Monday, January 18, 2010

Widget Analytics in Omniture – Part 3 of 3

This is the third part of a three part article about tracking widgets. In part one, “Widget Analytics in Omniture – Part 1 of 3”, I discussed widgets, how they are used by Business, and the metrics used to track business goals. In the second part, “Widget Analytics in Omniture – Part 2 of 3”, I detailed how to implement those metrics in Omniture. In the third part, I will go through how these metrics are pulled from Omniture and how those reports might look.

From part one of this article, here are the metrics we want to get:

Metric
1. Reach by widget (count of domains)
2. Which domains have placed the widget?
3. Widget placements per domain
4. Which domains have distributed the most widgets?
5. Specific places the widget was placed.
6. Acquisition by site (UU per domain where user clicked or interacted with the widget)
7. Repeat use for a Widget (user must have clicked or interacted) across all domains
8. Impressions for a widget across all domains
9. Impressions for a widget per domain
10. Unique user presentations for a widget across all domains
11. Unique user presentations for a widget per domain
12. Count of clicks (or whatever you deem an interaction) to a widget across all domains
13. Count of clicks to a widget per domains
14. Count of clicks to a given link in a widget.
15. CTR of a widget across all domains
16. CTR of a widget per domain
17. Site activity driven by a given widget

From part two of this article, here is how they are implemented in Omniture:

Omniture Field Name Business Name Implementation
s_accountAccount IDThis is the name of your Omniture report suite
Prop1Widget NamePass the [widget-name]
Prop2Domain + Widget NamePass the [domain name of the host page]_[widget-name]
Prop3Widget Name + Link IDPass the [widget-name]_[link id]
Prop4Domain + Widget Name + Link IDPass the [domain name of the host page]_[widget-name]_[link id]
Prop5Widget Host Page NamePass the [URL of the host page]
Prop6Report SuiteIf you use multi-suite tagging, you will need to pass the value for the destination Omniture report suite. If you don’t, this is not needed.
s_campaignTracking CodeSet up Omniture to look for your tracking code parameter. For example “cid”. Add the value for that parameter into the link href in the widget.

The Reporting Plan

Below I have provided example reports and how to pull that reporting from Omniture Site Catalyst given the implementation outlined above.

Using Custom Insight 1 and filtering on the widget name, you can pull impressions and clicks across all domains. The report will provide the following 5 metrics:

Metrics RequestedReporting Plan
8. Impressions for a widget across all domainsCustom Insight 1, widget-name > search for impression widget name > metric: page views.
10. Unique user presentations for a widget across all domains Custom Insight 1, widget-name > search for impression widget name > metric: monthly unique users.
12. Count of clicks (or whatever you deem an interaction) to a widget across all domains Custom Insight 1, widget-name > search for widget name > metric: page views
15. CTR of a widget across all domains Calculated. Clicks / Impressions

Impressions: Custom Insight 1, widget-name > search for widget name and “-imp” > metric: page views.
Clicks: Custom Insight 1, widget-name > search for widget name > metric: page views
7. Repeat use for a Widget (user must have clicked) across all domains Calculated. Visits / MUU

Visits: Custom Insight 17, widget-name > search for widget name and “-imp” > metric: visits.
MUU: Custom Insight 1, widget-name > search for widget name > metric: monthly unique users

Remember that the widget impression id is distinguished from the widget click by adding an “-imp” to the impression value. Here is what the Omniture report might look like:

Omniture Report Example for Widgets 1

CTR and Repeat Use are manual calculations. Simply find the impression and clicks and do the calculation. It may be easier to download the report and do these calculations in Excel if you have a large number of widgets.

Using Custom Insight 2 and filtering on the widget name, you can pull impressions and clicks by domain. The report will provide the following 7 domain based metrics:

Metrics RequestedReporting Plan
1. Reach by widget (count of domains) Custom Insight 2, domain + widget-name > search for widget impression name > sort by domain > add each unique domain.
2. Which domains have placed the widget? Custom Insight 2, domain + widget-name > search for widget impression name > sort by domain.
9. Impressions for a widget per domain Custom Insight 2, domain + widget-name > search for widget impression name > metric: page views.
11. Unique user presentations for a widget per domain Custom Insight 2, domain + widget-name > search for widget impression name > metric: monthly unique users.
6. Acquisition by site (UU per domain where user clicked or interacted with the widget) Custom Insight 2, domain + widget-name > search for click widget name > sort by domain > metric: monthly unique users.
13. Counts of clicks to a widget per domain Custom Insight 2, domain + widget-name > search for widget name > metric: page views
16. CTR of a widget per domain Calculated. Clicks / Impressions

Impressions: Custom Insight 2, domain + widget-name > search for widget impression name > metric: page views.Clicks: Custom Insight 2, domain + widget-name > search for widget name > metric: page views.

