I know. “Shut Up and Play the Hits: The lat­est Adobe Ana­lyt­ics tips and tricks” is a strange title for a ses­sion at Adobe Sum­mit 2014. The cre­ative name comes from Andrew Kop­er­was, one of our excel­lent Prod­uct Mar­ket­ing Man­agers, who describes him­self as a big LCD Soundsys­tem fan. The title notwith­stand­ing, I am very excited about the ses­sion, and I hope you will find time to attend it on Tues­day after­noon here in Salt Lake City! (UPDATE: A repeat of the ses­sion has just been added on Thurs­day after­noon!) We will not be shut­ting up, but we will be play­ing the hits. In this post, I want to give you a sense of how the ses­sion will work, and cover some of the con­tent that we left on the prover­bial cut­ting room floor.

We had a great year of inno­va­tion in Adobe Ana­lyt­ics between Sum­mit 2013 and the present, with more than 70 new fea­tures released into the solu­tion. With all of this great new func­tion­al­ity in the prod­uct, there are new tips and tricks and best prac­tices to mas­ter. This ses­sion is all about walk­ing through eight of my favorite new addi­tions to Adobe Ana­lyt­ics, dis­cussing how we hope they will solve chal­lenges that you may be fac­ing in your role, and offer­ing some ideas around how you can best take advan­tage of them. (SPOILER ALERT: I will also show off two as-yet-unseen new fea­tures com­ing to the prod­uct later this spring. You will get a sense how to get the most value out of the great fea­tures we have released since last Sum­mit, and a sense of where we are headed with our next release.)

There are so many great new fea­tures in Ana­lyt­ics that I had to leave a few favorites out. So in addi­tion to the 10 tips I’ll be show­ing at Sum­mit, here are two other really cool fea­tures; we’ll call them “Tip #11″ and “Tip #12.”

Tip #11: Using the Time Prior to Event report along­side the Time Spent per Visit report

This is one that we tech­ni­cally released before Sum­mit 2013. The Time Prior to Event report dif­fers from Time Spent per Visit in the sense that it asso­ciates met­rics with the time bucket where the given met­ric occurred, as opposed to asso­ci­at­ing all met­rics with the bucket rep­re­sent­ing the total length of the visit. Thus, it is a lit­tle more gran­u­lar than the tra­di­tional Time Spent per Visit report. A big part of this “tip” is just to help you get famil­iar with the Time Prior to Event report, which might be what you and your con­stituents are really look­ing for when you run the Time Spent per Visit report. But the best insights are avail­able when using the two in con­cert to find pat­terns. I’m going to give you a very sim­ple exam­ple of this.

Con­sider the fol­low­ing table show­ing a sequence of page views rep­re­sent­ing a com­plete visit, along with the time when each page view occurred.

Time Page Event
9:00 Home Page None
9:02 Prod­uct Detail Page (Kam­loops Snow Boot) Prod­uct View
9:03 Add to Cart Cart Addi­tion
9:05 Check­out None
9:08 Order Con­fir­ma­tion Order
9:15 Home Page None
9:27 Prod­uct Detail Page (Inter­laken Ski Jacket) Prod­uct View
9:35 User Pro­file Pro­file Edit
End of Visit

The two reports we are dis­cussing would han­dle the events that occurred in this visit dif­fer­ently. Remem­ber, in the Time Spent per Visit report, all met­rics are asso­ci­ated with the total length of the visit. In the Time Prior to Event report, all met­rics are asso­ci­ated with the time at which they occurred dur­ing the visit. So here is what that visit would look like

Time Prior to Event

  Prod­uct Views Orders Pro­file Edits Vis­its
Less than 1 minute 0 0 0 0
1–5 min­utes 1 0 0 0
5–10 min­utes 0 1 0 0
10–30 min­utes 1 0 0 0
30–60 min­utes 0 0 1 1

Time Spent per Visit

Prod­uct Views Orders Pro­file Edits Vis­its
Less than 1 minute 0 0 0 0
1–5 min­utes 0 0 0 0
5–10 min­utes 0 0 0 0
10–30 min­utes 0 0 0 0
30–60 min­utes 1 1 1 1

What do I learn here? I learn that this cus­tomer spent time brows­ing my site after pur­chas­ing, but did not make a sec­ond pur­chase. Next, I can try to assess which fac­tors con­tribute to this behav­ior: What rec­om­mended items are we show­ing on the order con­fir­ma­tion page in this case? Are there cer­tain traf­fic sources which tend to lead to brows­ing after pur­chase? I will likely end up with a bunch of great items for test­ing, and also for tar­get­ing based these spe­cific criteria.

