5 Tips to Maximize Your Productivity with Analysis Workspace
by Ben Gaines
posted on 10-10-2016
Hopefully, most of you have had a chance to get familiar with Analysis Workspace, the newest analysis environment in Adobe Analytics. Analysis Workspace is an exciting development for everyone here at Adobe, because it combines speed and flexibility for the analyst with curation and sharing for the business user, allowing everyone to gain insights in their own preferred ways — and we know that’s something that organizations large and small have been demanding for years.
Since the release of Analysis Workspace in 2015, we’ve been gathering a lot of data and feedback from analysts, marketers, executives, and others. One thing we’re learning for certain is that many more capabilities are lurking just underneath the drag-and-drop surface of this tool than most users realize. Even as a product manager who is closely involved with developing Analysis Workspace day to day, there are things I am still learning as I use it more. It’s a funny feeling, sitting in a meeting with the development team and having someone point out a feature that has been in the product for months — but I somehow missed! Or realizing that we serendipitously solved a use case that other analytics tools have not quite tackled yet. It’s also a credit to our designers and developers who created something simple and pleasing to use but with layers of power only a click away.
I figured that, if we’re still learning tips and tricks that can make us more productive in our analyses, then you might be in the same boat. So, I’ve gathered five features that you might be unaware of but that can make you a true master of Analysis Workspace — able to create beautiful, insightful projects with the greatest of ease. And, FYI: As you might expect, I’ll be sharing many more tips like these — and some even cooler ones that I can’t mention yet — at Adobe Summit coming up in March.
Tip #1: Save Time With “Duplicate Panel.”
Panels in Analysis Workspace contain multiple visualizations and data tables. Sometimes, you build a panel to answer one question, and it raises another, very similar question. You may want to use all of the same visualizations, breakdowns, and comparisons — but with just a little tweak such as having one panel segmented by mobile users and another panel segmented by desktop users. Or, maybe, you want one set of visualizations to focus on last month’s data and another to focus on last quarter’s data. At first glance, it might appear that you will have to create a blank panel and rebuild all of your work — but, fortunately, this is not the case. You can simply right-click (we’ll be doing a lot of right-clicking in this post) to solve this problem. Hooray for shortcuts in building our analyses!
Go to the panel header (where the panel title is) and right-click. You’ll see a number of options, the first of which is “Duplicate Panel” (as in the screenshot below). Note that Analysis Workspace renders the menu as if I clicked next to the “Add Segment” zone, but I didn’t. Make sure to click next to the panel title (“Content Consumption Overview”).
When I click this item, Analysis Workspace creates an exact duplicate of this “Content Consumption Overview” panel directly below the original. I can edit it to my heart’s content, and the original remains intact.
Tip #2: Create a Segment Based on Selection.
This has been one of my favorite hidden gems since the release of Analysis Workspace. It is best summarized thusly: You can right-click just about anywhere to create a segment based on a selection of cells in a freeform table, a cohort table, or even (in the case of a Venn diagram) sections of a data visualization.
Let’s say, I have a simple table showing marketing campaigns. (Analysis Workspace gets much more interesting than that, but it’ll suffice for an example.) Now, I want to do some further analysis by segmenting on visitors who interacted with either my “Enjoy Your Journey” campaign or my “You Know Dedication” campaign. I can select these two line items in the table, then — you guessed it — right-click.
If I select “Create Segment from Selection,” I will automatically slide up a segment-builder window (without leaving my project) that has the criteria I selected prepopulated into the form, so I can make whatever tweaks I want to the segment and then save.
It becomes a segment that is available anywhere in Adobe Analytics, created right in the context of my thought process and without interrupting my work on this Analysis Workspace project.
I mentioned that you can do this with a Venn diagram as well. What I love about this feature is that Venn diagrams show the overlap between segments. Creating a segment from the visualization basically means you are taking a shortcut to combining two segments. I can hover over the section of the Venn diagram that I want to use and then right-click. Here’s what this looks like:
If I choose “Create Segment from Selection,” I will be brought to the segment builder where, again, I can tweak my segment definition before saving. This segment would include just the overlap between the “Purchasers Without Reviews” segment and the “Tent Shoppers” segment. And, I don’t even have to think about how to build that segment manually.
Tip #3: Drag-and-Drop Line Items to Segment.
This one is a fairly recent addition to Analysis Workspace, but you old-school Ad Hoc Analysis users will recognize it — and, hopefully, be thrilled that we added it to Analysis Workspace. The concept is similar to our previous tip: I’m doing analysis and want to quickly segment my panel using the data in my table. But, in this case, let’s say that I’m in “exploration mode” as an analyst. I may not know where this train of thought is going to lead, so I don’t want to deal with the hassle of saving a segment that I may never use again. No fear! Analysis Workspace is here to give you ad-hoc segments!
