One topic that I find con­fuses many of my cus­tomers is Multi-Suite Tag­ging.  For this rea­son, I wanted to devote a post to this and pro­vide some basic infor­ma­tion about what it is and when it should be used.

What Is Multi-Suite Tag­ging?
Multi-Suite Tag­ging is a fancy name for send­ing Site­Cat­a­lyst data to two or more report suites.  So when would you want/need to use multi-suite tag­ging?  I have seen Multi-Suite Tag­ging used most often in the fol­low­ing situations:

  1. A com­pany has a sim­i­lar web­site in dif­fer­ent geo­graphic loca­tions and wants to com­pare the same met­rics for each region
  2. A com­pany has a sim­i­lar web­site, but many dif­fer­ent brands and wants to com­pare the same met­rics for dif­fer­ent brands
  3. A com­pany wants to pro­vide a sub­set of data to one group.  For exam­ple, the cus­tomer ser­vice group can only see cus­tomer ser­vice page data, but other groups can see all web­site data

The value of Multi-Suite Tag­ging can best be seen through an exam­ple.  Let’s imag­ine that Greco Inc. is a hold­ing com­pany that has var­i­ous retail brands under dif­fer­ent names.  Both retail brands (let’s say Brand A & Brand B) pro­vide sim­i­lar prod­ucts and most peo­ple don’t know that they are both owned by Greco Inc.  The CEO of Greco Inc. would like to see web­site data for each busi­ness sep­a­rately, but also have a com­bined view so he can see per­for­mance across all of Greco Inc.

To accom­plish this, each page on Brand A would send data to the “greco_brand_a” and “greco_global” report suites, while each page on Brand B would send its data to the “greco_brand_b” and “greco_global” report suites.  There­fore, each page on both sites is send­ing two image requests to Omni­ture — one for the Brand site and one to a Global site that con­sol­i­dates all data.

So how is this done?  There are two dif­fer­ent ways to imple­ment Multi-Suite Tagging:

  1. Mod­ify the “s_account” value in your .js file to include more than one report suite ID
  2. Uti­lize a VISTA rule to route data to addi­tional report suites

Here is an exam­ple of item #1 above from Omniture’s Imple­men­ta­tion Manual:

(NOTE: The data col­lec­tion sub­do­main, shown above as ‘suite1,’ is pop­u­lated using the s.visitorNamespace vari­able, and is typ­i­cally not spe­cific to indi­vid­ual report suites. The exam­ple above is pro­vided for the pur­pose of illus­trat­ing the comma-separated list of report suite IDs in the image request URL, and is not meant to sug­gest that your data col­lec­tion domain should be changed when using multi-suite tag­ging. In the vast major­ity of cases, you should not change the s.visitorNamespace vari­able when imple­ment­ing multi-suite tagging.)

Regard­less of the method used, the result is that all data col­lected on a page is sent to more than one data set within SiteCatalyst.

Using Multi-Suite Tag­ging
So build­ing upon the pre­vi­ous sce­nario, we can now see how Greco Inc. can take advan­tage of Multi-Suite Tag­ging.  Let’s say that the Greco Inc. CEO’s first pri­or­ity is to see Rev­enue by Mar­ket­ing Chan­nel.  Since there are two sep­a­rate report suites involved, it is now pos­si­ble to use the “Com­pare to Site” fea­ture within most Site­Cat­a­lyst reports to run the same report show­ing two dif­fer­ent data sets.  In this case, Greco Inc. would open the Brand A report suite, nav­i­gate to the Mar­ket­ing Chan­nel report (a SAINT clas­si­fi­ca­tion of Cam­paigns) and then add Rev­enue as the desired met­ric.  This will dis­play all Brand A Rev­enue bro­ken down by Mar­ket­ing Chan­nel.  From there, all that is needed is to select the “Con­fig­ure Report” option and then select “Com­pare to Site” and select the Brand B report suite.  The result is a report that looks like this:

Of course, it is pos­si­ble (and often nec­es­sary) to add the nor­mal­iza­tion option when met­rics are dif­fer­ent between report suites.

But wait…there’s more!  Since Greco Inc. has decided to cre­ate a Global report suite, all vis­i­tors to either the Brand A or Brand B web­site have the same Site­Cat­a­lyst “Vis­i­tor ID” in the Global report suite.  This means that as far as the global report suite is con­cerned, Omni­ture Site­Cat­a­lyst con­sid­ers Brand A and Brand B to be one mas­sive web­site with dif­fer­ent URL’s.  This is impor­tant because it enables you to do the following:

  1. See paths that vis­i­tors took from the Brand A site to the Brand B site (and vice-versa).  This allows you to see if the same per­son is vis­it­ing both of your brands which can be inter­est­ing infor­ma­tion (espe­cially if you fos­ter “co-opetition”)
  2. Get a de-duplicated count of unique vis­i­tors among all of the sites that you own.  For exam­ple, let’s say that Brand A has 20,000 monthly unique vis­i­tors and Brand B has 15,000 monthly unique vis­i­tors (for a total of 35,000 monthly unique vis­i­tors).  That sounds great, but if you look in the Global report suite, you might see that you only truly have 30,000 monthly unique vis­i­tors if the same vis­i­tor went to both sites (5,000 such vis­i­tors in this example).
  3. Cre­ate Seg­ments using cri­te­ria from mul­ti­ple web­sites (i.e. Show me vis­i­tors who looked at a prod­uct on Brand A’s site and brought some­thing on Brand B’s site)
  4. Uti­lize Par­tic­i­pa­tion to see what pages on Brand A’s site lead to suc­cess on Brand B’s site (and vice-versa)
  5. Uti­lize Cam­paign Track­ing at a higher level to see what mar­ket­ing cam­paigns led to suc­cess across mul­ti­ple sites

