Adjusting Time Zones via Virtual Report Suites
When you are doing analysis for an organization that spans multiple time zones, things can get tricky. Each Adobe Analytics report suite is tied to one specific time zone (which makes sense), but this can lead to frustration for your international counterparts. For example, let’s say that Analytics Demystified went international and had resources in the United Kingdom. If they wanted to see when visitors located in the UK viewed blog posts (assume that is one of our KPI’s), here is what they would see in Adobe Analytics:
This report shows a Blog Post Views success event segmented for people located in the UK. While I wish our content was so popular that people were reading blogs from midnight until the early morning hours, I am not sure that is really the case! Obviously, this data is skewed because the time zone of our report suite is on US Pacific time. Therefore, analysts in the UK would have to mentally shift everything eight hours on the fly, which is not ideal and can cause headaches.
So how do you solve this? How do you let the people in the US see data in Pacific time and those in the UK see data in their time zone? Way back in 2011, I wrote a post about shifting time zones using custom time parting variables and SAINT Classifications. This was a major hack and one that I wouldn’t really recommend unless you were desperate (but that was 2011!). Nowadays, using the power of Virtual Report Suites, there is a more elegant solution to the time zone issue (thanks to Trevor Paulsen from Adobe Product Management for the reminder).
Time-Zone Virtual Report Suites
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to solve the time zone paradox. First, you will create a new Virtual Report Suite and assign it a new name and a new time zone:
You can choose whether this Virtual Report Suite has any segments applied and/or contains all of your data or just a subset of your data in the subsequent settings screens.
When you are done, you will have a brand new Virtual Report Suite that has all data shifted to the UK time zone:
Now you are able to view all reports in the UK time zone. To illustrate this, let’s look at the report above in the regular report suite side by side with the same report in the new Virtual Report Suite:
As you can see, both of these reports are for the same date and have the same UK geo-segmentation segment applied. However, as you can see, the data has been shifted eight hours. For example, Blog Post Views that previously looked like they were viewed by UK residents at 2:00am, now show that they were viewed at 10:00am UK time. This can also be seen by looking at the table view and lining up the rows:
This provides a much more realistic view of the data for your international folks. In theory, you could have a different Virtual Report Suite for all of your major time zones.
So that is all you need to do to show data in different time zones. Just a handy trick if you have a lot of international users.