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://twitter.com/Omni_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!!

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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

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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 !

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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?

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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

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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