Adobe Analytics cheat sheet – Best resources to master Adobe Analytics, including Workspace & DTM

Spoiler alert: There is no magical shortcut key, however, I’m going to reveal all my top resources I have used in my over 5 year Adobe Analytics journey.

Intro

On January 2012, after changing from SEO consulting job to new company as in-house Web Analyst I started using Adobe Analytics. To be honest, at first I didn’t like the tool, but loved the opportunity to learn something new after using Google Analytics many years. At first, it felt like I was always just pulling data from data warehouse and tried to do everything on Excel and so on. Soon I started to understand power and flexibility of custom dashboards and pulling data from different report suites was cool. Struggled with only one breakdown and 5 trended line limitations, but loved marketing channels, segmentations and calculated metrics.

Nowadays, the real game-changer for Adobe has been Workspace “interface” which gives you ability to do analysis with full speed and reporting limitations are gone, I mean Gone Baby Gone. There you have it, my over 5 year journey with Adobe Analytics with less than 5 sentences and small introduction for this Adobe Analytics cheat sheet.

After using Adobe Analytics almost two years I decided to share my best resources (links, tips, tricks, videos, books, forums etc) and I wrote a blog post “new to Adobe Analytics aka SiteCatalyst? The ultimate (cheat) list of resources, help and people to follow”. It has been my most read blog post and I’m sure new Adobe Analytics users have searched information from search engines how to learn to use Adobe’s tool and where to find more insightful Adobe tips. Since then, lots of has changed and new resources are available.

That’s why I decided to make totally new cheat sheet to master Adobe Analytics. Includes something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. 😉 You are also welcome to comment and share good resources you have found useful. Thanks.

Contributors & sources for Adobe Analytics

My favorite places to get valuable Adobe Analytics information. You can surely use Google to find out Adobe Analytics blogs and contributors, but want to share my favorite blogs/sites that are containing more than one article about Adobe Analytics. If you really want to master Adobe Analytics you need to follow these. Bookmark to your browser.

I’m sure you already know Adobe’s official help documentation where you can find all Adobe related documentations, starting from training programs to release notes, including links to Youtube videos, developer connection and to idea exchange where you can make feature requests to Adobe’s tools. There is also API Explorer available to learn API magic. However, everyone can easily find Adobe’s links, so in my cheat sheet I’m going to focus to contributors and sources outside of Adobe.

Adam Greco at Web Analytics Demystified is amazing. Every single article about Adobe Analytics by Adam is so useful, advanced level tricks and tips how can make the most out of AA.

Jan Exner is sharing very advanced technical tips at his blog web analytics for developers, especially good stuff from technical perspective to AA and DTM users.

Lukas Oldenburg at Webanalyticsworld.net is very experienced with AA, one of my favorite post is Marketing Cost per Channel is Harder Than You Think (Google and Adobe Analytics)

You should follow Jenn’s blog if you are DTM enthusiast, detailed tips and tricks for DTM.

Randy Floyd Jr is starting to blog again and I’m sure he will also share some nice Adobe Analytics learnings, no pressure. 😉

33 Sticks analytics boutique is blogging quite often about Adobe Analytics and DTM.

Digital Balance is another great agency source that shares AA wisdom every now and then.

Observepoint is well-know Adobe partner and they are doing tag auditions and sometimes blogging about Adobe Analytics and DTM.

Stack Overflow is a community of 6.7 million programmers, just like you, helping each other.  I was amazed how much discussions and help is available also for Adobe Analytics implementations.

DAA’s Digital Analytics Cookbook is source for good analytics recipes.

Analytics Playbook is yet another “sharing platform” for analytics related stuff, includes good tips especially for R language and DTM.

Analysis Workspace

Workspace is so cool, that have to give own section to it. My favorite blog posts about Analysis Workspace. Read these and you understand what is all the buzz around Workspace, and why you should stop using the older interface and move to Workspace.

Analysis Workspace – The future is here by Adam Greco

10 Reasons to Adopt Adobe Analytics Analysis Workspace by Brad Millett

What is Analysis Workspace inside Adobe Analytics? by Antti Koski

There surely are other good posts available that are sharing Workspace tips and tricks, however, I wanted to focus to WHY you should start using Workspace.

Best place to really learn every detail of Workspace is Adobe’s Youtube channel just for Workspace videos. Have to give direct link to one of my favorite video that was recently added, it is using cross-tab analysis to explore basic marketing attribution by Jen Lasser. You should also follow Adobe’s official Adobe Analysis Workspace Product Documentation to learn all the features and get latest updates for the tool.

Bonus video: Become an Adobe Analytics Master from Analytics Summit 2016 by Eric Matisoff

DTM aka Dynamic Tag Management

Every blog about Adobe Analytics is usually including also posts about Dynamic Tag Management, and that’s why read and bookmark all possible AA blogs. Anyway, I want to share few specific DTM resources that are going to help you a lot… talking about cheat sheets, these are so great.

