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I started my new job as an Web Analyst on January 2012. My main tool was going to be Adobe SiteCatalyst. Nowadays SiteCatalyst has new branded name Adobe Reports & Analytics, and it’s much more than just SiteCatalyst, but on this blog post I focus on only the standard version of SiteCatalyst and not going too deep with other add-on tools. I had used several analytics tools before introduced to SiteCatalyst at my new job and that’s why I thought it was going to be a piece of cake to start using this new tool. Oh boy, how wrong I was. Starting a new job is always bit challenging, especially moving from small consulting company to big (data) company, and I got “information overload” with all the new things to learn and that’s my excuse why I didn’t learn the new tool in one night.
SiteCatalyst has all the same statistics than many other tools and the basic analysis about traffic sources etc wasn’t hard, but realized quickly that SiteCatalyst was more complex and flexible than many other tools. If you really wanted to learn to use SiteCatalyst and utilize it’s all cool features, you had to learn how sites were tagged, how to tag the sites yourself and get familiar with many of the settings SiteCatalyst offered. I’m still laughing to myself, why did it took so long to understand the difference of prop vs eVar!? Yes, you need bit more technical perspective with SiteCatalyst vs. other Analytics tools. (Nowadays it’s fun to see that for example Google Analytics offers lots of custom tags that you can deploy, the possibility to change traffic sources etc.) First month I used version 14.9 of SiteCatalyst and I must say it was quite bulls***. I mainly exported data to excel from Data Warehouse and that way analyzed data and didn’t do much with the normal SiteCatalyst interface. Luckily we got SiteCatalyst 15 update only after one month after I had started to use SiteCatalyst and I felt that I was introduced to totally new tool, starting from segmentation and another other cool features.
I believe number one reason why people say SiteCatalyst sucks, at least in the past, was the fact that for some reason people were not familiar with the tags/parameters needed for different links and online campaigns. In addition, if SiteCatalyst admins were not made all the necessary settings for traffic sources then analytics data is pretty tangled and if people can’t even get reliable information from the traffic sources -> Data sucks, the tool sucks. You have to do the same with Google Analytics (with UTM parameters) so of course you have to do similar things with SiteCatalyst and one of my job as Web Analyst and SiteCatalyst admin is to shout and guide people in our organization to always use correct parameters for different links/campaigns. Tip: not just for paid online campaigns, but all possible marketing efforts like newsletters, emails, sms text messages etc.
I consider myself very lucky because I can use SiteCatalyst “all the time” at my work. Actually, I don’t understand why any company would invest on quite expensive tool and then wouldn’t invest on people and resources to use and utilize the tool to get the maximum benefit of it. It has also been great to see that Adobe is updating SiteCatalyst more frequently than before and there are also many features that I’m still learning even after 2 years of using SiteCatalyst.
Have to also give credit to Adobe because nowadays they have simplified their product offering and they have lots of other cool products for web analysts and marketing managers. Personally, I have started to learn also Discover aka Ad Hoc Analysis which is much quicker and flexible tool to make hardcore analysis about your data collected by SiteCatalyst. This blog post focus on SiteCatalyst and you can see here what other tools Adobe’s simplified product category offers.
The most frustrating thing that I quickly noticed when trying to learn SiteCatalyst was the lack of help and guides for SiteCatalyst. If you had problem or question about Google Analytics, you just had to do Google search for some related words and you got thousands of blog posts and forum discussions about the issues. There are much less SiteCatalyst users, at least advanced users, that’s why there isn’t much information available. Not even directly from Adobe, maybe their consulting business is so profitable that it would be stupid to guide users for free!? This was the situation or at least that way I felt when I started on January 2012. Like I said, Adobe has done great job with SiteCatalyst and they really want it to be number one on the analytics tools. This of course means that Adobe needs to be more open to share information and make sure SiteCatalyst users can get the real potential of the tool.
There are still lots of old information out there, but the amount of SiteCatalyst resources, help forums, blog posts (also from clients/users) have risen to another level since I started or maybe it has taken time to find this information? Whatever the reason is, I wanted to make my own “ultimate cheat list” for SiteCatalyst resources. Hopefully this helps all the new SiteCatalyst users who don’t still no where to find help and tips for SiteCatalyst. I’m sure my list is far from perfect, but have to start from something and please comment other good resources and I can update this list. *Yawn* Where’s the list? Ok, sorry for my long intro.
On a silverplate by Adobe
Note: some of the links my require login and/or license to Adobe Analytics
The new help sections are much better than before. Adobe is also updating those much frequently than before. You can find detailed instructions to metrics, stats, plugins etc. There is also own section for training videos.
Usually once a month Adobe makes updates to its Analytics tool and here is a direct link to see what’s new.
