Exclusively Yours: How to Customize Adobe Analytics

So, you have Adobe Analytics implemented and in place. And when we say implemented, we mean that you have a great data layer and data collection is in place. But now what? How will you set your users up for success so that they get the most out of Adobe Analytics?

Some features and best practices that, when used together, can be critical to your success include the following:

  • Curated Workspaces to provide individualized experience for users
  • Workspace Notes and Annotations to build valuable context around your data
  • Governance of Metrics, Segments, and Dimensions to help eliminate confusion
  • Classifications (uploads and rules) to show aggregate-level data and save time

But, before we get into these specific features and best practices, let’s take a look at some of the most common challenges encountered by analytics users.

Common analytics challenges:

  • Implementation complexity: Often, implementations can include hundreds of events, props, and eVars. Additionally, not all of your business stakeholders will be familiar with the exact details as to when and where all of these events and variables are set. In reporting, there could also be many segments, calculated metrics, virtual report suites or classifications that can lead to confusion.
  • One question; many answers: Adobe Analytics is an amazing technology due to how customizable it is. At the same time, it can be complex to use for the same reason! For example, uninformed users might leverage multiple methods in order to measure the success of marketing campaigns, such as:
    • Finding Methods
    • Tracking Codes
    • Marketing Channel Report
    • Referrers
  • Confusing reporting values: Your business stakeholders might not immediately understand the usage and intent of all values in your analyses and reporting.
  • Dips and spikes in data: Not all business stakeholders are informed about everything that causes spikes or dips in Adobe Analytics reporting. These changes could be due to seasonality, marketing campaigns, site issues, or tagging issues.
  • Many users, all with different needs: Your business stakeholders are diverse in their analysis needs. And, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t take advantage of the various tools at your disposal with Adobe Analytics.

If you experience the challenges above, you’re likely hearing (or asking) questions like the ones below. We’ll discuss these challenges, along with their solutions, in more detail in the following sections.

Adobe Analytics Solutions

Curated Workspaces provide a curated experience for users

Curated workshops – Primary question addressed:
There is so much data. Where do I start?

The challenge probably most frequently encountered by analytics users is the plethora of options presented to them. This can be overwhelming—especially for users who aren’t intimately familiar with the details of how each event and variable was implemented in the first place.

So, in order to decrease this sense of being overwhelmed by all the reporting options presented to users, we want to not just create Workspaces, we want to create a tailored experience via curated Workspaces.

In creating a curated Workspace, we’re doing several things. We’re:

  1. Limiting the number of options immediately presented, so there’s less confusion and a decreased chance of using variables and events that maybe aren’t designed to be used together.
  2. Shortening the time it takes for users to create their own analyses.
  3. Reducing the perceived complexity of Adobe Analytics, since it’s unlikely that everyone is familiar with the technical details of your implementation.

Below is a common example of what users may experience when looking at calculated metrics (when the same metric is created by multiple users). Analysts and users can suffer from “analysis paralysis” due to the “fire hose” of events, dimensions, and segments that are available.

Adobe Analytics users may experience "analysis paralysis" due to the "fire hose" of events, dimensions, and segments available within calculated metrics.

In order to eliminate confusion, provide only the details needed for a specific use case, cutting the flow of information down to garden hose levels vs. fire hose levels. For example, here are some options that might be available to someone analyzing digital marketing performance:

image3

With a curated workspace, we can reduce the number of options immediately presented, and users will still have the option to see all the components that were hidden as a part of the curation process. This way, your power users can dig as deep as they need.

Curated Workspaces in Adobe Analytics reduce the options presented so users can see what they need and dig as deep as they want.

Along with reducing the number of options presented, curated workspaces can also be used to create an initial workspace tailored to a single user or specific set of users. This quickly restricts the existing contents of the analysis but gives users the flexibility to customize the workspace later by adding in dimensions, metrics, or segments.

Curated Workspaces in Adobe analytics can create an initial workspace tailored to a single user or specific set of users but gives these users the flexibility to customize the workspace later by adding in dimensions, metrics, or segments.

image5

 

Workspace Annotations & Workspace Notes build valuable context for users

Workspace Annotations – Primary question addressed:
How do I proactively inform users of events impacting the analytics data?

