Uber Success Events [SiteCatalyst]
Every now and then, I run into a unique situation with a client that requires what I call an “Über” Success Event. It isn’t possible to define this easily, so in this post, I will illustrate what it is and when you might want to use it…
eVar Expiration Limitation
For those who faithfully read my SiteCatalyst blog posts, you will have heard me lament two major eVar expiration limitations. The first limitation is that you cannot expire an eVar at either a Success Event taking place OR a time frame (whichever comes first). This limitation can be rough, since there are some cases in which you’d like to expire an eVar when Success Event X takes place, but if it doesn’t take place after three months, you might want to clear out the existing eVar value. Not cleaning out this value could result in that eVar value receiving credit for a Success Event that takes place a year later when it really shouldn’t. I have suggested this change in the Idea Exchange (http://bit.ly/yXqtqS) so feel free to vote for it there.
However, this post is focused on the second eVar expiration limitation, which is that you cannot expire an eVar at one Success Event OR another Success Event. In this case, you basically want to tell SiteCatalyst to expire the eVar when Event X or Event Y or Event Z takes place. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible in the Admin Console, since you can only pick one expiration item (Event or Time Period) from the list. This may not sound like too much of a limitation, but the following example will illustrate how it can cause problems.
Let’s imagine that you are a B2B Lead Generation website that sells its products online or allows its visitors to fill out a form and work with a sales rep to complete the purchase. You have a standard conversion flow with three steps (Event 1, Event 2, Event 3). Each of these steps has an associated Success Event. So far, so good. However, when visitors reach the third step of the process, they can proceed to purchase on line (scCheckout, purchase) or view and submit a form (Event 4, Event 5) to have a sales rep call them and finish the sale.
In this situation, a website visitor can be viewed as successfully completing the conversion funnel two different ways. One way is to purchase online and the other is to submit a form. It’s as if there is a fork in the road, but both paths can lead to a successful conversion. Obviously we can track each of these steps using Success Events, but the following quirky situations arise as a result of this:
- It is easy to combine both of the final Success Events (Orders and Event 5 in this case) in a regular eVar report by creating a Calculated Metric that adds Orders to Lead Form Submissions (Event5 ).
- However, it is not possible to use a standard SiteCatalyst Conversion Funnel report since you cannot include Calculated Metrics in Funnel reports (to help me change this, vote for this: http://bit.ly/zl3bUs). There are also a host of other issues with Calculated Metrics that you can read about in the Idea Exchange (i.e. Not available in DW, Can’t segment on them, No Participation, Can’t see totals in reports, etc…) so they are not really meant for “heavy lifting,” so to speak.
- But the biggest issue is the one I raised earlier. What if we want to expire a bunch of eVars when the visitor Orders OR they submit a Lead Generation Form to a sales rep? We are pretty much out of luck since we can only pick one Event in the Admin Console to use for eVar expiration purposes. Bummer!
As I stated previously, this isn’t an everyday occurrence, but I have seen it wreak havoc on some clients so I wanted to share an easy workaround to solve this last point.
The “Über” Success Event
So now that we have framed the problem, here’s how you can solve it. In the scenario above, what we would want to do is set a new Success Event at the same time that we set both the Order (purchase event) and the Form Submission (Event5). This new Success Event (let’s say that it is Event 20), would be set with every Order and Form submission so it should add up to the total of both. Doing this one simple thing has some wonderful consequences:
- There is no need to create the Calculated Metric described previously since this new “Event 20” would add up to the same figure of Orders + Lead Generation Form Submissions
- Unlike the Calculated Metric, you would be able to use this new “Event 20” in a Conversion Funnel so you can have a funnel of Event 1, Event 2, Event 3 and then Event 20 which would represent ALL success (obviously we don’t know if the people filling out forms were truly successful, but for this scenario, let’s not worry about that an assume you know how to do this by reading this post!). This also removes all of the shortcomings of Calculated Metrics I mentioned earlier.
- But most importantly, if we wanted to expire any eVars when one of these two Success Events takes place, we now have a way to do that. All we have to do is to go to the Admin Console and set the eVars to expire at Event 20!
Hence, setting this extra Success Event that sits on top of the other two Success Events is what I affectionately call my “Über” Success Event! This is just one example of how you can use this concept, but I have seen many more. Enjoy!