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SiteCatalyst’s New Marketing Channel Manager – First Look

As many of you may have noticed, there is a new menu available in the SiteCatalyst Admin Console. It was released with the 9/16 maintenance release. It is currently in a closed beta and should go live before the next maintenance release. Have not seen it yet? Well if you have admin access here is what to do. In the Admin Console select Report Suites. In the Report Suite Manager, select any one of your sites and then mouse-over the Edit Settings link. Now you should see something similar to this:
SiteCatalyst Marketing Channels
Here we see a new menu item called Marketing Channels with 5 more menus beyond that, Marketing Channel Manager, Marketing Channel Rules, Marketing Channel Costs, Marketing Channel Classifications, and Visitor Engagement Expiration.

OK so what is it? Well no one at Omniture will say yet, but by the look of the menus it appears to be some form of the Unified Sources Vista Rule and the Channel Manager plug-in. Lets hope it is. That is an extremely popular and powerful Vista rule (and expensive), and the plug-in is extremely heavy in weight, and is challenging to maintain. So if this is that added functionality then prepared to get a lot of great value from this new addition.

UPDATE: From what I hear this is supposed to go into public beta in November 2009, and be released Q2 2010. Anyone attending the Omniture Summit in early 2010 will probably hear much more about it then.

4 Things I Would Change About Omniture’s Data Warehouse

Omniture’s SiteCatalyst can give you a tremendous amount of data. You can slice and dice tons of different metrics and the drop of a hat. Lets say one day the CMO comes to you and asks for one of those left-field ad-hoc reports you randomly get, something like “how much revenue was generated on August 3rd between 1 AM and 4 AM by first time visitors who came to the site from our latest campaign on Bing, visited pages A, B, and C, using a Safari browser….” and on and on. You will soon find as you get requests for reports that are so far out there, that you need to visit one of Omniture’s most powerful tools, the Data Warehouse. Here are a couple of changes I wish Omniture would make to give us a better Data Warehouse user experience.

Errors
I request a ton of reports. I’ve been requesting them for some time now, so I am pretty in tune with how long they will take to come back to me. So I request my report, and wait the amount of time I feel it should take, check my inbox and nada. Hmmmmm. Lets log into the Data Warehouse request manager and take a look at what’s going on.

Houston we have a problem. Looks like there was en error with the report. Wouldn’t it have been nice to get an email sent to me letting me know there was an error? I had to log into the tool and find out myself that there was a problem. Well now that I’m here, lets click on the report name and see if we can find out a little more info on what went wrong.

Ok from here we can see that the report was “Not Delivered”. I figured that much out when it didn’t show up. Maybe clicking on that link will tell why it was not delivered.

Well that’s just not very helpful at all. Did I enter some incorrect FTP information? Was there no information to return? Did someone trip over the cord and unplug the server? We will never know.

So now what? I obviously wanted that report, so I am forced to go and request it again. If I didn’t want it, I wouldn’t have requested it in the first place. How about being a little proactive and automatically re-requesting the report for me? A simple email stating that there was an error but my report is being processed again would have save me a bunch of time. Or even if it said that there was an error because of mistakes I made in the request would have been extremely helpful.

Priority
There are a handful of reports that I have scheduled that have top priority. I need to make sure these reports are ran before anything else that is scheduled at the same time. For this, I turn to the priority settings.

Seems pretty simple, just click the arrows and my report moves up or down. The problem lies in where you have 60+ scheduled reports and moving one to the top of the list now turns into an hour of clicking arrows. How can this be improved? If this was a little more like the system used on Netflix, it would have been handled in a few seconds.

Another gripe I have with the priority arrows is that anyone can go in there and fiddle with them. After spending an hour moving my mission critical reports to the top of the list, any other person with access can go in there and just push my reports back to the bottom of the list. The priority arrows should be an admin feature only.

Scheduling
There are times when I have a lot of reports that I need all at one time. I just scheduled 24 reports last week that come daily all at the same time. I usually try to space out the reports as much as possible when I can, but the smallest granularity that is offered to me is just hourly.

If I could schedule reports on a quarter hour, or even half hour granularity, it may ease a little bit of the load on the Data Warehouse servers and I may get my reports delivered a little quicker.

Metric Additions
As business requirements change, so do the metrics delivered in reports. I have some complex reports scheduled and it would be great if i could open up the report and add a metric instead of canceling the report and starting from scratch.

If someone comes along and asks if we can add 2 more events to this report, I should be able to just click some kind of “edit metrics” button, add in what I need and be all set. Too bad it isn’t that easy.

The Data Warehouse is a very powerful tool that does work extremely well. Most casual users may never even notice these items, but as you get more advanced in using the tool, as your business requirements change over time, you too may feel the need for these enhancements.