Internal Link Filters  

Posted by bhans in , ,

I'm thinking about taking all of the entries out of the s.linkInternalFilters variable in my s_code.

My theory is that by doing this, I can track referrers both internally and externally in the same report.

I had originally been told by Omniture that if my own domains were not included in this list, the biggest referrer to my site would be own site(s).

Because of the differences in my sites (and brands), I think it might be better to observe these as separate properties. In which case, referring to each other would be a better setup. I would still be able to run a previous and next page report to see pathing in and out of the sites.

Any opinion on how this might affect my reporting?

What are the best practices?


Posted by bhans in ,

A few years back I wanted to create a salt water fishtank. I didnt know anything about how to do it. So I did what I always do and hit the web for some research. I soon found a great forum where people were talking and sharing all about their fishtanks. I decided that I would dive in and start my own thread to document my project. My first post spoke of my plan and what I had so far. I had a freshwater tank already with a single goldfish whose time had come. I made some kind of joke about how I was going to send him on the porcelain roller coaster.

The next morning I checked my post to see if anyone had viewed it. Not only had it been viewed but it had quite a few comments.

I was so excited.

As I read the comments, there was no help offered, no comments about my plan, no input. All of the comments were from people who wanted to tell me how evil I was to get rid of the goldfish this way. As I tried to justify my point, it just got worse and eventually the moderator took the thread offline because it was too 'heated'. Imagine that a fish post ... heated.

My point in this story is that I have been following the #wa tag on Twitter with so much excitement. Almost daily I see many links and tips and great advice on Web Analytics. Just recently there have been a few posts speaking of how frustrating it is to help people and doing so is creating a generation of laziness.

I couldn't disagree more. If these guys only knew how much they have helped me as I sit on the sidelines and read their Tweets and blog posts etc. I wonder if they would say the same thing.

I believe that there are no such things as dumb questions. Twitter is a great tool because it is what you will it to be.

Thank you to those of you who have suggested and created the #wa tag. I will continue to use it as a great reference. I just wanted to make a post to my lonely blog because I felt I needed more than 140 characters.


Posted by bhans in , , ,

After spending some time with the best Omniture University trainer Nathan Walker at Summit this year in Salt Lake City, I discovered the power of classification tables. After implementing the best overkill of pagename taxonomy I had tons of data and variables captured but no way to sort it or filter it efficiently.

As a SiteCatalyst user at my previous job, I always found it frustrating to find simple things SiteCatalyst.

Omniture trains you on a fake website called I was so excited to see all of things that could do with their data. If you tried hard enough you could figure out what they had for breakfast. I came home excited and gung ho to jump into SiteCatalyst and get to work. I found that what we had in place and what I saw on were two entirely different worlds. I spoke at length with the implementation engineer who kindly took me aside and showed me the way things really are and that we would never be like electronicsplus because of a grocery list of roadblocks. I believe that anything was possible on that website, but most of it wasn’t feasible. The SiteCatalyst engineer of that site is now one of my most trusted colleagues and a great mentor. He showed me what SiteCatalyst could do well ...and what it couldn't. We soon came up with excellent ways to track campaigns using query string and pulled the power out of the reports.

Stepping into my new job I was presented with a clean slate and the opportunity to fix many of my frustrations as a SiteCatalyst user. In trying to do so I also found a new respect for the implementation side. Implementing SiteCatalyst is hard. SiteCatalyst is great when it works, and when you have what you need.

I have had liberating success with the page names that we customized for this company. I also capture the pagename as an s.prop and then classify those further.

Classification tables are awesome because they can be defined in any way that best suits your needs. All of these classifications are retroactive which is huge. This also means that if you flub up or completely change your mind... you can start over and nobody dies.

Classification tables are lame because depending on what variables you classify they can become a time consuming monster.

Here are my classification tables:

Market (country)
I love this classification table. It is so cute and cuddly and only has about 50 different keys to be classified. I can easily classify these 50 Markets (countries) into: Region, Sub-Region, and Market Group. The best part is if the ways that these geographic regions are grouped, the classification tables are agile enough to easily keep up. Did I mention that all of these changes are also retroactive? Huge plus if you ask me.

The Products classification and I have had our ups and downs. We originally started capturing just the SKU made up of eight digits with no real meaning. I found my reports telling me that 86753090 was the most popular product for the month of December. To which I replied "yeah so what does that mean?" and then go look it up. My answer to this was to return to the developers and ask if they could do a lookup of the SKU and append the English name to the SKU such as: 86753090/product name here. This eventually came back to bite me because I soon found out that anyone could access the DB where these names lived and change the name. Now this new name "8675309/new product counted completely separately from the original. There is no technological solution to bad human habits. We soon returned to SKUs only. The damage was done. In some cases I had 4 different variables all for the same product counting 4 different times. After discovering classification tables I was able to repair the carnage and classify all 4 of these as one product again. A product name that only my group has control over. A name that we can change (retroactively) anytime we want to.

Page Name
Oh I love my pagename classification. No, I hate it. Ok, I love it. Well I really hate it. The true story is, I love to use them, and I hate to maintain them. I started with a table of nearly 80K keys which I classified. By the end of the next month I had captured another 51K and just this month I classified 21K. I can only hope that this trend continues downward.

So there sits my latest issue.

Does anyone else have these issues?

How many classification tables do you manage?

first post  

Posted by bhans in , ,

I have been thinking a lot lately about Web Analytics. Not only because it is my job but because it is so fascinating. The internet is exploding exponentially every day and humans are finding more and more ways to absorb information on the web. Someone is going to have to record this part of history and translate it for the masses. People who are involved with web analytics will have a front row seat to watch this story unfold. The ever changing landscape of human behavior and business needs on the web make this a challenging and rewarding task.

It used to be that you would always begin with a search engine. My favorite of long ago was
AltaVista. There were many irrelevant results and a lot of noise. Later came Google with its simplicity and logic to understand complex queries as complicated as a long and punctuated question. The web was a place to hunt for information, a place to harvest. I believe that the web has now become and will continue to be exactly the opposite: a farm; a garden of information, resources and tools planted and nurtured by communities of users who not only take but give as well.

A normal 'surf session' for me begins at one of the most popular social net
working sites Twitter where I can see what people who I find interesting, are doing, what they kind of information they are harvesting, or what they are thinking about. Basically, micro insights into their experiences 140 characters at a time. Then it’s off to an RSS aggregator. I use Google Reader (I just like the way Google smells). RSS feeds are a step up from the Twitter micro posts. They give you a great way to have the goods delivered to your browser where you can quickly skim the cream and dump the irrelevant or save it for later. Both of these networks are created by me and consist only of content that I have requested from the web population. I am in control of what I get and use it at my convenience. There is no way I could possibly keep tabs on 48 blogs and other feeds one at a time. Avinash Kaushik (a recently discovered mentor of mine) said: “If you don’t have a blog you are committing a crime against humanity.” Avinash is known for his candid humor but that statement keeps running across my mind. I have been given so much with my access to and knowledge of the web. I feel obligated to give back. At this point I may have nothing more to offer but regurgitation and some lessons learned. I appreciate all of those who have put your inhibitions aside and shared about your experiences and knowledge and created discussions for the rest of us.

Now I intend to do the same.


Posted by bhans