Do you have ideas what you need for SiteCatalyst? Share and promote ideas.
Own help forum to developers
One of the best blogs at the moment is the official blog
About system status and possible problems with the tools
Official Youtube Channel for Adobe’s products, including SiteCatalyst
If you have license for SiteCatalyst, you can of course always contact to Adobe’s client care aka customer service and get some little help or guidance where to look information you need. No, they are not going to do any work for you, but Adobe also offers consulting help, but I believe that is quite expensive (?) as you would expect from any consulting.
Adobe Summit puts it all together. I was last year in London for Adobe Summit and have to say it was the best event that I have ever been. So much partying, drinking, eating… oh sorry, I mean to see and learn. There are also preconference training for digital marketing and tools like SiteCatalyst. Absolutely great event. It’s organized two times a year, once in US and once in London. The agenda is pretty much the same so it’s fine to participate to only other of these. I’ll give you a link to investigate more: http://summit.adobe.com/na/ (Salt Lake City) and http://summit.adobe.com/emea/ (London)
Search baby, search
Yes, you can always start from Google and other search engines. Few tips:
- Don’t use the new brand name “reports and analytics” because there isn’t much information with these new terms. You can find most relevant information with words like “SiteCatalyst”, “Omniture SiteCatalyst”, “Adobe SiteCatalyst”
- You can find quite much information, but very often blog posts etc are very old and different guides won’t be useful nowadays. Nice trick is to use advanced search options and only look information from last year or even last month.
You’ll never walk alone – Communities
- Google+ Adobe Marketing Cloud Users
- Search “SiteCatalyst” on linkedin.com and you’ll find many groups, although, there isn’t must activity
Meet the SiteCatalyst rock stars
- Here http://www.webanalyticsdemystified.com you can find many SiteCatalyst rock stars. Special mention to Adam Greco and his great blog http://adam.webanalyticsdemystified.com/. Adam also organize Top Gun training for SiteCatalyst users.
- Brent Dykes has been working in web analytics with enterprise clients for more than seven years at Adobe/Omniture. He has fantastic blog http://www.analyticshero.com/blog/ and lots of posts about SiteCatalyst too.
- Kevin Rogers is a Senior Implementation Specialist for Keystone Solutions and he has some good hacks and codes for SiteCatalyst http://webanalyticsland.com/
- Tag management is hot right now and if you need information about Adobe dynamic tag management then you need to follow just one person, Rudi Shumpert! http://www.searchdiscovery.com/satellite/blog/author/rudi-shumpert/ and http://blogs.adobe.com/digitalmarketing/author/rudi-shumpert/
Some other mixed SiteCatalyst related blogs/pages that I found from my browser’s bookmarks, check them out if you can find anything useful:
Like to click Play? Open Youtube
There isn’t much available, but again, search whatever you want related to SiteCatalyst.
- Have to give credit to Gabriele Endress-Balhiser and hers Youtube channel which is probably most updated SiteCatalyst video channel:
- Kevin Rogers has also some nice SiteCatalyst videos, but bit older
The old school way, here are the books
There aren’t much SiteCatalyst books, at least new ones, but few good and quite fresh can be found. The problem with books is the fact that information is quickly too old. If I have to recommend only one book, it would be the SiteCatalyst Bible aka Adam Greco’s SiteCatalyst handbook. And no, these are not affiliate links.
- Adobe Analytics with SiteCatalyst Classroom in a Book (Classroom in a Book (Adobe)) by Vidya Subramanian http://www.amazon.com/Adobe-Analytics-SiteCatalyst-Classroom-Book/dp/0321926935/
- Adobe Analytics Quick-Reference Guide: Market Reports and Analytics (formerly SiteCatalyst) by Shane Closser http://www.amazon.com/Adobe-Analytics-Quick-Reference-Guide-SiteCatalyst/dp/0321926943/
- Web Analytics Action Hero: Using Analysis to Gain Insight and Optimize Your Business by Brent Dykes http://www.amazon.com/Web-Analytics-Action-Hero-Analysis/dp/032179401X/
SiteCatalyst stalker? Twitter is all you need
Here is my stalker list for SiteCatalyst related people. By following them you surely get to see and know what’s happening with SiteCatalyst related stuff.
- https://twitter.com/KoskiAntti (Really? Yes, he tries his best…)
Sure there are many others and if you don’t want to follow people because they surely tweet other stuff too then my tip is to use saved search. Search hashtags like #sitecatalyst, #adobesitecatalyst, #adobeanalytics and save those to Twitter’s “saved searches” so you can quickly check what’s going on with SiteCatalyst through Twitter.
Please share and/or comment. I’m more than happy to add new useful links and tips.