Recently, two bright and well-trained Site­Cat­a­lyst 15 users asked me to point out some lesser-known or lesser-used fea­tures which help ana­lysts and mar­keters run a really tight ship. Site­Cat­a­lyst 15 looks fairly sim­i­lar to Site­Cat­a­lyst 14, but beyond the obvi­ous plat­form improve­ments (e.g., seg­men­ta­tion, unlim­ited sub­re­la­tions, etc.) it does con­tain a num­ber of fea­tures that can be easy to miss but which either save users a lot of time/frustration or enhance the analy­sis that you can do in the tool. Today I’m going to share five things that I would advise all users of Site­Cat­a­lyst 15, both new­bies and vet­er­ans, to con­sider try­ing out.

1. Share Seg­ments Using the Admin Con­sole or Discover

Cur­rently, when you cre­ate a seg­ment using the drop-down menu in Site­Cat­a­lyst 15, that seg­ment is avail­able only to your login. Your col­leagues can­not see it, and need to re-create it on their accounts if they want to use it. How­ever, there are actu­ally two ways to cre­ate seg­ments that any­one can use. This allows you, as an admin user, to guide your users to the seg­ments that are applic­a­ble to them by pre-creating them with your knowl­edge of advanced seg­men­ta­tion. Take note that the two dif­fer­ent meth­ods I’m going to dis­cuss below cause seg­ments to be shared slightly differently.

The first way to do it is by going to the Admin Con­sole > Report Suites > Edit Set­tings > Indi­vid­ual Report Suite Set­tings > Man­age Report Suite Seg­ments. A Report Suite Seg­ment is a seg­ment that is avail­able to all users when the given report suite is selected.

Manage Report Suite Segments in SiteCatalyst 15

Here, I cre­ated two suite-level seg­ments, “iPad Vis­its” and “Vis­i­tors from Ger­many.” Once I did this, these two seg­ments became avail­able to all of the users of the report suite for which I cre­ated the seg­ments. You can see them under the “Data Ware­house” header in the seg­ment drop-down menu:

List of Report Suite Segments in SiteCatalyst 15

You can also share seg­ments with your users by cre­at­ing them in Dis­cover and plac­ing them in a shared folder there. This will cause them to appear for all of your users in Site­Cat­a­lyst 15 across all report suites. This can be very use­ful when your suites share a vari­able map­ping. If eVar1 is the same on all of your suites, then a glob­ally shared seg­ment that uses eVar1 is extremely handy because it can be applied every­where! The folder struc­ture from Dis­cover is repro­duced in the seg­ment drop-down menu in Site­Cat­a­lyst, so you’ll likely want to use your folder names to help your busi­ness users under­stand the con­text around each segment.

2. Seg­ment Indi­vid­ual Dash­board Reportlets

Of course, you can apply seg­ments to entire dash­boards, which is incred­i­bly help­ful in your ana­lyt­ics jour­ney as it allows you to see all kinds of dif­fer­ent types of data for a cer­tain seg­ment of visits/visitors at the same time. This is great because you might not be sure where to start learn­ing about this seg­ment, so you can see key­words, pages, con­ver­sion, engage­ment, etc. all in one place and jump into learn­ing about the seg­ment from there.

What you may not know is that you can also apply seg­ments to indi­vid­ual reportlets within dash­boards. This is great for a vari­ety of reasons:

  1. If your dash­board is headed out to exec­u­tives or oth­ers, you can use a sin­gle dash­board to focus on a vari­ety of seg­ments that are rel­e­vant to your busi­ness, as opposed to hav­ing sep­a­rate dash­boards for each inter­est­ing segment.
  2. It allows you to com­pare seg­ments side by side within a dashboard.

There are two ways to apply a seg­ment to an indi­vid­ual reportlet.

If you want the seg­ment to be applied only dur­ing your cur­rent usage of the dash­board but not saved per­ma­nently, click on the name of the report suite under the report­let title. You will get a grey drop-down that has the seg­ment drop-down embed­ded in it. Find the seg­ment you want to apply to the report­let, click it, and away you go.

