August 7, 2011 ↘︎

Hello 15!

Well, it’s August and true to their word, Adobe upgraded us to SiteCatalyst v15 on the 1st, and so I thought I’d share a few of the golden nuggets within v15.

I was thinking about how to order them…do I go by not bad to flamin’ eck, that’s awesome? Or start with the big bang and then let it continue to smoulder throughout?

The problem is there are too many new and great features that you can’t really put them in any type of order.  They appeal to you on different levels, from functionality, to UI, to analysis, to reporting, to combination segmentation and sub reporting.

And as this post is kind of huge (sorry you might a coffee and a bagel on this one), here’s a little taste of what’s covered in it:

So let’s start with the big one that everyone knows about, or at least should.


Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 5 months, you’ll have heard about the segmentation capability within SiteCatalyst v15.

default_segmentsOut of the box, it comes with 7 pre-defined segments that are shared across SiteCatalyst, Discover, and Test&Target.

These segments were chosen because, according to Ben Gaines at Adobe, they are “valid (and important!) for all of our users—across vertical and market size. We’ve also seen these types of segments predict different behavior across a variety of actions: registration flows, purchases, and general site browsing.”

New Segments

You can, of course, create your own segments on the fly and apply them to any report as well.  If you’re a Discover user, you can create them in Discover and save them back into SiteCatalyst for later use.

I’ve not yet figured out how to create a segment available across all report suites, without creating it in Discover.  Perhaps Adobe can help on this one?

Segments can also be used in Test&Target too. There’s a one-click little target icon next to the segment box which opens up a new A/B..n campaign in Test&Target, although it doesn’t specifically target custom segments that you’ve created as that’s a little more complex – but the preconfigured ones are available for use immediately.

Site Overview report

This new report is actually a dashboard, but, it’s highly useful and can be modified to your needs.  Using the same features as dashboards, you can set this one to your landing page when you log in (no more pinwheel).


From those reportlets, you can get to the main report by clicking on the name of the reportlet.

You can also change the date and the whole thing will rerun against the new dates.

Segmented Overview

If you want to see a particular reportlet using a specific segment without running the whole dashboard again, just click on the report suite name within the reportlet and a little popdown appears, allowing you to select not only the report suite, but also a segment to use.

When you select a new segment, it will re-run the reportlet, not the dashboard, against the new segment.



Of course if you want to run the entire dashboard against the new segment, then just select the segment in the main segment dropdown and you’ll get instant gratification.

Side by Side Segments

Ok, so you still need Discover to do comparative segmentation, but, there is a sneaky little way to show two segments at the same time, using a dashboard report.  Generate your base report, for example, I’ve used calculated metrics on the new Key Metrics report (see below for more info).

Then apply a segment, and add it to a dashboard.  Apply another segment and add it to the same dashboard.

Then go to the dashboard layout editor (which is also new), and just put both reportlets into the new dashboard.


What you get is a visualisation of the two (or more) segments, plotted over time.

Key metrics report

One of my personal new favourites here is the Key Metrics report, which allows you to put multiple metrics on a time-based report.  This was always one of the big challenges before, but, they listened to us, and here it is.  And there’s a bunch of nifty things about this report that I just love!

Firstly, as shown above, you can add multiple metrics, or calculated metrics to the report – something you could never do before.  For instance, you can add Visitors, Visits, Page Views, Conversion Metrics, Conversion Rates and so on.


Now that you’ve got the key metrics trended side by side, every worthy analysis ninja will look to segment that information – so, just go ahead and apply those segments.

One of the great things about this report is you can do calculated metrics too…side by side (see the image for side by side segments above).


Ah, what a great idea this was.  Normalize your data on the Key Metrics Report.  As you can see from the above screen shot, the page views data is overwhelming the trending report, making it difficult to view some of the trends for the other metrics.

But that’s ok now – just normalize it.  Same report as above, just normalized.  And the other metrics pop up.


Ok, so those metrics that I’ve used don’t really tell us anything.  How about this one then?


I’ve highlighted dates when certain metrics weren’t in line with the norm.

Now you have something to go and look at.  Why, on those dates, did those metrics “pop”.  What did you do?  Did they vary by segment?  And what can you do to nudge those that didn’t behave similarly?  You can learn from that.