Here is what the Omniture report might look like:

Omniture Report Example for Widgets 2

You will likely have many domains on which the widget is placed. To get a count of domains (metric #1), you may need to download the report as a cvs file and open it in Excel to get the line count.

CTR by Domain is a manual calculation. Simply find the impression and clicks for each domain and do the calculation. Again, it may be easier to download the report and do this calculation in Excel if you have a large number of domains.

Custom Insight 3 will provide the clicks to the widget by link:

Metrics RequestedReporting Plan
14. Count of clicks to a given link in a widget. Custom Insight 3, widget-name + link ID > search for module name > metric: page views

Here is what the Omniture report might look like:

Omniture Report Example for Widgets 3

Correlating Custom Insight 2 and 5 or Custom Insight 1 and 5 will provide detail about where the widget was placed:

Metrics RequestedReporting Plan
3. Widget placements per domainCustom Insight 2, domain + widget-name > search for the widget name and “-imp” > correlate to Custom Insight 5, host page name > add the unique pages > repeat for each domain.
5 .Specific places the widget was placed.Custom Insight 1, widget-name > correlate to Custom Insight 5, host page name

Here is what the Omniture reports might look like:

Omniture Report Example for Widgets 4

Omniture Report Example for Widgets 5

Remember that the link to grab the widget has been coded to pass a value when clicked. Custom Insight 4 will provide the number of time that has happened and can be used as a proxy for distribution by domain.

Metrics RequestedReporting Plan
4. Which domains have distributed the most widgets?Custom Insight 4, host page + widget-name + link ID > search for the module name and link ID of the link > metric: page views

Here is what the Omniture report might look like:

Omniture Report Example for Widgets 6

Our last metric will tell us about site activity driven back to the parent site. All the links back to the site have a regular tracking code and we use the Traffic Code variable.

Metrics RequestedReporting Plan
17. Site activity driven by a given widgetCampaign > Tracking code > search for the campaign code > metrics: click-through and page consumption.

Here is what the Omniture report might look like:

Omniture Report Example for Widgets 7

The click through figure measures how many times a user clicked from the widget to the site. The PVC figure is average Page Consumption (PV/Visit) for the visit.

This completes our three articles about widget tracking covering what metrics one can use to track widgets, a methodology to implement tracking in Omniture, and how to pull the metrics in the Omniture Site Catalyst tool. If you have a different approach, let me know. I’ll be interested to hear about it.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Widget Analytics in Omniture – Part 2 of 3

National Geographic Photo of the Day Widget

In part one of this article, “Widget Analytics in Omniture – Part 1 of 3”, I discussed widgets, how they are used by Business, and the metrics used to track business goals. In this section will outline how to implement those metrics in Omniture.

Widgets are usually intended to support branding, reach, and acquisition. So widget metrics are for the most part campaign metrics, not much different than those used for emails, banner ads, or your direct mail promotion. And like other campaign metrics, you need to track activity on sites other than your own.

Again, here are the metrics we want to get:

Metric
1. Reach by widget (count of domains)
2. Which domains have placed the widget?
3. Widget placements per domain
4. Which domains have distributed the most widgets?
5. Specific places the widget was placed.
6. Acquisition by site (UU per domain where user clicked or interacted with the widget)
7. Repeat use for a Widget (user must have clicked or interacted) across all domains
8. Impressions for a widget across all domains
9. Impressions for a widget per domain
10. Unique user presentations for a widget across all domains
11. Unique user presentations for a widget per domain
12. Count of clicks (or whatever you deem an interaction) to a widget across all domains
13. Count of clicks to a widget per domains
14. Count of clicks to a given link in a widget.
15. CTR of a widget across all domains
16. CTR of a widget per domain
17. Site activity driven by a given widget

Implementation Approach

The implementation will require getting information on “clicks” and “impressions” for the widget overall and by domain. In addition to the hosting domain, we will want to know the specific pages the widget is on. We will need the Page View, Visit, and Monthly Unique Visitors metrics. To track the users that the widget drives back to your site, we will use a tracking code.

