At this link, Akin Arikan puts forth some great discussion of the Data Layer / Analytics Layer / Universal Variable concept for passing data between the web server and web analytics tags served through a Content Distribution Network (CDN) also known as a Tag Manager. Besides the paid Tag Manager tools such as Tealium, there is the free but proprietary Adobe Tag Manager (for Adobe customers only, so far) and the free Google Tag Manager offering open to anyone. Many installations have implemented Google Tag Manager with SiteCatalyst, Webtrends and other web analytics tags.
Here’s a page at the W3C where the industry giants are building a draft standard for the web analytics data layer.
More to come on Tag Manager tools…. it’s an interesting time!
Raven offers the Google Analytics Configuration Tool, a little “sitelet” (focused microsite) which offers 8 tools to help folks jump start their Google Analytics setup. Most interesting are the complex setups such as sub-domains and multi-domain setups, as well as event tracking configuration and a URL builder for campaigns such as SEM links and email links.
In the middle of all this setup work, many advanced users hosting multiple tracking tags on their sites are using Google Tag Manager with Google Analytics and other top WA (er, should I say, DA?) tools. I just found this post from Lothaire, who related his experience implementing an updated Webtrends tag using Google Tag Manager. Brett Hale has integrated SiteCatalyst (now Adobe Analytics) tags using GTM as well. I’m working now myself with Adobe Tag Manager. I’ll keep you posted with my notes going forward. First note is that I haven’t found much info about using a Data Layer (a/k/a analytics layer or universal variable) with SiteCatalyst tags. Wonder why?
Sorry for the long dry spell – it’s been a busy time lately and I’ll soon have some new items up related to recent work and research into web analytics Tag Management using Adobe Tag Manager, SiteCatalyst, Webtrends, GTM and Google Analytics.
But first, here’s a great article about Mobile SEO recently posted on Search Engine Land. Enjoy these hot, slow, long summer days!
While we’ve all been in awe of “real-time” data reporting in Google Analytics, premium web analytics vendor Adobe has been adding similar capabilities to SiteCatalyst. This low-latency data is called Current Data and this feature debuted about six months ago in late fall of 2012. Just past that time frame in Q3, I can recall complaining a few times about latency in our SiteCatalyst reports, but somehow no one in client care suggested we try this ‘new’ feature!
To find out more, read this 4/3/13 post at Blastam, and this feature announcement post at Adobe, if you’d like to enable Current Data Reports for your users to view.
So, this is obviously a great ‘catch up’ enhancement for SiteCatalyst to have, and I’m grateful to have access to this feature now. An excellent follow-on tweak would be for it to be possible to add Current Data reports to a dashboard. As I write this post, it is only possible to link to a report. Nonetheless this feature will help folks testing implementations with less waiting for data to process.
Brett Hale’s Straight from Hale WA blog has a detailed and interesting post which explains his efforts to make SiteCatalyst’s code work asynchronously with Google Tag Manager. What a concept! GTM is not the most robust tag manager, but the price point is always agreeable, as with most other Google offerings.
I don’t see much written on linear conversion reports like you might think. They are a great way to monitor key metrics on a website, such as the steps in a site’s conversion funnel. While I have long known how to get these reports running in Adobe SiteCatalyst, I had never tried creating one in Google Analytics (tsk, tsk!!) until now. So, if you’re interested in learning how to get these reports for your own GA account, here’s a great how-to article from Tim Leighton-Boyce at CXFocus.com entitled Get an Instant Checkout Health Check with this one-stop Report. The important thing about this post I’m citing is that it has been revised multiple times with more relevant information and improvements.
Enjoy, and please share your results, time permitting!
PS – I haven’t tried creating a horizontal conversion funnel in Webtrends – has anyone else tried?
ClickZ is working towards coining a new term, Convergence Analytics, and so in writing this post, I guess I’m helping with that process. Besides sounding cool, it does nicely summarize what we’ve been doing the hard way for the past few years: joining data from various analytics tools into a single tool. Of course now, the tools we’re using are more savvy and accept data from other sources and that is what is enabling this convergence of data and data analytics. Google Analytics, SiteCatalyst, Webtrends, etc. are able to accept external data and join it with the ‘native’ data captured by the tool and process all the data together to formulate reports. As one of my business colleagues always mutters… ‘there’s never been a better time to be alive… (or a data analyst) with all this innovation around us!”
More to come on this topic – its just going to get better!
An interesting whitepaper crossed through my email inbox today titled ‘The Future of Digital Measurement and Personalization’ by Gary Angel at Semphonic. I always enjoy the papers written by the fine folks there, and you may find this document insightful as well. Basically the concept put forth is that tagging websites for web analytics, functionality and interactivity is unweildy and worsening because governance (change control and stability) is a huge challenge as time goes on. I like the concept of a TMS (tag management system), and we’ve seen each web analytics vendor put forth the bones of TMS such as Webtrends Tag Builder. This document focuses on Celebrus and their tag management and data warehousing solutiuons and I plan to study their solutions in the coming days. Thanks for reading!
I just read about the WATS tool, a Firefox plugin which helps users troubleshoot SiteCatalyst implementations. As always, any help working through Omniture tracking issues is welcome!
Here is a tidy little post which lists some online tools to manage web analytics code tags. It does not mention the Webtrends Tag Builder, probably because it is too specific. But I mention it again, because it is a valuable tool for those using Webtrends and the Source Data Collector (SDC). I am anxious to see the Adobe Tag Manager when it becomes available – I think it will be a huge help managing Site Catalyst installations.