We’ve been doing lots of work recently with clients recently where we have installed plugins. So I thought “Hey, why don’t I write a blog post about plugins.” So I am. This blog post is going to tell you what they are, what you need to do to get them, some popular ones and the sort of data that they’ll give you at the end. The most important thing, of course is always what you do with that data in the end, so I’ll give a couple of examples of those as well.
What is a plugin?
There are two parts of any SiteCatalyst implementation. One part is putting a bit of HTML on your page that describes a series of variables that you wish to set: your custom traffic variables (props); your custom conversion variables (eVars); Your custom Products; and your custom events. Campaigns, PageNames, etc are just standard versions of these four things. You can do the entire lot by setting them in the HTML on the page.
If you read through Adam Greco’s post on the Omniture website from a couple of years ago (on my birthday no less!), then you’ll be able to see all the different types.
- Get someone who knows what they are doing to help you (talk to Omniture, hire a consultant, etc)
- Test thoroughly. I’ve also discovered recently that even this doesn’t always work so make sure that your release schedule will allow you to make fixes easily and quickly if something goes wrong
One of the best plugins that you can install is the previous page plugin. It does what it says on the tin really – it sets the value of the current page on the cookie and then when the user loads a new page it loads the previous page in the variable of your choice.
What do you do with this information? Well if you have your previous page in prop1 and your internal search variable in prop2 you can set up a correlation between the two of them and get some very valuable information. You can find out what people searched for on a particular page. When you’ve found out what people are searching for on a particular page you can make it so that it is easier for them to find that thing by creating links to those things. Better user journeys should mean more sales. But of course you can measure that using an eVar and your events.
Previous Search Term Plugin
Of course the next step in this situation is to create a previous search term report. This report showing the search terms that people used on the previous page, if correlated with the current page, will tell you the sort of thing that people are clicking on when doing a particular search.
With this information you can start altering your search results to give your users better information when they do their searches. This in parallel with an eVar report telling you the conversions that were made for searches is particularly useful to improve your internal search.
Campaign Analysis Plugin
Talking of events and eVars that measure your conversions, there are a few plugins that they’ve created over at head office can create reports that will give you a bit more data than before. What they’ve done is created a couple more variables by tracking your campaigns over a longer time period. I talked a couple of months back about tracking your campaigns using a first, last and linear conversion method. Measuring like this will help you work out which campaigns are helping with your conversions.
Of course using a plugin you can write all of those campaigns into your cookie so that when your user comes to convert you have a chronological list of the order they went through them. If you were really clever you could put the dates in as well, but I think that you’d end up with a bit too much information. What you’ll end up with in this situation is a nice way of working out how your users interact with campaigns. Knowing this information will help your Marketing guys build their campaign messages based on the stuff that users have responded to in the past. This will help you improve your conversion rates and make more money.
Of course you can do a number of other things with this plugin, including counting the number of campaigns that the person responds to. Remember that if your campaigns report is set to Full Subrelations (as all will be in version 15) then you’ll be able to create a report showing for a particular campaign that converted how many other campaigns the users responded to.
Conversion Analysis Plugin
Another part of the conversion analysis plugin actually makes use of two different parts of the plugins. Firstly you use the ability to pick up existing variables to create your own ‘marketing channels’ report. It sounds a bit odd doing this in the code, but the next step makes it all worthwhile. Every time a user comes to the site you write to the cookie what channel they responded to, so that when the user converts you can write events to each of the other channels showing that they ‘assisted’ the sale.
This report is invaluable in showing all channels that helped with a sale, not just the first and last as your Marketing Channels does. It may enable you to spend your money in the areas that help with the conversions and not just those that initiate or end it.
Form Analysis plugin
So you end up with a report that has the name of your form followed by the field that it was abandoned or incorrectly filled out at along with the number of correct completions. Using this information you can help build better forms for improved conversion. An improved conversion rate for a form will improve conversion for all your campaigns.
Percentage Page Viewed Plugin
As a nice one to finish on, this is something I learned about at 2010’s London Omniture summit. This plugin shows the amount of a page that a user has viewed. It allows you to work out if people are getting all the way down to your call to action or reading all of your content. Of course it can only be set on the page afterwards, so you’ll need to run it in conjunction with the previous page report. There is a nice post from Adam on this from last year.
Your designers will be the most grateful people in the world if you can give them this report.
Have I missed any that you particularly like out?