISTA rules.Let’s go through some exam­ples to illus­trate just how pow­er­ful these rules can be.

Exam­ple 1

We’ll start with a sce­nario that may be famil­iar to you.Let’s say we want to gather a cam­paign track­ing code from a query string para­me­ter in the des­ti­na­tion URLs of our mar­ket­ing cam­paigns. (http://​www​.omni​ture​.com/​?​c​i​d​=​b​l​o​g​_​p​r​o​c​e​s​s​i​n​g​_​r​u​les)We can cre­ate a pro­cess­ing rule that will place the value of that track­ing code into the s.campaign vari­able every time we detect the “cid” query string parameter.“What’s so spe­cial about that?” you may ask.“We could have accom­plished this with the get­Query­Param plu­gin in the javascript code.”True.But Pro­cess­ing Rules allow us to get the same result with­out hav­ing to go through the process of deploy­ing code through the IT department.Depending on the process in place, this could help us gain sev­eral months of valu­able data.Another small ben­e­fit is the reduced size of the Site­Cat­a­lyst javascript code.

Exam­ple 2

Once I was work­ing with a client who acci­den­tally included code for an eVar in pages where it wasn’t wanted.This had the effect of over­writ­ing data that was valid and skew­ing the numbers.Unfortunately, the IT devel­op­ment cycle made it incon­ve­nient to put a fix into the implementation.This would have been a great sit­u­a­tion for pro­cess­ing rules.We could have cre­ated a rule for the pages affected to blank out the value of the eVar.

Exam­ple 3

We have a page named “Prod­uct Details Page:[Product ID]” on which we want to start fir­ing a cus­tom suc­cess event (event3).We can cre­ate a rule to detect this pat­tern in the page name and place the suc­cess event there.That was easy!Again, we are able to do this entirely in the Admin Con­sole of Site­Cat­a­lyst with­out touch­ing our implementation.

Con­text Data

There is another inno­va­tion which is related to pro­cess­ing rules that increases the flex­i­bil­ity with which you can imple­ment your data col­lec­tion.In a nut­shell, Con­text Data Syn­tax allows you to define the name of the vari­able that you assign a par­tic­u­lar value to.Note: You must have an s_code ver­sion of H23 or greater for Con­text Data.

s.contextData[’var_name’]=“some value”

For exam­ple:

s.contextData[’author’]=“J.K. Rowl­ing”

s.contextData[’language’]=“English”

s.contextData[’section’]=“Fantasy”

These val­ues will then be avail­able in the Pro­cess­ing Rules inter­face for assign­ment to par­tic­u­lar vari­ables (props, eVars, or events).You could also use the con­text val­ues for set­ting or remov­ing values.The power is now in your hands!

There is one caveat to using Pro­cess­ing Rules and Con­text Data.  As Spider-man’s Uncle Ben has told us: “With much power comes much responsibility.”Essentially, by giv­ing you access to these fea­tures, we are also giv­ing you the power to roy­ally mess up your imple­men­ta­tion! In order to mit­i­gate this risk a bit, we will require all admin users who want to take advan­tage of this fea­ture to go through a brief train­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process. There are train­ing videos in the Help sec­tion that you can ref­er­ence.  Then you will need to pass a brief 30-question quiz.  Your account man­ager can pro­vide access to this quiz.

As you can see, the Pro­cess­ing Rules and Con­text Data func­tion­al­i­ties of Site­Cat­a­lyst are pow­er­ful tools that allow you as an online mar­keter to have more con­trol and flex­i­bil­ity with the data you col­lect in your imple­men­ta­tion of SiteCatalyst.

Have spe­cific ques­tions about Adobe Site­Cat­a­lyst?  Want to track a data point on your web­site, but not sure where to start with the imple­men­ta­tion?  Fol­low me on Twit­ter @sitecattips Please feel free to leave a com­ment here or send me an email at adobe­site­cat­a­lyst (at) adobe​.com


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