The Mar­ket­ing Chan­nels report in Site­Cat­a­lyst is one of my favorite fea­tures. The report shows you where 100% of your traf­fic to the site is com­ing from and you can com­pare chan­nel suc­cess side by side (even organic vs. paid chan­nels!). This series has fea­tured posts on set­ting the Chan­nel Names, Paid and Nat­ural Search rules and Cam­paign Chan­nel rules. Now it’s time to fin­ish set­ting up the rest of the pro­cess­ing rules in the Mar­ket­ing Chan­nel Manager.

If you have fol­lowed along from the first post of this series, you should have already renamed the default rule of ‘Social Net­works’ to ‘Organic Social Net­works.’ Renam­ing the chan­nel will help ana­lysts not con­fuse your paid social media efforts with organic click-throughs into the site. The Organic Social Net­works rule is a default rule set for you by Adobe and matches incom­ing traf­fic to a list of known social media sites. You should check the list within the rule. The list is com­piled of well known social media sites which may or may not include social media net­works spe­cific to your indus­try or loca­tion. Add any domains that you feel should be included in the list for your site and save the rule.

Set­ting a rule for Affil­i­ate or Part­ner refer­rals is optional. If you have a robust affil­i­ate pro­gram and all of your affil­i­ates use track­ing codes you may want to set the Affil­i­ate rule sim­i­lar to the cam­paign rules in the last post and keep the pro­cess­ing rule posi­tioned with all the other cam­paign rules as well. If you have refer­rals from part­ner sites or affil­i­ates that do not use track­ing codes (or do not use them incon­sis­tently), this rule is an easy way to group that traf­fic into one chan­nel instead of try­ing to fil­ter the refer­ring domains report.

To cre­ate a domain based Affil­i­ates Chan­nel set the rule to ‘Refer­ring Domain con­tains’ and list the domains you are try­ing to track. Make sure the ‘ignore hits match­ing inter­nal URL fil­ters’ box is checked. Do not include ‘www.’ in the domain in your list, just the root domains you want to track.

Affiliate Channel Rule

The last 3 rules should be ’ Ses­sion Refresh,’ ‘Direct,’ and ‘Refer­ring Domains.’ I strongly rec­om­mend chang­ing the name of the ‘Inter­nal’ rule to ‘Ses­sion Refresh’ if you have not done so yet. Site­Cat­a­lyst users tend to con­fuse ‘Inter­nal’ with ‘Inter­nal Cam­paigns.’ Inter­nal cam­paigns should never be included in the Mar­ket­ing Chan­nels report. Ses­sion Refresh entries are exactly what it says. For exam­ple, if a vis­i­tor is on your site brows­ing, then goes to lunch and leaves the browser open Site­Cat­a­lyst will auto­mat­i­cally close a visit after 30 min­utes of inac­tiv­ity. So even though the browser is open with the site up, after 30 min­utes of inac­tiv­ity the Site­Cat­a­lyst visit has ended. Now the vis­i­tor returns from lunch, sees the site on the open browser and clicks to another page within the site. Presto! A new Site­Cat­a­lyst visit starts. How­ever, now we have a new visit with an incom­ing refer­ring domain that belongs to our own site (i.e. matches inter­nal domain fil­ters). Since the Mar­ket­ing Chan­nels report con­tains 100% of vis­its the entry has to go some­where, hence Ses­sion Refresh. This chan­nel should be a very small per­cent­age of the over­all traf­fic to the site. In a later post we’ll dis­cuss how to trouble-shoot issues if you are see­ing a sub­stan­tial per­cent­age of traf­fic falling into the Ses­sion Refresh channel.

Do NOT change, alter or delete the default set­tings for ’ Ses­sion Refresh,’ ‘Direct,’ and ‘Refer­ring Domains.’ The 3 rules should remain as they are, in the same order at the bot­tom of the list. That fin­ishes our rule list and your Mar­ket­ing Chan­nels Pro­cess­ing Rules should look some­thing like the following:

Channel Rule Order

Now that the rules are set, give the data a few days to com­pile and then review to make sure every­thing is buck­et­ing as expected. Likely you will need to tweak some of your rules to get them just right. I’ll go through some tips and tricks on how to use the reports, and trouble-shooting, in upcom­ing posts.