I like blog posts that have solid themes, but sometimes there are questions I’d like to answer that may not be long enough to constitute their own post. In such cases, I’ll use a “potpourri” format similar to the popular Bill Simmons mailbag recurring feature on ESPN.com to hit a bunch of disparate topics in a single blog entry. So I hope you’ll forgive me as I bounce around a bit here and answer a few excellent questions that I received via e-mail or Twitter within the past couple of months that I haven’t been able to turn into separate blog posts.

Q: What is a list variable, and how can I use it to measure ad impressions on my site?

BG: Custom Traffic (s.prop) variables allow you to pass a “list” of values, using a delimiter of your choosing. This is great for sites wanting to measure things like ad impressions, where you may have multiple ads on a single page. Here’s an example where impressions for three different ads can be passed into SiteCatalyst on a single page view:

s.prop7=”1784713|4849122|0665781″

SiteCatalyst will break this value at the pipe (assuming that pipe was the chosen delimiter), generating a report that looks like this:

Ad Impressions

Of course, we’d want to add friendly names and groupings to these raw IDs (in the case of ads, these groupings might be partner names, page location, etc.), which can be done using SAINT. And while pathing and data correlations are not available for list props in SiteCatalyst, correlations on list props absolutely are available in Discover and Data Warehouse.

(You probably also want to track ad clicks. You can do this by applying custom link tracking code to each of the ads in the onclick event handler, and passing the ad ID either into a prop or into the link name. You can then get side-by-side reporting on impressions and clicks using Excel Client,  Report Builder, Discover, and/or SiteCatalyst dashboards.)

Q: Let’s say a user clicks a link in an e-mail and views one page on my site. Then they leave, but return to the e-mail and click a different link, which leads them to view a different page on my site, within 30 minutes. Would this be considered a bounce on the first page that the user viewed?

BG: No. A bounce is typically defined as [Single Access] / [Entries]. The fact that the Single Access metric is included in this calculation means that the numerator will only have a value when the entire visit consisted of one page. In the scenario described in the question, the user makes a second page view before the visit has expired, thus removing the entire visit from inclusion in the bounce rate calculation.

Q: Can I copy calculated metrics across report suites?

BG: Calculated metrics created in the Admin Console in SiteCatalyst can absolutely be duplicated across report suites. Here’s how you do it. In the Admin Console > Report Suites page, select all of the suites to which you want to copy the metric, including the suite that already has the metric applied to it. At the bottom of the resulting page, you’ll get a list of all calculated metrics that have been applied to at least one of the suites you selected:

Calculated Metrics

Click the “Edit” icon for the metric that you want to copy:

Calculated Metrics

This will load up the calculated metric in the editor:

Calculated Metrics

You don’t even have to do anything here! Just press “Save.” The metric will be automatically copied to all of the suites that you selected. This can be really useful for common calculated metrics that you use across all of your suites, such as Page Views per Visit, Visits per Monthly Unique Visitor, or Visitor Conversion (e.g., [Orders] / [Daily Unique Visitors] or something along those lines).

Q: How do I “push” a bookmark to specific users in my account?

BG: The “push bookmark” feature is a little-known but excellent way to distribute reports to individual users. Typically, when a bookmark is shared, others may access it, but it remains the property of your user account. “Push bookmark” copies the bookmark to other accounts so that Once you have saved a bookmark, go to My Account > Bookmarks and click “Make Public.” This opens up access to the report for other users. The “Make Public” icon will appear in color, and you will see a “Users” link next to it:

Click the 'Users' link to push a bookmark

Click this link to launch a pop-up window containing a list of all users on your account. Simply select the desired recipients of the bookmark and click “Save.” These users will receive the bookmark on the toolbar that spans the top of the SiteCatalyst user interface:

The user will see the bookmark in the toolbar

So there you have it; four tips that I hope will help some of you. Let me know whether you like/hate this sort of a blog post and I’ll adjust my plans accordingly. And regardless, please feel free to contact me personally with questions, comments, etc. at any time via Twitter or e-mail (omniture care at omniture dot com).

5 comments
Rudi Shumpert
Rudi Shumpert

Great post! And I like the Q&A format. Now I just need to submit some Q's -Rudi

VaBeachKevin
VaBeachKevin

Great information! The only thing I would add is if you want to use a prop as a 'list prop' that you need to contact Client Cate to have it enabled. If you just start using it you will get the list of variables displayed in SiteCatalyst exactly as it was entered on the page.

Andreas
Andreas

Great post Ben. Keep going with this Q&A style blog posts. Reminds me of Matt Cutts WebmasterCentral video posts ;)

Ben Gaines
Ben Gaines

Great point, Kevin. I definitely should have mentioned the role of ClientCare in that process.

Ben Gaines
Ben Gaines

Andreas: Now THAT is a compliment! Thank you! :)