How to Get Data In and Out of SiteCatalyst — Part II
In the previous post in this two-part series, I described the various methods of getting data into SiteCatalyst. Once you’ve collected the necessary data for your business needs, you’ll next be interested in putting the data to use for reporting, analysis, or optimization purposes. There may be many different ways you’d like to leverage your SiteCatalyst data so I think it’s important to understand what options you have at your disposal so that you can achieve your business objectives as efficiently as possible.
After examining the input options in the first part of this series, let’s switch to looking at how you get data out of SiteCatalyst. Again there is a dashed line between the various output alternatives. The first four options focus primarily on data visualizations while the remaining two output options are geared towards serving up raw data.
Adobe DMS Interface
The most obvious way to access your SiteCatalyst data is through the Digital Marketing Suite (DMS) interface. Within the interface you have the ability to view and interact with your data in various ways and via different types of devices – desktop, tablet, mobile phone, or HD display. Data can be displayed, downloaded directly, or sent to other co-workers in various file formats such as PDF, Excel, Word, CSV, etc. The handy Data Extract feature (found in most reports under More Actions > Extract Data) lets you customize a default report with various values for the X and Y axes. You can also bookmark custom reports and build interface-based dashboards. The menu structure and reports can be customized to meet your specific business needs. In addition, if you have Adobe Discover or Adobe Insight, you can perform deep-dive, ad hoc analysis on your SiteCatalyst data in these advanced analytics tools.
In SiteCatalyst, you’re able to schedule reports to be sent out to different business users on a recurring basis. You can control the recipients, format, time frame (fixed or rolling), delivery frequency (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.), and so on. The publishing list feature enables you to distribute data from various report suites to different groups or sets of email addresses. For example, you could send out an external search report to multiple stakeholders, which would be based on their unique location/report suite (France vs. Canada). You also have the option of publishing a ReportBuilder (custom Excel-based) report rather than a SiteCatalyst report or dashboard. You also have alerts that can be configured to send out a report when a particular condition or threshold is met.
Adobe provides SiteCatalyst users with the opportunity to pull data directly into Excel using the ReportBuilder add-in. This powerful tool enables you to build customized data requests from SiteCatalyst, which can be inserted into your Excel worksheets and dynamically reference specific cells. Using ReportBuilder’s data filters, you can extract and combine data points into highly customized reports. Once an advanced dashboard has been created, it can be manually refreshed or automatically published with the most up-to-date information. For more information on Adobe ReportBuilder, download the ReportBuilder Manual within the SiteCatalyst Product Documentation page.
If you would like to insert SiteCatalyst data and reports into third-party applications such as an intranet or company-branded application, you can use the Reporting API for programmatic access to SiteCatalyst’s core report data. Through the Reporting API, you’re able to create customized reports that include calculated metrics and formatting options. If you’re using SiteCatalyst 15, you’ll be able to generate reports based on segments. Recently the Reporting API was updated and given the ability to perform multi-level breakdowns across reports. For more information on this method, go to the API documentation within the Adobe Developer Connection.
While not as powerful or flexible as the Reporting API, the SiteCatalyst Widget is a simple way to insert SiteCatalyst reports into a web page, intranet page, or other HTML-based applications. This widget will pull in your bookmarked reports and dashboards from the SiteCatalyst interface into a designated location. While the popularity of widgets has waned somewhat, you might still find some useful scenarios for these reporting snippets. You can download this widget tool directly from the SiteCatalyst interface.
If you have DataWarehouse enabled for SiteCatalyst, you can generate ad hoc data reports on your historical SiteCatalyst data, which are delivered as CSV files via email or FTP. With DataWarehouse Reports, you build a query to filter your SiteCatalyst data and isolate specific data points. Before Discover was introduced, DataWarehouse Reports were the primary way to perform multi-level breakdowns and segment analysis on SiteCatalyst data (rest in peace ASI slots). The vast majority of requests take less than a day to process, but depending on the complexity of your query and the amount of data it can take longer to process. DataWarehouse has a request manager interface and API to help manage and prioritize DW reports. For more information on DataWarehouse Reports, go to the SiteCatalyst Knowledge Base and download the DataWarehouse: Creating Customized Reports with Segmented Data (KB article # 587).
DataWarehouse Data Feeds
Your company might want to combine its clickstream data from SiteCatalyst with other data in an internal Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW). The clickstream data feeds provide the stream of raw, partially-processed server calls from SiteCatalyst in a delimited data set. The data feeds are configured at the report suite level and delivered on a daily basis (containing the hit data for the previous day). Depending on the average amount of data collected for the report suite, you can choose to have it delivered via FTP in a single zipped file or multiple zipped files (recommended). For more information on DataWarehouse Data Feeds, download the Clickstream Data Feeds White Paper within the SiteCatalyst White Papers page.
Genesis Third-Party Integrations
If you’re considering integrating third-party applications with SiteCatalyst, Adobe’s Genesis integration platform represents a streamlined way of importing and exporting data out of SiteCatalyst. The various pre-built Genesis integrations (email, survey, ad serving, social media) simplify the process of importing data from other marketing applications and also give you control over what SiteCatalyst data is shared with these third-party vendors. Adobe Genesis leverages all of the aforementioned input and output mechanisms to automate the process of capturing and sharing data with other systems.
From reading this two-part blog post, I hope you have gained a clearer understanding of the different means available to you for getting data in and out of SiteCatalyst. There may be some mechanisms that you may be currently underutilizing or hadn’t considered for specific scenarios. If you would like to find out more information on the various methods, I’ve tried to highlight links to different resources in the blog posts. I’d love to hear if you have applied any of these methods in creative ways that weren’t covered in this article. I’m sure other readers would love to hear about your successes with these creative approaches as well.
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