Well, you know, it’s that time of year again. We make our resolutions for the New Year, and then off we go on our journey to try and make them happen. Of course, they range anywhere from weight loss to new hobbies to getting rid of bad habits. Maybe I’ll combine all three this year, and get a new hobby that can help me lose weight, including losing my bad habit of eating everything in sight.
In any case, this week, I thought I’d throw out some suggestions for your New Year’s analytics resolutions. These were actually brainstormed by a group of consultants as I asked them about the topic and what they thought should go on your list of resolutions for your analytics this year. I know that it’s bad form to have so many goals that you could never accomplish all of them, but since some of you may have already accomplished some of these, and since different resolutions will appeal to different people, I guess I’ll risk my entry into the resolution-making hall of fame and give you 10 things that you can consider for this year.
As a side note, since I’m giving you 10 different things, I’m not going to write too much about any one of them. If you’d like to further discuss any of these with your consultant, I’m sure that he/she would love to have that conversation with you.
Resolution #1: Perform at least one analysis and recommendation per month
Too often we get mired down in the getting of the numbers, the creating of the reports, the delivery of the data, etc. When was the last time that you really looked at the data, analyzed it, and made a recommendation to someone to actually make a change? I mean, that’s why we are collecting the data, right? I remember talking to a client who captured and reported on campaign effectiveness, showing which campaigns and campaign types resulted in success on their site. However, they admitted that this information was not used to help make decisions for future campaigns. Really? This year make a resolution to analyze your data and make a recommendation at least once a month.
Resolution #2: Upgrade to V15
If your company is still using SiteCatalyst version 14, make a resolution to upgrade to version 15. There are a plethora of great features and capabilities included in version 15 that can benefit you in your (monthly, remember?) analysis. One of the coolest features in version 15 is the real-time segmentation tool. The ability to create a segment on the fly and apply it to any and all of your reports in SiteCatalyst is fantastic. And that’s just one of the cool new features. For a complete list of the features, see the SiteCatalyst 15 Help, Feature Overview, and Upgrade Guide available here.
Is it time to check in again with your key stakeholders, to see if they are getting what they need from the analytics that you are providing? Maybe you have a regular meeting with them to ensure that they are getting what they need. I recommend this. But if you are the SiteCatalyst guru/admin, and you haven’t been meeting with the key consumers of the data, it’s time to get that going again. That’s a habit that I DO recommend this resolution season.
Resolution #4: Only create useful reports
This can be a toughie. It’s so addicting, isn’t it, to make a dashboard with a ton of different reports on it? Or to show someone all the cool information that you can get from your analytics. But what do you actually DO with the data? What are you going to change based on what you see there? This is actually a good question to ask others as they request data from you. I suppose it can be an awkward situation to question motives, depending on your reporting relationship with the requestor, but as you teach people to request information that they can act upon, you will also be teaching them to act upon the data that they request. And then they will start referring to you as their “sensei”. Sweet.
Resolution #5: Personalize a login dashboard
When you log into Adobe Analytics (SiteCatalyst), do you find yourself going to the same report(s) every time? Do you have certain numbers that you need on a regular basis, or even just on an ad hoc basis? There are tools in SiteCatalyst to help you with this. You can create bookmarked (configured and saved) reports, create dashboards, and even schedule the delivery of said reports and dashboards to yourself or others regularly. But if they are your most important KPIs (key performance indicators), you might as well have them staring you in the face when you open SiteCatalyst. Simply create the dashboard with your important reportlets on it, and under the “More Actions” menu in the dashboard layout interface, you can set the dashboard as your landing page.
How you doin’? Got room for 5 more? Then keep reading…
Resolution #6: Add “quick variable identifiers” to report names
This is a best practice that seems to be quite useful, and some of you might already be doing. Sometimes regular users of SiteCatalyst want to refer to the variable number, and might not know where you have moved a report (if you have customized the interface) or might not know what you have named the report. But (for example) they might know that the data is in prop10. Try putting an abbreviated variable name/number in the name of the report, so that they can quickly use the report search to find the report. For example, instead of naming the prop2 report to simply “Site Sections”, you could name it “Site Sections (p2)”. Then a quick search for p2 in the report search will bring your SiteCatalyst user right to the data. With eVar and event reports, I guess you’ll have to decide which ones gets the “e” on this tip. J
Resolution #7: Clean up your report suite architecture
Do you have an outdated structure of your report suites, based on your analytics needs? If your reporting needs have changed over the years, but you still have the same data going into the same report suites, it’s time to take a look at it. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s wrong, but it’s worth a look. You may want to consider multi-suite tagging instead of using rollup report suites, or vice versa (if you’re unclear on the difference, we’re happy to explain it). With SiteCatalyst version 15 (see resolution #2) and real-time segmentation, you might not need to multi-suite tag anymore, and can create segments from a global report suite that will get you the information that you need. Or maybe you were putting different device data into different report suites for the same mobile app, and it makes sense to put them both into the same report suite. Anyway, it’s something to potentially revisit.
Resolution #8: Create useful segments
Am I going overboard on the segments? Maybe you can tell that I like them. If you are on SiteCatalyst version 15, it’s likely that you have already started this. If you haven’t, talk to your key stakeholders to see what user or content segments are helpful to them. For example, maybe your email marketing group always needs to see data based on people coming in from an email campaign. So set up a segment for visits where people came in from an email campaign (and save it, of course). Then you will be able to use it all the time. And if you create the segment in the admin console, all of your users will be able to use it, and you will help them on their path to actionable data. Nice work, sensei.
You may already be certifiable, but that’s for a different blog. Getting certified with SiteCatalyst yourself, or helping others in your organization to become certified with SiteCatalyst (for users or implementation) will not only give you something that you can put on your resume/business card, but it will obviously increase the knowledge in your organization. This is a great way to bring analytics more to the forefront in your company, and will help you to create a data-driven organization. Please contact Adobe Training Services for more information on certification options.
Resolution #10: Finally learn the difference between props, eVars and events
Ok you may already know this and be comfortable with it, but if you are unsure at all about when to use a prop or an eVar, it’s definitely something to spruce up on. If you are the SiteCatalyst guru in your organization, people will look to you from the business AND technical side to know how best to get the information that they need. Custom variables are the key to getting you the most useful and actionable data. Learn when to populate these dimensions (props and eVars), and when to trigger custom events. If you already have this knowledge, then go forth and teach another.
Thanks for hanging in there for all 10 resolutions! I hope that you’ll find something that can help you improve your analytics throughout the year and moving forward.
And now one more assignment: TELL US WHAT YOU WOULD ADD TO THIS LIST IN THE COMMENTS BELOW. Thanks and Happy New Year!