Clas­si­fi­ca­tions are cool (and some­times hard to keep up-to-date.)

Clas­si­fi­ca­tions (for­merly SAINT clas­si­fi­ca­tions) are a pow­er­ful tool for gain­ing more insight from your analy­sis of online behav­ior. They pro­vide a means to upload meta­data  that can be con­nected to the infor­ma­tion being gath­ered by Adobe Ana­lyt­ics. Clas­si­fi­ca­tions are used in many ways. Here are a few examples:

  • Clas­si­fi­ca­tions are often used to break a vari­able con­tain­ing a delim­ited list into smaller pieces. For exam­ple, track­ing codes often com­prise a delim­ited list with por­tions of the track­ing code string rep­re­sent­ing mar­ket­ing chan­nel, part­ner, name, date. etc. Clas­si­fi­ca­tions can be used to group track­ing codes by these categories.
  • Some retail­ers pop­u­late the Prod­ucts vari­able with a SKU num­ber. Using clas­si­fi­ca­tions they can upload infor­ma­tion from their inter­nal prod­uct data­base to cat­e­go­rize SKUs into brands, sizes, col­ors, fla­vors, vari­eties, cat­e­gories, etc.
  • Some com­pa­nies pop­u­late a prop or eVar with a cus­tomer ID and use clas­si­fi­ca­tions to upload cus­tomer attrib­utes for from their CRM data­base for use in Analytics.
  • Clas­si­fi­ca­tions can be used to give friendly names to cryp­tic codes stored in a prop or eVar. For exam­ple, you can use clas­si­fi­ca­tions to rename ‘ca’ to ‘Chan­nel Affiliate.’

But there’s a dirty lit­tle secret about clas­si­fi­ca­tions: They can be very time con­sum­ing to man­age. As an exam­ple, the typ­i­cal process for updat­ing clas­si­fi­ca­tions for track­ing codes might look some­thing like this:

  1. New track­ing codes are cre­ated and used in online adver­tis­ing efforts.
  2. The per­son man­ag­ing clas­si­fi­ca­tions notices that these new codes are not clas­si­fied prop­erly. Often this is exhib­ited in reports by the “None” bucket in a clas­si­fi­ca­tions report grow­ing larger and larger over time as more and more unclas­si­fied track­ing codes come into the system.
  3. The per­son man­ag­ing clas­si­fi­ca­tions down­loads the exist­ing and unclas­si­fied keys via the clas­si­fi­ca­tions export tool in Ana­lyt­ics and loads the file into Excel.
  4. Using Excel she types the cor­rect clas­si­fi­ca­tions in each cell for every unclas­si­fied key, saves the file, and then uploads it back into Ana­lyt­ics using the import tool.
  5. She waits for a few hours or a day or two  for the clas­si­fi­ca­tions to prop­a­gate to reports.
  6. Voila, track­ing codes are appro­pri­ately clas­si­fied in Analytics.
  7. A few days go by. More unclas­si­fied track­ing codes come into the system.
  8. Go to step 1. (sigh)

The process is man­ual, slow and often reac­tive in nature which means clas­si­fi­ca­tions reports are not as use­ful as they might oth­er­wise be. Sheesh, why can’t we at Adobe make this eas­ier??? Well, we’re work­ing on it. We have sev­eral ini­tia­tives under­way to improve the sit­u­a­tion. This post is Part 1 of a multi-part series describ­ing one of those efforts: the clas­si­fi­ca­tions rule builder.

 Automat­ing clas­si­fi­ca­tions with a rule-based approach

As indi­cated above, clas­si­fi­ca­tion meta­data can come from many places. The new clas­si­fi­ca­tions rule builder focuses on use cases where meta­data is located within the string val­ues being passed into Adobe Ana­lyt­ics. The track­ing code exam­ple men­tioned above is a prime exam­ple of this use case. Other exam­ples include cer­tain prod­uct strings and inter­nal search terms. Using rules you can tell Adobe Ana­lyt­ics how to deci­pher the incom­ing track­ing codes, search terms, etc. and then Ana­lyt­ics will auto­mat­i­cally set clas­si­fi­ca­tions for you. You no longer have to deal with down­load­ing, fill­ing out, and upload­ing clas­si­fi­ca­tion files all the time.

In my next post I will talk through sev­eral exam­ples in more detail and show how a rule-based approach will greatly sim­plify your process, sav­ing you hours of work each.

The clas­si­fi­ca­tions rule builder is avail­able NOW

For those of you who attended the Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Sum­mit in Salt Lake City or Lon­don, the clas­si­fi­ca­tions rule builder was  demoed dur­ing the clos­ing SNEAKS ses­sion at those events. I’m happy to announce that the clas­si­fi­ca­tions rule builder is avail­able now for use by all Adobe Ana­lyt­ics customers.

Rules screen shot