In one of my earliest blog posts, I discussed how Conversion Variables (eVars) have different types of allocation.  For example, if someone comes to your site multiple times from a few different campaign tracking codes, you can choose to give credit for any Success Event to the first tracking code or the last tracking code using allocation.  The same is true for every eVar, but there may be times when you want to see all of the values passed to an eVar prior to the Success Event taking place.  In this post I will explain how to do this in SiteCatalyst through Cross-Visit Participation.

Cross-Visit Participation
So what is Cross-Visit Participation?  In Omniture-speak, it is a JavaScript plug-in that concatenates a series of values into an eVar for attribution purposes.  As alluded to above, the most common use of this plug-in is for what we call Campaign Stacking.  For example, let’s say that a visitor comes to your site from a CNN Display Ad and the tracking code is “cnn_123″ and the same visitor comes the next day from a Google Paid Search keyword with the tracking code “ggl_456″ and then applies for a credit card.  In this case, if you were using the Campaign Conversion Variable (eVar) and the allocation was set to “Most Recent” then the credit card application success event would be attributed to the Google keyword.  However, that visitor may never have conducted a search on Google had he/she not seen the display advertisement on CNN so we may inadvertently reduce the budget for CNN and increase it for Google only to be surprised later that we are not getting as many credit card applications as before.  Sometimes a little (incorrect) data is worse than no data at all!

Omniture is well aware of this attribution issue and is taking steps to improve the overall accuracy in the future.  In the meantime, the Omniture Consulting team has created the Cross-Visit Participation plug-in (sometimes referred to as Campaign Stacking) that lets you see the entire picture.  So in the preceding example, while the Campaign eVar would always have the latest tracking code value, the plug-in would pass the historical string to a custom eVar:

By doing this, when the credit card application success event is fired, the Google tracking code will get credit in the Campaigns report, but in the eVar12 report, the string “cnn_123:ggl_456″ would get credit so you, as the online marketer, could see what percentage of all credit card applications involved each combination of tracking codes.  This information can then be moved to Excel using the ExcelClient, where more in-depth analysis can take place.

Variations of Cross-Visit Participation
However, the value of this plug-in reaches far beyond the realm of campaigns.  There are many fun and creative ways you can use this plug-in such as:

  1. Tracking which site tools/calculators visitors used prior to success
  2. Tracking which products visitors viewed prior to success
  3. Tracking which videos visitors viewed prior to success
  4. Tracking which search terms visitors entered on your site prior to success

The list goes on and on.  Any time you want to see a concatenated list of values in the order that they took place, you can consider using the Cross-Visit Participation plug-in.

Important Things To Know About Cross-Visit Participation
The following are some important things to know about Cross-Visit Participation:

  1. You need to work with Omniture Consulting to set-up this plug-in
  2. You must specify the maximum number of values you want to concatenate in the plug-in and the time period for them to be considered germane in impacting conversion
  3. The plug-in will not store duplicate values

Real-World Example
In this real-world example, I will build upon the preceding campaign example by using the Cross-Visit Participation plug-in to capture Marketing Channels.  Let’s imagine that your CMO comes to you and wants to know how often Greco Inc. is paying to drive people to its site from various Marketing Channels.  The CMO is primarily interested in seeing if paid acquisition converters are always coming to the site first from Paid Search and then Paid Display or vice versa.   Due to budget cuts, ad spending may have to be cut back and the CMO needs to justify which channels and channel combinations are important to continuing to drive applications.

To answer this question, you would need to classify Campaign Tracking Codes by Marketing Channel and use Cross-Visit Participation to “stack” Marketing Channels (i.e. Paid Search, Display Ad, E-mail, etc…).  The classification of Campaign Tracking Codes by Marketing Channel should be straightforward (if you have read the SAINT Classifications post).  The second item needed is a concatenated string of “stacked” Marketing Channels so you can see the interplay between them prior to website conversion.  There are many ways to “stack” the channels ranging from creating SAINT Classifications of stacked campaign tracking codes to capturing the channel by using the Get Query Parameter plug-in (I suggest you work with Omniture Consulting to identify the best approach for your organization).

Once you have both of these set-up, you are ready for analysis, so let’s dig in.  Let’s say that Greco Inc. has a Campaign Channel Conversion report, which is the report of classified campaign tracking codes, set to “Most Recent” allocation as follows:

As you can see in this report, only 16.49% of Completed Applications are coming from Paid Display as compared to 66.59% coming from Paid Search (in this case, let’s assume e-mails are inexpensive) so your first thought might be to cut the Paid Display budget.  However, if we look at the report that shows the “stacked” Marketing Channels described above, we can see the interactions that visitors took with all Marketing Channels prior to completing an application as shown in this report:

When we look at this report we notice something interesting.  Display Ads are often times part of the mix that leads to success, but Paid Search is most often the one that is the last touch prior to conversion.  In fact, if we add up all of the times that Paid Display is part of the mix (or used individually) the percent impacted is 47.43%.  If you only looked at the first report (Campaign Channels) you would see a skewed picture since the “Most Recent” allocation would attribute most of the success to Paid Search.  Thus, you have to ask yourself, how much of my success would still come through if Paid Display were not in the mix?  At 16.49% you might be willing to take the risk to save some money, but at 47.43%, you may not be willing to do so and might consider some more in-depth testing prior to making any rash marketing spend decisions!

