Analysis Workspace – The Future is Here
One of the great things about Analysis Workspace is that it begs you to keep driving deeper and deeper into analysis in ways that the traditional Adobe Analytics reports do not. I have heard Ben Gaines talk about this as one of the reasons he loves Workspace so much and he is spot on. Ever since it burst onto the scenes, those who understand Adobe Analytics have realized that it represented the future of the product. The only thing holding it back was the fact that some key types of reports were unavailable, forcing users to continue to use the traditional Adobe Analytics reports.
However, this all changed yesterday. I believe that October 20th will go down in history (at least the history of Adobe Analytics geeks like me) as the day the world changed! On this day, a host of great new Analysis Workspace visualizations were released. These include:
- Fallout Report Visualization
- Flow Visualization (video)
- Histogram Visualization (video)
- Anomaly Detection & Contribution Analysis (video)
While this may not seem like such a big deal, let me tell you why it is a huge deal. I believe that these additions represent the tipping point in which Adobe Analytics end-users give in and decide that Analysis Workspace is their primary reporting interface. While I have seen some of my clients dive head first into Analysis Workspace, I have also seen many of my clients “dip their toe in the water” with Analysis Workspace, but fall back to their comfort zone of traditional reports. It is my contention that this will no longer be possible and that Analysis Workspace will become the default going forward. Of course, this will take some time to learn the new interface, but the advantages are so compelling at this point, that those not making the shift will risk becoming Adobe Analytics dinosaurs.
To illustrate why I think this will happen, I am going to demonstrate the power of Analysis Workspace in the following section.
Stream of Consciousness
In my opinion, the intrinsic value of Analysis Workspace, like Discover before it, is the ability to come up with an analysis idea and be able to follow it through like a stream of consciousness. As an analyst, you want to be able to ask a question and then when you find the answer, ask a follow-up question and so on. In the traditional Adobe Analytics reports, there are a few cases in which you can break a report down by another, but it is somewhat limited. This limitation can break your train of thought and instead of asking the next question, you end up spending time thinking about how you need to work around the tool or, worse yet, add more implementation items to answer your follow-up question.
For example, let’s say that I want to see which products had the most orders this month. I can open the Products report and add the Orders metric. Then I want to see which campaigns drove the highest selling product, so I break the product down by campaign tracking code. Next I want to see the trend of that campaign code leading to orders of that product. At this point, I am a bit stuck since I need to build a segment and apply it to a Visits report. But to do this, I need to stop what I am doing, identify the correct segment definition, save it, open up a Visits report and apply the segment. Next I might want to see if there were any abnormal peaks or valleys in the data, so I might export the data to Excel and run a standard deviation formula against it for the last few months. This involves exporting data and making sure I have the formulas correct in Excel. What if I want to repeat this analysis on a weekly basis going forward? That means I need to open up Adobe ReportBuilder, make a data block, use formulas to apply the standard deviation and then schedule it to be sent weekly.
As you can see, there are a lot of manual steps involving Adobe Analytics, Excel, ReportBuilder, etc. At any point in this process, the phone could ring and I could get distracted and lose my train of thought. In the best case scenario, I am looking at a few hours to follow my concept through to analysis.
What Analysis Workspace does is two-fold. First, pretty much everything you need is built into the same tool so you don’t have to jump between different tools. Second, most of the things you need are one click away and can be done so fast that sometimes it feels like you are slowing down the tool instead of the other way around!
To illustrate this, I am going to build upon an example scenario that I blogged about last week. In that post, I described a situation in which I used the new Analysis Workspace Fallout report visualization to see what percent of visits to my website viewed my blog posts and of those how many found their way to some of my “sales pages. If you haven’t read that post, I suggest you take a few minutes and read that post now to have more context for what follows.
As described in the previous post, I have isolated a situation in which very few people are checking out my sales pages:
Upon seeing this, one question I might ask is where are visitors going who don’t go to my sales pages? I can easily see this by right-clicking on the sales page checkpoint item and selecting the fallout option like this:
This will result in a brand new report being populated that shows the answer to this question:
In addition, I may want to see which pages people who do eventually reach my sales pages also view. I can do this by again right-clicking on the sales pages checkpoint and then choosing fall-though like this:
This will create a brand new report showing where visitors went between the second to last and last steps like this:
Finally, I may want to see the general trend of visitors viewing my blog post and then reaching a sales page. To see this, I right-click on the last checkpoint and select the trend option to see a graph like this:
So in a matter of seconds, I can follow-up on my top queries and continue to dig deeper. In fact, when I see the graph above, Analysis Workspace shows me the statistical trend and the normal upper and lower bands of expected data. This provides context and negates my need to export data to Excel and do analysis there. In addition, I see two circles indicating cases in which my trend was outside of the norm via Adobe Analytics Anomaly Detection functionality. When I hover over either of these circles, I am given the opportunity to dig deeper into these data anomalies with one click:
Running this allows me to see what data is contributing to the data anomaly like this:
But another analysis I may be curious about is from which companies are visitors coming who do make it from my blog pages to my sales pages. Ideally, I’d like to build a segment of these folks and start marketing to them. Luckily, I can right-click on the final checkpoint and select the “create segment from touchpoint” option and see a brand new segment like this:
All I have to do is give this segment a name and I can use it in any report. So next, I will open a freeform table and add my DemandBase Company Name report with the Visits metric and then apply this new segment to the report like this:
Next I can right-click on the top prospect (row 2 above) and see the trend of them visiting my site:
Another way to analyze this might be to add a cohort table and see how often people who fall into my Blog to Sales segment visit my site and then return to it. I can do this by adding a cohort visualization, selecting Visits as the metrics and then applying my new auto-created segment to it like this:
here I might see that I have some people coming back in week one, two and three, so they might be serious about working with me. I can then right-click on the week three cell and create a new segment called “Really Interested in Adam” and add that back to my DemandBase Company Name freeform table:
Phew! Now, I purposely went a bit crazy there, but was to drive home the point. While you may not go through things exactly the way I just did, the cool part is that you can! You can easily keep adding visualizations and right-clicking to create sub-reports and segments (and I didn’t even hit all of the other visualizations that can be used as well!). At no point did I have to leave Adobe Analytics and use other tools and I was able to run all of these reports in under ten minutes!
This is why I think most Adobe Analytics users will make the leap to Analysis Workspace in the future. I encourage you to avoid digging your head into the sand and to get with the program. There are lots of blog posts and videos available to show you how to use Analysis Workspace and if you need more help, I offer training services as well 😉
Congrats to the Adobe Analytics product management team and their developers. Welcome to the future of Adobe Analytics…
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