10522582 / 123RF Stock PhotosOne of the most chal­leng­ing aspects of host­ing a party is some­times you end up invit­ing friends and col­leagues from two mutu­ally exclu­sive cir­cles of friends. Under one roof you have your col­lege bud­dies min­gling with your boss and his or her sig­nif­i­cant other. Those are two dis­tinct groups that rep­re­sent dif­fer­ent real­i­ties of you. Both of those real­i­ties are based on the same you, but you don’t really want to see those real­i­ties collide.

Some­times inte­grat­ing your Test&Target data with your Site­Cat­a­lyst data is sim­i­lar to throw­ing this kind of party. This is one area where the dif­fer­ence between ana­lyt­ics and opti­miza­tion is most appar­ent and often abused as ana­lysts inte­grate their test­ing data into their ana­lyt­ics plat­form with­out care­fully con­sid­er­ing why they are doing it or how they will use it.  With two sim­ple plu­g­ins it is pos­si­ble to push your Test&Target cam­paign data into Site­Cat­a­lyst, result­ing in an inte­gra­tion that enables deeper analy­sis than is avail­able in Test&Target alone.  Inte­grat­ing these two plat­forms is not a bad idea, but how you choose to use it can be.

Wrong Way:
If you are inte­grat­ing these two plat­forms sim­ply because you can, I’d sug­gest that’s the wrong way.  If you are inte­grat­ing these plat­forms to use Site­Cat­a­lyst to val­i­date or dou­ble check the num­bers you are see­ing in Test&Target, you’re also push­ing your luck. This exer­cise prompts ques­tions like “I see 20,000 vis­i­tors in the Test&Target cam­paign, but see 24,000 vis­i­tors in Site­Cat­a­lyst dur­ing the same time. Which one is right?”  Those are two real­i­ties, and they could both be accu­rate – but that doesn’t mean they will get along. Sud­denly your ex-girlfriend and fiancé are now at the same party. The truth is these two plat­forms are inde­pen­dent and func­tion with dif­fer­ent cook­ies, time dura­tions, and count­ing method­olo­gies.  So what’s the right way to use this integration?

“Those are two real­i­ties, and they could both be accu­rate – but that doesn’t mean they will get along. Sud­denly your ex-girlfriend and fiancé are now at the same party.”

Right Way:
Each tool has its areas of exper­tise. Test&Target is great for test­ing cau­sa­tion. Site­Cat­a­lyst is a great research tool that enables you to look for trends and action­able seg­ments you may not have rec­og­nized before. While you decide to use Test&Target’s sim­ple, yet effec­tive report­ing met­rics to eval­u­ate a cam­paign, you can look at test cam­paign data in Site­Cat­a­lyst to iden­tify new seg­men­ta­tion or tar­get­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. There may be inter­est­ing sub-segments of vis­i­tors whose behav­ior is affected in spe­cific ways by dif­fer­ent test expe­ri­ences. Because Test&Target requires you to set up any seg­ments you care to see before the test begins, it is not always pos­si­ble to fore­see which sub-segments could be inter­est­ing. This would be a good oppor­tu­nity to exam­ine the data in Site­Cat­a­lyst to look at vis­i­tors by the test expe­ri­ence they saw and start run­ning sub-relations to research poten­tial segments.

Maybe you will find that vis­i­tors who saw recipe A view more videos but vis­i­tors who saw recipe B are more pre­dis­posed to sign­ing up for your email newslet­ter. This will not tell you which expe­ri­ence is bet­ter (look to Test&Target’s report­ing for that) but it may sug­gest some follow-up tests. The ideal approach here would be to use the pre-defined test suc­cess met­rics con­fig­ured in Test&Target to iden­tify the win­ning expe­ri­ence and use the test­ing data inte­grated into Site­Cat­a­lyst to research action­able segments.

As with any party, this inte­gra­tion could get messy if you let it get out of hand. If you mis­use it, you may leave you ask­ing why you did this in the first place. I have worked with quite a few ana­lysts that end up scratch­ing their heads because they can’t find the answers to the ques­tions they’re ask­ing. In real­ity, there can be value in this inte­gra­tion if you use it to ask the right questions.