Additional Methods To Measure Interaction Using The Get Time To Complete Plug-In

Recently there was a great article on the Omniture Blog all about Capturing Time Spent on . . . well, just about anything. It’s a great post and definitely worth checking out. After reading it I was wondering if there was another way to do it? Of course there is! I present the Time To Complete Plug-in.

The getTimeToComplete plug-in will track the time it takes a user to complete some process on your site. The “clock” begins when you call the plug-in with the value “start” and stops when the plug-in with the value “stop”. The plug-in can be used to track the time to complete a checkout process, to track the time to complete an application process, to track the time a user spends viewing/using Rich Internet Applications (RIA), or to track the time between a download and a purchase.

s.getTimeToComplete( v, cn, e )

v is the Value – ‘start’ or ‘stop’
cn is the Cookie Name – example: ‘ttc’
e is the Expiration – days to expiration of the cookie, 0 for session
This function will return an empty string ” or a value in days, hours, minutes or seconds

There is a bunch of different ways to use this plug-in. I like this first method because you do not have to add a single of code to the page to make it work (I have found it is much easier to get a development team to simply upload a new s_code file as opposed to adding additional code to the site.) Lets say you want to track a form on your site. Lets say the form is at /my-form.php. Once the visitor fills out the form, they are taken to the thank you page which lets say is at /my-form-thanks.php. I would add this bit of code to the s_code file:

if (window.location.pathname=='/my-form.php') s.ttc='start';
if (window.location.pathname=='/my-form-thanks.php') s.ttc='stop';

What this does is looks for the path in the URL for /my-form.php and sets start in s.ttc. When the plug-in see’s this it set’s the cookie ttc with a start time Then when the URL path is /my-form-thanks.php stop is set. When the plug-in see’s stop, it then reads the ttc plug-in and records the time difference in s.prop1. The time value that you will get will have days and hours rounded to .2 (e.g. 1.4 days), minutes to .5 (e.g. 2.5 minutes), and seconds to 5 (e.g. 15 seconds).

NOTE:When this is implemented, if you check the debugger you will not see any value for s.prop1 until you have reached the stop point of the process.

Here is another way to use the code. Let’s say you have some events set right on the pages of your site. We want to know how long it takes to get from when event1 is set to when event2 is set. I would add this code into the s_code file:

if('event1')>-1) s.ttc='start';
if('event2')>-1) s.ttc='stop';

What this does is look for when event1 happens, then set start in s.ttc. When event2 happens stop is set, and the time value is set in s.prop1.

NOTE: Another thing to remember is this can be used to record the time of many different processes or paths on your site. If you do that I suggest using a different cookie name and variable value in each one so there are no issues.

Here is the actual plug-in code:
The getTimeToComplete plug-in returns the time to complete a task. When v is ‘start’ a cookie is written with the timestamp. When v is ‘stop’ the cookie is read and the expired time is returned in days, hours, minutes, or seconds.

 * Plugin: getTimeToComplete
s.getTimeToComplete=new Function("v","cn","e",""
+"var s=this,d=new Date,x=d,k;if(!s.ttcr){e=e?e:0;if(v=='start'||v=='"
+"_w(cn,d.getTime(),e?x:0);return '';}if(v=='stop'){k=s.c_r(cn);if(!s"
+".c_w(cn,'',d)||!k)return '';v=(d.getTime()-k)/1000;var td=86400,th="
+"3600,tm=60,r=5,u,un;if(v>td){u=td;un='days';}else if(v>th){u=th;un="
+"'hours';}else if(v>tm){r=2;u=tm;un='minutes';}else{r=.2;u=1;un='sec"
+"onds';}v=v*r/u;return (Math.round(v)/r)+' '+un;}}return '';");

I really like this plug-in because you end up with a report that is completely dedicated to the time it takes to complete that exact action.


How To Add Page Views And Visits To All SiteCatalyst eVars

Here is a simple way to add Page Views and Visits to all of your eVar reports (see the update below). While Client Care has the ability to turn on a few things, flip some switches here and there to add visits to some reports, I like having full control over it as much as possible myself (and I’m not really in the mood to wait on hold to get it done). To make this happen we are going to have to use 2 events and a pair of plug-ins. Hopefully you should have a couple of events available to use, and you can find the plug-in code on the SiteCatalyst Plugins page. Here’s how to do it.

First lets get Page Views. To do this we are going to use the Append List plug-in. The Append List (or apl) plug-in utility provides a simple mechanism to append a value to any delimited lists, with the option of a case sensitive or case-insensitive check to insure the value doesn’t already exist in the list. The apl plug-in is referenced by several standard plug-ins but can be used directly in a variety of situations. This is an Omniture supported plug-in and you can find more information about it by accessing the Knowledge Base.


L = source list, empty list is accepted
v = value to append
d = list delimiter
u (optional, defaults to 0) Unique value check. 0=no unique check, value is always appended. 1=case insensitive check, append only if value isn’t in list. 2=case sensitive check, append only if value isn’t in list.

What we are going to do is in the s_code.js file, set up this plug-in to fire off an event on every single page view of the site, exactly mimicking the standard Page View metric.