With Great Power, Comes Great Respon­si­bil­ity…
The pre­ced­ing exam­ple under­scores one of the most impor­tant things to con­sider when using Multi-Suite Tagging:

It is crit­i­cal that most or all Site­Cat­a­lyst vari­ables be con­sis­tent amongst any report suites that are Multi-Suite Tagged

In the exam­ple above, it is some­what easy since Rev­enue is always set in the same man­ner in Site­Cat­a­lyst.  But imag­ine that one of the items the Greco Inc. CEO wanted to see was Web­site Reg­is­tra­tions.  If Brand A’s web­site stored this in Suc­cess Event #1 and Brand B’s web­site stored Reg­is­tra­tions in Suc­cess Event #4, it would be impos­si­ble to com­pare the two from within Site­Cat­a­lyst (you would have to use the Excel­Client instead).

The sit­u­a­tion gets even worse when you con­sider the Global report suite.  If you recall, we men­tioned that data for both Brand A and Brand B was com­bined in a Global report suite.  Now imag­ine that Brand A is count­ing Web­site Reg­is­tra­tions in Suc­cess Event #1, but Brand B is count­ing E-mail Sub­scrip­tions in Suc­cess Event #1.  Now the Global report suite has two dif­fer­ent met­rics being com­bined (Brand A Web­site Reg­is­tra­tions + Brand B E-mail Sub­scrip­tions) into the same met­ric.  That ren­ders Suc­cess Event #1 use­less in the Global report suite and defeats its entire inten­tion!  In fact, I have often had to be the bearer of bad news to clients who have made busi­ness deci­sions based upon a Global report suite met­ric, only to have me show them that the num­bers they were look­ing at all along were incorrect.

There­fore, using Multi-Suite Tag­ging, while extremely pow­er­ful, requires advanced fore­thought about your set-up and coor­di­na­tion between dif­fer­ent brands and/or geo­graphic loca­tions.  If you are inter­ested in avoid­ing com­mon mis­takes, I strongly rec­om­mend you con­tact Omni­ture Con­sult­ing and con­sider their Cor­po­rate Gov­er­nance con­sult­ing project which is designed to help clients avoid the com­mon pit­falls of large, multi-site implementations.

Impor­tant Things To Know About Multi-Suite Tag­ging
The fol­low­ing are some impor­tant things to know about Multi-Suite Tagging:

  1. Since Omni­ture is stor­ing addi­tional data for you through Multi-Suite Tag­ging, you have to pay for the addi­tional server calls (though Omni­ture charges a reduced rate for these)
  2. Omni­ture also pro­vides some­thing called a Global Rollup Suite that aggre­gates data from mul­ti­ple indi­vid­ual report suites.  These are more cost-effective than Multi-Suite Tag­ging, but do not pro­vide inter-site pathing, de-duplicated unique vis­i­tors, Traf­fic Data Cor­re­la­tions, DataWare­house, etc…
  3. It is not pos­si­ble to cre­ate a Multi-Suite Tagged Global report suite using his­tor­i­cal data so it is best to plan for this ahead of time or pick a date at which you plan to coor­di­nate your sites and launch the Global suite.

Have a ques­tion about any­thing related to Omni­ture Site­Cat­a­lyst?  Is there some­thing on your web­site that you would like to report on, but don’t know how?  Do you have any tips or best prac­tices you want to share?  If so, please leave a com­ment here or send me an e-mail at insidesitecatalyst@​omniture.​com and I will do my best to answer it right here on the blog so every­one can learn! (Don’t worry — I won’t use your name or com­pany name!).  If you are on Twit­ter, you can fol­low me at http://​twit​ter​.com/​O​m​n​i​_​man.

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7 comments
Classy D
Classy D

I have a large amount of different suites that all use the same classification data. Is there a way I can upload a SAINT file containing data that can be accessed by all report suites?

Ben Gaines
Ben Gaines

Stefanie: There isn't a separate post (at least, that I'm aware of), but you can add suites to a rollup from within the Admin Console > Report Suites area. Simply drag the desired suites from the list on the right over to the rollup suite name on the left. Does this help?

Stefanie
Stefanie

Hi Adam, Is there another post about how to add suites to a rollup suite? Regards, Stefanie

James
James

Hi Adam. A great post by the way. I am interested in what considerations you need to make around Page Names when using Multi-Report Suite tagging. If the home page on site A is called "home" and the home page is called "home" also on site B then how is the page data separated in the global report suite? Is their a best practice to this? Thanks!

Analyst
Analyst

Hi Adam, a question related to the above... If you have a prop variable that captures the site name for each of your sites in the global report suite and you have pathing enabled on that prop variable, is the path limited to a visit 30 minute window or to the time range you select in site catalyst? For example, prop1 value on myfirstsite.com is "firstsite" and prop1 value on mysecondsite.com is "secondsite". User goes to myfirstsite.com and after 31 minutes goes to mysecondsite.com. Will this should up as an instance of "firstsite" to "secondsite" in the Next Prop1 report? Does the same apply to page pathing report - is it also visit based? Thanks!

Gunjan
Gunjan

Hi, For one of our client we are doing multi suite tagging. I found that in one reporting suite time spent is 6 mins and in other 7 mins. But in global reporting suite time spent 10 mins is coming up. Can you please explain why so?

Adam Greco
Adam Greco

James- Great question. When I have a client with multiple report suites, I tend to put the site-name before the pagename. This can be done easily via JavaScript or VISTA. That way you would have Site A:home and Site B:home. If you do not do this, in the "global" report suite, all page views and pathing will be combined for the two "home" pages which is rarely the desired outcome... Adam