In the last two posts we have begun to learn about Omni­ture Site­Cat­a­lyst Traf­fic Vari­ables and Con­ver­sion Vari­ables (Suc­cess Events).  As pre­vi­ously dis­cussed, Traf­fic Vari­ables allow you to seg­ment or break­down Page Views, Vis­its and Unique Vis­i­tors, while Suc­cess Events cap­ture met­rics around con­ver­sion actions taken by site vis­i­tors.  In our Traf­fic Vari­able post we saw how we could segment/breakdown Traf­fic met­rics by Lan­guage, but learned that Suc­cess Event met­rics are not bro­ken down by Traf­fic Vari­ables in Site­Cat­a­lyst.  So what if we want to be able to show the per­cent­age of Lead Gen­er­a­tion Form Sub­mis­sions bro­ken down by Lan­guage?  Per­haps we want to see Shop­ping Cart Addi­tions bro­ken down by Zip Code or Cam­paign Track­ing Code.  There are lots of cases where you will want to segment/breakdown Suc­cess Events in a sim­i­lar man­ner that Traf­fic Vari­ables allow you to break down Traf­fic Met­rics.  So how do we do this?

Con­ver­sion Vari­ables to the Res­cue!
The pur­pose of Con­ver­sion Vari­ables (also known as eVars) is to allow you to break­down Suc­cess Event met­rics in a sim­i­lar man­ner that Traf­fic Vari­ables allow you to break­down Traf­fic met­rics.  While this sounds easy, Con­ver­sion Vari­ables are actu­ally one of the most con­fus­ing top­ics for Site­Cat­a­lyst cus­tomers because there is a lot to learn about how they behave (which is why this is only Part I).  I will describe the key points here and then try to make sense of it all through some examples.

Unlike Traf­fic Vari­ables, Con­ver­sion Vari­ables are per­sis­tent mean­ing that once a site vis­i­tor gets assigned a value, that value sticks with them until you (Site­Cat­a­lyst Administrator) tell Site­Cat­a­lyst to clear it out (unless the user deletes their cook­ies or uses a dif­fer­ent com­puter).  For exam­ple, if you have a Con­ver­sion Vari­able that stores the visitor’s City, you can cap­ture the City on page three of their visit and have it remain there for sev­eral pages, days, weeks, months, etc…

Con­ver­sion Vari­ables have a direct rela­tion­ship to Suc­cess Events.  I like to think of the two as “mar­ried” since they com­ple­ment each other. When a Site­Cat­a­lyst Suc­cess Event takes place (i.e. vis­i­tor takes an action that results in a Suc­cess Event being set), Site­Cat­a­lyst assigns credit for the Suc­cess Event to one value in each Con­ver­sion Vari­able report (please re-read that once or twice!).  For exam­ple, if an Online Course Demo Suc­cess Event takes place, what­ever value is cur­rently stored for that vis­i­tor for Con­ver­sion Vari­able 1 gets credit for that Suc­cess Event.  What­ever value is cur­rently stored for that vis­i­tor for Con­ver­sion Vari­able 2 gets the credit for that Suc­cess Event and so on until all Con­ver­sion Vari­able val­ues are incre­mented.  So let’s imag­ine you have a web­site with only one vis­i­tor, where Con­ver­sion Vari­able 1 is used to cap­ture City and we have used cus­tom tag­ging to cap­ture the fact that this vis­i­tor is from the city of Chicago.  If that one vis­i­tor sub­se­quently launches an Online Course Demo and a Suc­cess Event takes place, the Online Course Demo Suc­cess Event report would show a total of “1” and the Con­ver­sion Vari­able 1 (City) report would show a value of “1” for the “Chicago” row (assum­ing that the Con­ver­sion Vari­able 1 report was show­ing the Online Course Demos met­ric) as shown in this sam­ple report:

As many more Suc­cess Events take place, dif­fer­ent Con­ver­sion Vari­able val­ues (Cities in this exam­ple) would get credit for the var­i­ous Online Course Demos that take place on the site such that, over time, the report would have many cities and the asso­ci­ated num­ber of Online Course Demos that took place for each.  But, if Con­ver­sion Vari­able 2 rep­re­sented the cur­rent visitor’s Age, then at the same time each City is get­ting credit for each Online Course Demo in Con­ver­sion Vari­able 1, a spe­cific Age value (say “18 Years Old”) is get­ting credit for the same Suc­cess Event in the Con­ver­sion Vari­able 2 report which would look like this:

Real-World Exam­ple
Phew!  Let’s use one more exam­ple to help clar­ify things and in this exam­ple we will build upon the sce­nar­ios from our pre­vi­ous two posts.  In the Traf­fic Vari­able post, Greco Inc. wanted to know what per­cent­age of Page Views was viewed in Span­ish so they set a Traf­fic Vari­able with the lan­guage on each page.  In our Suc­cess Event post, we learned that one of Greco Inc.‘s web prop­er­ties is in the area of Online Edu­ca­tion and they began to cap­ture the num­ber of times vis­i­tors viewed Online Course Demos as a Suc­cess Event.  Now, Greco Inc. would like to see how many of its Online Course Demos were viewed in Span­ish.  To do this, mar­keters would work with their IT depart­ment to pass the lan­guage value (“eng­lish” or “span­ish”) to a Con­ver­sion Vari­able.  Over time, Greco Inc. can use the fol­low­ing Con­ver­sion report to see Online Course Demos bro­ken down by Language:

There­fore, at this point Greco Inc. has passed a Lan­guage value to both a Traf­fic Vari­able and a Con­ver­sion vari­able.  The Traf­fic Vari­able is used to break­down Page Views and the Con­ver­sion Vari­able is used to break down Suc­cess Events.  Hope­fully these two exam­ples will help you keep Traf­fic and Con­ver­sion Vari­ables straight and under­stand when to use each.  I rec­og­nize that some of this can be a bit con­fus­ing, so feel free to re-read parts of this and post com­ments here so I can clar­ify as needed.  Once you get it, I promise you will never for­get it!!  Stay tuned for Con­ver­sion Vari­ables Part II

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!)

