Do you use Omni­ture DataWare­house on a reg­u­lar basis?  I am sur­prised by how many of my cus­tomers don’t know any­thing about DataWare­house and what it can do for them.  This is a big mis­take, espe­cially since you are prob­a­bly pay­ing for it!  While Omni­ture DataWare­house is tech­ni­cally a sep­a­rate prod­uct from Omni­ture Site­Cat­a­lyst, the major­ity of my cus­tomers have access to it and the two prod­ucts go hand-in-hand.  For this rea­son, I am going to include it in this blog series and show you how you can take advan­tage of it.  In this post, I will explain the basics of DataWare­house and in my next post, I will take it a step fur­ther by dis­cussing ASI (Advanced Seg­ment Insight) which is part of DataWarehouse. 

What is Omni­ture DataWare­house?
Omni­ture DataWare­house is a repos­i­tory of Site­Cat­a­lyst data that stores infor­ma­tion sim­i­lar to that which you can see in Site­Cat­a­lyst.  While many cus­tomers think DataWare­house is only a backup of their data, it is actu­ally much more than that.  To under­stand DataWare­house, you need to first under­stand how it dif­fers from Site­Cat­a­lyst.  When you use Site­Cat­a­lyst, the reports you get are pre-defined so that they can return quickly in the browser.  For this rea­son, you may notice that you can only per­form a small num­ber of report break­downs (Cor­re­la­tions and Sub­re­la­tions) within Site­Cat­a­lyst and that you can­not break­down Traf­fic Vari­ables and Con­ver­sion Vari­ables by each other.  The rea­son for this is that these more com­plex queries could take too long to return, result­ing in a browser timeout.  SiteCatalyst is fine-tuned to pro­vide you with speedy access to 80% of the reports you should need on a daily basis.  On the other hand, DataWare­house stores the raw data which enables it to be used for much more com­plex queries, but the results are not pro­vided in real-time (nor­mally within 24 hours).

Another key dif­fer­ence between Site­Cat­a­lyst and DataWare­house is that DataWare­house can pro­vide deeper vis­i­tor seg­men­ta­tion.  For exam­ple, when Site­Cat­a­lyst is col­lect­ing infor­ma­tion about a vis­i­tor, it is dif­fi­cult for it to know that three months ago this same vis­i­tor looked at Prod­uct XYZ and that two months ago the vis­i­tor began an appli­ca­tion but did not com­plete it.  That level of infor­ma­tion requires that Omni­ture sift through rows and rows of web­site data which is not easy to do in real-time within a browser.  DataWare­house, how­ever, con­tains all of this his­tor­i­cal data and has a built-in vis­i­tor seg­men­ta­tion engine that allows you to cre­ate seg­ments that are mean­ing­ful to you and extract Site­Cat­a­lyst data for that spe­cific seg­ment.  Com­mon DataWare­house seg­ments might include:

  1. All Vis­i­tors who have added a prod­uct to the shop­ping cart, but not purchased
  2. All Vis­its where vis­i­tors have viewed a prod­uct page, but not added any­thing to the shop­ping cart
  3. All Vis­its where vis­i­tors came from a few select cities and added a few spe­cific prod­ucts to the Shop­ping Cart (see below)

The num­ber of dif­fer­ent seg­ments you can cre­ate is lim­ited only by your imag­i­na­tion.  DataWare­house pro­vides a Seg­ment Builder that allows you to choose how you want to build the seg­ment and a can­vas that allows you to spec­ify what data you want to see for that seg­ment.  You can also choose the time­frame for the data set and whether you want the result­ing report to be deliv­ered one time or on a recur­ring basis.

