It’s late May, and base­ball is on my mind. So, how was last night’s release of Adobe Ana­lyt­ics Stan­dard like a base­ball team? Just as there are nine bat­ters in a start­ing lineup, there are nine cat­e­gories of fea­ture updates, each which brings its own new ben­e­fits to the broader team. In this post, I’ll cover those nine cat­e­gories. My col­leagues in Adobe Ana­lyt­ics Prod­uct Man­age­ment will be fol­low­ing up with more detailed posts cov­er­ing much of this new func­tion­al­ity (and when those posts go live, I will also link to them from here).

All of these fea­tures are now cur­rently avail­able within Adobe Ana­lyt­ics, as of 23 May 2013. This is going to be a long one, so buckle up. Here we go.

Cur­rent (Low-Latency) Data Integration

Lead­off hit­ters are usu­ally great at get­ting on base and they’re fast enough to steal bases and score from first base on a dou­ble. This “lead­off hit­ter” intro­duces the con­cept of “cur­rent data” (low-latency data streamed into mar­ket­ing reports), a quick and pow­er­ful way to check trends on your site in real-time.

You may be aware that we added a set of Cur­rent Data reports to the Site­Cat­a­lyst 15 inter­face late last year. These reports offered traf­fic data within 3–5 min­utes of col­lec­tion and con­ver­sion data within 20–25 min­utes, putting it at par­ity with the real-time report­ing offered in pre­vi­ous ver­sions of Site­Cat­a­lyst. With this release, that sep­a­rate group of reports goes away, and is inte­grated into most reports through­out the tool. You and your users will now have the option of includ­ing cur­rent data at any time.

Enable current data

If you click “Yes” to include cur­rent data, if your date range includes the cur­rent day, you should imme­di­ately see data for just the past few min­utes. This is a great way to check the suc­cess of a cam­paign or a piece of con­tent very soon after launch. It should also help you test imple­men­ta­tions, ensure that key pages and mea­sure­ment are always avail­able, and more. If you refresh a report while includ­ing cur­rent data, you’re likely to see more data added on the fly. Addi­tion­ally, you can mouse over the clock icon at any time to view the actual latency for each met­ric in your report, so you’ll know exactly what you’re look­ing at.

View actual latency in SC 15

A few things to note in con­nec­tion with cur­rent data:

  • Some met­rics and reports do not sup­port cur­rent data. If you enter a report which does not sup­port cur­rent data, you will not see the option to include cur­rent data. If you use a met­ric which does not sup­port cur­rent data, you will be given the most recent data that is avail­able, from the most recent batch upload. 
  • Seg­men­ta­tion, cor­re­la­tions, and sub­re­la­tions do not sup­port cur­rent data. If you apply one of these capa­bil­i­ties to a report while view­ing cur­rent data, you will auto­mat­i­cally be tog­gled to exclude cur­rent data. Of course, this only mat­ters if your date range includes the cur­rent day.
  • As an admin, if you don’t want to use cur­rent data, you can remove your­self (and oth­ers) from the Cur­rent Data Users group in the Admin Console

Cur­rent data is also avail­able via our Report­ing API and in ReportBuilder.

Faster, lighter JavaScript file

Dustin Pedroia is a sec­ond base­man who often bats sec­ond in the Red Sox lineup. Dustin is only 5’8″, but has a com­pact, pow­er­ful swing that has earned him the nick­name “Laser Show” for the way he sprays the ball all over the park. Sim­i­larly, our new faster, lighter JavaScript file is plenty com­pact, but packs plenty of power and awe­some new capa­bil­i­ties. Here is the stat sheet on the new JavaScript file, which you can down­load from the Admin Con­sole today:

    • Smaller: new ver­sion is 21k uncom­pressed & 8k gzipped (whereas our pre­vi­ous code ver­sion, H.25, is 33k uncom­pressed & 13k gzipped)
    • Faster: 3-7x faster than the H.25 code
    • Sin­gle JS: new ver­sion is light/fast enough to be used with mobile sites, but robust enough to be used on the full desk­top web, allow­ing you to lever­age a sin­gle JS file across all web mea­sure­ment environments
    • Native Util­i­ties: native util­i­ties pro­vid­ing product-level sup­port for sev­eral com­mon plu­gin use cases (get­Query­Param, linkHan­dler, cook­ies, urlencoding)
    • Head Tag Deploy­ment: deploy­ing s_code and page code inside <head></head> tags is supported
    • Other Sup­ported Capa­bil­i­ties: Inte­grate & Media mod­ules (new mod­ules avail­able from code man­ager), JavaScript Debugger

I’m par­tic­u­larly excited about the speed improve­ment. We rec­og­nize how crit­i­cal page load time is, and every asset on every page may come under scrutiny  at one time or another. With this new JavaScript code, you can imme­di­ately rec­og­nize an improve­ment in that key aspect of user expe­ri­ence with­out los­ing any of your crit­i­cal data.

My col­league Ed Hewett blogged about this in greater depth here.