 

11 comments
Michelle
Michelle

Hi adam, Wonderful post., One question regarding traffic sources..the referrer variable is supposed to capture the url of the page from where the user came from.But the referrer is counted even for page refreshes and back button is pressed..How to overcome this? Would be really great if you can throw some light on this, Thanks, Michelle

Ben Gaines
Ben Gaines

Chris, Two great questions. 1. That is correct; the eVar value will "persist" (you won't see it recorded on subsequent page views; the persisting occurs on the Omniture side) for as long as you specify in the Admin Console in SiteCatalyst. The default persistence is until the end of the visit. 2. Related to that, success events (such as Revenue) will only be associated to those eVar values that occurred either on the same page view as the success event or on a page view prior to the success event. In the case you described, revenue would be tied to the first eVar value, but not to the second, since the first value occurred before the revenue, but the second value occurred after the revenue was passed. Thanks, Ben Gaines Omniture, an Adobe Company

Chris
Chris

Hi Adam, quick question about evars and success events. So i have a series of pages that call evars and events. question 1 if i have a flow where i set an evar value on one page, i do not have to set it up on the next page since it is persistent right? question 2 i have a counting evar set up in page 1 of a flow, lets call it number of searches. then i call a success event called revenue, then after that i have a confirmation page where a user can continue to search and purchase. But i only care about the initial searches. namely page1 - Evar - Page 2 successevent rev, page 3 Evar in a trasaction report, does the success event track data Before it hit the success event, or it is global and will increment anytime, anywhere? Thanks Chris

Jeff
Jeff

First question, can eVars persist across domains. Let's say my company has two web sites: www.foo.com and www.bar.com. If I set an eVar in www.foo.com but then the user clicks into the bar.com site, does my eVar keep its value? Second question, can eVar values be integrated into the traffic reports for page views, etc? For example, can I set "s.eVar10=assetid;" (where the assetid changes for different areas of the website) and then use the eVars to break down the traffic data? Thanks :)

Rob Blakeley
Rob Blakeley

Clear enough. I tend to think of the eVar as a driver rather than a segmenter. So you want to know what drove to a particular end point, an inferred causality. It appears from the post that the 'event segmenter' concept is more accurate.

Adam Greco
Adam Greco

Melvin - You simply need to pass the appropriate data to a Conversion Variable (eVar). Adam

melvin
melvin

thanks for the post =] it is really helpful. I've got a question, by referring your prior example, what can I do to attain the report which show me where visitors come from with the age group in breakdown in the online course demo report?

Nate Orshan
Nate Orshan

(Just reading post now, a little late. [:-)] ) Joe, the "easiest" way would be to get some JavaScript that parses the URL, then passes the value you need into the eVar. For example here's a snippet of the on-page code, showing how Vermont Teddy Bear's doing it to push the landing page URL, referrer, and browser time into three separate eVars (note: this takes place immediately after the JavaScript call to the s-code file ): ... var LandingPageURL = ""; var ReferringURL = ""; var LandingPagePlusReferrer = ""; re = /(vermontteddybear.com|vtbc.com\/VermontTeddyBear)/; if (re.test(document.referrer) || (document.referrer) == (document.location.href)) { // Do nothing } else { LandingPageURL = (document.location.href); ReferringURL = (document.referrer); LandingPagePlusReferrer = (Date() + "\|\|" + (document.location.href) + "\|\|" + (document.referrer)); } ... ReferringURL=''; LandingPagePlusReferrer=Date() + '\|\|' + document.location.href + '\|\|' + ReferringURL; if (LandingPagePlusReferrer.length > 0) { s.eVar10 = LandingPageURL; s.eVar11 = ReferringURL; s.eVar12 = LandingPagePlusReferrer; } ...

Joe Kamenar
Joe Kamenar

How are conversion variables passed from a URL to the Omniture javascript code on the page?

Gary - Admin - LG Car Parts
Gary - Admin - LG Car Parts

Thanks for the read =) I've learned that page views visits and uniques are SO important to track - more especially so when running a PPC campaign - you need to track your lead generation and optimise your website according to the results. Especially so, for example, in a car parts niche with so many different countries using different ad campaigns for different car manufacturers and car models. If someone searches for an Acura in the USA - the same European visitor would search for a Honda! I guess its all about Geo targeting etc..

Adam Greco
Adam Greco

Jeff, You can store eVar values across domains if you use multi-suite tagging (see post on that) and the same s_account id for both sites. For your second question, eVars and sProps don't mix so you would use one or the other. You can pass AssetID to sProps and correlate with pagename or set a Page View Success Event and pass AssetID to an eVar. Alternatively, if you had Discover you could break one down by the other... Adam