Dynamic Tag Manager (DTM) cheat sheet by Jim Gordon

DTM refence tools by Jenn Kunz. You should follow Jenn’s blog if you are DTM enthusiast.

Not just for DTM, but DTM related and other good stuff for debugging:
Inofficial Adobe Marketing Cloud Debugging cheat sheet by Jan Exner and related post. Jan is also blogging lots about DTM.

Digital Balance has some nice DTM posts, one of my favorite one is page path rule conditions.

Search Discovery, creators of Satellite TMS (now Adobe DTM), are sharing some basic knowledge how DTM works, look Q&A section especially.

If you are using DTM, you just can’t use it without Tagtician, test it and you surely are going to love it. Makes your DTM debugging etc so much easier. Perfect companion for Adobe’s Dynamic Tag Management. You can also find valuable information about Tagtician and DTM directly from Jim’s blog.

You can find more DTM tools and beguggers below.

Your toolbox for testing & debugging

You can test and debug without any additional tools by using browser’s developer tools or something similar. However, testing is easier with different plugins and I will list the one I know and have used. Test and choose the one you like.

Jan has great detailed post about debugging if you want to learn more.

With Firefox I love to use Httpfox add-on, which is just showing all http(s) calls and you have to filter to only see Adobe’s hit, so will need some manual work, but still loving the simplified interface to look what data is sent, I can also easily check other analytics hits for other tools.

If you are not using DTM and maybe hosting Adobe’s script on a server where you have access to edit the file any time, then I would suggest to use Charles Proxy Tool and with the help of that you could e.g. map your script to your own computer and test your new scripts like it was on a site, and only when you are sure that your new edits/scripts are working then you could update the script changes to server without need to worry if something goes wrong.

Adobe Analytics in social media

On Twitter follow hashtags #AdobeAnalytics, #AnalysisWorkspace and #AdobeDTM and you should get about 99% coverage on all that matters. There are of course different variations people like to use, and some might even use older #SiteCatalyst hashtag. You can also find Adobe related stuff with #Measure hashtag, but there will be lots of other topics, but I guess every Analyst should also follow that one too.

There are lots of people sharing Adobe releated tweets, you surely are going to find them by following those hashtags, but still I want to share few people/sources to follow:

Ok, I’ll stop before it goes too long, but wanted to share few accounts from my “stalker list”. Nothing much happening on other social media platforms, but you should continue to read and look the tips for discussion forums etc.

Forums – Q&A, or chat with other users

Naturally, Adobe’s own forums are good places to ask help and share your own knowledge. There are three different sections you can use for Analytics stuff:

Slack is discussion application and there you can also find measure community with multiple channels, there is also very active channels for #adobe-analytics and #adobe-dtm. Highly recommend to join. Slack is maybe more for networking, changing ideas and good channel to give direct feedback to even Adobe’s product managers. However, you might also get very detailed help from other Adobe users if you are having specific Adobe problem or want other opinions what you could do on different situations. Sometimes discussions move fast and you can’t get detailed answer always, so maybe better to start with forums if you want to “spam” detailed questions including codes all the time. Adam wrote more detailed post about #measure Slack community if you want to know more before joining.

There have been some Google+ and LinkedIn groups, but with very few people and far from active discussions.

Additional tools

Additional tools to consider on your path to master Adobe Marketing Cloud and especally taking the next steps with Adobe Analytics. Will try not to spam millions of links from the same topic, but want to share few of my favorite resources that are somehow related to my analytics career with Adobe.

Want to share Adobe data on office screens or make independent dashboad tool? Klipfolio is my choice and of course includes support for Adobe API connection. Btw, this is cool video how to learn to do API requests with the help of Report Builder.

Say “arrrrrr” if you want to bit show off and do something cool with Adobe data without Adobe’s own tool. Nowadays, R language is hot topic among Analysts. Again, with the help of Jan post I did my first setup to pull some data with R packages, yes, there is even packet available to pull Adobe data, thanks to Randy. You should also check fantastic dartistics.com. If you want to learn more, join Slack Measure and to channel #r-and-statistics where you can find R superstars.

I’m not using, but if you are in a big organization and doing lots of campaign tracking then you should check trackingfirst.com and investigate would that be helpful tool to manage and test campaign codes.

Outro

Did my list include every single source, no and that was not the point, but if you are quite new with Adobe Analytics or DTM and you want to learn more and know the best sources and people to follow then my Adobe Analytics cheat sheet should be great source of information and I probably saved you lots of Googling and headache to search topnotch Adobe Analytics information. Again, I wrote this mainly to myself, I’m sure in the future I’m go look this post many times when I wonder where was the DTM cheat sheet or whatever. Will see if I’m going to update this post or maybe do another new cheat sheet when new sources arise from the dust. You are welcome to comment and share if I missed some good sources, or hit the happy face below if this post was helpful for you. Cheers.

About Antti

Antti

Digital Analytics Manager specialized in Adobe Analytics, Online personalization, SEO, CRO...

