Currencies & Exchange Rates [Adobe SiteCatalyst]
If your web analytics work covers websites or apps that span different countries, there are some important aspects of Adobe SiteCatalyst (Analytics) that you must know. In this post, I will share some of the things I have learned over the years related to currencies and exchange rates in SiteCatalyst.
When you work for a multi-national organization, the first decision you have to make is whether you plan to have a different report suite for each country website or whether you will combine all data into one report suite and use segmentation for day-to-day analysis. For the pros and cons of this decision, I suggest you refer to this old post that covers multi-suite tagging vs. segmentation. As noted in that post, one of the downsides of using one report suite and segmentation is that you cannot have a different currency for each country. I find this very limiting, so let’s assume that you have a different report suite for each country site in your organization. When implementing each report suite, you will assign a currency that the report suite will use. For example, if the report suite is for Japan, in the Administration Console, you will make the currency Japanese Yen:
Once you do this, you just need to make sure that when you pass Revenue and currency success events that you set the s.currencyCode variable to the appropriate currency code for that country (i.e. JPY). This will tell SiteCatalyst that the numbers you are passing should be stored as Japanese Yen. If you are using multi-suite tagging and sending a second copy of data to a global report suite, then Revenue and currency success events will be translated into the currency of the global report suite (i.e. US Dollars) using the currency exchange rates found on xe.com. This allows your users in one country to see data in their own local currency, while letting executives see data rolled-up in a master suite in one unified currency.
One-Report Suite Only
As mentioned above, if you don’t have a separate report suite for each country site, either having just one report suite for the entire organization or a report suite for a region that contains multiple currencies, you cannot take advantage of the preceding currency translation feature. In this case, you have two choices. Your first choice is to use the same currency for all countries and pass data in that currency at the time of data collection. For example, if you have a European report suite, you may choose to use Euro as the primary currency and translate British Pounds and other non-Euro currencies into Euros at the time data is passed into SiteCatalyst. The second option is to pass currency amounts into a Numeric Success Event in a way that is currency agnostic. In this approach, you would not use the out-of-box Revenue event and instead would create a custom Numeric success event and pass in the raw numbers in the currency of that country. For example, if a 200 Euro order takes place in Germany, you would pass in a value of 200 and if a 300 British Pound order takes place, you would pass in a value of 300 to the Numeric success event. At the same time, you should pass in the currency the order took place in to an eVar. Once you have the raw transaction amount and the currency type, you can download the data to Excel using Adobe ReportBuilder and translate the raw Numeric success event numbers into the appropriate currency using a lookup table and referencing the eVar that indicates the currency. While this will not provide a way to see local currencies within the native SiteCatalyst interface, you can at least have your Excel dashboards show local currencies. Obviously you can use both of these approaches concurrently, using a master currency for the region and then providing local currencies in an Excel dashboard.
Pegged Exchange Rates
Over the years, I have worked with several clients that use “pegged” exchange rates. In this scenario, their organization uses one set of currency exchange rates for the entire fiscal year instead of using the daily exchange rates. This causes a problem for Adobe SiteCatalyst, since its default behavior is to use the daily exchange rates found on xe.com. Keep in mind that the local currencies in country-specific report suites will be fine since they are not being translated into a master currency. In this scenario, the only figure that is negatively affected is the currency amount in your global report suite, since that is when currency translation occurs. For example, if you collect an order for 300 Euro in Germany and the German report suite is set to Euros, everything will be fine. However, when that 300 Euro order is sent to the global report suite (let’s assume it is a US-based organization), it will be translated into US Dollars by default using today’s exchange rate instead of your pegged exchange rate (which can be quite different).
Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to override this default behavior, so I recommend using a DB VISTA rule to have SiteCatalyst lookup the pegged exchange rates published by your organization. As currency data is collected, you can use DB VISTA to bypass or overwrite the exchange rate translation done by SiteCatalyst with the rates approved by your organization. Unfortunately, DB VISTA rules cost a few thousand dollars, but in this case, it is probably worth it to have your global currency figures reflected correctly.
Interface Currency Setting
The last area related to currencies I want to cover is the currency setting found within the SiteCatalyst interface itself. I call this out because it can be very dangerous if you do not understand it. In the Report Settings area of the left navigation, there is a way to change the currency that you see when using SiteCatalyst. Here is what it looks like:
From this screen you can change the currency setting you use. Here is an example of me changing it from US Dollars to Euros:
Doing this will now show currency reports in Euros:
The dangerous part of this feature is that it seems like it does more than it actually does. How awesome is it that we instantaneously converted all of our data from US Dollars to Euros? Unfortunately, this is a mirage. Using this feature simply translates all historical data into the new currency (Euros in this case) using the current exchange rate. This means that historical data is not converted using the exchange rate that was present at the time the data was collected. Therefore, if the exchange rate has changed significantly, our data will be off. This is why it is important that you educate your users about this feature before they start using it and present inaccurate data to people in your organization.Once you understand how this feature works, you may re-think using this feature and proactively discourage its use!