Here is a detailed list of each metric with the implementation approach:

Metric Approach
1. Reach by widget (count of domains)Pass a variation of the widget name for impressions and the domain for the third party page into variable 2. Use the page view metric.
2. Which domains have placed the widget?Pass a variation of the widget name for impressions and the domain for the third party page into variable 2.
3. Widget placements per domainA given domain may place the widget on many pages. Pass the URL for the third party page into variable 5. Correlate the widget name in variable 1 to the host page name in variable 5 then add the number of pages.
4. Which domains have distributed the most widgets?Set up the distribution to that it is always initiated by a click on a link in the widget. Use this click as a proxy for grabbing the widget. Get the counts per domain in variable 4. Use the page view metric.
5. Specific places the widget was placed. Pass the URL for the third party page into variable 5.
6. Acquisition by site (UU per domain where user clicked or interacted with the widget)Pass the widget name and the domain for the third party page into variable 2. Use the monthly unique visitors metric.
7. Repeat use for a Widget (user must have clicked or interacted) across all domains Pass the widget name into variable 1. Use the visit and monthly unique visitors metrics.
8. Impressions for a widget across all domainsPass the widget name + impression identifier for impressions into variable 1. Use the page view metric.
9. Impressions for a widget per domain Pass a variation of the widget name for impressions and the domain for the third party page into variable 2. Use the page view metric.
10. Unique user presentations for a widget across all domainsPass a variation of the widget name for impressions into variable 1. Use the monthly unique visitors metric.
11. Unique user presentations for a widget per domain Pass a variation of the widget name for impressions and the domain for the third party page into variable 2. Use the monthly unique visitors metric.
12. Count of clicks (or whatever you deem an interaction) to a widget across all domainsPass the widget name into variable 1. Use the page view metric.
13. Count of clicks to a widget per domainsPass the widget name and the domain into variable 2. Use the page view metric.
14. Count of clicks to a given link in a widget. Pass the widget name and the linkID into variable 3. Use the page view metric.
15. CTR of a widget across all domains Pass a variation of the widget name for impressions into variable 1. Use the page view metric as the denominator. Pass the widget name into variable 1. Use the page view metric as the numerator.
16. CTR of a widget per domainPass a variation of the widget name for impressions and the domain for the third party page into variable 2. Use the page view metric as the denominator. Pass the widget name and the domain for the third party page into variable 2. Use the page view metric as the numerator.
17. Site activity driven by a given widget For each link that needs to be tracked to its destination, pass a tracking code in the destination URL query string. This is recorded in the Campaign variable.

Implementation

The Omniture set up is straight forward. As in any other tag based tracking you will need a beacon. You will need to set up some variables to record the clicks, impressions, domains, and page names. You will need to configure the s-campaign variable to look for your tracking code.

Beacon

To pass this information the widget will need to call a beacon that can pass the information to Omniture. For html based widgets the beacon call is part of the code. For mobile widgets you will likely use the Omniture Action Script and it will be part of the flash file. For compiled applications, access to the beacon or the beacon itself will be built into the code.

Clicks, Impressions, Domains, and Page Names

You will need five variables to contain the following:

  1. Widget Name
  2. Domain + Widget Name
  3. Widget Name + Link ID
  4. Domain + Widget Name + Link ID
  5. Host page name (url)

Using an OnClick event, you will pass your beacon the name of the widget (or a widget ID) and an identifier for the link that was clicked. You will need to have your developers write some additional code to grab the host page name and then from that derive the host site’s domain.

  • [domain]_[widgetID]_[linkID]

Some more code will parse the values into the 5 variables. These will be sent in a single Custom Link call (not as a Page View). Alternatively, you can create an Omniture Vista Rule to parse the values into the 5 variables. You will need to use a consistent separator for the values in order for the parsing to work. In the example above, I have used an underscore. You could use any character so long as the character will only appear in the value as a separator.

For impressions, every time your widget is displayed, pass a value for the impression. The value should be the Widget name with an added modifier to identify it as an impression. For example, [widgetID]-imp. In this case there will be no linkID or you could pass a linkID of “imp” in addition to the “imp” passed as part of the Widget Name.

For the [widgetID]_[linkID] values, every link in the widget will pass the same WidgetID but different link identifiers. For example, if the widget is called “ticker” and there are three links in the widget, the values for the OnClick event would be:

  1. ticker_1
  2. ticker_2
  3. ticker_3

Because Omniture can only accept a 100 character string, you may need to pay attention to the number of characters you allow for the Widget Name and Link ID. It depends on how verbose the naming tends to be at your company.

For the Host page, pass the URL of the page into a variable. The temptation will be to pass this into the Page Name variable. However, in most cases, you will want to use a different variable. I will discuss this more when we consider report suites set up.