The beauty of these drag-and-drop, ad-hoc segments is that I can use values (line items) from my existing tables; meaning, I don’t have to use the drag-able rail on the left. In this case, I want to segment by my Search Results page. It’s the top item in my “Top Pages” table. The trick is to select the value(s) you want to segment by, hold down Ctrl (on a PC) or Cmd (on a Mac), and now, click and drag up to the “Add Segment” drop zone as shown below.
This will build one of these beautiful ad-hoc segments without you needing to touch the segment builder.
Note that you can do this drag-and-drop segmentation with multiple items at once by selecting multiple items in a table. Pretty neat, eh? It has completely changed the way I do analysis. I’m a segmentation machine because I can do it so quickly and easily. When a particular branch of thought hits a dead end, I just remove the segment and start over — and with minimal time wasted.
These ad-hoc segments are saved with your project, but they won’t be available for use outside of the project unless you want to turn them into full-fledged segments. And, you can do that by simply hovering over the segment at the top of the panel, clicking the “Info” icon that appears, editing the segment, and saving it.
Tip #4: Run Segment Comparison.
In case you’ve been out of town, we introduced a new tool inside of Analysis Workspace in June 2016 called Segment Comparison (aka SegmentIQ). After you read the post my colleague, Trevor Paulsen, wrote about it recently, you should begin exploring it yourself to see how it can help you better understand your customers by using statistics to demonstrate how two different segments behave similarly as well as differently. I’ve never seen anything that makes segment insights jump out at you like this tool.
A great way to get started with a segment comparison is to use that contextual right-click menu that you’ve already seen a couple of times in this post. Select any one or two line items, which do not have to be segments (see the following screenshot in which they are products on a financial services website or mobile app).
When I click “Run in Segment Comparison,” I automatically get a new segment-comparison panel at the top of my project. And, best of all, it has turned those two line items I had highlighted into ad-hoc segments (see previous tip) for me to compare! One word of warning, though: The ad-hoc segments it auto-creates use a “Hit” container. In cases like this, where I am comparing interests in different products, I’ll probably want to switch to a “Visit” or “Visitor” container. This can be done by simply editing the segments once I reach the segment-comparison view (shown below) by hovering over the segments, clicking the “Info” icon, then clicking the edit icon, and switching the container type in the segment builder.
All I have to do now is hit “Run Comparison.” It will take a few seconds (possibly a few minutes) for Adobe Analytics to check these segments against all of my dimensions, metrics, and other segments to determine how they behaved similarly as well as differently — work, by the way, that would take me days or weeks to do on my own. Here’s just part of the resulting output:
When it finishes, I get a panel of comparison data that is rich with insights such as “People who visit my auto insurance product generate a lot more revenue, even though they have roughly the same number of visits as people who are interested in the travel card.”
Tip #5: Add Descriptions and Annotations.
Last, but certainly not least, we have considered it a tenet of Analysis Workspace that adding textual descriptions to data is key to helping your colleagues understand and glean insights from the analysis projects you put in front of them. To that end, we’ve given you two places where you can add descriptions: at the panel level (describing one or many visualizations) or the table level (describing individual visualizations). In this example, I will add a description at the panel level.
To do this, I can right-click on the panel header (near the panel title), much like we did in Tip #1.
But, this time, I select “Edit Description” from the list. This will give me a textbox in which I can enter whatever description I want. For now — with great emphasis on “for now!” — these descriptions are plain text only (no HTML), and while they can highlight insights in the data (“As you will see in the graph below. . .”), they cannot have arrows or lines pointing to specific data points.
Remember that I can do something similar at the individual visualization or data-table level by right-clicking next to the titles of these individual elements (such as “Traffic-Related Metrics” in the screenshot above), so I can get pretty granular with my descriptions. That’s often a good thing, since descriptive text adds valuable context and helps orient the recipients of this analysis project to the insights I want to convey to them.
Now that I’ve shared my five favorite hidden gems in Analysis Workspace — as of today — I would love to hear about any pleasant surprises you’ve encountered as you’ve used the product, watched the videos on our YouTube channel, or read previous posts on this blog, including the following posts where you can learn more about Analysis Workspace:
Faster Insights with the Analysis Workspace,
Summer Updates to Analysis Workspace,
Democratize Insights with Analysis Workspace, and
Optimize Your Analysis with the Latest Analysis Workspace Enhancements.
Anything that makes you a more productive analyst or marketer is a great thing! Share away in the comments or hit me up on Twitter. And remember: there’s much more coming soon!