Apply a Segment to a Dashboard Reportlet

If you want the seg­ment to be per­ma­nently saved to the report­let, as the owner of the dash­board you can click Lay­out when view­ing the dash­board. This will bring up the dash­board edi­tor view. In this view you also have the name of the report suite show­ing under the dash­board title, but here when you apply a seg­ment and click “Save,” your seg­ment is locked in as part of the dash­board. The next time you send it out to your col­leagues and exec­u­tives, they’ll have a nicely seg­mented report­let as part of the dashboard.

3. Learn and Use Pro­cess­ing Rules

As fan­tasy sports gurus might say, this fea­ture has “sneaky value.” By this, I mean that many cus­tomers do not real­ize what a time saver Pro­cess­ing Rules can be, and so they end up get­ting over­looked or ignored. In our expe­ri­ence, when Site­Cat­a­lyst admins real­ize what Pro­cess­ing Rules can really do, they fall head-over-heels in love with the idea.

In short, Pro­cess­ing Rules allow you to make minor changes to your imple­men­ta­tion with­out touch­ing a line of code or rule in your Tag Man­age­ment Sys­tem. As Adam Egbert described in his thor­ough post on Pro­cess­ing Rules, “Essen­tially, this fea­ture allows you to set the value of a vari­able (prop, eVar, or event) based on the infor­ma­tion sent in any par­tic­u­lar image bea­con.” You can set Site­Cat­a­lyst vari­ables based on the val­ues of other vari­ables, or based on other data points such as refer­rer, page URL, or query parameter.

An Example of Processing Rules in SiteCatalyst 15

I’ll quote Adam with a great exam­ple of how Pro­cess­ing Rules can be used:

[Let’s say] we have a page named “Prod­uct Details Page:[Product ID]” on which we want to start fir­ing a cus­tom suc­cess event (event3). We can cre­ate a rule to detect this pat­tern in the page name and place the suc­cess event there. That was easy! Again, we are able to do this entirely in the Admin Con­sole of Site­Cat­a­lyst with­out touch­ing our implementation.

I recently came across some cus­tomer feed­back that is typ­i­cal for those who have taken advan­tage of Pro­cess­ing Rules to avoid need­ing to bother IT to make minor imple­men­ta­tion changes:

WOW! I started some rules on Mon­day. I’ve already made updates that would have been months of work oth­er­wise. And cap­tur­ing cam­paign track­ing codes set by mul­ti­ple exter­nal agen­cies is a snap. HIGHLY rec­om­mend for any other clients strug­gling with the same issues… I’m able to imple­ment changes with pro­cess­ing rules quicker than I could draft up specs to have code changed. For­get about wait­ing to fit into a pro­duc­tion sched­ule and explain require­ments. We’re talk­ing going from months to min­utes for a change. Can’t put a $$$ value on that, but my bud­get and the lin­ing on my stom­ach thanks you!

One thing to note with Pro­cess­ing Rules is that, because they can be very powerful—allowing you to manip­u­late your imple­men­ta­tion post-collection—we do require that you cer­tify in their use before you can access them. How­ever, this online exam is free, and we pro­vide all the mate­r­ial you will need in order to pre­pare. It’s well worth your time! You can get more detail on cer­ti­fi­ca­tion here.

4. Set Default Met­rics in Indi­vid­ual Reports

Site­Cat­a­lyst has always (well, at least for a very long time) allowed you to change the default met­ric for a report suite. Maybe you’re a media com­pany, or a B2B site, and you don’t track Rev­enue. You could choose Leads Gen­er­ated or Inter­nal Searches or what­ever event you prefer.

Site­Cat­a­lyst 15 goes one step fur­ther with a fea­ture that every com­pany I know of should be using. Admin users can define the default met­rics at the indi­vid­ual report level, so that in your Inter­nal Search Key­words report, the best default met­rics for you and your users might be Inter­nal Searches (a cus­tom event), Page Views per Search (a cal­cu­lated met­ric so you can see how many PVs each key­word sub­se­quently gen­er­ated), and Leads Gen­er­ated (so you can see how many con­ver­sions each key­word pro­duced). Mean­while, in the Video Name report, you might want Video Starts, Video Com­pletes, and Ad Views (all cus­tom events). This way, when your users log in and access these reports, they see the data that is most rel­e­vant in the con­text of the given report, as opposed to be lim­ited to the same met­rics across all of the dif­fer­ent data dimen­sions you’re collecting.

