April 28, 2012 ↘︎

Discover v3 – it’s the new black.

OMG – have you seen the new Discover?  If not, why not?  If so, you’re probably in heaven and I completely understand.

discover_3_interfaceDiscover v3 is the latest release of the ad-hoc analytics software from Adobe – and I have to say, Tim Lott and the team over there have done a fantastic job with this release, opening up capabilities that, once you start, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.

So, what’s all the fuss about?

Discover 3 takes the concept of visualising data to the next level.  Trends, funnels, paths, site analysis, pivoting tables – you name it, it’s got it, all updated – and it does it across multi-visit.  Yes, no longer are you limited to analysing within the same session – Discover 3 now brings cross-visit analysis to town.

Not only that, but the biggest and best feature is heterogeneous pathing.  Hetero what..?  Had to look that one up myself – I think it means ‘a bunch of different things all connected in diverse ways’.  Anyway, for us that means we can now use any dimension, prop, evar, classification, and/or events together when looking at the flow of user journeys and conversions, to help us better understand the full story of what’s happening across our sites.

And it comes with a fancy, dark and broody new interface – all designed to make it easier on your eyes as you’ll be spending even more hours uncovering all of those nuggets and story-telling to the nth level.

There are way too many new features to talk about because the whole thing has changed on its head – and this is not meant to be a training piece on the product (there’s a whole heap of awesome new videos in SiteCatalyst Help to watch if you want lots more information).  But, I’ve got some key examples below that we’ve found to be very useful at answering a specific question (or two) that D2 couldn’t help us answer.

Figure out Fallout – across anything really

So, in the old Discover, your fallout reports would only ever look at pages. You’d select the pages, drag them on to the canvas, and you’d get the visits that followed that path, with each fallout step between.

No more.

Now you can generate fallout reports on any Event or Dimension of data.  Yes.  Events AND Dimensions.  Oh my god.

Want to know how many people went from one section of your site (maybe you don’t specifically want to know the section pages), through a specific page, or type of product, then conducted a search, and then converted?

Now you can.  And you can see it at the Visit level (same session) or at the Visitor level (cross-session).


In the above example, I’m looking at the number of visitors that went across the Future Students section of the site (s.prop) then went through the Figure Out Your Life tool (another s.prop), then viewed any Health Sciences course (SAINT classification from a product string), then started an application and finally submitted the app (two success events).

These are checkpoints – and the visitors did a lot in between.  For example, if you click on the little green arrow between the two checkpoints, it shows what the “things” that they did before getting to your next designated checkpoint.  Noticed I called them “things”…that’s because you can look at anything.

For example, above, if I look at the Fall Through from the section mu:fs, and see what other sections visitors went to before the tool, then I click on the green arrow, which then shows:


And we can see that the next section some of them went to was Courses.  So, how about I want to see what Courses, or what Products they viewed…?  Just change the drop down and pick something else.


How cool is that?  I can now not only see that some people went into Courses, but looked at a Health Sciences course, before they returned to the Figure Out Your Life tool.

And I’m looking at things across multiple visits – so even if they came back and didn’t follow this path to complete it, they’d still appear in this fallout report.

Visualise user behaviour – across anything really

One of the really great features of Discover is the Site Analysis capability – I’ve been a fan of that feature for many years now.  And with Discover 3, it’s been taken to a whole new level as well.

Once again, D2 would only allow you to visualise site pages – the movement of traffic between those pages.  And, to be honest, it got a little difficult to do it with some of the later upgrades to D2.

D3 – scrap that.  Visualise any Event, Prop, eVar, Classification, at the Visit level or the multi-visit level.  And don’t forget to apply your segments too.


The example above helped us to answer one of those it’s been bugging the crap out of me forever type of question that someone will inevitably ask of you.  For us, it was around the level of interaction between a certain tool on our site, with respect to a particular segment of audience, and how they get to their final destination.  Discover 3 allowed us to very quickly analyse user interactions by simply dropping the respective props, eVars and success events onto the canvas, apply the segment, and see what those users are doing.

Fantastic result.  This visual type of analysis is so important to understand things at macro levels before deep diving into micro levels.  It visually tells a story that you can immediately connect with.

But wait, there’s more.

“If you call within the next 10 minutes, we’ll talk about not one, not two, but three new features.”

Ranking data

What a change.  Totally new way to do this and great improvements on both usability and time savings.

Remember in D2 where you had a bunch a metrics and bunch of segments.  For instance, you might be looking at Paid Search, Organic Search and Direct Traffic as your segments, and within each one, Visits, Revenue and Orders.

In D2, your metrics columns wouldn’t align – so you wouldn’t have all of your Orders together.

In D3, you can now change the way it displays. You build it all first in the new Table Builder, then click Replace Table, and off it goes and does everything.  So, the traditional report would be Segments of Traffic, showing Visits, Page Views etc, against our Dimension, in this case Section of the site.

But notice how the Visits, Page Views etc are discreet within their own segment…


No problem…in the table builder, drag the Metrics above the Segments, hit Replace Table and:


…and now your columns of data match up – at the segment level, not at the Metric level.  Much easier to work with.

Not to mention you can now pivot data entirely, getting your segments down the left and your dimensions across the top.  And it won’t let you build something if it’s wrong (notice the little green circles with ticks in them).

And you can drag on all of your different breakdowns too – drag them into the box and when you hit Replace Table – you guessed it.

Building segments has changed a little bit too.  You can now swap Visitor, Visit and Page level containers without having to re-create the bits within it – you just re-designate them as Visitor level or Visit level.  Much easier.

Work over the new year

Oh, yes, finally analysis that crosses over the year divide.  Used to be a major issue for many companies.  No more.  Done.  Fixed.  Ok, that doesn’t seem like a big deal – but it was.  Huge.



Those are just a few of the incredible list of new features that the product team put together, and that we’ve been anxiously waiting to blog about since working with them throughout the product beta.

This is a really well rounded product release, containing lots of features that we’re all crying out for, features that are simply just not possible to achieve within SiteCatalyst.

So, if you’re serious about demonstrating the value of web analytics back to your business, then you should not be avoiding this product.  It adds value as soon as you turn it on, making you even smarter than you already are.

I’ve really only scratched the surface here – there’s so much more capability than this post can give justice to.

If there was ever a time to seriously look at Discover v3, well, in the analytics world, it’s the new black.

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