Love this report.  One of my new best friends.

Visits Visitors & PageViews

Yes, these are now available across most conversion reports.  You used to be able to get Visits and Visitors by special request, but now, they’re enabled and you get Page Views as well.  And they’re particularly useful across things like campaign reports, referring domains, search engines, keywords etc.

Full Sub Relations – multiple breakdowns on eVars

Remember the days when you had to think carefully about setting up subrelations on eVars…should you use Full or Basic?  And remember the impact if you got it wrong, or realized later that you needed Full Sub Relations on a key eVar?

Well, those days are gone.

You now get full subrelations on all eVars (although I don’t quite understand why the admin asks you still for the type of subrelation you want when you create an eVar – Omniture…can you add any info here?)

In this example, I’ve used two eVars, both are set up in the admin as Basic Subrelations, but I’m able to now break one down by the other, and then I’ve added a filter to remove the keyword “murdoch” from the report.  As you can see, it’s a conversion report, with Unique Visitors, Visits and Page Views, as well as success events.


Once again, you can sub-segment this report against any of your existing (or on-the-fly) segments. Yay!!!

Traffic Prop breakdowns

Another great feature is the ability to now breakdown key traffic props, such as the referring domain report.  It used to have basically “instances” and allowed you to put in success events.

No more.

Now you can not only see Visits, Visitors and Page Views, as well as success events, but you can also now break it down by things like Average Time on Site, and, all eVars…wow!  Couldn’t do anything like that in v14.


And you can flip it too…start with a conversion report, such as our Figure Out Your Life segments, and you can break them down, by Referring Domains, or Time Spent per Visit etc.

Ok, long post I know, but, there’s so much going on that I’ll probably add more posts in the future on the new features.

Just to touch on some of the other new things as well…

Login as another user

Do you have a user that’s experiencing problems?  Well, now you can log in as that user.  Go to the admin and views the users, then click on “Login as this user”.

Report specific calendar events

One of the problems with SC14 calendar events was that they showed up across every other report suite…which made it very unhelpful to users that had somewhat restricted views, such as global sites and regional sites.  The UK office didn’t really care that you ran a specific promotion, but they saw it anyway.

Now you can apply a calendar event to a specific report suite only.  To be honest, the link for it is a little tough to spot, so I’ve put a whopping great big arrow to it:



Ok, now I’ve covered the things that I’m excited about, there are a few things that new users need to understand with this version.

This has all come about because of the way that data is stored.  It used to be pre-processed into the reports, which resulted in the limitation on segmentation and other capabilities such as breakdowns.  But Discover always worked off the original unprocessed data, which also led to some differences in the data, especially around unique visitor counts and classification deduping.

SiteCatalyst v15 now runs off the raw data – the same as Discover, so the datasets are the same, hence the reports are the same.

Key Differences

There are some key differences between v14 and v15 that you need to be aware of:

Visits for Non-Cookied Visitors

All visitors, regardless of them accepting a cookie are now included in Visit counts and pathing data.  But this increases your Visits metric, so your conversion rates will likely go down a bit.  In testing, the increase of visits was about 0.5% for first-party cookies, and 5-12% for third party cookies.  Another great reason why you should be on first party cookies (contact your account manager if your tracking server has in it).

Time Spent metric

Both the time spent per visit and the average time spent on page metric now use all server calls to generate the metric, which is much improved on SC14.  What this means is that non-page view data is included in time spent reports, such as custom links etc.  And, they’re no longer bucketed.  It now works off an average for each and every individual page view.

De-duplicated Visits and Visitors in Classifications

Classifications are now correctly de-duplicated, meaning that when you group things using classifications, they are now de-duplicated, whereas before, they would count each instance of a visit or visitor.

Ben Gaines wrote an excellent blog post about these and a couple of others which is definitely worth reading and getting to grips with.


What can you say?

Thank you, Omniture Business Unit within Adobe, for listening to us.  These changes make the platform even more useful than it already was and clearly makes it a powerhouse in the web analytics space.

With these, and many other changes made, we’re able to provide our organizations with even more insights that lead to more business optimization capabilities, a better ROI and hopefully more analysis ninjas.

Thanks guys!

DB logo
DB logo
DB logo