Unified Sources is one of Engineering Services most popular VISTA solutions, it is also one of most complex rules we develop.  As you can imagine with the popularity and complexity we receive a lot of questions, some I hope to clarify here.

What is Unified Sources?
Simply put it is a combination of the campaigns report and referrers report, giving you a single report with all your paid campaigns and non-paid campaigns.  The other feature is it grabs the keyword and places it into another eVar for simple keyword reporting.

Unified Sources Report

How is Unified Sources Valuable?
Value is unique to each business and their needs, but let me highlight a couple benefits of the rule.

  • Event credit is applied to all traffic sources based on the same rules that apply to campaigns. This allows you to more accurately measure how well each traffic source or campaign ultimately results in conversion.
  • The keyword placed into an eVar by Unified Sources is the actual keyword searched for by the visitor. If you are using broad match for your Paid Search and capturing the broad search terms into another eVar (via SearchCenter or otherwise) you can break down the keyword you paid for by the actual keywords that the visitor searched for. Keywords that are performing especially well or poorly can be discovered and your paid search efforts modified accordingly.
  • Natural Search terms can be classified for simplified SEO reporting and analysis.

Requirements for Unified Sources VISTA Rule:
This rule requires little to no work for you.  If you are already populating the s.campaign variable or another eVar with your tracking codes then you are all set. The only thing we need from you is to know which eVar you are placing the tracking codes in, whether we should use that eVar or a separate eVar for the main Unified Sources report, which eVar you would like us to place the keywords into and finally we need a list of internal domains.

Internal domains list – The confusing part of the rule:
This is usually the most difficult part to understand when requesting a rule but it really is simple.

If you have one main site and all report suites are based on traffic from the one main site then all you want to do is provide a single list of internal URL domains and you are done.

If you have multiple sites and you want to see how traffic goes from one site to another (ie. consider traffic from one of your other sites as “external” traffic) then you want to provide us with a list of internal URL domains for each of the report suites you plan to put the rule on.

If you need to be able to change the list of internal URL domains for your report suites on a regular basis then we can build another DB table into the Unified Sources VISTA rule that will allow you to upload a new list of internal domains whenever you want.  This does add cost but it will save money if you have to alter your list of internal domains more than twice.

The icing on the cake:
As you can imagine, a single list of all your tracking codes, organic search sites and referring domains will become quite bulky. Once the rule is in place you may want to classify the Unified Sources eVar in ways relevant to your business to take full advantage of one of the most useful solutions Engineering Services has to offer.

If you already have Unified Sources VISTA solutions, how do you use it?

If you don’t then feel free to send me an e-mail ( paurigemma (at) omniture.com)  with questions.  Or contact your Account Manager and they will help you get started.

12 comments
Roop Kumar
Roop Kumar

We are creating SAINT Classifications for uploading additional data attributes for the Keywords in the USDBV keywords evar. Would be interested in some best-in-class examples for the same.

Ursula Phoenix
Ursula Phoenix

Is Unified Sources Vista built into Site Catalyst? We have the channel manager plug-in but is US Vista a seperate code plugin?

Paul Zaras
Paul Zaras

Pearce - I am confused by something you wrote to Heather when you stated that 'On the other hand Unified Sources cannot set cookies to persist values' . I am under the perception that the Unified Sources rule is set to an eVar and an eVar can be configured to expire after a visitor's session. Am I correct in assessment? Thanks Paul

Florian Pihs
Florian Pihs

Thanks Pearce again for the feedback, although its a bit disheartening. It seems a lot of work (and extra cost) for what free tools do out of box. While we can certainly argue about the value of tracking bounce rate by traffic source (for example as opposed to defining specific interactions as conversions and segmenting those), most of our brand advertising clients find Bounce Rate an intuitive KPI for their traffic sources. While creating a custom metric for my pages is possible, the numbers are not actionable if I cannot segment them by key drivers (e.g. connection speed, traffic source, creative....).

Heather Aeder
Heather Aeder

How is Unified Sources different than the Channel Manager PlugIn?

Paul Zaras
Paul Zaras

Pearce - Thanks for a thorough explanation of the Unified Sources rule. I just have two questions. 1) Does there need to be any additional java script code added to my web pages to accommodate the rule? 2) Can I map the DB Vista rule to the eVar of my choice rather than to the s.campaign variable? I would need to keep the logic of s.campaign variable intact as my organization has finally come to an agreement on how to measure external campaigns.

Florian Pihs
Florian Pihs

Thanks Pearce for a bit more color Vista Rules. Do Vista Rules enable us to track "Single Page Visits" and "Entries" for each traffic source (Unified or not)? If so, this solution would enable Bounce Rate segmentation by traffic sources, something I that I wanted to do with Site Catalyst for ages.

Pearce Aurigemma
Pearce Aurigemma

Unified Sources is a custom addition to Site Catalyst kind of like the channel manger but you do not need to edit any of the code on your pages. If you have the channel manager plug-in then you don't need the Unified Sources because they do basically the same thing.

Pearce Aurigemma
Pearce Aurigemma

Paul, I often find myself to be long winded sometimes and it can cause confusion. So, sorry to confuse you but your understanding is correct.

Pearce Aurigemma
Pearce Aurigemma

Heather The Channel Manager PlugIn is basically the same solution just implemented differently. Each solution has its pros and cons. For example, when Microsoft released Bing Omniture was able to update the database for all clients who have Unified Sources, whereas the Channel Manager PlugIn would need to be updated manually for each occurrence of the plugin. On the other hand Unified Sources cannot set cookies to persist values. Also there are price differences. As you can see there are pros and cons to each solution and the solution that you choose should be dependent on your needs and being able to gain the maximum value from your investment. My recommendation would be to get on a call with your Account Manager to see which solution would be best for you. Florian The argument would not last long because we would both come to a quick agreement that bounce rate is a valuable metric. I will send your comment to product management to ensure your points are known.

Pearce Aurigemma
Pearce Aurigemma

Paul, You are welcome, and thanks for the comment. 1) You don't have to change a thing on your JavaScript, or on your pages. It is completely Omniture server side logic. 2) You can map the Unified Sources DB VISTA solution to any eVar of your choice. The only part you will need to pay attention to is the difference in settings for the eVar, specifically subrelations. Make sure you run it by your Account Manager when you ask them about the solution.

Pearce Aurigemma
Pearce Aurigemma

Thanks for your compliment. VISTA can only see the data that is passed in with the hit or what is in a DB table, which is why the Unified Sources solution is so amazing because it does a lot of complex work with DB tables. With that in mind VISTA can not track Single Page Visits or Entries unless those values are passed in with the hit. Also, VISTA only sees one hit at a time and cannot save any data into memory for use in future hits. Now that I have you thinking it is not possible to get Bounce Rate for traffic sources, I am going to pull a complete 180 and say it can be done. The bounce rate based on traffic sources has a lot of dependencies on evar allocation and expiration time and how events are set, so the solution would need to be designed to your specific setup. Omniture Consulting would be the team that would work with you to setup a plug-in and if need be they would work with Engineering Services to alter the Unified Sources VISTA solution.