Alarmduck – The Data Anomaly Slack App for Adobe Analytics
One of the most difficult parts of managing an Adobe Analytics implementation is uncovering data anomalies. For years, Adobe Analytics has offered an Alerts feature to try and address this, but very few companies end up using them. Recently, Adobe improved their Alerts functionality, in particular, allowing you to add segments to Alerts and a few other options. However, I still see very few companies engaging with Adobe Analytics Alerts, despite the fact that few people (or teams) have enough time to check every single Adobe Analytics report, every day to find data anomalies.
Part of the issue with Alerts is the fact that many people don’t go into Adobe Analytics every day, so even if there were Alerts, they wouldn’t see them.Even the really cool data anomaly indicators in Analysis Workspace are only useful if you are in a particular report to see them. While Adobe Analytics Alerts can be sent via e-mail, those tend to get filtered into folders due to all of the noise, especially on weekends! To rectify this, I have even tried to figure out how to get Adobe Analytics Alerts into the place where I spend a lot of my time – Slack. But despite my best efforts, I still wasn’t able to get the right alerting that I needed from Adobe Analytics to the people that needed to see them. I felt like there had to be an easier way…
It was around this time that I stumbled upon some folks building a tool called Alarmduck. The idea of Alarmduck was to make it super easy to be notified in Slack when data in your Adobe Analytics implementation has changed significantly. Being a lover of Adobe Analytics and Slack, it was the perfect union of my favorite technologies! Alarmduck uses Adobe Analytics API’s to query your data and look for anomalies and then Slack API’s to post those anomalies into the Slack channel of your choosing.
For example, a few weeks ago, we had a tagging issue on our Demystified website that caused our bounce rate to metric to break. The next day, here is what I saw in my Slack channel:
I was alerted right away, was able to see a graph and the data causing the anomaly and even had a link to the report in Adobe Analytics! In this case, we were able to fix the issue right away and minimize the amount of bad data in our implementation. Best of all, I saw the alert in the normal course of my work day, since it was automatically injected into Slack with all of my other communications.
Going From Good to Great
So, as I started using Alarmduck, I was pleased that my metrics (including Success Events) were automatically notifying me if something had changed significantly, but as you could imagine (being an Adobe Analytics addict), I wanted more! I got in touch with the founders of the company and shared with them all of the other stuff Alarmduck could be doing related to Adobe Analytics such as:
- Allowing me to get data anomalies for any eVar/sProp and metric combination (i.e. Product anomalies for Orders & Revenue or Tracking Code anomalies for Visits)
- Allowing me to check multiple Adobe Analytics report suites
- Allowing me to check Adobe Analytics Virtual Report Suites
- Allowing me to apply Adobe Analytics segments to data anomaly checks
- Allowing me to post different types of data anomaly alerts to different Slack channels
- Allowing me to send data anomalies from different report suites to different Slack channels
As you could imagine, they were a bit overwhelmed, so I agreed to be their Adobe Analytics advisor (and partial investor) so they could tap into my Adobe Analytics expertise. While there were almost 100 companies already testing out the free beta release of the product, I was convinced that power Adobe Analytics users like me would eventually want more functionality and flexibility.
Over the last few months, the Alarmduck team has been hard at work and I am proud to say that all of the preceding features have been added to the product! While there are many additional features I’d still love to see added, the v1.0 version of the product is now available and packs quite a punch for a v1.0 release. Anyone can try the product for free for 30 days and then there are several tiers of payment based upon how many data anomaly reports you need. The following section will demonstrate how easy it is for you to create data anomaly alerts.
Creating Data Anomaly Reports
To get started with Alarmduck, you first have to login using the credentials of your Slack team (like any other Slack integration). When you do this, you will choose your Slack team and then identify the Slack channel into which you’d like to post data anomalies (you can add more of these later). You should make the channel in Slack first so it will appear in the dropdown list shown here:
Next, you will see an Adobe Analytics link in the left navigation and be asked to enter your Adobe Analytics API credentials:
If you are not an administrator of your Adobe Analytics implementation, you can ask the admin to get you your username and secret key, which is part of your Adobe Analytics User ID:
Next, you will add your first Adobe Analytics report suite:
(Keep in mind that in most cases, the preceding steps will only have to be done one time.)
Once you are done with this, Alarmduck will create your first data anomaly report for your first 30 metrics (you can use the pencil icon to customize which metrics you want it to check):
This will send metric alerts to the designated Slack channel once per day.
The preceding metric anomaly alerts will be super useful, but if you want to go deeper, you can add segments, eVars, sProps, etc. To do this, click the “Add Report” button to get this window:
Next, you choose a report suite or a Virtual Report Suite (Exclude Excel Posts in this example). Once you do this, you will have the option to select a segment (if desired):
And then choose a dimension (eVar or sProp) if needed:
Lastly, you can choose the metrics for which you want to see data anomalies:
In this case, you would see data anomalies for a Virtual Report Suite, with an additional segment applied and see when there are data anomalies for Blog Post (eVar5) values for the Blog Post Views (event 3) metric (Note: At this time, Alarmduck checks the top 20 eVar/sProp dimension values over the last 90 days to avoid triggering data anomalies for insignificant dimension values). That shows how granular you can get with the new advanced features of Alarmduck (pretty cool huh?)!
When you are done, you can save and will see your new report in the report list on the Adobe Analytics page:
Here is a video of a similar setup process:
As you can see, adding reports is pretty easy once you have your Slack team and Adobe Analytics credentials in place. Once setup, you will begin receiving daily alerts in your designated Slack channel unless you edit or remove the report using the screen above. You can create up to 10 reports in the lowest tier package and during your 30-day free trial. After that, you can use a credit card and pay for the number of reports you need:
Since the trial is free and setting up a Slack team (if you don’t already have one) is also free, there is no reason to not try Alarmduck for your Adobe Analytics implementation. If you have any questions, feel free to ping me. Enjoy!