Adobe Analytics fall 2016 release – Lots of new features to Analysis Workspace

Adobe has published fall 2016 release to Adobe Analytics. Little over year ago, if I recall correctly, Adobe officially published Analysis Workspace. Nowadays, when we are talking about Adobe Analytics updates and new features, usually those are related to Analysis Workspace. Adobe Analytics has really good custom dashboards and with the help of those we have been able to build quite comprehensive reports, but not real analysis with the speed of light.

Workspace was the thing that we analysts have really needed. Like I said before, it is an empty painting, but you can build your (analysis) story with the speed of light and can sqeeze the story using very little space too. I know, the tool must be pretty amazing when I start to describe it with poetic touch. For the first time, I have heard lots of non Adobe Analytics users to comment “I have heard so much positive comments about Workspace, could you show me the tool…” etc. Well, you can see the tool in action with the help of videos made by amazing Ben Gaines: Click here to Adobe Analytics youtube channel and look “Workspace” videos. Now back to fall 2016 updates.

There are lots of idea requests for Workspace in Adobe idea exchange. I have been eagerly waiting two visualizations to Workspace, before I can move my all analysis work to Workspace projects from the older “reports” interface. *Drumm roll* Oh sweeeeeeeet, fall release is making the dreams come true! Yes, we are going to get flow/pathing reports and funnel/fallout reports to Workspace too. After this, I can’t make any excuses why I shouldn’t do all my analysis work inside Workspace. Of course I will continue to use basic interface too, where I can quickly check individual numbers and do some very basic stuff quickly. Let’s look the biggest new features coming in the fall release and some quick comments about those:

Fallout (funnel) analysis in Workspace

Fallout aka funnel reports are in town, sweeeet! These visualizations are just so easy to visualize different actions and even paths on the site. Easily drag, drop, and rearrange funnel steps on the fly. But that’s not the whole case, you can build dynamic funnels and add segments directly to different metrics in the funnel, how sweeeeet is that? I already did some testing with fallout reports in here.

Flow (pathing) analysis in Workspace

Eye-catching data visualizations are here too and those look good, at least, compared to old pathing reports. Of course flow analysis are pretty valuable reports to investigate user pathing, so not just eye-candy. Analyze immediate next steps from entry, exit or a specific dimension item in the journey. Sounds and look good. Definitely earns own blog post too in the future.

Time-Series analysis in Workspace

Like those two wasn’t enough, we welcome anomaly detection directly to workspace projects. Automatically detect statistically significant data anomalies in any line graph directly in
Workspace. Forecast expected future values for any dimension, segment, and metric etc. Anomaly detection and contribution analysis have been super features of Adobe Analytics, but feels like “no one” is using those, because those were not directly included in the dashboards or workspace project. Now, when you can add anomaly detection directly to workspace project, I’m sure the usage of anomaly detection will rise like a space rocket. This is very good move from the product development.

Starter projects in Workspace

Natural ramp up for new users to Analysis Workspace. New tool is always a new, and some users might have difficulties to move from old interface to Workspace, even though, everyone knows how great tool it is. That’s why starter projects sounds good idea and hopefully that way new users will adopt Workspace more quickly and maybe even business owners start to use this amazing analysis tool.

Histogram visualizations

No more playing with saint rules or creating multiple segments, because histogram visualization makes it much easier to identify high value and low value users. This is so cool and helpful with many different analysis to “bucket” site visitors to different value buckets based on the amount of things they did on the site.

Date comparisons in Workspace

Probably most wanted feature is included to fall 2016 release too. Push-button comparisons to show year-over-year, monthover-month, etc. change. This will make many analysis more readable when you can easily see the difference between metrics on different time periods.

Segmentation improvements

Segment manager is pretty fantastic already, and would be hard to wish anything more. Luckily, Adobe has some wise people in product development and there are pretty amazing new features added how to build even amazing segments. Directly from Adobe: “Create segments with date ranges that roll independent of project date range. Create segments that return presequence
and post-sequence data. Build calculated metrics to show rolling averages”. How cool is that? So cool that I want to play songs from Coolio… what was the song, Gangsta’s Analytics or something like that. 😉

People metric

Personally, I don’t like to use “unique visitors” metric at all, because that is usually just bullsh… The real name of the metric should be, not “unique devices”, but “unique browsers” or if we want to be very specific then it should be called “unique browsers without cookie deletion”. Well, you get the point. I really hope that we can tackle better this problem in the future and Adobe is taking real first steps towards the solution how to count unique people and not just browsers. Wouldn’t it be nice to get conversion based on people and not just browsers? Adobe has build “people metric” that tries to solve the problem. How does it work?

