Like any soft­ware prod­uct you use, there are a few key ele­ments that you need to under­stand to be suc­cess­ful.  In work­ing with clients I have found that many do not have a good under­stand­ing of the three fun­da­men­tal build­ing blocks of Site­Cat­a­lyst: sProps, eVars and Suc­cess Events.  When I was an Omni­ture client, I will admit that I had much more impor­tant things to do with my time than to learn about Omniture’s vari­able types and their capa­bil­i­ties.  How­ever, over time, I came to under­stand that these vari­ables are the foun­da­tion of all Site­Cat­a­lyst report­ing, so if I wanted to use Omni­ture reports to mea­sure my web­site suc­cess and/or jus­tify my re-design the­o­ries, I had bet­ter suck it up and learn about these three vari­able types.  I hope you will do the same.  In this post I will review sProps and will cover the other two types in my next posts.

Traf­fic Vari­ables
Traf­fic vari­ables (known to old-timers as sProps) help to track page-by-page site traf­fic activ­ity.  Site Traf­fic is nor­mally mea­sured via Page Views, Vis­its or Unique Vis­i­tors.  The pri­mary pur­pose of sProps is to allow you to break­down Page Views, Vis­its and Unique Vis­i­tors into mean­ing­ful buck­ets.  While Site­Cat­a­lyst pro­vides reports to see total Page Views, Vis­its and Unique Vis­i­tors for your site, most web analy­sis needs to take place at a much more gran­u­lar level.  With­out sProps, you would not be able to see such things as which pages are the most pop­u­lar or what per­cent­age of pages were viewed in the USA vs. Canada, etc….  The fol­low­ing is an exam­ple of the most com­monly used sProp report, the Most Pop­u­lar Pages report:

Not Per­sis­tent
An impor­tant thing to know about sProps is that they are not per­sis­tent.  This means that they do not retain their value from one page to the next, a con­cept that often con­fuses Omni­ture cus­tomers.  I find that the eas­i­est way to under­stand sProps is to think of the most com­monly used sProp: Page Name.  Let’s assume a vis­i­tor to your site starts their visit on the Home Page and the value “Home Page” is passed into the Page Name sProp.  From the Home Page, the vis­i­tor clicks on a link and is taken to the “Con­tact Us” page.  You would cer­tainly not want the value of “Home Page” to per­sist and be passed into the Page Name sProp on this next page or it would look like the Home Page had two Page Views instead of each page hav­ing one Page View.

Pathing
Another impor­tant thing to know about sProps is that they are used for Pathing. Pathing is the abil­ity to view the order in which val­ues are passed to a par­tic­u­lar Site­Cat­a­lyst sProp for a spe­cific Visit.  For exam­ple, let’s say that each page on your site has a page­name and the val­ues passed to the Page­name sProp are Page A, Page B, and Page C respec­tively.  If Pathing is enabled for that sProp, Site­Cat­a­lyst would record the order in which the val­ues were passed and allow you to view reports that show the per­cent­age for which all site users went from Page A to Page B, etc…  I will def­i­nitely be talk­ing more about Pathing in a future post.

Did You Know?
The fol­low­ing addi­tional items related to sProps are worth noting:

  1. Vis­its, Daily Unique Vis­i­tors, Weekly Unique Vis­i­tors, Monthly Unique Vis­i­tors and Quar­terly Unique Vis­i­tors can be enabled for any sProp (for an addi­tional fee)
  2. Site­Cat­a­lyst pro­vides sev­eral “out-of-the-box” pre-defined sProps includ­ing: Page­name, Site Section, Server, Browser, Coun­try, etc…  These are sim­i­lar to all other (cus­tom) sProps with the excep­tion being the Page­name sProp which is some­what spe­cial in that it cap­tures the page URL if no value is passed to it.
  3. Any two sProps can be “cor­re­lated” or bro­ken down by each other
  4. Pathing can be enabled for any sProp
  5. Any sProp can be “clas­si­fied” using SAINT