Workspace Annotations can provide historical context for the data, including date-sensitive context, to create an “analytics memory” that can be shared with users. Annotations, which users can choose to display or not, can also provide a history of data problems, marketing performance, or other successes and help inform data consumers of issues they might not have otherwise known about. Importantly, workspace annotations increase the usefulness of YoY, MoM, DoD, and other time-based performance comparisons.

Workspace Annotations in Adobe Analytics can provide historical context for the data to create an "analytics memory" that can be shared with users.

Workspace Notes – Primary question addressed:
How should users interpret and use the data?

Frequently, when a workspace is created, it’s often just a collection of charts, ranked listings and other visualizations. These aren’t very engaging and interpretation and analysis is left solely in the hands of each person that opens the Workspace, which can cause eyes to glaze and/or confusion.

But, by leveraging the ability to include text, images, hyperlinks and other rich content in Workspace panels, you can provide direction and guidance to your users. If fully leveraged, this can result in your users understanding where data points originate and what data points work well together for deeper analysis.

Workspace notes within Adobe Analytics lets users leverage the ability to include text, hyperlinks, and other rich content in workspace panels to provide direction and guidance to stakeholders.

Governance eliminates confusion

Calculated metrics, segments, and naming conventions – Primary question addressed:
How can I ensure that users aren’t confused and that they’re using the right data points?

Many calculated metrics, segments, and analyses might be shared by both you and your users. So, how do you manage these things so that the number of possibilities in Adobe Analytics doesn’t result in the Wild West of reporting? The solution is to apply naming conventions, thoughtful sharing, and governance so that “approved” content comes from a primary source of truth.

For example, below, we see a great example of some Adobe Analytics segments. But just looking at this, we don’t know which of these we should or might want to use.

Governance eliminates confusion when it comes to calculated metrics, segments, and analyses within Adobe Analytics.

And, in this example, many users have created their own calculated metrics for Bounce Rate.

image6 1

To solve for these problems, create a state of consistency for your business stakeholders and analysts. Maintain strict governance around the values you want to make it into your reporting and use the five Cs (clear, clean, contextual, concise, and consistent) to create naming conventions for your site pages (as in this example), your marketing tracking codes, and other report values.

image8

  • [bucket]:[summary]:[description]

  • Example: Visits|Cart Abandonment|Prod Viewed & Not Ordered

If you manage the values that are presented in reporting and the content that is shared to your users, you will have successfully simplified things for your users.

Adobe Analytics Classification rules and uploads – Primary question addressed:
How can I simplify reporting values, so they don’t confuse users who only want to see things at aggregate levels?

Reporting values can be complex and confusing for users wanting to only see things at aggregate levels. To do this, concatenate variable values so that your classifications are more easily managed. A good example of this is concatenating your marketing channel tracking codes. In doing so, you can easily see all the pertinent data and enable aggregate reporting at the various “levels” of your concatenated tracking codes.

Rules can minimize your time maintaining classifications (to break apart the previously mentioned concatenated values), and Uploads should be for what you can’t solve with rules or where your variable values are more abstract in nature. If you must do uploads, try and work with developers/IT to automate the upload (by having them automate the upload process or by leveraging the SAINT API). A common example of an automated process is the upload of product metadata.

Adobe Analytics Classification rules and uploads address the question, "How can I simplify reporting values, so they don’t confuse users who only want to see things at aggregate levels?"

Conclusion

In summary, you should be leveraging the features and capabilities discussed here to make your Adobe Analytics implementation more easily consumable by your business stakeholders. An analytics implementation that just sits there and provides no context for your users will often leave them in a state of confusion or lack of surety. Again, these features included:

  • Curated Workspaces
  • Workspace Notes & Annotations
  • Proper governance of segments, calculated metrics and variable naming conventions
  • Adobe Analytics Classifications (uploads and rules)

Search Discovery is an Adobe Gold Solution Partner, and an Active Adobe Exchange Partner with specialized focus in Analytics, Target, Audience Manager, Customer Journey Analytics, Real-time CDP, Journey Optimization, and AI-Driven Marketing Measurement. We’ve successfully helped clients deploy thousands of Adobe Analytics implementations with DTM and Launch, and our team of Adobe-certified professionals can help you design, create, and deploy world-class solutions across the Adobe ecosystem. 

Reach out today to get help fully leveraging the features and capabilities within Adobe Analytics.

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