Clas­si­fi­ca­tion Rule Builder

With our num­ber three hit­ter, we start to shift toward power—guys who can hit it out of the park at any time, always ready to go deep. You’ve prob­a­bly know for quite a while that classifications—the abil­ity to add meta-data to the dimen­sions you’re collecting—is one of the most pop­u­lar fea­tures in expand­ing the value of your data set, but it’s about to get a whole lot more pow­er­ful (even with­out using steroids!). Those of you who were at Adobe Sum­mit, either in Salt Lake City or Lon­don, saw this excit­ing new enhance­ment on the main stage dur­ing our “Sneaks” ses­sion. It’s also the top ranked idea in our Idea Exchange: rule-based classifications.

In the past, build­ing out clas­si­fi­ca­tion tables and then upload­ing them into Adobe Ana­lyt­ics was an oner­ous task requir­ing a lot of man­ual labor or at the very least some nifty Excel wiz­ardry. And that was if you remem­bered to keep your clas­si­fi­ca­tion tables updated.

This fea­ture intro­duces the abil­ity for Adobe Ana­lyt­ics to exam­ine your “key” val­ues (the data col­lected from your site or app in the vari­ables that you are clas­si­fy­ing) and fill out the “table” auto­mat­i­cally and apply the clas­si­fi­ca­tions based on what it finds in those key val­ues. As such, it works best when you have a reli­able schema for key val­ues. For a very sim­plis­tic exam­ple, let’s say you have the fol­low­ing cam­paign track­ing codes com­ing in from your site:

2013:spring:womens:search
2013:spring:mens:display

Clearly, in these two track­ing codes we can see that we’ve got com­po­nents of year, sea­son, prod­uct cat­e­gory, and chan­nel embed­ded in there. Using the clas­si­fi­ca­tion rule builder, you can use reg­u­lar expres­sions to train Adobe Ana­lyt­ics to auto­mat­i­cally cre­ate clas­si­fi­ca­tions for these and other track­ing codes, so that ulti­mately you get some­thing like the following:

Key Sea­son Prod­uct Category Cam­paign Channel
2013:spring:womens:search Spring 2013 Women’s Apparel Paid Search
2013:spring:mens:display Spring 2013 Men’s Apparel Dis­play Ads

And then this gets applied quickly and auto­mat­i­cally so that your data is always up to date with the lat­est clas­si­fi­ca­tions crit­i­cal to the analy­sis and report­ing you’re doing for your business.

Classification Rule Builder

My col­league Matt Free­stone has writ­ten a short blog series on how to use the clas­si­fi­ca­tion rule builder, so be sure to check those out soon.

Sequen­tial Seg­men­ta­tion (Discover)

I’m bat­ting sequen­tial seg­men­ta­tion fourth because it’s extremely pow­er­ful and also one of my favorite things we’ve done for ana­lysts in recent mem­ory. The seg­ment builder in Dis­cover now allows you to define a sequence of vis­i­tor interactions.

Sequential Segmentation in Discover

In the screen shot above, notice that I am defin­ing a very spe­cific sequence: Vis­i­tors who saw the “Cabana” prod­uct page, and then no less than one week but no more than four weeks later, they viewed the prod­uct again and made an order. Never before has it been so easy to delve deeply into the sales cycle, or under­stand how vis­i­tors inter­act with key site work­flows over a period of time.

There is prac­ti­cally no limit to the kinds of inter­est­ing ques­tions and valu­able seg­ments that you can build with this func­tion­al­ity. One of my favorite uses for this pow­er­ful fea­ture is that it can make cohort analy­sis a snap (pro­vided that you’re cap­tur­ing the date of the event or events that demar­cate your groups into a vari­able, sim­i­lar to what Adam Greco describes here).

It’s also worth not­ing that, while you can’t cre­ate sequen­tial seg­ments in Site­Cat­a­lyst 15 yet, the sequen­tial seg­ments that you build in Dis­cover can be applied in Site­Cat­a­lyst today.

Seg­ment Comparison

Up fifth, it’s an addi­tion to Site­Cat­a­lyst 15 that I’ve been excited about for weeks and weeks. In Ranked reports, you can now com­pare two seg­ments side by side.

segment_comparison1

To do this, in a Ranked report, click on “None” next to “Com­pare to Seg­ment” in the report header. This works both with a seg­ment pre­vi­ously applied, as in the screen shot below, or if you haven’t yet applied a seg­ment, in which case the seg­ment that you choose will be com­pared to all vis­its (unseg­mented data).

segment_comparison

At the moment, you can either apply seg­ment com­par­i­son or apply date com­par­i­son, and you are lim­ited to two seg­ments at a time. Dis­cover allows you to do com­bined segment/date com­par­i­son and do mul­ti­ple seg­ment com­par­isons already, and of course we’ve got more great stuff planned for seg­ments in Site­Cat­a­lyst 15 as well.

