When I wrote my first post on Implementing Omniture, I wanted to give a general overview of some of the techniques that I use to implement Omniture to help inform business decisions. I have had a better than expected response to the post. I want to follow up with more techniques, but I am going to cover a few more items. I am going to go over the differences between an eVar, a prop, and an event and how I choose which one I use. I am also going to cover the Omniture plug-ins that I use and why I use them. I was looking at some of my RSS reader and I saw a post by Adam Greco of Omniture that goes over some of the plug-in that Omniture offers. I know there are some people who are searching to find the Omniture Implementation manual for SiteCatalyst. As far as I am aware, the only way to get the Omniture Implementation Manual is having a login for SiteCatalyst. You will need to go to Knowledge Base section under Help and do a search for “full implementation manual.” That should get you the result where you can download the Implementation Manual. To understand if you should use a prop, an eVar, or an event, you need to know how each one of these items is used. Understanding these items, will ultimately help fill out the Omniture Tagging Strategy document.
A prop (s.prop) is also know now a Custom Insight variable and are available under the Traffic reports. Props are counters that count the number of times a value is sent to SiteCatalyst and can be enabled to correlate to other props. The only thing about this is for the correlation to be effective two values need to be passed into SiteCatalyst during the same call. For example, the value for prop1 and the value for prop2 need to be passed together and then a correlation can be set up to relate the two items. Also, keep in mind that props are non-persistent variables and can be used in pathing reports. Enabling a pathing report for a prop will help see the exact order the value that was being passed into a particular prop occurred. For example, for internal search, you might want to see the exact order of keywords that visitors are typing. If you are passing the on-site search keyword into prop5, you then turn on pathing for prop5. This will allow you to see if visitors are searching for bedroom, then bathrooms, then kitchens or if visitors are just searching for kitchens. Though keep in mind that if you want to see what order visitors take two different actions on your site, those different actions need to be passed into the same prop. For example, for on-site search, the visitors have the option of filtering to narrow their results after they search and you want to see which filters are used after a particular search keyword. Both the keyword and the filter need to be passed into the same prop. After a visitor searches on bathroom and then he or she filters on color: red, both the search term bathroom and color: red need to be passed into prop6. Then once pathing is turned on for prop6, it will allow you to see that after a visitor searched for bathroom, he or she filtered on color: red. Some of the information that I have captured in props in the past are: URL of page, Title of page, Page Type, clicks on modules on the site, on-site search term, search filters, Timepart information. I have not turned on pathing on every prop, but only the ones where I want to see the order in which something occurred. Once pathing is turned on, it will also turn on certain metrics, such as entries, exits, single access, etc. Though be careful about some of these metrics, as they may not mean exactly what you think they do. Though if you just want to see how many times an internal keyword was searched for, you can pass that keyword into a prop and it will give you a count of the number of times they keyword was typed.
Now that I have gone over what a prop does, now I am going to go over what an eVar (s.eVar) does. An eVar is also referred to as Custom Conversion Variable and can be found under the Conversion reports. An eVar is used how well specific attributes or actions contribute to the success of your site. eVars are persistent variables that are tied back to your “success” events. You can set an eVar with the same value as a prop, but the eVar will tell you how much revenue or how many registrations where driven by the eVar. Some of the information that I have captured in an eVar are: all marketing channels (SEM, Email, etc), site search term, search filters, clicks on modules, video information. To really help understand what an eVar does, it will help to understand what an event does. There are two types of events: pre-defined and custom. Pre-defined events are geared towards eCommerce site, so I am going to go over custom events. Custom events help you define that type of success that you want to track. Success is defined as a goal that you want your visitors to achieve. For example, some of the success events that I have tracked are: page views, video plays, print a page, save a page, email to a friend, clicks on ajax links, registration, sweepstakes entries, etc. By having these types of “success” events it allows me to track how well our marketing programs are performing or how well our internal search is performing. For example, I can see that when someone searches for bedroom, they viewed 100 pages on the site after they performed the search, played 50 videos, printed 10 pages, 150 sweepstakes entries, 250 clicks on ajax links, etc.
After deciding which props, eVars, and events that you want to set up, now you need to decide which plug-ins that you need to use. Plug-ins is used to run customized routines to gather or alter the data being collected. Some of the plug-ins that I have use is:
1. Time Part: I used this plug-in to determine, in aggregate, the time of day and day of week when most of the pages are viewed on the site. I would recommend setting up a correlation between day and hour and if you are capturing the URL of the page or Title of the page, I would recommend setting up a correlation between day and/or hour and URL and/or Title.
2. Case Sensitive: I use this plug-in to force value of the prop or eVar to one case, this way we do not have the same value, one with capital letters and one with lower case letters. This plug-in is the most useful for internal site search, where visitors will typically search for the same thing, but with different capitalization.
3. QueryParam: This plug-in allows you to pick up values from the URL. This plug-in is the most commonly used for marketing campaigns, but can also be used for internal search.
4. ValOnce: This plug-in allows you to pick up the value from the URL only one time during the visit. This again is the most useful for marketing campaigns. If a visitor views a second page during the visit and then hits the back button, the information in the URL will show up again and the plug-in will only count that value one time.
5. PersistValue: This plug-in does the exact opposite of the ValOnce plug-in, it persists the value for the whole visit. Again, this plug-in is mostly used for marketing campaigns. I have used this plug-in in the past to persist SEM keywords so then I could correlate the top page views by each individual keyword. To see if this plug-in is working properly, you will need to de-bug the tags being thrown.
6. NewRepeat: This plug-in is used to determine the activity on the site between New or Repeat visitors. I have passed this information into a prop and an eVar in the past, so I can see how many page views, visits, and success events come from new or repeat visitors. Of course, keep in mind that this plug-in is cookie dependent.
7. DynamicObjectId: This plug-in is used to automatically assign an object id to each link on a page so Clickmap can more accurately determine the clicks on each link on a page. The only issue I have had with this plug-in is if I have also have custom link tracking on each link on a particular page that Clickmap still does not work properly even with the DynamicObjectId plug-in. I have custom link track on certain pages, so I can easily maintain the click history on links, since with Clickamp that history will go away once the link is taken off of the page.
I some times use more plug-in than this, but these are the plug-ins that I use the most often.
After you understand the differences between a prop and eVar, how do you determine if you should use a prop or an eVar. I decided that based on the business question that is being asked. If the business owner wants to know how many page views occurred in a section or page type or how many clicks (metric will still be page view) a module received or how many visits viewed a page or section of the site I will pass that information into a prop. If the business owner wants to how success (page views, video plays, print page, email to a friend, etc) was had after an action was taken, I will pass that information into an eVar. Since props are not persistent (unless you use the PersistValue plug-in), it will count things only one time, where eVars are persistent and will tie back to “success” events.
Omniture Tagging Strategy document