Clas­si­fi­ca­tions (also known by the acronym SAINT for Site­Cat­a­lyst Attribute Import­ing and Naming Tool), or the process of clas­si­fy­ing an Omni­ture Site­Cat­a­lyst vari­able, is a topic that tends to con­fuse many of my clients. Hav­ing been a cus­tomer myself, I can under­stand why Clas­si­fi­ca­tions can be daunt­ing, but the truth is that once you under­stand them, they are not very dif­fi­cult and can save you a lot of time. In this post I will cover the basics of Clas­si­fi­ca­tions and how you can use them.

What are Clas­si­fi­ca­tions?
So what exactly is a Clas­si­fi­ca­tion? Tech­ni­cally speak­ing, when you “clas­sify” a Site­Cat­a­lyst vari­able you are estab­lish­ing a rela­tion­ship between a vari­able and meta-data related to that vari­able. Clas­si­fi­ca­tions are most fre­quently used in the Cam­paigns area so I will use that as a way to explain them. Most clients send cam­paign traf­fic to their site using a track­ing code. This track­ing code is an iden­ti­fier that may rep­re­sent a spe­cific key­word pur­chased on Google, such as “goog123.” This iden­ti­fier is passed into the s.campaigns vari­able so you can see what site suc­cess events take place after vis­i­tors come to your site from that cam­paign code. But what if, instead of view­ing Cam­paigns just by the track­ing code, you want to see cam­paign results by Search Engine or Key­word or Cam­paign Chan­nel? Do you have to cre­ate a new con­ver­sion vari­able for Search Engine, another for Key­word and yet another for Cam­paign Chan­nel? If so, you would use up many of your fifty vari­ables on Cam­paigns alone! Thank­fully, you can use Clas­si­fi­ca­tions to make your life eas­ier! Since each track­ing code could have a Search Engine, Key­word or Cam­paign Chan­nel, you can sim­ply cre­ate three Clas­si­fi­ca­tions of the Cam­paigns vari­able to rep­re­sent each. You are essen­tially telling Site­Cat­a­lyst that there is a direct rela­tion­ship between the Cam­paigns vari­able and these three other “meta-data” val­ues. By doing this, Site­Cat­a­lyst will allow you to slice and dice site Suc­cess Events by all four vari­ables with no addi­tional tagging!

So How Does It Work?
To clas­sify a Site­Cat­a­lyst vari­able, the first thing you (or some­one with Admin rights) need to do is to set-up the Clas­si­fi­ca­tion in the Admin­is­tra­tion Con­sole. To do this, you select the appro­pri­ate report suite(s) and then choose the vari­able you want to clas­sify as shown here:

In this case we will add the three pre­vi­ously men­tioned items as Clas­si­fi­ca­tions of the Cam­paigns vari­able. Once you have added the three Clas­si­fi­ca­tions, you should see this…

…and within Site­Cat­a­lyst you will see a new report for each clas­si­fi­ca­tion like this:

Now that your clas­si­fi­ca­tions are set-up, you need to pro­vide Site­Cat­a­lyst with the val­ues for each track­ing code for which you expect to receive data. This is nor­mally done by upload­ing a spread­sheet using a tem­plate pro­vided by Site­Cat­a­lyst. If you have more than 20,000 rows, it is rec­om­mended that you use the FTP fea­ture to upload your Clas­si­fi­ca­tion data (Infor­ma­tion on using FTP can be found in the user man­ual). To upload Clas­si­fi­ca­tion data, sim­ply go to the Admin area within Site­Cat­a­lyst (top-right) and choose “SAINT Clas­si­fi­ca­tions” from the drop­down box. There you choose the vari­able for which you want the tem­plate and click the down­load but­ton to save the tem­plate to your com­puter like this:

Next, you can open the Clas­si­fi­ca­tion tem­plate (I use Microsoft Excel) and fill in the data so that it looks like this:

Note that while it is rec­om­mended that as much data is uploaded as pos­si­ble, it is not required that all data be filled out. In this exam­ple, it does not make sense for the “CNN” line item to have a Search Engine or Key­word value so those are left blank. When you are done com­plet­ing the file, you can use the “Import File” tab to upload your spread­sheet and within an hour or so, all Clas­si­fi­ca­tion data will be avail­able in SiteCatalyst.