You will also need to set up a correlation between the widget name and the host page name.

Tracking Codes

Tracking codes will use a 6th variable. This will likely be the Campaign variable that is pre-defined in Omniture.

Omniture has a beacon plug-in for just this purpose. You list the value of your tracking parameter in the plug in and Omniture will grab the value of that parameter and put it into the variable. For example, if you have chosen to use “cid” as the parameter and “wgt_ticker” to identify your widget, the link might look like:

  • http://www.webmd.com?cid=wgt_ticker

You will use the query string for all your Widget’s links that drive to your site or another destination you want to track. Use the same tracking code for all the links in the widget that need to be tracked to the destination.

This chart outlines the implementation above by variable:

Omniture Field Name Business Name Implementation
s_accountAccount IDThis is the name of your Omniture report suite
Prop1Widget NamePass the [widget-name]
Prop2Domain + Widget NamePass the [domain name of the host page]_[widget-name]
Prop3Widget Name + Link IDPass the [widget-name]_[link id]
Prop4Domain + Widget Name + Link IDPass the [domain name of the host page]_[widget-name]_[link id]
Prop5Widget Host Page NamePass the [URL of the host page]
Prop6Report SuiteIf you use multi-suite tagging, you will need to pass the value for the destination Omniture report suite. If you don’t, this is not needed.
s_campaignTracking CodeSet up Omniture to look for your tracking code parameter. For example “cid”. Add the value for that parameter into the link href in the widget.

One thing to consider is whether to put this tracking in your regular report suite or put it in its own report suite. While these can be custom link calls and do not have to be counted as a page view, they will count as visits and visitors. If you are wildly successful, this will affect your site calculations for Page Consumption and Repeat Use. While widgets are your content, one could argue that the activity does not take place on your site and should not be counted as if it did.

Extra Credit

The above implementation uses custom link calls and various “prop” variables. For reporting, you will need to do a simple calculation to get the CTR metrics discussed above.

However, it has been suggested that if the same approach were done using Omniture “evars” instead of props, this CTR calculation can also be automated. Note that I have not tried this myself yet. With that disclaimer, I pass the thought along.

In addition to passing the values as outlined above into evars instead of props, pass a success event along with each impression. Pass a second success event along with each click. You can then create a calculated metric using the two custom event counters and view the calculation for each widget and each domain the widget is on.

Lastly…

One thing to keep in mind is that these are custom link calls and for most contracts (so far as I know), there is a cost for each call. Be mindful that you are tracking impressions and clicks in a viral situation that can rapidly expand the number of those calls and therefore your costs.

The same general approach used for Omniture can be translated for use in other analytics tools such as Unica or Web Trends. Of course this is not the only approach I have seen nor is it the only approach one can use in Omniture. What is best for you will depend on the metrics you need.

In part three of this article, I will go through how these metrics are pulled from Omniture and what those reports might look like.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Widget Analytics in Omniture – Part 1 of 3

Widget metrics are fairly straight forward. Getting the metrics, however, can be a bit more complex, depending on your tools. This is the first part of a three part article that will discuss both widget metrics and how to implement them in Omniture.

What’s a Widget?

Widgets are primarily used to present content or ads. Many widgets do both by providing content with embedded ads. Sometimes widgets are used for direct response to start a conversion process.

Ad widgets can consist entirely of an ad. For example, movie studios create a trailer widget that then spreads to social network sites, blogs, or home pages by individual users. This engagement builds brand affinity and extends the audience reach beyond the initial impression.

National Geographic Photo of the Day Widget
Web based widget

Content widgets can consist of copy, images, links, video, games, tickers, or just about anything else one can think of. Again, these can spread to social network sites, blogs, or home pages. For the content owner, these widgets can be a traffic generator in addition to building brand awareness.

Individuals can “grab” the widget and place it on sites or devices over which they have control. They can share it with friends who can share it with their friends. As you can see, widgets have some commonality with magazines in that there is a “pass along” effect that can greatly magnify your campaign. (These days we call it “viral” rather than “pass along”.) For companies, this is probably the most important value-add for widgets. The distribution by individual users is an implicit endorsement of the widget and, by extension, your product, site, and company (brand building) and those users have the potential to reach people in a way that your marketing budget never could.

Yahoo Clock Widget
Yahoo desktop widget

In addition to building audience, brand, and driving additional traffic, widgets have also been used to start a conversion process. One can sign up for a newsletter, more information, or even make a direct purchase. An example of a “purchase” is a “donate” button for a not-for-profit organization.

