Mail­bag time! It’s been quite a while. I’ve been get­ting some great ques­tions from really tal­ented ana­lysts and mar­keters. Seri­ously, every­one is get­ting smarter. I’m barely keep­ing up. Here are just a few of these ques­tions, col­lected from e-mail, Twit­ter, and in-person con­ver­sa­tions… and here’s hop­ing I don’t go another 17 months between mail­bags, eh? Please send me your ques­tions via the com­ment form on this blog, or tweet at me (@benjamingaines).

Q: Let’s say I am look­ing at a Cam­paigns report show­ing Click-throughs (or Instances in an eVar report) and the new Entries met­ric. For dif­fer­ent line items in the report, some­times Click-throughs is higher than Entries and some­times the oppo­site is true. What is going on?

BG: There are a few rea­sons why Click-throughs might be higher than Entries, and vice versa. First, let’s make sure we’re clear on what these two met­rics mean in a Cam­paigns report. Click-throughs rep­re­sents the num­ber of times that a track­ing code for the given cam­paign was passed into Site­Cat­a­lyst. When a user clicks on an affil­i­ate link that has been tagged with one of these track­ing codes, he is taken to your land­ing page and the track­ing code is cap­tured in a JavaScript vari­able (s.campaign). That data is sent into Site­Cat­a­lyst and a click-through is recorded. Entries rep­re­sents the num­ber of times that a user’s visit began with a page where a track­ing code for the given cam­paign existed. An entry can only hap­pen once per visit.

Now, why would Click-throughs be higher than Entries for a campaign?

  • Users might record mul­ti­ple Click-throughs per visit, even for a sin­gle cam­paign. This can hap­pen if the user goes back or for­ward in his/her browser and hits the land­ing page mul­ti­ple times.
  • A click-through might occur on a page other than the first page of the visit. As an exam­ple, I might go to your home page by typ­ing in the URL. Then I remem­ber that I saw an ad on another site for 20% off of the prod­uct I want to buy, so I find that site in my browser his­tory and go there. Once I have found the link to your site, I click on it, return­ing me to your site and count­ing a cam­paign click-through. But my visit started moments ago on your home page. Thus, this would be a click-through but not an entry for the campaign.
  • In rare cases, you may have an imple­men­ta­tion prob­lem where you are send­ing mul­ti­ple bea­cons on the land­ing page, and the one where the track­ing code is set is not first in order, thus inad­ver­tently caus­ing the prob­lem described in the pre­vi­ous bul­let point.

Why would Entries be higher than Click-throughs for a campaign?

  • Remem­ber that a cam­paign can “per­sist,” mean­ing that Site­Cat­a­lyst remem­bers its name or value for each user who comes to your site via one. It’s pos­si­ble for you to set the cam­paign vari­able to per­sist for a length period of time (e.g., a month) or even indef­i­nitely. This allows you to do some inter­est­ing report­ing to answer ques­tions such as, “How often to users who first vis­ited via Cam­paign X return to my site over the next six months?” It is impor­tant to note, though, that met­rics like Entries will be asso­ci­ated to a cam­paign that has per­sisted from a pre­vi­ous visit. So if a user returns to your site for a sub­se­quent visit and has a cam­paign that has per­sisted from a pre­vi­ous visit, that cam­paign will receive credit for an entry, even if there was not a cam­paign track­ing code set in the JavaScript on the first page of that sub­se­quent visit. This would count poten­tially mul­ti­ple entries over the course of sev­eral user vis­its, but per­haps only a sin­gle click-through.

Seg­men­ta­tion can also cre­ate some inter­est­ing rela­tion­ships between met­rics. For exam­ple, let’s say I have applied a seg­ment to exclude all U.S. vis­its. But I have some vis­i­tors who use lap­tops or mobile devices, and travel between the U.S. and other coun­tries. Let’s imag­ine that one such vis­i­tor clicked through a cam­paign while he was in the U.S., and then made a num­ber of sub­se­quent vis­its while he was out­side of the U.S. Only those sub­se­quent vis­its would be included in my seg­ment, and all data from my first visit (where the click-through occurred) would be excluded. If my track­ing code per­sists for mul­ti­ple vis­its, I could see 0 click-throughs and, say, 5 entries in this report.

Q: Why can I only exclude five IP addresses using the Admin Console?

BG: This came up on Twit­ter a while back and I wanted to clar­ify for every­one: you can now exclude up to 50 IP addresses or ranges in the Admin Con­sole. Many of you who have been con­sid­er­ing a VISTA rule to exclude a bunch of IP addresses can prob­a­bly do every­thing you need to do within the UI now. To get started, go to Admin > Exclude by IP.

exclude IPs in SiteCatalyst

Q: Can you please tell me what “Loc. #” is and what is the dif­fer­ence between Loc. # 0 and 151 or 169?

BG: Loca­tion num­ber (Loc. #) is how ClickMap attempts to record exactly where on the page a link occurred. This “met­ric” appears in the ClickMap report within Site­Cat­a­lyst and nowhere else. You can read more about it in my old ClickMap post that still mostly applies. Essen­tially, some browsers allow ClickMap to obtain a num­bered list of every­thing on the page. When a user clicks a link, ClickMap can deter­mine that the link was ele­ment 151 or 169, which helps it assign that click to the link and then build an over­lay when you use the ClickMap browser plug-in.

If a user’s browser does not pro­vide this infor­ma­tion, ClickMap can still deter­mine where the click occurred, but it does not use the loca­tion num­ber. That’s why you some­times see Loc. # equal to zero.

Q: How can I man­age my seg­ments in Site­Cat­a­lyst 15?

BG: This one is not a real ques­tion from a user, but since I didn’t blog about it when it was released, I fig­ured I should men­tion that last month we added the abil­ity to edit and delete seg­ments directly in the seg­men­ta­tion drop-down menu in Site­Cat­a­lyst 15. Now, when you expand the menu, you will see three icons next to your seg­ments that were cre­ated in Site­Cat­a­lyst or Data Warehouse:

delete a segment in SiteCatalyst 15

The lit­tle blue “i” gives you a win­dow that shows the seg­ment def­i­n­i­tion, so you can be sure that it’s the one you want to apply. The pen­cil allows you to edit the seg­ment def­i­n­i­tion (so you no longer have to cre­ate new seg­ments to iter­ate on exist­ing ones!). The red “x,” as I’m sure you guessed, allows you to delete a seg­ment. BONUS FUN FACT: If you delete a seg­ment that is in use by a Data Ware­house report, the Data Ware­house report will not be impacted. The seg­ment will be applied as expected. So you don’t need to worry about break­ing your DW reports by delet­ing a segment.

This doesn’t apply to all seg­ments in the drop-down menu; the built-in seg­ments, those that were cre­ated by another user, or those that were cre­ated in Dis­cover, can­not be deleted or edited; you can still view their def­i­n­i­tions, but you can­not change them.