After all of this is com­pleted, you will be able to see the fol­low­ing four reports within SiteCatalyst:

Impor­tant Things To Know About Clas­si­fi­ca­tions
The fol­low­ing are some impor­tant things to know about Classifications:

  1. Every Clas­si­fi­ca­tion that you make will cre­ate a new Site­Cat­a­lyst report. These new reports show you the selected met­rics using the Clas­si­fi­ca­tion value. If no value is uploaded, items will be placed in a “None” row if Con­ver­sion Vari­able or omit­ted if a Traf­fic Vari­able.
  2. Clas­si­fi­ca­tions are retroac­tive. This means that if you make a change to the SAINT file above and re-upload, the new val­ues will over­write the old val­ues. For exam­ple, if for track­ing code “msn998” you real­ize later that the key­word was “VCR,” not “TV,” you can change it and re-upload and the Key­word report will then reflect “VCR.”
  3. You can clas­sify any Traf­fic Vari­able (sProp) or Con­ver­sion Vari­able (eVar) and there is no addi­tional charge for doing this.
  4. Any Traf­fic Data Cor­re­la­tion or Con­ver­sion Sub­re­la­tion that is enabled for the vari­able you are clas­si­fy­ing will also be enabled for any Clas­si­fi­ca­tion of that vari­able. For exam­ple, since the Cam­paigns vari­able comes with full sub­re­la­tions by default, any clas­si­fi­ca­tion of the Cam­paigns vari­able will have full Sub­re­la­tions as well.
  5. Pathing is not avail­able on Traf­fic Clas­si­fi­ca­tions within Site­Cat­a­lyst (but is avail­able in Omni­ture Dis­cover). Many clients attempt to use Clas­si­fi­ca­tions on their Page Name Traf­fic vari­able as a way to apply “friendly” page names only to later find out that they can only see pathing reports for the “unfriendly” name!
  6. You can­not clas­sify out-of-the-box Site­Cat­a­lyst reports such as Browser, GeoSeg Coun­tries, etc… How­ever, if this is impor­tant, you can use a VISTA rule to pass this data to a cus­tom vari­able which can then be classified.

Real-World Exam­ple
In this ver­sion of our real-world exam­ple, our com­pany, Greco Inc. is focus­ing on its retail sub­sidiary. The online mar­ket­ing depart­ment would like to see what search terms vis­i­tors are search­ing upon to see which con­tent it should spot­light. Using the infor­ma­tion from our pre­vi­ous post they decided to pass the inter­nal search terms entered to a traf­fic vari­able as shown here:

How­ever, in addi­tion to look­ing at this laun­dry list of product-related terms, they would like to group the prod­ucts being searched into the Prod­uct Cat­e­gories they use to struc­ture the web­site. To do this, they enable an “Inter­nal Search Term Group­ing” Clas­si­fi­ca­tion for the Search Term vari­able and pro­ceed to create/upload the fol­low­ing Clas­si­fi­ca­tion file:

The result is a more stream­lined report that allows Greco Inc. to view Search Terms by Prod­uct Cat­e­gory, as shown below, with­out any addi­tional tag­ging to the site! Based upon this, it is easy to see that the “Bed Bath & Table Linens” prod­ucts are being searched the most, a fact that was not appar­ent using the Search Term report…

 

Have a ques­tion about any­thing related to Omni­ture Site­Cat­a­lyst? Is there some­thing on your web­site that you would like to report on, but don’t know how? Do you have any tips or best prac­tices you want to share? If so, please leave a com­ment here or send me an e-mail at insidesitecatalyst@​omniture.​com and I will do my best to answer it right here on the blog so every­one can learn! (Don’t worry — I won’t use your name or com­pany name!). If you are on Twit­ter, you can fol­low me at http://​twit​ter​.com/​O​m​n​i​_​man.
33 comments
TSGJeff
TSGJeff

Totally surprised given Adobe's pitiful customer support that the image links on this page are no longer functioning. Great job Adobe!!

coupons
coupons

Thanks for the best blog. It was very useful for me. Keep sharing such ideas in the future as well

Jeferson
Jeferson

I love site, very a good!

Aditya
Aditya

Hi Adam, I've been a great fan of your posts as they've resolved multiple doubts I've had in the past before. I'm struggling with certain aspects of saint recently - namely that saint doesnt seem to be able map certain keywords to their associated classification. They keep turning up under none. Are there any specific terms that saint can't handle? Leading zeroes etc. - I've heard cause problems. The current term that I am trying to map contains Colons, commas and parentheses - have you encountered problems of this sort before? Regards and thanks Aditya

mysexyzentai
mysexyzentai

Thanks Ben - Just to follow-up in case it happens to anyone else, the issue resolved itself when we changed the End of Line character format from mac to windows.

zentai
zentai

Thanks Ben - Just to follow-up in case it happens to anyone else, the issue resolved itself when we changed the End of Line character format from mac to windows kk

