This is post 1 in my series on "My 5 Favorite Quickwins". There are very simple settings in the Admin Console that can have a very far-reaching effect in your analytics. These settings are NOT a set-and-forget part of the implementation- they require maintenance! (That is, of course, unless your website and marketing strategies never change, in which case, we have bigger problems).
#1- Paid Search Detection
Paid Search Detection is deceptively simple, but I frequently find it just hasn't been kept up-to-date with what the Search Marketing folks are up to.
Interesting note: even if you don't have any paid search marketing efforts, you can't ignore this setting if you want to make use of the Natural Search reports.
Paid Search Detection affects only the Traffic Sources Search Reports. If not set at all, SiteCatalyst will just lump all searches together in the "All" category. By adding even one little query string parameter, you can open up 4 additional reports (Search Keywords- Paid, Search Keywords- Natural, Search Engines- Paid and Search Engines- Natural).
Tip: If you aren't currently tracking Paid Search with query string parameters and don't have time to set up unique tracking codes for your ads, simply adding a parameter- regardless of tracking code- will enable you to use this setting to differentiate between Paid and Natural Search.
While a tracking code like this, with a unique ID that can be classified is ideal:
A nice, granular tracking code that can be classified to reflect every aspect you want to report: Campaign, Creative Element, Search Engine...
Let's say getting that granular is out of scope. Even this would make the Paid Search reports (and, as I'll discuss in a later post, the Channel Marketing reports) functional:
Heck, you can even make use of a UTM_source or gclid parameter. The value of the parameter doesn't matter for this setting. Segmenting Paid Search does not have to be complicated.
To set this, within the admin console, go to Report Suites> Edit Settings > General > Paid Search Detection.
For more information, see the Adobe Industry Insight's Post on Organic vs. Paid Search Detection.
Ok, this doesn't have a huge impact on what data you can view. But it can save you a little bit of headache, and it never hurts to think about what metrics are truly important to you. By default, all conversion reports in SiteCatalyst will show you "Revenue" as your metric. This can be changed per report by clicking on "Add Metrics". If you consistently find yourself changing this metric to, say, Leads Generated, or you want to look at Revenue as well as Orders, hop into the admin console and go to Edit Settings>Individual Report Suite Settings>Default Metrics and arrange the three default metrics as you see fit.
Internal URL Filters
This setting determines two things:
Hopefully all your SiteCatalyst users know the main domain of your website. That should be a no-brainer. But do they know all possible subdomains? How about microsites?
The Internal URL Filters setting MUST include at least part of the URL for every. single. page. you are tracking. This affects two things:
- the pages reports- any hit that comes from a page that doesn't match your list of filters will show up as "other" in your pages report.
- the referring domains report- SiteCatalyst uses this list to determine what is considered internal to your site, and, by process of elimination, what is external and should count as an external referrer.
A brand new report suite will usually have a "." as their only URL filter. This is so that no page gets excluded from your reports as you get things set up- which is especially important when working in a dev environment with a different domain than your live site.
If you navigated to this post from my first post in the series, then SiteCatlayst will look at the referrer, http://blog.implementalytics.com/?p=35, see that "implementalytics.com" is in the URL, and say "this is internal, that URL should not go into the Referring Domains reports."
If, however, you came from a (in this case, fictional) partner site, let's say http://www.wug.com/links.html, SiteCatalyst would look at that and say "hmm, I don't see implementalytics.com anywhere in that URL, so it must be an outside referral."
The real problem comes in with microsites. A recent client of mine had 26 domains listed in their internal URL filters, because they rely heavily on microsites. If they forget even one of those URLs when someone rolls out a new microsite, their Referring Domains reports are shot, and they won't be able to get any page-specific information about the traffic on that microsite.
On a side note, changes here should also be made to the s.linkInternalFilters variable in your s_code. More on that in another post.
If all of my clients were to review these settings every 6 months, countless headaches could be avoided. Take 30 minutes to check your Admin Console settings for anything that my have slipped through the cracks.