Bet­ter Report Suite Set­tings Control

Our sixth hit­ter can do a lit­tle bit of every­thing: it can enable pathing, it can turn on par­tic­i­pa­tion, and it makes sure that all of your desired report suite set­tings are turned on auto­mat­i­cally when­ever you cre­ate a new report suite. This improve­ment pri­mar­ily includes two elements:

  • When you cre­ate a new report suite based on an exist­ing report suite’s set­tings, more of those set­tings are now copied to the new suite, includ­ing GeoSeg­men­ta­tion, multi-byte char­ac­ter sup­port, and Data Ware­house. You don’t need to do any­thing in order to copy these addi­tional set­tings upon report suite cre­ation; the Admin Con­sole will take care of this automatically. 
  • Within the “Edit Set­tings” menu in the Admin Console’s Report Suite Set­tings page, there are sev­eral new set­tings that you can con­trol as an admin for your report suites: Pathing, Par­tic­i­pa­tion, Mer­chan­dis­ing, Event Seri­al­iza­tion, GeoSeg­men­ta­tion, and Trans­ac­tion ID Stor­age. These set­tings are only avail­able on report suites that have been upgraded to SC 15.

While you’ve been able to get these things turned on for quite some time, in the past, enabling these fea­tures (either for exist­ing report suites or for new report suites) required a phone call to Client­Care or your Account Man­ager. By putting this con­trol into your hands, we hope to save you time and make it eas­ier for you to enable fea­tures as you need them.

It’s also worth not­ing that pathing and par­tic­i­pa­tion, once enabled, will pro­vide you with data going back to your Site­Cat­a­lyst 15 upgrade date. So if you upgraded on 1 Feb 2013, and you turn on pathing on a traf­fic vari­able today, you will instantly get data going back to 1 Feb 2013 in your pathing reports and metrics.

Clas­si­fi­ca­tions on List Variables

Up sev­enth, one of my favorite capa­bil­i­ties of Site­Cat­a­lyst 15 is list vari­ables. These spe­cial vari­ables allow you to cap­ture a list of val­ues so you can eas­ily mea­sure things like guided search usage or on-site ad impressions—things that might have a many-to-one rela­tion­ship to the page. I’m pleased to report that you can now add meta-data clas­si­fi­ca­tions to these vari­able val­ues. This extends the value that you can get out of your list vari­able data by allow­ing you to group indi­vid­ual val­ues from your list into ad groups/types, guided search ele­ments, etc.

To set up clas­si­fi­ca­tions on list vari­ables, go to Edit Set­tings > Con­ver­sion > Con­ver­sion Clas­si­fi­ca­tions in the Admin Con­sole, then clas­sify using the Clas­si­fi­ca­tion menu under Admin to upload or set up rules to gov­ern your list vari­able classifications.

Improved search filtering

In the eight spot, we’ve got what may seem like a minor change to the way you do report­ing and analy­sis: we have improved the way that you fil­ter report val­ues. In the past, cer­tain char­ac­ters, such as the pipe (“|”) and the dash (“-”) were treated as spe­cial char­ac­ters. In the case of these two, the pipe was treated as an “OR” in your search, and the dash was treated as a “NOT.” This could lead to some issues with your fil­ter results if you used these char­ac­ters in your vari­able val­ues (for exam­ple, as a delim­iter, as in “products|mens|shoes”).

These char­ac­ters are now treated lit­er­ally, and you are given a num­ber of addi­tional options to help you design the search that you want:

improved_search

In par­tic­u­lar, note the intro­duc­tion of “Starts With” and “Ends With” cri­te­ria, nei­ther of which had been pos­si­ble pre­vi­ously. And the intro­duc­tion of “Advanced (Spe­cial Char­ac­ters)” allows you to use the pre­vi­ous fil­ter method if you’d like, or if you have fil­ter­ing needs not sat­is­fied by the new cri­te­ria and treat­ment of spe­cial characters.

A final note on this: If you have book­marks and dash­boards that include search fil­ters, don’t worry; we’ve taken care to ensure that they won’t be impacted.

Hourly trended metrics

Bat­ting ninth is a nice lit­tle fea­ture which plays good defense… okay, so maybe this metaphor is break­ing down. But the fea­ture allows you to now view hourly gran­u­lar­ity for all met­rics in Site­Cat­a­lyst 15. In the past, met­rics such as Vis­its had a limit of daily gran­u­lar­ity, mean­ing that you could not see how trends change from hour to hour in your data. That lim­i­ta­tion has been removed, giv­ing you greater intra-day and day-over-day/week-over-week vis­i­bil­ity into trends across dozens of met­rics and KPIs.

To select hourly gran­u­lar­ity, sim­ply use the gran­u­lar­ity drop-down menu on the cal­en­dar mod­ule (or in the report header) on any trended report.

Con­clu­sion

I hope you can tell that I’m even more excited than usual about this release. I’d love to hear your feed­back, so please share in com­ments and tweets how you’re using these fea­tures or how you’d like to see us improve them.

I’ll be updat­ing this blog post with links to my col­leagues’ more detailed posts on many of these improve­ments, so stay tuned for a lot more about how best to take advan­tage of these things.

Play ball!

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