Plug-ins [Inside Omniture SiteCatalyst]

One of the topics I discussed in my SiteCatalyst Summit presentation last year was JavaScript plug-ins. Not being super-technical myself, the best I can do to explain these plug-ins is that they are additional snippets of code you add to your SiteCatalyst .js file that allow you to add functionality. One of the advantages of being associated with the Omniture Consulting group is that you get to work with a lot of talented people who come up with these plug-ins to solve unique customer issues. In fact, many of the features you use today in SiteCatalyst originated from plug-ins written by the consulting team. In this post, I will share with you some of my favorite plug-ins and explain how they are used.

**Get Query Parameter Plug-in
**This is the most commonly used plug-in since it is essential to Campaign Tracking. This plug-in looks for parameters in the URL and assigns them to the SiteCatalyst variables that you designate. For example, when a visitor arrives at your site from a paid search keyword, the campaign tracking code is normally extracted using this plug-in and placed in the s.campaigns Conversion Variable (eVar). However, there are many other uses for this plug-in since it can grab any query string parameter. I will often use this to grab the search term used in an internal search query on a client’s site. For example, on this website, when the user conducts an internal search, the phrase they used is passed in the URL of the results page such that the text found after the “q=” can be programmatically passed to a Traffic Variable (sProp) or Conversion Variable (eVar):

**Previous Value Plug-in
**This plug-in allows you to pass a value that was stored on the previous page to a variable on the current page. I find this plug-in to be extremely useful, especially when it comes to Traffic Variables which do not have persistence. A common use of this feature is to pass the pagename value from the previous page to a custom sProp on the current page, in effect, storing the referring pagename in a custom sProp on the current page. Why is this useful? Let’s say that you want to see what page the user was on when they searched on the term “eurodollar” as shown in the example above. Unfortunately, there is not a straightforward way to do this, but if you have the search term in an sProp (as shown above) and the previous page in an sProp (through the plug-in) all in the same image request being sent to SiteCatalyst, you can then create a Traffic Data Correlation between the two. Through this Correlation, you can see all of the pages that users were on when they searched for “eurodollar” and you can see the converse, which is the ability to see all of the terms that users searched for while they were on a particular page (i.e. the Home Page). By combining the Previous Value Plug-in and a Correlation, you can get some pretty powerful data for very little work.

**Get & Persist Plug-in
**This plug-in is very basic, but has many powerful uses. All it does is pass a value stored in a variable on one page to all subsequent pages. It saves you the time/effort of storing values in your own cookie and lets your SiteCatalyst .js file do the work for you. When would you want to do this? Let’s say that you have registered users on your site who log-in to use the site. Upon login, you capture their User ID, but it would be great if you could pass that User ID to a Traffic Variable on every page of the visit. If you did that, you would be able to create a Traffic Data Correlation between the User ID and the s.pagename variable so you could see all of the pages that each User ID viewed on the site. The Get & Persist plug-in makes doing this much easier and lets your IT staff focus on more important tagging work.

**Time Parting Plug-in
**This plug-in allows you to store the Day of the Week and Time of Day in SiteCatalyst Traffic and Conversion variables so you can break data down by time segments. There are a few nuances with this plug-in (needs to be updated each year and ties data to one time zone), but overall, I have found that it provides useful information to factor into your analyses. The following is an example of how I use Time Parting to see when visitors access this blog:

**Visit Number Plug-in
**This plug-in passes the current visit number for the active visitor to SiteCatalyst Traffic or Conversion variables. While these metrics are provided in a few out-of-the-box SiteCatalyst reports, I find having it in custom metrics provides more flexibility for use in Correlations and Subrelations. The main caveat with this plug-in is that the data is subject to cookie deletion.

**Days Since Last Visit Plug-in
**This plug-in is similar to the Visit Number plug-in except it passes one of a few set values based upon when the active visitor had been to the site last. Some of the values are “Less Than 7 Days” or “More Than 30 Days.”

**Time To Complete Plug-in
**This plug-in allows you to track how much time elapses between two Success Events of your choosing. This is handy when you want to see how long it takes for users to progress through a conversion flow on your site. The following is a sample report using this plug-in:

**Dynamic Object ID Plug-in
**This plug-in allows you to improve the accuracy of ClickMap by assigning unique ID’s to the objects found on your webpage.

**Important Things To Know About Plug-ins
**The following are some important things to know about Plug-ins:

  1. Many of the plug-ins described here involve implementation and, as such, should be used in conjunction with an Omniture Consultant who can educate you about usage and maintenance.
  2. Adding plug-ins to your SiteCatalyst JavaScript file will increase its “weight” so you should be sure to test thoroughly, especially if using services that rate page load performance.

Have a question about anything related to Omniture SiteCatalyst? Is there something on your website that you would like to report on, but don’t know how? Do you have any tips or best practices you want to share? If so, please leave a comment here or send me an e-mail at _<insidesitecatalyst@omniture.com_> and I will do my best to answer it right here on the blog so everyone can learn! (Don’t worry – I won’t use your name or company name!). If you are on Twitter, you can follow me at

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