Adobe AdHoc swan song

Late this summer Adobe announced that it would “end of life” the AdHoc tool (formerly called Discover). I really enjoyed using AdHoc and while I like Analysis Workspace there was something special about AdHoc that’s tough to explain. It looked cool and it did help analysts discover new things happening on websites. There’s still some time to use AdHoc, so enjoy it while it lasts. Read the announcements and see the migration guide at Adobe Spark.

Adobe Analytics

Adobe DTM and hashtag
Adobe DTM’s New Custom and pushState/hashChange Event Types

Google Analytics Implementation with Single Page Application architecture

React
Adding Google Analytics to your React Application

Yes, so my non-profit’s website is still on GoDaddy basic Linux hosting and the dreaded message showed up after upgrading several plugins. It most likely had nothing to do with upgrading the plugins and everything to do with GoDaddy hosting.

Here’s the message, slightly cleansed to protect the hosting…

Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: open(/home/content/ / /tmp/sess_, O_RDWR) failed: No such file or directory (2) in /home/content/ / /html/wp-content/plugins/cforms2/cforms2.php on line 89

First, I tried killing and restarting the system processes on my hosting control panel. No help. Finally today I had some time to chat with GoDaddy support after trying some various fixes which didn’t work. One writeup suggested asking support to clear the hosting cache. So that’s how I started the chat with GoDaddy support.

The chat rep looked at my hosting and the error message and tried blaming the cforms plugin. I asked him to clear the cache area (tmp area) on the hosting space. He replied that everything looked great and proceeded to upsell me on a higher tier of hosting (cPanel hosting). I told him not to waste his time with the upsell, that I felt that decent hosting should maintain the servers at a reasonable level.

After ending the chat I did some more research and found this post at WallyDavid which really helped. I was already bumping around the session.save_path setting in my php.ini file but with no luck. The secret really is to create a new temp folder within your hosting space, create the new php5.ini file and update it accordingly. You can find the full path to your hosting space on the main account panel screen (left nav below the fold) “Absolute Hosting Path”. After you create the new temp folder, create the php5.ini file and update it, go back to the hosting control panel, select System Processes and click ‘stop all’. Access your site in another window and check to see that the ugly error message has gone away.

(Thanks, Wally David for the great writeup, hope you’ll enjoy a few visits to your blog on me!)

BackupBuddy on GoDaddy hosting

GoDaddy web hosting causes BackupBuddy to balk at later stages of a complete backup, and I’ve been struggling with getting BB to run on different hosting spaces at GoDaddy. At last I found a good writeup which described how to configure BackupBuddy to work acceptably on GoDaddy hosting.

It only takes a few seconds to apply these tweaks to the BackupBuddy configuration in your WordPress admin panel. Backups take a little longer than on other hosting, but they do finish. If your backups always timeout incomplete then give these settings a try.

Google Analytics parameters

Here’s a handy guide if you have occasion to decipher Google Analytics tags when they fire:

Google Analytics measurement protocol Parameters Reference

It is possible to get these parameters broken out in a nice, eay-to-read user interface using Google Tag Assistant (Chrome Store).

DTM debugger

For years the best tool for debugging Adobe Analytics was the DigitalPulse debugger, a JavaScript bookmarklet offered by Adobe. (The browser console was pretty useful too, once you got the hang of it.)

Now comes Disruptive Advertising with a Dynamic Tag Management (DTM) debugger. It’s got a decent interface and it’s just a bookmarklet as well, so it should work in most browsers, unlike some debuggers which only work with Chrome (via Chrome app store).

Check it out and enjoy!

Webtrends is in the game

wtcomparison
Web Analytics shootouts are always useful to those who haven’t yet committed to a web analytics platform or who are looking for an alternative. Most web analytics users are using Google Analytics “free” and Something Else paid. Now that Google Analytics 360 has come along and isn’t as expensive as the old GA Premium many WA users want to take a look at all the tools and platforms available.

Webtrends has done a major rewrite of their pioneering offering and they are in the game with Webtrends Infinity. The features and capabilities checklist is rather impressive, with all the real-time capability. Infinity looks to address many of the issues and shortcomings of Webtrends older offerings as well as those of other vendors. I look forward to testing Infinity in the near future, especially since new web analytics deployments are facilitated with tag management tools.

It’s not news now, but for those who’re always striving to achieve continuous improvement in web analytics could do worse than reading up on the W3C’s document of a specification for a web analytics Data Layer.

Customer Experience Digital Data Layer 1.0 by W3C December 2013
Community Group Final Report
http://www.w3.org/2013/12/ceddl-201312.pdf

I found out about the concept of a so-called data layer for web analytics early in 2013. I’m sure I was late to that party, but certainly there’s many others who’ve never even made it to the party (but there’s still time). Data Layer is one of the best things to happen for web analytics implementations in my opinion. I first read about them in an article from Justin Cutroni in relation to usage of data elements by Google Tag Manager, but, GTM has no corner on the data layer market though… any web analytics tool can work with a data layer, thanks to Javascript and particularly, jQuery (my new best friend since ’13).

Read more about data layer and other techniques for web analytics at Jan Exner’s great blog, “Web Analytics for Developers”

Pedro Monjo also has a good post about data layer usage at his blog.

Adobe Analytics post roundup for early April

A great post describing how techniques for debugging Adobe DTM implementations appeared at Search Discovery’s site. Who better to get this info from than the inventors of Satellite, the predecessor to DTM!

Debugging and validating an Adobe Dynamic Tag Management implementation

Search Discovery also published another blog explaining why results can vary between Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics installations.

The next link I want to pass along is about documentation – something we’re all loathe to do. Antti Koski over in Finland blogs about his approach to documenting SiteCatalyst implementations using Microsoft Excel in this great post on his site, . This post is from a little more than a year ago, but it is relevant for anyone working with a new or existing Adobe Analytics setup. Other tools exist for this documentation process, such as the R library I’ve mentioned a few months back and there’s an Adobe employee written tool which integrates with MS Excel as well. So far I can’t get that tool to work, but I’m still interested in it and will update here when I get it working for myself. Cheers!

Adobe Analytcs Analysis Workspace Freeform Analysis

AdobeFreeformAnalysis_snagCatching up by posting several items related to Adobe Analytics (aka Omniture SiteCatalyst). First, there’s the great new beta tool called Analysis Workspace which allows for freeform analysis with out having to jump through Java hoops with AdHoc (aka Discover). There’s only one problem with Analysis Workspace – you can’t print or export yet. That’ll be solved soon enough I’m sure, but I found that it’s tough to even screenshot a report produced from this tool. SnagIt got stuck in the editable fields at the top of the screen (report title).

Other than these issues, I love the trendlines and seemingly limitless breakdowns. So far there’s sparse documentation, and no tutorial videos yet, but I’m sure this tool will be popular with analysts since no additional implementation is required to use it.

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