To do this, sim­ply add the met­rics you want to set as default in what­ever report you’re view­ing. Then click the arrow next to “Add Met­rics” above the met­ric col­umn head­ers in the table, as shown, and click “Set as Default:”

Setting Metrics as Default

This will lock in the selected met­rics (in this case, Vis­its, Unique Vis­i­tors, and a cal­cu­lated met­ric called Time Spent per Vis­i­tor) for all users of this report, in this report suite. Only admins can set default met­rics for a report, but it’s also worth not­ing that any admin can make this change for all users. This means that if another admin wants dif­fer­ent default met­rics for every­one, he/she can do that. I advise send­ing out a note to all of the Site­Cat­a­lyst admins on your account when­ever you set default met­rics, so that every­one is clear.

Just Say No!” to irrel­e­vant reports. Set your default met­rics today.

5. Use SAINT With De-Duplicated Vis­its, Unique Vis­i­tors, and Orders

My final “hid­den gem” doesn’t involve any inter­face changes, per se, but it’s a plat­form fea­ture that allows you to get a lot more bang for your buck with SAINT clas­si­fi­ca­tions. In pre­vi­ous ver­sions of Site­Cat­a­lyst, if you had two indi­vid­ual line items that rolled up into a SAINT clas­si­fi­ca­tion category—let’s say, Prod­uct A and Prod­uct B both rolling up into Prod­uct Cat­e­gory 1—SiteCatalyst would sim­ply add up the num­ber of Vis­its, Unique Vis­i­tors, or Orders for Prod­uct A and Prod­uct B. But that isn’t always cor­rect, because some­times an order includes both Prod­uct A and Prod­uct B—but this isn’t two orders for Prod­uct Cat­e­gory 1, right? It’s one order! Here’s a dia­gram that might be helpful:

SAINT De-Duplication in SiteCatalyst 15

Now that Site­Cat­a­lyst 15 “de-duplicates” these met­rics, you can rely on SAINT to do all kinds of things that might have pre­vi­ous required imple­men­ta­tion and addi­tional vari­ables. The exam­ple above illus­trates this per­fectly. If I needed to know how many orders belonged to Prod­uct Cat­e­gory 1 with no chance for dupli­ca­tion, I would have needed to imple­ment an addi­tional vari­able to track the cat­e­gory so that mul­ti­ple prod­ucts in the same cat­e­gory would not cause mul­ti­ple orders to be counted by SAINT.

In Site­Cat­a­lyst 15, a sin­gle vari­able can fill out a whole tree of SAINT clas­si­fi­ca­tions with­out fear of dupli­ca­tion in these met­rics. For exam­ple, if you don’t have a tremen­dous need for pathing on site sec­tions, you can do page, site sec­tion, sub-section, sub-sub-section, sub-sub-sub sec­tion, owner, cat­e­gory, and more, all based on the s.pageName vari­able, and you’ll know that the Visit and Unique Vis­i­tor counts are accu­rate even if users hit mul­ti­ple pages that roll up into the same sec­tions, own­ers, etc.

If I were doing a new Site­Cat­a­lyst imple­men­ta­tion today, and I were on Site­Cat­a­lyst 15, I’d use SAINT heav­ily and reduce my reliance on dis­parate vari­ables pop­u­lated via JavaScript or VISTA (or even Pro­cess­ing Rules!).


Of course, there are many more “hid­den gems” in Site­Cat­a­lyst 15 than just these few (I can already think of one that I didn’t cover; I’ll save it for next time), but hope­fully this is a nice start for those of you who want to know some “power user” tips to help you get even more out of the tool. Do you have your own “hid­den gems” that you think might ben­e­fit other mar­keters or ana­lysts out there? Please share them in the com­ments, or send me a tweet. I’d love to hear from you!