I’m presenting as part of a Rockstar Tips & Tricks session at Adobe’s Virtual Summit this year- if you’re registered, you’ll eventually able to view the recordings on-demand. But in case folks miss it or want more detail, this post walks though the tips/tricks I’m presenting. With the old Reports & Analytics (R&A) reports going away, I want to look at some of the cool fallout and pathing things we can still do in workspace.
Note, I do think this will all make more sense in a video demo than in a blog post, but I know the presentation went pretty fast, so this post can be a sort of supplemental guide for the video demo.
If you’re coming from my presentation and just want that way under-used TEXTJOIN excel formula from the end of Tip #2, here you go:
Also, in case I didn’t make it clear in my presentation (I didn’t), I recommend this Pivot Table filter to get to Full Paths: descending, by “Sum of Path views”, filtering on “Complete Path contains Exits”.
If that makes no sense to you, or you just want the full context, read on:
Tip #1: Fallout and Funnels
In the old R&A days, I had a few ways to track a conversion flow fallout:
The Custom Events Funnel gave a nice little graphical interface to compare numbers in. You could drag in events (no dimensions) to see them in a funnel.
A few things to note, though: first, the graphic did not change based on the data, so it could be misleading. Second, it didn’t actually pay attention to if the user did the events in sequence (notice in my screenshot that I have zero checkouts because I forgot to set it, yet 60 orders). Really, it was just a way to compare difference between events, regardless of sequence.
Or on page names (or any other dimension- not restricted to pathing props):
This is already showing more flexibility and power than the old R&A pathing reports. But you could also mix and match events and dimensions. Let’s say I have a new campaign with 4 marketing landing pages and I want to see how those 4 pages collectively affect my Fallout. Because I’m setting page type in an eVar (which I consider essential to any implementation), I can bring in the page type to represent all four of those pages together, then continue the funnel based on page name:
I could pull events, props, and eVars all into the same report and see them in sequence and the fallout between. But I can take that a step farther and drop dimensions and segments into the area below the visualization key , where it that currently says “all visitors”, to compare how the fallout looks for just that dimension or segment. For instance, if I now want to compare those four pages, I can:
(Note, the top step has 100% for each dimension value because of course 100% of the visits with that page type have that page type.)
This visualization helps me spot something pretty immediately: the marketing page represented by the purple (sorry the names get cut off in the screenshot so you can’t see my Harry Potter references) got by far the most visits (75), but had the worst fallout. Whereas the one in pink had far viewer visits but much better retention. I’d probably go to the marketing or content team and see if we could get the best of both worlds somehow: whatever we’re doing to GET people to the purple marketing page, plus whatever content is on the pink one that seems to be getting people to STAY.
That’s just one made-up example, but there are so many ways this could be used. Let me know if you’ve found other fun ways.
Tip #2: Full Path Report and the Flow Visualization
One thing that Reports and Analytics for which Workspace doesn’t have a direct equivalent are the Full Path and Pathfinder reports. The Full Path report would show, well, the most popular full paths that users took through the site, from entry to exit:
Personally, I didn’t see a ton of value in this report because it would be so granular… if one visitor went page a>b>c>d, and another did just b>c>d, and another just a>b>c, they’d all appear as different line items in the report. However, I do know some folks like to include this in dashboards and such. But in my mind, most of the insight/analysis would be done in a Path Finder report. This helpful little tool would let you specify certain flows and patterns you were interested in, leaving room for filling in the blanks. The Bookends Pattern was a particular favorite: what happened between point A and point B? This would help analysts see unexpected user paths.
This is the functionality that currently workspace can’t directly replace. The closest we get is a flow visualization…. which may very well be my favorite Workspace tool. I should write another post about all the lesser-known great things about this report (segments! trends! pretty-and-useful colors!), but for now I’m going to focus on turning it into a full path report.
First, I bring Page in as an entry dimension. At this point, it should just be showing me my top entry pages. Since I want a more complete story, I’m going to click the “+_ more” so it includes more pages, then I’m going to right-click on that column and tell it to “Expand Entire Column”:
That’ll add a second column. I’ll keep repeating this process until I have 5 or 6 columns as expanded as can be.
Unfortunately, you probably don’t want to expand columns too deep or too far to the right because after a while Workspace starts slowing down and struggling. So this won’t cover all paths but it will help us get the most common ones.
With all of the winding and webbing between pages, it’s still hard to get at that list of paths…. for that, I need to take the report to Excel. So I send the report to myself as a CSV (either through Project>Download CSV, or Share>Send File Now). This gives me something like this:
It’s not quite useful yet. And something kinda odd happens, where it shows me all possible combinations of paths, even ones that never happened (all the lines that don’t have a number in the “Path views” column.) But that’s ok, we can ignore those for now. What I am going to do is create a new column to the right, and put this formula in it:
Then I copy that formula all the way down. This gives me a single string with complete paths, like “Entry (Page)>home>internal search>product details:skiving snackboxes>checkout:view cart>Exits”. I’ll also throw a name at the top of that column like “Complete Paths”.
This still isn’t really great for analysis, so I take it one step farther, and create a pivot table by selecting all the cells in my “Path Views” and “Complete Paths” columns (except for the empty ones up top), then going to the “Insert” tab in excel and clicking “Pivot Table”:
This will create a new sheet with an empty pivot table. I’ll set up my Pivot Table Fields with “Complete Paths” as my rows and “Sum of Path Views” as my values:
Then I’ll sort it, descending, by “Sum of Path views”, filtering on “Complete Path contains Exits” (otherwise you get incomplete portions of journeys, as the download will show the path “entry>a>b>c>exit” as “entry>a”, “entry>a>b”, “entry>a>b>c”, and “entry>a>b>c>exit”).
But there are a some nuances and caveats here, the main one being that it only goes so deep. The Flow Visualization really starts struggling when you have too many fully expanded columns, and the downloaded CSV reflects only the number of columns you had in the visualization. So paths that are longer than than the 4-6 columns are going to be excluded. Accordingly, this is ideally used for most common paths (which usually aren’t more than 5 or 6 pages anyway).
So this shows Full Paths, but where does that Path Finder stuff come in? Really, I’d expect this to serve as a starting point for a lot of further analysis in excel, where you can use filters to find the paths that interest you most (eg “begins with” or “ends with”). Hopefully before R&A goes away, Adobe will have some way to truly replicate that Path Finder functionality, but in the meantime, this at lease gives you some options. If you have a specific use case you want to achieve and don’t know how, leave a comment here or find me on #measure slack or twitter, and I’d love to help you figure it out.
If nothing else, now more of the world will know about how handy TEXTJOIN is ;).