Site­Cat­a­lyst Con­ver­sion Vari­ables
Omni­ture Site­Cat­a­lyst breaks its vari­ables into two types: Traf­fic and Con­ver­sion.  As dis­cussed in my last post, Traf­fic Vari­ables allow you to seg­ment traf­fic met­rics (i.e. Page Views) and uti­lize Pathing, whereas Con­ver­sion Vari­ables allow you to quan­tify and seg­ment the suc­cess actions taken by your site vis­i­tors.  The Con­ver­sion area of Site­Cat­a­lyst is made up of two dis­tinct vari­able types — Suc­cess Events and Con­ver­sion Vari­ables (also known as eVars).  In this post I will dis­cuss Suc­cess Events, fol­lowed by Con­ver­sion Vari­ables in my next posts.

Suc­cess Events & KPI’s
Before explor­ing Suc­cess Events, it is worth­while to dis­cuss Key Per­for­mance Indi­ca­tors (or KPI’s).  Hope­fully you are famil­iar with the term, but just in case, KPI’s are the met­rics used to deter­mine the health or suc­cess of your web­site.  If the goal of your web­site is to get vis­i­tors to pur­chase things then your KPI’s might be Rev­enue, Orders & Units. Alter­na­tively, if the goal of your web­site is to gen­er­ate leads, then you may mon­i­tor a “Leads Gen­er­ated” KPI.  The rea­son I bring up KPI’s here is because most web­site KPI’s take the form of Suc­cess Events in Site­Cat­a­lyst so the two go hand in hand.  When I begin work­ing with an exist­ing client, the first thing I look at is whether the key actions they want vis­i­tors to take on their site are defined as Suc­cess Events and if so whether these Suc­cess Events have data.  Unfor­tu­nately, more often than not, I find that clients have done much more with their Traf­fic Vari­ables than they have with their Con­ver­sion Variables.

Site­Cat­a­lyst Suc­cess Events
Site­Cat­a­lyst Suc­cess Events are Con­ver­sion Vari­ables that count the num­ber of times site vis­i­tors com­plete an action on your site.  Unlike Traf­fic Vari­ables which serve as dimen­sions or break­downs of a Page View/Visit/Unique Vis­i­tor met­ric, Suc­cess Events are always num­bers.  Through tag­ging, you tell Site­Cat­a­lyst when users have taken the action(s) that you want them to take and Suc­cess Events are increased accord­ingly.  There­fore, each Site­Cat­a­lyst Suc­cess Event has an asso­ci­ated graph that shows its met­ric total for any given time­frame (see exam­ple below).

Suc­cess Events can be either Stan­dard or Cus­tom.  Stan­dard Suc­cess Events include a select few actions that are preva­lent on retail web­sites such as Rev­enue, Orders, Units, Cart Addi­tions, etc…  Cus­tom Suc­cess Events are avail­able for use for any site action you deem wor­thy of track­ing.  Omni­ture pro­vides the abil­ity to have up to 86 Suc­cess Events, though many of these are reserved for use in Gen­e­sis Part­ner inte­gra­tions (future topic).  As a rule of thumb, I tell my clients that if there is an action on the web­site that is fun­da­men­tal to the exis­tence of the web­site, it should be tracked as a Suc­cess Event.  If you or one of your co-workers won’t get pro­moted (or fired!) based upon the out­come of the Suc­cess Event, it may not be wor­thy of being a Suc­cess Event.  In real­ity, I find that most of my clients use fewer than 20 suc­cess events, mainly to avoid “analy­sis paralysis!”

Con­ver­sion vs. Traf­fic
One area where I see clients get con­fused is in the rela­tion­ship between Site­Cat­a­lyst Traf­fic Vari­ables (also known as sProps) and Con­ver­sion Vari­ables.  In Site­Cat­a­lyst, there is a clear dis­tinc­tion between these vari­able types such that each vari­able type has its own spe­cific pur­pose.  When you think of Traf­fic Vari­ables you should think about Page Views, Unique Vis­i­tors and Pathing.  When you think about Con­ver­sion Vari­ables you should think about Pur­chases, Lead Form Sub­mis­sions, etc…
 In Site­Cat­a­lyst, you would never attempt to segment/breakdown Suc­cess Events by a Traf­fic Vari­able (You can do this in Omni­ture Dis­cover, but not in Site­Cat­a­lyst).  For exam­ple, in my last post we saw an exam­ple where Page Views were bro­ken down by lan­guage (Eng­lish or Span­ish).  In Site­Cat­a­lyst, you would not break­down a Rev­enue Suc­cess Event by the Lan­guage Traf­fic Vari­able to see Rev­enue where vis­i­tors pre­ferred Span­ish.  This is because the pri­mary pur­pose of Traf­fic Vari­ables is to count Page Views and enable Pathing, not break down Suc­cess Events.  How­ever, don’t panic because in sub­se­quent posts we will learn how Con­ver­sion Vari­ables allow you to do this and much, much more!

Real-World Exam­ple
Let’s say go back to our fic­ti­tious Omni­ture client Greco Inc., which has one of its web prop­er­ties in the Online Edu­ca­tion space.  A key com­po­nent of their online edu­ca­tion web­site is to get vis­i­tors to view a demo of an online course so they can get a fla­vor of the over­all expe­ri­ence of being an online stu­dent.  In this case, when the vis­i­tor clicks to view the Course Demo, Greco Inc.‘s mar­ket­ing man­ager works with IT to set a Suc­cess Event and there­after can track the progress of this met­ric using the asso­ci­ated Site­Cat­a­lyst report:

In sum­mary, this post cov­ered the basics sur­round­ing Suc­cess Events and when they should be used.  In future posts I will cover the fol­low­ing addi­tional items related to Suc­cess Events:

  1. Adding Suc­cess Event reports to dash­boards for dis­sem­i­na­tion to web­site stakeholders
  2. Down­load­ing Suc­cess Event data to Microsoft Excel so it can be merged with other data
  3. Using Suc­cess Event data in Site­Cat­a­lyst Cal­cu­lated Met­rics and Con­ver­sion Funnels
  4. Set­ting Alerts to be noti­fied when Suc­cess Event data changes
  5. Ensur­ing Suc­cess Events are not set more than once (de-duplication)
  6. More advanced uses of suc­cess events

Stay tuned for my next posts in which I will round out the con­ver­sa­tion on Site­Cat­a­lyst vari­ables by dis­cussing Con­ver­sion Vari­ables

Have a ques­tion about any­thing related to 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 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!)

2 comments
Florian Pihs
Florian Pihs

Thanks Adam for these great posts. They are especially valuable to less developed markets like China, where I am based. It would be even better, if Omniture could find resources to translate these posts in Chinese (or any other local language), to allow analysts that do not read English get the benefit of the great content you are generating. P.s. Greco Inc. reminds me of Gorgon Gekko, of Wall Street. Not necessarily in the Educations space, though ;)

Chris
Chris

Great stuff. You can never know too much about the basic fundamentals of SiteCatalyst. Keep it up.