Health Information
Health Information

I'm a big user of this feature and it is great that there is virtually no limit to the number of parameters you can add the campaign tracking internal and external. other than I must admit that having to consider how to update all this time in Excel. Is it possible to record and update these data through a sort of web interface? Or maybe a plan to include it in the next release of SiteCatalyst?

jack wood
jack wood

I feel the same as many folks below. Classifications are great, but horribly burdensome to maintain when you’ve got 5,000+ campaigns to track where you are managing hundreds of variables within each campaign. I would certainly appreciate an Omniture app that helps automate classifications based on previous entries. yeah thanks !

gps systems for cars
gps systems for cars

Very informative post. At least your post clear my mind about what is Classifications. I use to have issue when I need to upload by using Mac. my friend recommend me use SAINT and the problem solved. Thanks for your suggest that you mentioned in the post, it help a lot in my assignment. Thanks for sharing.

Milco Landtman
Milco Landtman

Thank you for your comprehensive post - very useful. I wonder if you would be able to write a few words on the process of removing/changing SAINT classifications. Is it so that the process of setting up classifications is fully reversible? This is important for our business.

inzentai
inzentai

Very useful blog. Is there anywhere you can download SAINT templates for paid keyword campaigns so that we can see exactly how the form should be completed (as HBX used to)?

BUNANE
BUNANE

impressive piece of kit. Can this be used in the CPV or PPV ad platforms as well? agree with him。

John
John

Wow...impressive piece of kit. Can this be used in the CPV or PPV ad platforms as well?

best Baby formula
best Baby formula

Great article, helpful indeed. By reading your articles, I came to know about the Classifications and its benefits, and how I can use it. Thank you. Nil

how to lose belly fat in 1 week
how to lose belly fat in 1 week

I am a heavy user of this feature and it is great that there is basically no limit to how many parameters you can add to tracking internal and external campaigns. But I must admit it is kind of a drag to have to update this in Excel every time. Is there any way to register and update these data through some kind of web interface? Or perhaps some plan to include this in an upcoming version of SiteCatalyst?

Ben Gaines
Ben Gaines

RS, You definitely can set up your classifications before launching a campaign. This is a common practice. You would simply add the new tracking codes that you will be using as Key values in your SAINT upload, with the appropriate Creative Elements, Campaigns, etc. classifications. The key values do NOT need to be existing in SiteCatalyst when you perform the upload. To answer your second question, in most cases campaign measurement is indeed done by appending a tracking code to the query string in the URLs that external sites are pointing to. The SiteCatalyst code is then configured to look for the given query param name (e.g., "cid=") and to grab its value and pass into the s.campaign variable. You can get more information on this in our Campaign Management white paper, available in Help > Help Home, then Supporting Docs > White Papers. I hope this helps! Thanks, Ben Gaines Product Manager Adobe Systems, Inc.

RS
RS

Hi – I’m an Omniture novice and I had a couple of questions about SAINT classification. I understand that the purpose of the SAINT classification tool is to allow further categorization of the user data and Omniture allows you to go in and retroactively implement those additional categorizations. However, why aren’t those categorizations defined / set up prior to the say the launch of a campaign? And that follows into my next question: is Omniture able to record user data because some code is appended to the URL of users coming in from various channels?

Ben Gaines
Ben Gaines

Eric, Sorry I'm a little late responding to your post. What you're suggesting is a fantastic idea; making it easier to manage large amounts of SAINT classification data is definitely something we're thinking about. If you haven't already done so, would you mind logging in to the Idea Exchange and vote for this idea? http://ideas.omniture.com/t5/Omniture-Idea-Exchange/Automatic-rule-based-SAINT-classifications-based-on-specific/idi-p/11 If that isn't quite what you're looking for, you can add a comment there, or submit a whole new idea. Thanks, Ben Gaines Product Manager Omniture, an Adobe company

Eric
Eric

I feel the same as many folks below. Classifications are great, but horribly burdensome to maintain when you've got 5,000+ campaigns to track where you are managing hundreds of variables within each campaign. I would certainly appreciate an Omniture app that helps automate classifications based on previous entries. IE: If i am tracking keywords like you'd mentioned above for 2,000 campaigns and there is an index of 1,000 terms that "could" be used for these campaigns, i should be able to type in a unique campaign name, select a few buttons and have SAINT generate classifications for all 2,000 key terms/categories. This would be a "cover all" whether those key terms are going to end up being used or not. Omniture is capable of a lot, but i would have to say its the ability to automate and solve basic efficiency problems like this that will go a long way for the company's future.

