The tip is an expanded selec­tion from the free eBook Ana­lyt­ics Con­sult­ing Quick Tips: Retail Hol­i­day 2013

One of the keys to opti­mum use of Ad Hoc Analy­sis (for­merly Dis­cover) is to step away from sin­gle reports. Ad Hoc Analy­sis should spark mul­ti­ple tabs and work­spaces that encom­pass an entire project. Here are five tips to encour­age deep explo­ration and exam­i­na­tion in Ad Hoc Analysis.

1. Lever­age many seg­ments at once: A crit­i­cal com­po­nent within Ad Hoc Analy­sis is the abil­ity to layer and set side-by-side mul­ti­ple seg­ments. Work with mul­ti­ple seg­ments and fine tune to uncover insights by com­par­i­son and trend views.

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2. Explore using mul­ti­ple break­downs: Ad Hoc Analy­sis has the abil­ity to drill down to sev­eral cor­re­la­tion lev­els across mixed vari­able types. Take full advan­tage of this fea­ture and run dif­fer­ent checks against your data series down sev­eral levels.

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3. Don’t be afraid to copy your entire Work­space and start over: One of the best fea­tures of Ad Hoc Analy­sis is the easy copy fea­ture which allows for all exist­ing work to be set within a fresh new work­space. This fea­ture makes it fast to iter­ate and try new data manip­u­la­tions with­out con­cern for main­tain­ing your orig­i­nal base data set.

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4. Use the ‘Dimen­sions’ in the Seg­ment Builder win­dow to quickly build multi-condition seg­ments: One of the fastest ways to cre­ate multi-dimension seg­ments is through multi-selection within a dimen­sion and then drag and drop action into the seg­ment def­i­n­i­tion pane.

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5. Use the ‘Fall­out Report’ to start new sequen­tial seg­ments: A great way to auto-build sequen­tial seg­ments in a sim­pli­fied visual approach is use of the built-in ‘Cre­ate Seg­ment’ but­ton in the ‘Fall­out Report’. Use this option to explore your fall­out vis­i­tor or visit seg­ment in fur­ther detail across reports.

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The Take­away:
You should approach Ad Hoc Analy­sis with a dif­fer­ent mind­set and intent than reg­u­lar report pulls. Push your project past a spe­cific sin­gle data report series through seg­men­ta­tion, appli­ca­tion of mul­ti­ple dimen­sions, and effi­cient work­space flow.

Brian Au is a con­sul­tant in Adobe Con­sult­ing, focused on dig­i­tal strat­egy, ana­lyt­ics & opti­miza­tion for retail, travel & high tech clients. He tweets at @Bri­anAu.

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