2 thoughts on “Adobe Analytics cheat sheet – Best resources to master Adobe Analytics, including Workspace & DTM

  1. Really good post Antti, thanks for bringing so much together in one place.

    Having used Adobe for a good 10 years, I’m a huge fan as well and when I took a few years out from using it, I missed it when comparing to Google Analytics.

    I was surprised however (unless I missed it) that there is no mention around Adhoc Analysis. Personally speaking I think Adobe is great at selling stuff, but horrendous at driving adoption and after sales. They still haven’t fixed this and it gives them a bad name in the analytics space outside of the hardcore adopters.

    The last 2 organisations I have worked with, both had significant investment with Adobe, including their analytics product. They also both have between 80-200K employees globally. You’d be hard pressed in both organisations to find more than 10 people using their tool to a semi-advanced state, and probably less than 50 using it to a basic degree. Adobe are as responsible for this as the organisations themselves, and its this lack of usage that brings a common comment from internal staff ‘oh we just use Google Analytics’ or the websites end up having both codes on them.

    Adhoc is where any good analyst should be spending most of their time, the online system is so-so and Workspace is somewhere in-between – still missing basic aspects of functionality to make it truly useful.

  2. Hi Ben! Thanks for taking the time and making a good comment. Glad to hear you liked my post. Not going to lie, writing this post and double-checking all links etc took me several hours of time. Hopefully my example will encourage other Adobe users to share tips and tricks too. There is far too little Adobe Analytics blogs out there. This blog post was more about sharing Adobe Analytics resources and not really about the tool and that was the reason why I didn’t mentioned Ad Hoc Analysis tool or any other add-on tools starting from Report Builder.

    Ad Hoc Analysis surely is some kind of masterpiece for hardcore Analysts and love to use it also for pure analyzing purposes. However, to me the biggest obstacle has been that it is totally separate tool that you will have to always open. Maybe hard to explain why that is so “difficult”, but to me it just is. Probably the biggest reason is that I need to share reports/data to other users and do all kinds of things that would be more difficult with Ad Hoc Analysis and that’s one reason why I sometimes struggle with it, but just for me as Analyst the tool is just great. To be honest, I would be amazed if Ad Hoc Analysis would be still alive within 3 years. Seems like Workspace is eventually going to outdate Ad Hoc Analysis at some point, even though, Workspace wouldn’t be so quick as Ad Hoc or something like that, I would predict that there would come so much more superior new features to Workspace that Ad Hoc Analysis might be useless. And from business perspective, I don’t see that as ideal situation that Adobe would have two different analysis tool to maintain. Of course, if maintaining Ad Hoc Analysis doesn’t require much from Adobe people then Ad Hoc Analysis could be still joy of hardcore users for 10 more years. 😉 Let’s see what happens.

    As I have said it before, to me it sounds very stupid to buy very expensive tool and then don’t invest money to hire Analyst who can use it and educate other users inside the company. No matter is the tool Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics. Btw, I can understand in some ways why some organisations want to implement and use both tools (Google and Adobe) and try to take the advantage of both of those, but I see it also a big problem. In many ways, I believe in “single source of truth”. Different tools are not 100% same from data perspective and if some use Google and some use Adobe in organisation then it could be a real pain to try to be agile and include everyone on the same “boat”…. talking about implementations, campaign trackings and trainings etc. Oh man, this would be a topic that we could write and talk so much, try to stop now. 🙂

    I need to say one thing about Adobe vs. Google. If I want to describe the difference in one sentence, then I would say Adobe is tool for Analyst and Google for Product Owner. Don’t understand this in a wrong way, you can do hardcore stuff with Google too, that was not the point. However, starting from settings and basic codes Adobe is more technical and the learning curve for Adobe is bigger than for Google. But we Analyst love the option to play around more with settings and “manipulating” data etc. Btw, in the past when people were saying that Adobe suck and then when I asked more why they feel that way then I discovered that they just hadn’t tagged their advertising and data is pretty much useless when starting from traffic sources you can’t trust your data… well, that is their own fault and not tool’s problem. Did I say that I will stop about this issue? One more thing, Google is easy to use, but ask normal user to do segment or calculated metric and it goes too difficult, so again, no matter how easy the tool itself is, you need real Analyst to do the hard work.

    But I totally agree with you, that Adobe hasn’t been really good on “user onboarding and training” starting from help documentations, but I really have seen a big change in this section too. Is everything perfect, is the first line of support perfect etc? No, but still lots of improvements and the community of Adobe users might be small but much more active than in the past. Also Adobe Analytics product owners are among us and listening to improve. You should join Measure Slack, if not there yet.

    My comment was more of general comment and not all pointed to you Ben. 🙂

    Ps. Bonus tip, use curation in Workspace if you want to train product owners to use Adobe Analytics (in Workspace), they will adopt the tool much quicker when there isn’t unnecessary dimensions, segments and events available. Great move from Adobe how we can make the tool easier to adopt for normal users.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *