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:
SiteCatalyst will break this value at the pipe (assuming that pipe was the chosen delimiter), generating a report that looks like this:
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:
Click the “Edit” icon for the metric that you want to copy:
This will load up the calculated metric in the editor:
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 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:
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).