Real-World Exam­ple
In every post I will attempt to pro­vide a real-world exam­ple of the topic at hand.  Let’s say that we are work­ing for Greco Inc., an Omni­ture Site­Cat­a­lyst cus­tomer that owns sev­eral dif­fer­ent types of web properties.  One of Greco Inc.‘s web prop­er­ties has a trans­la­tion util­ity which allows each page of the site to be viewed in either Eng­lish or Spanish.  The CMO is work­ing on a mar­ket­ing cam­paign tar­get­ing His­panic cus­tomers and, as such, would like to get a feel for the per­cent­age of all site Page Views viewed in Span­ish.  To accom­plish this, the client would pass the lan­guage that the cur­rent page is being viewed in to a cus­tom sProp.  For best results, this sProp should be pop­u­lated on every page so that the total Page Views in this report matches (or is close to) the over­all num­ber of Page Views for the same time­frame.  Doing this might pro­duce a report that looks like this:

Thus, by using a cus­tom sProp, Greco Inc. now has a new way to break­down Page Views and can answer the spe­cific busi­ness ques­tion at hand.

Have a ques­tion about any­thing related to Site­Cat­a­lyst?  Is there some­thing on your web­site that you would like to report on, but don’t know how?  Do you have any tips or best prac­tices you want to share?  If so, please send me an e-mail at insidesitecatalyst@​omniture.​com and I will do my best to answer it right here on the blog so every­one can learn! (Don’t worry — I won’t use your name or com­pany name!)

13 comments
srilakshmi
srilakshmi

Hi, recently we did page views, event tracking and getqueryparam on url params( s.eVar). but is there any way that I can see url params and visits and page view on a single report?

Gautam Choudhary
Gautam Choudhary

Hi Adam, Wonderful post.You have done this in such a simple manner that i am now quite clear in the variable use.Thanks So much.Keep posting. Cheers!

Sreeja
Sreeja

Wonderful post.....lots of my questions were answered. Looking forward to more such posts.....

Devender
Devender

Hi Adam, Thanks for sharing your awesome insights. I have what may sound like a dumb question -- how do the s.props get populated? I'm hoping like the SAINT file, there's another file that the beacon pulls all the prop info from? Many thanks for you answer in advance! -Devender

Ben Gaines
Ben Gaines

Mayank: Unique Visitor metrics for Custom Traffic variables work because SiteCatalyst is able to tie together the various page views and link clicks that occur for each visitor using a single persistent cookie. The Custom Traffic values themselves are not stored in a cookie, but the visitor will pass the s_vi cookie on every page view, and the value contained there functions as a key which allows SiteCatalyst to recognize when disparate page views and link clicks belong to a single visitor. Thus, the tool can identify when a single visitor has "seen" a certain Custom Traffic value, and assign it a Daily Unique Visitor, Weekly Unique Visitor, etc. in the Custom Traffic report. Thanks! Ben Gaines

Mayank
Mayank

Adam If s.prop use non persistent cookies, how will it track unique visitors. Suppose, a visitor is coming after two days, with non persistent cookies omniture will take as a new visitor.

Ben Gaines
Ben Gaines

Hi Brett. There is definitely a way to do this. You would want to use the getQueryParam plug-in to capture the value of the query parameter (MkCpgn=) and pull it into a SiteCatalyst variable. You would then probably want to write the value to a cookie which could be read on subsequent page views in the visit and would then expire. You can get the getQueryParam plug-in from within SiteCatalyst by going to Help > Help Home, then Supporting Docs > Plug-ins.

Mac
Mac

Great post. I liked ur example which help me to understand about the functionality. Looking forward for some more post.

ccardillo
ccardillo

Great information, as well as the Conversion vars posts. Very helpful for me and my team. Keep these coming!!

anil
anil

Adam! Great to see you blogging here! I had great learning experience in your sessions at omniture summit. I look forward for more posts from you! Cheers

Mike
Mike

Great stuff and focusing your attention on teaching some advanced techniques is a great idea. I look forward to reading many more post.