When Should You Use DataWare­house
Once my cus­tomers have absorbed the pre­ced­ing infor­ma­tion, the next log­i­cal ques­tion they ask me is when they should use Site­Cat­a­lyst and when they should use DataWare­house.  Here is how I respond:

  1. Use DataWare­house when you need to see data for a sub­set of your audi­ence.  If you need to see vis­i­tors from the US who have started the appli­ca­tion process, Site­Cat­a­lyst will be more than ade­quate, but if you need to see 1st time vis­i­tors, using a Google Chrome browser who have started an appli­ca­tion at some point, and began their visit on a spe­cific mar­ket­ing land­ing page, all for the last 3 months, I would rec­om­mend using DataWare­house (or Omni­ture Dis­cover).
  2. Use DataWare­house if you need to see Traf­fic Vari­ables and Con­ver­sion Vari­ables bro­ken down by each other and you do not have access to Omni­ture Dis­cover.  If these break­downs are going to be needed on a recur­ring basis, I work with my clients to cap­ture the nec­es­sary data into both Traf­fic and Con­ver­sion Vari­ables to avoid hav­ing to rely too much on DataWare­house, but many times this is not fea­si­ble and DataWare­house can really save the day.
  3. Use DataWare­house if you need to go beyond the two lev­els of report break­downs offered in Site­Cat­a­lyst.  Date­Ware­house allows you to cre­ate an unlim­ited num­ber of breakdowns.
  4. Use Data Ware­house if you have a piece of data that has more than 500,000 unique val­ues per month.  While this doesn’t hap­pen too often, there are cases where Omni­ture cus­tomers need to pass a user ID or some other unique val­ues to a vari­able which exceeds the rec­om­mended limit of Site­Cat­a­lyst.  In these cases, the vari­able in Site­Cat­a­lyst is not use­ful since it shows a “Uniques Exceeded” value, but all of the data is stored cor­rectly in DataWare­house where you can build the appro­pri­ate seg­ments and extract a list of the rel­e­vant unique val­ues as needed.

Impor­tant Things to Know About DataWare­house
The fol­low­ing are some impor­tant things to know about DataWarehouse:

  1. The more com­plex the DataWare­house seg­ment and the larger the time frame, the longer it can take for a report to be returned.
  2. The Unique Vis­i­tors met­ric pro­vided in a DataWare­house report is rel­a­tive to either the over­all time frame or spec­i­fied report gran­u­lar­ity (Day/Week/Month if selected) in DataWare­house reports.
  3. DataWare­house seg­ments have an “exclude” func­tion that allows you to elim­i­nate data that you don’t want to be included in your seg­ment query.
  4. Build­ing too gran­u­lar of a seg­ment can often times return no data.  My advice is to run a test report for one day of data to be sure you have your seg­ment cor­rect before attempt­ing to run it for months worth of data (learned the hard way from some­one who waited a few days only to receive no data due to my own user error!).
  5. DataWare­house can be used to load his­tor­i­cal data into Omni­ture Discover.
  6. DataWare­house is used by many Omni­ture Gen­e­sis integrations.
  7. Most of the things you can do in Data Ware­house can be done in Omni­ture Dis­cover in real-time.

Real-World Exam­ple
In this install­ment of our real-world exam­ple, we will focus on the CoolFlow­ers sub­sidiary of Greco Inc.  In this sce­nario, the CMO of CoolFlow­ers is look­ing to test a new re-marketing cam­paign and would like to iden­tify all of its cus­tomers who have pur­chased flow­ers in the past three months but sub­mit­ted fewer than three total orders and are from the New York City metro area.  CoolFlow­ers cap­tures an encrypted cus­tomer ID into a Traf­fic Vari­able (sProp) on each page after a cus­tomer logs into the site and since Site­Cat­a­lyst cap­tures orders and geo­graphic loca­tion, this can be accom­plished through a DataWare­house request.  How­ever, just to make things a bit more com­pli­cated, the CMO would also like to see what Prod­ucts, if any, the vis­i­tors match­ing this seg­ment have looked at online, how many times and what city they are from within the New York City metro area.

To accom­plish all of this, the Site­Cat­a­lyst power user (you), would build a seg­ment as described above and then add the nec­es­sary data to the report­ing can­vas which shows what the out­put file will look like:

Once you have your seg­ment built cor­rectly and have added the cor­rect data on the can­vas, you can sched­ule the report and it will be deliv­ered to the spec­i­fied e-mail address or FTP site.


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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Tim Elleston
Tim Elleston

DW has definitely been a godsend for one report we have...we track course views, which roll up through 4 other classifications and we want traffic numbers (views, visits and visitors) segmented by country and region. We have the report delivered as a CSV on a monthly schedule, reconfigure it as a pivot table and pass off to our stakeholders...easy as. Great solution.