Date Stamp Variable [SiteCatalyst]
I was recently working with a client that had a unique situation arise. This client is well-versed in the usage of the Adobe Discover product and frequently takes advantage of its ability to segment by date. For those unfamiliar with this feature, you might use it to address the following scenario: “I’d like to build a segment of people who filled out a form in the third week of January 2011, but I want to see their behavior for the months of February, March and April.” Here is how this segment could be built using Discover:
This functionality is cool since you can use it to limit your population to folks who took some action in a specific time period and then observe their subsequent behavior across a future time period. Another example might be the desire to see purchase behavior of people in Q4 who looked at products in Q3.
However, the challenge facing this client is that very few people in the organization had access to Discover so they wanted to have the ability to apply this date-based segmentation to their SiteCatalyst reports to which everyone had access (and take advantage of the new v15 segmentation capabilities). I hadn’t thought about doing this in SiteCatalyst due to its segmentation limitations (see below), but after contemplating a bit, I came up with a cool trick that should allow SiteCatalyst users to take advantage of this Discover functionality. If this is of interest to you, please read on…
Date Stamp Variable
In order to build a segment that crosses multiple visits, the obvious starting point is the Visitor container within SiteCatalyst’s Segmentation tool. If you want to select a Visit in one time frame, but look at data for another time frame, you will need to use a Visitor container and nest a Visit container and/or Success Event container within it. In the preceding example, we would want to create a Visitor container, but nest a Visit container within it in which the visitor had a Visit where a Form was completed in a specific week of the month of January. Sounds easy right?
Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as you’d think, because there is no way to segment on a date or month within SiteCatalyst like you can in Discover. Therefore, the trick is to pass the date to a SiteCatalyst variable within each Visit. I suggest you add one new eVar and one new sProp and set the date on every page. In addition, you can easily create a SAINT Classification for each date which rolls these dates up into weeks, months or years as needed.
Once we have set the date to a variable, let’s see an example of how we would create the aforementioned segment from within SiteCatalyst. First, we grab the Visitor container, then we nest a Visit container and within that Visit, we nest a Form Completion Success Event. To narrow down the Form Completion to a specific week in January, we can use our new Date Stamp variable (eVar or sProp version):
Of course, as I mentioned earlier, it may be easier to classify these variables and segment on them by week or month. This process would be identical to the segment shown above, but instead, would use a Classification of the Date Stamp variable. Here is an example of a SAINT Classification of the Date Stamp variable:
If you’ve read my past blog posts, you will soon realize that this trick is similar to the Time-Parting plug-in I described years ago. In fact, it is really just a variation on that, but without the time of the day. However, limiting the values to just the date makes the data much more manageable and more easily classified. The use of this, plus segmentation allows you to mimic what has been possible in Discover for a while so if you have lots of SiteCatalyst users, give this workaround a whirl…Enjoy!