Hit and Run and a belated Happy New Year

So, today is the first day of daylight saving time (DST) here in the U.S. and it’s also the occasion of my first post of 2015. So, belated Happy New Year to you all, and here’s a heads up that this post will be a hit and run listing of links I want to keep track of. You may find some of them useful too.

First off is Omniture for Beginners by Tom Capper at Distilled. At the very end of the post is a table which will help guide folks accustomed to Google Analytics as they get started with Adobe Analytics. That table is the reason I kept this post around. I’m sure it will come in handy as I train and teach others in the future.

Next is a post by Stuart Roskelley at his blog, “How to Dissect a Vendor Script”. His blog is aptly called “The Hidden Layer” and it deals with modern approaches to web analytics using tag managers, DOM scraping, etc. I found the post relevant because I’ve spent a lot of time recently shoehorning vendor tags into tag management and making all the tags play together nicely. I do have to admit that some of the problems I’ve encountered were self-inflicted, but that’s how I learn. Breaking and fixing.

Until next time, ‘keep on trackin‘! *
    *(With apologies to Dan Fredeen)

ATM 2.0 swan song

With apologies for not posting any blogs since May, I’ll just dive right in. At long last, I received an email from Adobe announcing that its legacy tag management tool, Adobe Tag Manager 2.0 (ATM) would be phased out beginning in August 2015. Originally most of us had read that December 2014 would be the sunset date, but since only recently have we been informed about old versions of Report Builder being phased out in January 2015, I figured ATM still had some time left. And so it does, thankfully.

ATM 2.0 served me well allowing me to build a fantastic SiteCatalyst implementation on a hosted system where I couldn’t make programming changes for web analytics just any time I felt like. It also allowed us to establish control over 3rd party vendor tags, and in general, ATM got me to learn jQuery (and about time!).

So, thanks Adobe, for making ATM available a while longer… and thanks especially for bringing Satellite into your product mix as Dynamic Tag Management (DTM) which will be the successor to ATM.

On to the really important dates:
We’ll be able to edit ATM tags and containers until August 1, 2015, and by October 1, 2015, ATM will no longer function. This allows plenty of time to move onto DTM as soon as possible. This way we can complete peak season comfortably this year, then move on to the next generation of tag management.

Looking forward to your comments and ideas…

Lately I’m working with implementing Google Custom Search for a larger customer.  It’s a pretty good product with a great deal of flexibility and of course, it has Google’s Famous Search Algorithm underneath.  So, it’s pretty darn good at handling whatever most site visitors throw at it.  The problem is with quantifying the results (visitor successes and failures).  There isn’t much to go on since GCS is implemented with JavaScript tag blocks and not actual code.  If these blocks of code called in a little Data Layer with results data elements (as Google has been coaxing us to create for web analytics elsewhere) there would be something to work with!   So, Big G, what about it!?

Thanks for reading my rant – as soon as I have something workable I’ll post more info.  Either G will do something or I’ll devise something. Already I’ve implemeted GCS via a Tag Management system as a proof of concept, so there is hope yet.


Free Social Media Analytics tools bonanza

The people at SimplyMeasured have compiled a great list of free tools you can use to analyze your brand’s reach on popular social channels. Take a look, try ’em out, and bolster the data you’re already getting from SocialMention, Google Analytics, etc.

Recently I completed an initial implementation of Google Tag Manager on VPASP version 7.0 shopping cart, and I’m about to begin another implementation.  It wasn’t terribly difficult, but it was a little tricky to get the ecommerce integration set up properly and I implemented a DataLayer within VPASP’s order confirmation page logic to make it all work.  Please send me a comment or contact form if you’d like more info about GTM and VPASP.  (honestly I was surprised  not to find any other writeups on the topic)

Capturing Browser User-Agent string in web analytics

Anything to avoid snooping a web log, these days…! Sometimes you’ve just got to know what user-agent string a certain browser passes when it hits your site. Lately I’ve been capturing it as an eVar in Adobe Analytics (Omniture SiteCatalyst), because as a custom conversion variable you can get co-relations, breakdowns, etc. and even segement on that variable for serious troubleshooting or tracking purposes.

Once you’ve collected the user-agent string, then you may need a lookup area to figure it out… that’s where this link to UserAgentString.com comes in handy. They’ve broken down so many devices and browsers with version data and listed it in a very useful format.

And, when all else fails and you’ve peeped an actual http logfile the hard way, UserAgentString.com is still helpful. Enjoy!

Working with Clickstream Data out of Adobe Analytics

4/28/14 UPDATE: the original thread on LinkedIn for this topic continues to draw useful comments regarding serious implementations/requirements. Take another read on it as time permits.

I honed in on an interesting thread on the Omniture Enthusiasts group on LinkedIn. The topic author, Nicholas, asks: “Has anyone has implemented a SiteCatalyst Clickstream Database solution?” The thread has turned into an interesting conversation, and another active participant has posted an R package at GitHub to faciliate this type of data movement and analysis. Turns out that it is possible to have a daily dump of clickstream data sent similar to a Data Warehouse data file for further processing. Hmmm – what an intriguing possibility.

Adobe Analytics / Omniture SiteCatalyst Resource Kit

Hopefully I covered all my bases in the title of this post. Every time I think about the confusion around Adobe renaming Omniture SiteCatalyst, I think of the pop artist Prince (a/k/a “The Artist Formerly Known As…”). But I digress.

Today I’m passing along a link to a compilation of SiteCatalyst resources you’re bound to find interesting and useful. Some call it the Ultimate Cheatsheet for Omniture.


BackupBuddy WordPress restore to GoDaddy hosting

I just finished migrating a client’s WordPress site from Network Solutions to GoDaddy using BackupBuddy. I had a few issues, but overall, the process wasn’t so bad.

The major key to success was uploading a php.ini file with the following settings:
memory_limit = 256M
output_buffering = Off
display_errors = Off
log_errors = On
error_log = /pff_phperror_log
max_execution_time = 180

Contrary to reports I’d read by others getting started at GoDaddy, I had no troubles with cPanel, or with setting up MySQL databases or users. I simply plugged in the new database info into the ImportBuddy screen, and within seconds everything was up and running. Granted, all this may have gone so smoothly because I was using an iThemes WP theme, and generally they play by the rules. But keep in mind, the theme the site uses is from 2008! And, it still gets the job done.

Back to the restore process… I think the key factors to success, based upon two false starts was to get the Memory Limit and Max Execution Time settings correct as shown above.

Hope this helps someone – esp. those who get started without preparing beforehand!

To finish the job, I created a new Google Analytics tag using the Universal Analytics standard, so this site will have fresh metrics under its new domain name.

Saving Page Referrer as an eVar for better correlations

Antti Koski has written a well-illustrated post about using SiteCatalyst processing rules to save page referrer data in an eVar for better correlation in analysis. I expect to try this using logic in my Adobe Tag Manager code in the meanwhile. I agree with Antti that using the default Referrer report in Adobe Analytics leaves much to be desired. When will it be possible to correlate everything with everything?

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