“Co-op members will give Adobe access to cryptographically hashed login IDs and HTTP header data, which fully hides a consumer’s identity. Adobe processes this data to create groups of devices (“device clusters”) used by an unknown person or household. Adobe will then surface these groups of devices through its digital marketing solutions, so Co-op members can measure, segment, target and advertise directly to individuals across all of their devices.” Source and read more in here.

This is available at first in US only. I must say I’m little skeptical how this could work in small European countries where I live, but don’t want to be too judgemental about this one. This is something new and glad to see that Adobe is trying out something new to solve the “unique visitors” dilemma.

Intelligent alerts

Glad to see intelligent alerts. The old alert system is very outdated and making alert one by one is very time-consuming. This new Analysis Workspace alert rule creation and Alerts Manager sounds damn good. In the future we can use anomaly detection to determine the right variation to make the alerts, perfect!

Changes to user management in admin Console

Admins will now have greater, granular control over permissions and user management. All dimensions and metrics will be individually permissioned. There are lots of Adobe Analytics admins who need to control more detailed way how to give permissions to different users and consultants etc and surely they are going to love these new options. Nothing for me, but for big international companies these are much needed options.

New first-time customer experience

Adobe hasn’t been the easiest tool to implement and to make the first settings to get things started. Adobe wants to tackle this part too and they are adding lots of new features to help new users to get started. Makes lots of sense and surely new users will love to get more help to get started. Probably nothing for me, since have been using Adobe Analytics almost 5 years, but surely good resources for new Adobe Analytics users. You can read more from the official release document.

Other minor changes

There are always added some other minor features and bug fixes too. One new small feature I noticed was in Workspace calendar, there is a new “add to all panels” button and you can quickly change date range for all panels which is a real time saver if you are using multiple panels in your project. There are other minor changes, but I guess I could write own post about those in the near future.

It’s a wrap, lovely Workspace, you are now finished

…well, one more thing as detective Columbo would say.

Now the features are in a shape that I can start to use Workspace only and no need to (necessary) use older interface. So for me, Workspace version 1.0 is ready and what a beauty you are. However, what I hope to see within year or two for Version 2.0:

– Still new and with lots of supercharged features, there surely will be some small bugs, so make the effort to fix bugs asap and don’t try to build new big features before that.

– Time is everything to us, make sure Workspace works with the speed of light in the upcoming versions and years, as it works today.

– There will be millions of feature requests in the future too, I’m also feature freak and want options/settings to pretty much everything, but use common sense and be easy to use in the future too.

– Add support to enable automatic breakdowns when time moves on, otherwise, scheduled reports containing dimension breakdowns are useless.

– Add support to use multiple report suites in the same Workspace project, will help to make KPI report for CEO that contains all sites etc.

– Add support to change settings with one click to all columns or maybe even all panels. Now I have to disable backgrounds and percentages for every single column and that takes too much time.

– Add support to clone/duplicate tables, it would save lots of time, because usually we want to use same settings with other tables and just change metrics or something very minor. Now it’s time consuming to build tables from scratch.
This is already possible. Thanks Erix for the tip: you should be able to right-click at the top of the freeform table and select duplicate visualization. Boom! It works and will save lots of my time.

– Soon there will be lots of Workspace projects, could be easier to use and manage if we could have folders for different projects, maybe based on the report suite or something?

– Add new visualizations / report types, whatever there might be, surprise us… at least, metric gauge is missing if you need my advice.

– Could there be any idea to make some kind of setting or report templates that we could share among other Adobe Analytics users? Of course we would need to use common segments and metrics, but just trying to think out fo the box… Might be total waste of time, but could there be something related that could be useful to investigate?

– Text visualization should support html code or at least we need more options to make different kinds of text (bold, color, image support etc)

– Workspace tables always shows total metrics, but sometimes that is not useful or this might be interpret in a wrong way and would be nice to disable those if needed. For example, you add two segments about users. One is “total visits of the site” and another one is “visits with action X”. Then the total metric is the summary of these segments, which is easily read as “ah, the whole site had xxxxx visits” which is not true, the segment “total visits of the site” is the real number where you want to make comparisons. Little difficult to explain and have to do Adobe idea exchange request with some visual magic.

– Bonus tip for whole Adobe Analytics: We are still waiting perfect attribution model and all kinds of automatic notifications (virtual assistant). There were discussions about these both in Adobe Summit 2016 and I would believe those are still in Adobe’s road map, just a gentle reminder. 😉

Happy workspacing with the great fall 2016 features!

Ps. Watch videos about all of these great new features in here:
Just hit “play all” and enjoy!

About Antti

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

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