Ben Gaines
Ben Gaines

Great point, Jenny. I didn't realize you were working on a Mac. Now that you mention it, I remember that others have reported similar issues when uploading off of a Mac. (I love my own Macbook Pro, but use VMware Fusion when working with SAINT uploads.) I'll be sure to add that to the documentation as you've suggested. Thank you for following up!

Jenny
Jenny

Thanks Ben - Just to follow-up in case it happens to anyone else, the issue resolved itself when we changed the End of Line character format from mac to windows. Might be something to add to the "How do I troubleshoot SAINT imports?" question in Knowledge Base. Thanks!

Ben Gaines
Ben Gaines

Jenny: I'd need to see the SAINT file itself to be sure, but I'm guessing you may have an extra tab or carriage return somewhere in the file that is causing the system not recognize that "Key" is the header of the first column. Omniture ClientCare should be able to help identify the cause of the error; you'll want to work through your organization's supported users, who can contact ClientCare.

Jenny
Jenny

Thanks for the helpful post - I have hit a brick wall on the upload area though. I am trying to classify Videos. Sitecatalyst is currently getting a string of numbers as the video "name" so I want to match that string of numbers with their actual title. In my SAINT template i have two columns, the Key which contains the string of numbers currently being digested and then a second column with Video names corresponding to each numerical ID. I have saved it as a .tab file but every time I try to import, I get an error of "Failure: First column is required to be the key". I have doublechecked how I configured things on the Admin Report Suite side, and under Video Classifications, I have just one child which is Video Name. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Ben Gaines
Ben Gaines

Abhilash: Certainly an advanced segmentation tool such as Data Warehouse or Discover will allow you to perform multiple breakdowns in this manner. You might also consider using classification hierarchies, which can make drilling down multiple levels in a classification much easier. There is good information on classification hierarchies in the SiteCatalyst user manual and in the Knowledge Base.

Abhilash
Abhilash

Hi Adam, I have a SAINT classification with following data - MapId, ProductName, ProductType, Partner and Placement. Each time when the user view a product, I am sending the MapId to Site Catalyst. In my report, I would like to filter data by multiple fields. For example, I would like to see the A particular product viewed from a particular partner's site. To do this, I should be able to filter the report by ProductName and then by Partner. The filter allows me to select only one item at a time. Is there a way I can filter a filtered result? Thanks much for your help. Abhilash

Jonathan
Jonathan

Hi there! Very useful blog. Is there anywhere you can download SAINT templates for paid keyword campaigns so that we can see exactly how the form should be completed (as HBX used to)? Many Thanks, Jon

john
john

Very helpful post, thanks. I'm wondering if you can also provide some info on how classifications work in SearchCenter? My understanding is that it is a bit different because the keys are generated automatically using a combination of keycode/creative id (for AdWords) or other mysterious code (such as for Yahoo). Makes it hard to decipher and ensure everything is being tracked correctly. Any insight you can provide on this would be welcome. Thanks!

Adam Greco
Adam Greco

@bhans I do not see any reason why you could not answer the question you pose below (who searched upon "Small Appliances" and purchased a Toaster. If you are passing the product (Toaster) to the Products variable, it will have full subrelations by default and then you simply pass the internal search term to an eVar. Then classify the internal search term eVar (as shown above) and find the row for "Small Appliances" and click on the green icon and break it down by Products and find the row for "Toaster." As long as you have the Orders or Revenue metrics showing, you should be all set. Of course, you can do this in Discover or DataWarehouse/ASI as well...Let me know if you want me to explain this in more detail...Thanks!

Adam Greco
Adam Greco

Have you tried using the FTP approach to uploading SAINT classifications? You can use that to automate the process and can even send classifications to multiple report suites at the same time. Feel free to e-mail me if you want to discuss in more detail.

Kjartan Bjørkvold
Kjartan Bjørkvold

I am a heavy user of this feature and it is great that there is basically no limit to how many parameters you can add to tracking internal and external campaigns. But I must admit it is kind of a drag to have to update this in Excel every time. Is there any way to register and update these data through some kind of web interface? Or perhaps some plan to include this in an upcoming version of SiteCatalyst?

bhans
bhans

I have said before that I have a love/hate relationship with classification tables. I love them because, just as you have mentioned, they help aggregate large amounts of data variables and make them so much more consumable. Classification tables can boil up things and 'nuggets' that you may have otherwise overlooked. The things that I saw at Summit this year in the Power Users session were awe-inspiring. But, I hate them because they are a never ending workload and the results do not apply to other functions within SiteCatalyst. Using the example above the question could be asked: "Of all the visitors who searched for 'Small Appliances' how many continued with a toaster purchase?". Unless I'm mistaken, that question (metric) cannot be directly answered from a report. Thanks for the great post. See you on Twitter. @bhans