/* Set Page View Event */,'event1',',',1);

Here is the plug-in code:

* Plugin Utility: apl v1.1
s.apl=new Function("L","v","d","u",""
+"var s=this,m=0;if(!L)L='';if(u){var i,n,a=s.split(L,d);for(i=0;i<a."
+"e()));}}if(!m)L=L?L+d+v:v;return L");

UPDATE: In my eagerness to share this with everyone I skipped the testing process I usually do. Upon testing I realized I a critical, basic error in my logic. By doing it this way, you are setting an event prior to any of the eVars, so they would not be associated with each other, and there for show up as “None” in your report. It is such a simple oversight that I am actually embarrassed that I missed. So now I throw it out to you, the Omniture community, how do you guys think we should try to figure this one out? Or is it even possible to do? Let me know what you think!

Just to be super clear, this will work if you want to add visits to some of your Traffic Sources reports. For example if you want visits from the original referring domains, this will work perfectly for that.

Now lets get Visits. I thought a lot about how to get this. One method you could use would be do the exact same thing we did to get the Page Views event. Set it up on a different event, then call up Omniture Client Care to have them set that event to only record once per visit. Again I wanted to try to avoid using Client Care. I also did not want to go that route since I want this to mimic the Visits metric as close as possible, so I want it to be cookie based. Here I decided to use the Get Visit Start plug-in.

What the Get Visit Start plug-in was designed to do is to determine first page of a visit. It returns 1 on the first plug-in call of the visit, otherwise returns nothing. It uses a 30 minute cookie if possible, otherwise reverts to a session cookie. Always returns nothing if 30 minute or session cookie can’t be set, so it functions very much like the standard Visit’s metric. What I have done is set the plug-in up to populate a variable, then use basic JavaScript to determine if there is a value to the variable that was just set, and if so fire off the Append List plug-in. The theory behind this is the Get Visit Start plug-in will only return a value one time per visit, on the first page view, and at that one and only time fire off a single event.


c=cookie name for tracking (“s_visit” is standard)

Here is how I have it set up. I made up a variable s.visEvent to hold the value of the Get Visit Start Plugin, then fire off event6 if it has a value.

/* Set Visit Event */
if (s.visEvent),'event6',',',1);

Here is the plug-in code:

 * Get Visit Start
s.getVisitStart=new Function("c",""
+"var s=this,v=1,t=new Date;t.setTime(t.getTime()+1800000);if(s.c_r(c"
+")){v=0}if(!s.c_w(c,1,t)){s.c_w(c,1,0)}if(!s.c_r(c)){v=0}return v;");

Pretty simple. Typically I would have just used the Get Val Once plug-in when I want to get a value of a variable only once per visit, but it didn’t want to work well with the variable.


Reduce the Number of Cookies SiteCatalyst sets with Cookie Combining Plugin

The more advanced we get with our SiteCatalyst implementation, the greater the amount of cookies that can be set. Every time you use a getValOnce a cookie is set. If you are using that a bunch there can easily be over 20 cookies set on a single page ( I have seen as many as 45). If this is a concern for you, then Cookie Combining Utility to the rescue.

This one is pretty easy to implement. Just add both chunks to the Plugin section of your s_code.js file and that’s all there is too it.

 * Function - read combined cookies
s.c_r=new Function("k",""
+"var s=this,d=new Date,v=s.c_rr(k),c=s.c_rr('s_pers'),i,m,e;if(v)ret"
+"urn v;k=s.ape(k);i=c.indexOf(' '+k+'=');c=i<0?s.c_rr('s_sess'):c;i="
+"c.indexOf(' '+k+'=');m=i<0?i:c.indexOf('|',i);e=i<0?i:c.indexOf(';'"
+"urn v;");

 * Function - write combined cookies
s.c_w=new Function("k","v","e",""
+"var s=this,d=new Date,ht=0,pn='s_pers',sn='s_sess',pc=0,sc=0,pv,sv,"
+"c,i,t;d.setTime(d.getTime()-60000);if(s.c_rr(k)) s.c_wr(k,'',d);k=s"
+".ape(k);pv=s.c_rr(pn);i=pv.indexOf(' '+k+'=');if(i>-1){pv=pv.substr"
+".indexOf(' '+k+'=');if(i>-1){sv=sv.substring(0,i)+sv.substring(sv.i"
+"ndexOf(';',i)+1);sc=1;}d=new Date;if(e){if(e.getTime()>d.getTime())"
+"{pv+=' '+k+'='+s.ape(v)+'|'+e.getTime()+';';pc=1;}}else{sv+=' '+k+'"
+"='+s.ape(v)+';';sc=1;}if(sc) s.c_wr(sn,sv,0);if(pc){t=pv;while(t&&t"
+".indexOf(';')!=-1){var t1=parseInt(t.substring(t.indexOf('|')+1,t.i"
+"Time(ht);s.c_wr(pn,pv,d);}return v==s.c_r(s.epa(k));");

Just add that code and watch the number of cookies being set on each page drop right down.