This is just one example of how Cross-Visit Participation can add more context to your analyses so that you can make the best marketing decisions possible.

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.

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17 comments
BUNANE
BUNANE

CVP I think we have a Unified Sources DB Vista rule on an eVar and then classify all similar sources to see aggregate referrals from each campaign.

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My concern is this; we have a Unified Sources DB Vista rule on an eVar and then classify all similar sources to see aggregate referrals from each campaign. This classification report is what I’d use the cross-visit part. plugin on, but what happens in this report if a tracking code comes through that is not classified? Does it show up as “None”? Thanks and love the blog.

David
David

Can the custom eVar which is populated with the s.campaign data pull in data from another eVar or prop if the s.campaign data isn't there (ie. if the click through on a specific visit is from an organic link or a non-tracked referrer site)?

Roop Kumar
Roop Kumar

Our Omniture Implementation Consultant has provided the custom solution as per requirements stated before. We can expire the stacking list in the cookie on a success event ( like purchase event or any custom event as per the use case) or after a preselected time period. The number of values to be stacked in the stacked list are limited by 255 characters, until which we can stack.

Roop Kumar
Roop Kumar

Hi Adam, We want to set the CVP plug-in to expire on an Purchase event instead of after a certain number of days, is it possible? (we are a ecommerce store and hence we feel expiring the campaign values on purchase event makes sense). Another question, we would like to stack as much values as possible in stacking list without setting a limit. Is it possible? Thanks, Roop Kumar

Penelope
Penelope

Hello, Is there any plans for Omniture to enable real time deduplication such as tools like TagMan? Thanks! Penelope

Michael Johns
Michael Johns

I was also wondering is the expiration date (ex) provided for the particular value being added to the cookie or the cookie itself?

Michael Johns
Michael Johns

How come the plug-in is not set-up to handle a cookie expiration of a session? Also the code sample doesn't explain what the "dv" variable is?

pamela
pamela

Hi just want to know how does Campaign >Tracking code > Tracking code ... works in Site catalyst?. Pls if anyone has an idea let me know!...

Ben Gaines
Ben Gaines

Ann: For standard campaign tracking, you can use the getQueryParam plug-in (available for download by going to Help > Help Home, then Supporting Docs > Implementation > Plug-ins. You could use it to capture campaign tracking codes in eVar3 by putting this (assuming that your campaign tracking codes are stored in the URL in a "cid=" parameter; this can be any parameter of your choosing): s.eVar3=s.getQueryParam('cid') The solution suggested by Adam here is a bit more complex, and the code snippet is provided only by Omniture Consulting. If you're interested in this approach, contract your Omniture Account Manager, who will be able to provide more details.

Ann
Ann

What could be the code snippet for the problem you explained above to track campaign at eVar12. We are using Omniture code to track the visits on our pages. i have a campaign code in a url and I need to track that and populate it on one of the eVar variables(eVar3 for example). can you please advice.

Fares Aldik
Fares Aldik

Are there any talks of incorporating at no charge (by default in the SiteCatalyst vanilla installation) the Unified Sources Vista Rule with the Campaign Stacking option (By specifying an eVar, a delimiter and the number of tracking codes to keep -i.e.: 5-)

Ben Gaines
Ben Gaines

Scott: Yes, an unclassified tracking code (including those handled by a Unified Sources DB VISTA rule) would show as "None" in a classification-based report. As you may already be aware, you can check out the unclassified tracking codes by exporting your SAINT data for the variable that serves as the basis for that series of reports.

Scott
Scott

Adam, this is really great and have actually been trying to find a solution such as this for a while. My concern is this; we have a Unified Sources DB Vista rule on an eVar and then classify all similar sources to see aggregate referrals from each campaign. This classification report is what I'd use the cross-visit part. plugin on, but what happens in this report if a tracking code comes through that is not classified? Does it show up as "None"? Thanks and love the blog.

Jordan LeBaron
Jordan LeBaron

Campaign stacking can be done on natural search keywords using the new Channel Manager plugin solution available through Omniture Consulting.

Adam Greco
Adam Greco

Mark - I am not 100% sure if that is possible, but if you are interested, I would contact the Engineering Services team. Adam

Mark Hanson
Mark Hanson

Is it possible to use a Vista Rule to perform the same thing that the campaign stacking plug-in does in the s_code? I would want to be able to stack SEO as well as all other campaigns.