A widget can be placed on a Desktop, a Mobile device, or a Web Site. A website widget lives on a Web page. For example, this can be a stock ticker on a Google home page or on a social site such as Facebook. Mobile widgets live on those types of devices as little applications. Think iPhone apps. Desktop widgets live on an individual’s computer desktop. For example, I have the Yahoo Clock set to the time in Hamamatsu Japan because my daughter is currently living there. It sits next to all my other desktop icons.

The technology that powers a widget can vary. Some are html based, some are built in rich applications such as flash, and some can be full-blown compiled application code. Anything that can be made available on the Web can probably be made into a widget.

Widget Metrics

Generally widgets are intended to support branding, reach, and acquisition. So widget metrics are for the most part campaign metrics, not much different than those used for emails, banner ads, or your direct mail promotion.

Once you know what your widget is supposed to do for you, there are three types of metrics that you will want to look at. One type speaks to the contribution to the business. The second set is concerned with whether users are interested in your widget offering. The third set asks how usable the widget is (see my earlier article 5 Types of Success).

Broadly, here is what you will want to know:

  • Branding
  • How many people saw the widget and where? What host sites or type of sites work best?
  • Reach
  • How many domains have placed the widget and how many people have seen or used it? What host sites or type of sites work best?
  • Acquisition
  • How many people interacted with it, how often, click-through rates, what is the post-click behavior, etc? What host sites or type of sites work best?
  • Usability
  • What is the best configuration to produce the best Reach and Acquisition response?

Here are some metrics that can be obtained to inform these questions:

Metric Business Use
1. Reach by widget (count of domains)This counts the number of different domains a widget lives on and measures the level of viral uptake. You can plot this over time to determine a velocity (rate) of distribution. The greater the velocity, the more interest your widget is generating.
2. Which domains have placed the widget? Used to know which sites have placed the widget. This will help inform your branding impact. Are you reaching the right audience?
3. Widget placements per domainUsed to know the level of penetration in social media sites such as Facebook.
4. Which domains have distributed the most widgets?Used to know which sites are most involved in spreading the widget. The vendor Clearspring calls these distributors “hubs”.
5. Specific places the widget was placed.Used to know which specific pages or devices are hosting the widget. This is useful to understand the context in which the widget is being presented and informs both your Branding evaluation and how that location may be affecting the level of interaction with the widget. You may not be able to affect the relevance of the placement, but it looking at that will help understand what is and is not working.
6. Acquisition by site (UU per domain where user clicked or interacted with the widget)This measures the ability of a given site to engage. This is both a reach and acquisition measure. Reach because it is based on UU and acquisition because it only counts users who have initiated an interaction.
7. Repeat use for a Widget (user must have clicked or interacted) across all domainsUsed to gauge widget interest and engagement over time.
8. Impressions for a widget across all domainsUsed to understand branding exposure and to calculate widget CTR.
9. Impressions for a widget per domainUsed to understand which domains provide a greater Branding exposure and to calculate widget CTR per domain.
10. Unique user presentations for a widget across all domainsUsed to understand the branding reach.
11. Unique user presentations for a widget per domainUsed to understand which domains provide a greater branding reach.
12. Count of clicks (or whatever you deem an interaction) to a widget across all domainsThis counts every interaction with the widget to build an engagement measure. It is used to gauge widget interest and engagement and to calculate widget CTR.
13. Count of clicks to a widget per domainsThis is the same measure as above, but by domain. It is used to know which domains perform better for a given widget.
14. Count of clicks to a given link in a widget.Used to gauge link effectiveness. As you modify the widget configuration, this will help you understand the usability of the widget.
15. CTR of a widget across all domainsMeasures ability of the widget to generate engagement. This is a typical campaign metric that is also used to gauge the level of usability.
16. CTR of a widget per domainMeasures the ability of a given domain to generate engagement.
17. Site activity driven by a given widgetMeasures the ability of the campaign to drive monetized results. For media sites this might be Page Consumption. For commerce sites it might be conversions such as Purchases or Order Value.

If you find some domains are particularly productive, you might contact them to see if there is any way to enhance the relationship between you and the other company. Often times you will have no ability to influence placement beyond creating an interesting or useful widget. Even so, by understanding where your widget is placed and the level of engagement in those places, you will better understand your Branding context and the fit of the audience you are reaching.

In part two of this article, Wiget Anlytics in Omniture, part 2 of 3, I will go through how Omniture can be configured to provide these metrics.

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