September 24, 2011 ↘︎

Back to basics – SAINT classifications.

I’ve come across a few clients now that either aren’t using SAINT, are using it in a limited way, or are using it for campaigns only.  Maybe people are confused by what it does, or daunted by it, or just don’t know what it can be used it for.  It’s got uses that extend way beyond campaigns.

So, in this post, I’ll re-cap a bit about what SAINT actually is, and how it can be used, across a whole multitude of things.

And classifications can be used for millions of records.  We recently uploaded a very large list of customer ID’s and segments per customer, which enables some fascinating insight into customer behaviour.

SAINT – the acronym.

To get this out the way, SAINT stands for SiteCatalyst Attribute Importing and Naming Tool.  It’s a way to classify a SiteCatalyst variable into more meaningful terms, and enabling you to group them together in certain ways.

What’s a Classification?

Basically, when you “classify” a SiteCatalyst variable, you are extending the information available on that variable through additional meta-data.

Classifications are most frequently used on campaigns.  When you run a campaign you track it through a campaign code – a unique code that you set to identify that specific campaign element, such as “eml123”.  You add the tracking code (typically in the format to a link that’s driving traffic to your site.

Your s_code is most likely looking for any page query string to contain the parameter “cid”, and once it sees it, it’ll put the value “eml123” into the s.campaign variable.

It only needs to see it once…typically on the landing page.  As long as it saw it and recorded it then you can see success events further down track, tied back to the campaign code.

Looking at your campaign reports, you’ll see one called “Tracking Code”, and in there, you’ll see all of the unique values that have been passed through the s.campaign variable.

But by themselves, they’re pretty difficult to read.  “eml123” doesn’t mean much to anyone.

So what if you want to view them by type of campaign, or source of clickthrough, or media type etc.  Do you need to create a new conversion variable for each one?  No.

This is where classifications come into play.

You can simply tell SiteCatalyst, through SAINT, that there is additional information that represents the unique campaign code, and using that information, you can view reports and conversions by the extended data, slicing and dicing to your hearts content.  Obviously you need to upload that data using the SAINT template, but that’s all pretty straightforward.

So, what else can it do?

Well there’s plenty of things that can be classified.

We’ve used classifications across a broad spectrum of values, including:

  • Products – the obvious one, classified into category, sub category, manufacturer, supplier, etc
  • Internal promotions – the next most commonly used one, classified in the same way (generally) as external campaigns
  • External Search Terms – classified against branded or non-branded terms
  • Internal Search Terms – classified against type of term, such as product, information, support, sales etc
  • Customers – classified against customer demographics, business segments, locations, products owned, mosaic segment etc.
  • Behavioural Segments – classified against profile characteristics (such as described in Moving Beyond Business-Based Segmentation)
  • Videos – classified against genre, length, player etc.
  • and the list goes on…

If you’re using multiple eVars to capture similar information, or information that is essentially meta-data to do with another eVar, then you should be using SAINT to classify from a single eVar.

And it’s not just eVars that can be classified.  Traffic props can be classified too.

Use Hierarchies

I’ve also come across plenty of clients that don’t have the hierarchies configured.  To configure hierarchies is very simple using the admin.

The benefit to hierarchies is that they allow you to view rolled-up metrics, and then allow you to drill-down into your chosen hierarchy.

Once you apply a hierarchy to your classifications, your menu structures change to support that hierarchy.

The most common use of hierarchies is within campaign structures, but they apply to all classifications.  Below I’ve shown the resulting menu structure for Murdoch’s equivalent of products – courses:


Once you open a report, for instance, Course Area (shown below), you initially see the rolled-up metrics.  Once you click on the + sign, you drill into that classification to report on the next level.


So, if you don’t see the classification drilldown in your menu’s…


…ask your admin to classify as it will surely help in your day to day reporting capability.

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