Setting Metric Targets in Analysis Workspace
One of the lesser-known features in the old Adobe Analytics interface was Targets. Targets allowed you to upload numbers that you expected to hit (per metric) so that you could compare your actual results with your target results. While this feature still exists in the old interface, it doesn’t translate to Analysis Workspace.
Therefore, if you want to compare your current data to a target, you have very limited options. One option is to upload your target to a new Success Event via Data Sources, but since Adobe won’t let you upload Data Sources data for future dates (please vote for this idea to change this!), you can only view targets up to the current date and you have to upload a file every day (which doesn’t sound like much fun!). The other option is to use Adobe’s ReportBuilder Excel add-on. Within Excel, you can create a data block that grabs any metric and then you can manually enter your targets in the spreadsheet and compare them in charts and graphs.
But what if you want to view your targets in Analysis Workspace? That is where you are likely spending all of your time. In this post, I will show you one method, albeit a hack, that will allow you to see metric targets in Workspace that might hold you over until Adobe [finally] allows you to upload Data Sources data into the future or provides another way do targets in Analysis Workspace.
Targets in Analysis Workspace
The first step to seeing targets in Workspace is to use Data Sources. For each metric that you want to add a target, you will need to enable a new numeric Success Event in the admin console. In this example, I will set a target for Blog Post Views, so I will create a new Success Event like this:
Next, you will use Data Sources to import your target, but with a twist. Since you cannot upload Data Sources data into the future, you are going to import your target by day for a time period in the past (i.e. one year prior to the current year). For example, if you want to see a target for Blog Post Views for Jan-Feb 2019, you could upload the targets for those months (by day) using the dates 1/1/18 – 2/28/18 (or another year in the past). I know this sounds strange, but I will explain why later. Your Data Sources set up might look like this:
In this case, I want to be able to see targets by Blog Post Author, so I have also added an eVar to the Data Sources upload. Here is what the upload file would look like for 2019 Jan-Feb Blog Post View targets for the author of “Adam Greco:”
Once you have uploaded the target data, you will have the target numbers you need, but they will each be tied to dates in the past, in this case exactly one year prior:
Next, we want to compare 2019 Blog Post Views to this target. To do this, we will create a freeform table that contains Blog Post Views for this year (I will use Jan-Feb) and narrow them down to “Adam Greco” blog posts using a segment, since that is what our target is based upon:
Next, we are going to add our target to this table, but right after we do that, we are going to use the Date Ranges feature to create a date range for our target timeframe (in the past), which in this case includes the dates of Jan-Feb 2018, where we have uploaded our Data Sources data. As you may recall, when you use Date Ranges in Analysis Workspace, they supersede whatever dates are selected in the Analysis Workspace panel, so this will allow us to see our Target data directly next to our actual 2019 data as shown here:
Next, let’s view our data by week instead of day to make it a bit easier to view and then let’s add a chart to compare the data:
Finally, let’s tidy it up a bit by locking the chart, removing some backgrounds and percentages in the table and renaming the legend in the chart:
When you are done, you will have a report that looks like this:
Now you can see how you are doing for your metric against its stated target. Unfortunately, Workspace shows the dates in the column when you use Date Ranges, so some people might get confused about why it has 2018 dates, but that is beyond my control! You can also hide the table itself to avoid this issue.
Once you have this data, you can manipulate it however you’d like. For example, you can view it by month instead of by week:
As if that weren’t cool enough, you can also use the Cumulative Function to see your actual vs. target progress over time. This is my favorite view of the data! To do this, you will create two new Metrics. One will be a cumulative count of your actual metric and the other will be a cumulative count of your target. These will use your main Success Event and your Data Sources Success event respectively. The Metric formulas are shown here:
Once you have created these, you can duplicate your table above, add these metrics and then add a chart as shown here:
When you are done, you will have a report that looks like this that shows how you are doing over time against your Target:
So that is my “hack” way to add targets to Analysis Workspace. Again, if Adobe would provide the ability to upload Data Sources data into the future, much of this would be unnecessary, but that is the state of things today. While this seems like a lot of work, it is not too bad, especially if you bear in mind that you should only be setting targets for your most important metrics and you only have to do this once a year. However, keep in mind that Data Sources only lets you upload ninety days of data at a time, so you will have to do multiple Data Sources uploads for each metric.
I hope this helps as a temporary solution…