If I find that there is a sig­nif­i­cant amount of traf­fic match­ing this pat­tern (or one like it), I can go over to ad hoc analy­sis (for­merly Dis­cover) and build a sequen­tial seg­ment which repro­duces a path like this very specif­i­cally, even down to the spe­cific time incre­ments if I want to. I can build a seg­ment which says “Vis­its where order occurred and after five min­utes, but within 25 min­utes, a prod­uct view occurred.” Then I can do com­plete behav­ioral analy­sis for this seg­ment to bet­ter under­stand how to reach these visitors.

Tip #12: Pro­cess­ing Rules improvements

In my ses­sion last year, I briefly cov­ered Pro­cess­ing Rules, which allow you to pop­u­late vari­ables, copy/concatenate vari­ables, and change vari­able val­ues after data col­lec­tion. Also, my col­league Bret Gun­der­sen gave a fan­tas­tic ses­sion on Pro­cess­ing Rules—so fan­tas­tic, in fact, that it was voted the #1 ses­sion of Sum­mit 2013. Since then, we have made some sig­nif­i­cant improve­ments to Pro­cess­ing Rules and what you can do with them. From our recent release notes:

  • Max rules increased from 50 to 100 for each report suite. UI enhance­ments were also made to improve per­for­mance when dis­play­ing large num­bers of rules.
  • Else” con­di­tion sup­port for rules lets you take action when a con­di­tion is not met.
  • When copy­ing rules between report suites, you can now append rules to the tar­get report suite rather than over­writ­ing all rules.

I want to focus on the sec­ond and third bul­let points above.

The value of the “else” con­di­tion is that it expands the range of pos­si­bil­i­ties for each of your rules, allow­ing you to be more flex­i­ble in way you use Pro­cess­ing Rules to aug­ment and enhance your imple­men­ta­tion. This is par­tic­u­larly valu­able in the area of data map­ping. I’ll show you what I mean. For exam­ple, let’s say I am sell­ing books, movies, and art­work on my site. I have instructed my devel­op­ers to use Con­text Data vari­ables to send author (for books) or direc­tor (for movies) into Adobe Ana­lyt­ics, and then, as an admin, I am going to map those Con­text Data vari­ables to eVar20. But on book pages, my devel­oper is using s.contextData['authorName'], and on the movie pages he is using s.contextData['directorName']. In the past, this would have required two of my valu­able Pro­cess­ing Rules. But now this becomes one sim­ple rule:

Processing Rules

This change, cou­pled with the increase from a limit of 50 Pro­cess­ing Rules to a max of 100 means that you can do a whole lot more with your data even after it comes in from your site or app.

The other Pro­cess­ing Rules change to men­tion briefly is the abil­ity to copy a Pro­cess­ing Rule to indi­vid­ual report suites. In the past, you could copy a Pro­cess­ing Rule to all of your suites, but this was trou­ble­some because a.) you don’t want to have to write new rules for every suite, even though they each use vari­ables a lit­tle dif­fer­ently, and  b.) Pro­cess­ing Rules, when in effect, per­ma­nently alter your data. In short, often you want to copy a rule, but only to one or a few report suites—definitely NOT to all of them.

This prob­lem is solved! Now, when you click on “Copy Pro­cess­ing Rules,” you can now multi-select report suites as destinations.

Copying Processing Rules

Note that you can also choose whether to over­write a des­ti­na­tion report suite’s exist­ing Pro­cess­ing Rules, or sim­ply append these new rules to the set already exist­ing on the des­ti­na­tion report suite.

See you at Summit!

If you’re com­ing to Sum­mit 2014 and you’re an Adobe Ana­lyt­ics user in any role, at any com­pany, I do hope you’ll con­sider join­ing my ses­sion on either Tues­day after­noon or Thurs­day after­noon. And if you do, please come down to the front of the room after­ward and say hello. I love meet­ing mem­bers of our com­mu­nity and user base! If I don’t see you there, hope­fully I’ll see you else­where around Sum­mit. It’s the best week of the year for dig­i­tal mar­keters and analysts!