Update SiteCatalyst Marketing Channels To Include Pinterest

This week Adobe released an infographic regarding their advances in measuring social media. As I was reading it, one part really caught my attention: “For many, shopping is inherently social. Online shoppers miss going to the mall with friends, sharing their opinions, and getting a little feedback before making a purchase. By filling this digital gap, Pinterest has become the #2 driver of traffic to retailers in less than a years’ time.

Wow, Pinterest is really taking off as a valuable social traffic source for eCommerce sites. But for some reason I don’t remember seeing Pinterest listed among my top social media sites. This makes me wonder, are all of my marketing channel reports accurately showing their value?

If you are a big user of the Marketing Channel reports, at some point they will need to be updated. Specifically the social networks channel. Adobe does a good job keeping the list of known search engines pretty accurate across SiteCatalyst, but the same can’t be said about the list of social networks.

If your marketing channel reports were initially activated using the auto-setup option, they included a list of domains that are considered to be social networks by SiteCatalyst. Unfortunately that list does not get automatically updated over time like the list of search engines does, or like the list of domains used to identify the social networks in the traffic sources referrer type report does, and that’s fine. If I have edited the list of social network domains in the marketing channel rule, I don’t want it to be changed by some automatic update. But when using the auto-setup option to enable the marketing channels, for some reason the list of domains used to create the social network channel is considerably different than the list of domains used to identify a social network in the referrer type report.

The SiteCatalyst knowledge base answer #10576 contains a list of 128 different domains that are used in the Referrer Type report to identify social networks. In contrast if you take a look at the marketing channels processing rules to see which domains get pre-defined as social networks, that list is much smaller. Only 51 domains. I even went and enabled the marketing channels reports on a report suite that has never had them before today to check, and I still only saw the 51 domains included in the social network rule.

Marketing Channels Social Networks Processing Rule

We can see that the rule to define social networks can accept up to 500 different domains, so why the default list is less than half of what is used for the referrer types report is a great question.

But wait a minute, I don’t remember seeing Pinterest in either of the lists of social networks that was used by the marketing channels reports or the referrer types reports. I decided to double check the reports themselves, so I opened up the referrer type report, broke it down by the referrer report, and in fact Pinterest was there. It is accurately considered to be a social network in the traffic sources reports. That tells me that even though the list of domains used to define a social network in KB answer #10576 was current as of November 2011 as it states, it in fact has been updated since then. Now checking the marketing channels reports manager, I see the rule which defines a social network still contains the original list of 51 domains. The social network marketing channel for my eCommerce sites has been missing out on the credit for all the conversions generated from that valuable Pinterest traffic, as well as any conversion credit from those other 77 domains considered to be social networks that were not included in that channels rule. My marketing channel reports were not providing an accurate representation of my social networks true value.

Whether you’re using the Unified Sources VISTA rule, the Channel Manager s_code.js plugin, the Marketing Channel Manager that’s built into SiteCatalyst, or some other channel identification method, make sure you are keeping it updated regularly to ensure all of your marketing channels are getting all the credit they deserve.


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.