Every marketing professional today is intimately aware of the current rate of change of the marketing landscape. The nonstop evolution of an ever-growing number of marketing channels often derails the very best marketers; yet, teams are also now responsible for capturing accurate performance indicators along the way as well. To ensure marketing success, teams share responsibility to make informed decisions while maintaining the various tools that enable such reporting.

Software providers and partners are under similar pressure to remain competitive and offer solutions that meet the needs of today’s marketers. This results in frequent yet significant changes to the tools you rely on for meeting your business objectives, leading to a “fish or cut bait” battle of priorities between marketing tactics and updating marketing tools. In an effort to help you in at least one area, we at Numeric want to cover some of the changes present in the most current version of Adobe Analytics (aka Omniture/Site Catalyst), comparing the older Adobe s.code to current Adobe Mobile App Analytics (AppMeasurement.js).

Web analytics is by no-means a one-size-fits-all approach, as it has grown exponentially to encompass desktop and mobile experiences and iOS/Android apps that all present unique challenges when considering what data should be captured, and most importantly reviewed regularly. The overall goal in providing the App Measurement upgrade is to increase the Adobe customer’s ability to measure key metrics such as engagement, path and retention analysis, app store performance, and user metrics. Additionally, Adobe aims to provide mobile app managers the ability to act on and improve those metrics through a robust Adobe App SDK and integration throughout the overall Adobe Marketing Cloud. In other words, if you’re limited to reporting on app store downloads and ad revenue, you may want to consider what additional information would be relevant in improving the adoption rate and contribution of your mobile app. Keep in mind there are many tools that can provide this, but there is often significant value in integrating that information with your existing web analytics solution in a single platform.

To help with the decision to determine if upgrading to App Measurement is appropriate, let’s look at some of the pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Increased visibility and tracking for mobile applications, as outlined in more detail here.
  • Access to additional eVars and Events (typically 100 eVars and 1000 Events – for some advanced organizations with complex analytics solutions, this may be reason enough alone to upgrade, regardless of what the eVars and Events are used to measure)
  • Generally, App Measurement is both faster to load and a smaller file size than legacy h.code, so minor page load improvements can be recognized.
  • App Measurement is designed to be used across all channels (Desktop Web/Mobile Web/Mobile Apps) resulting in a single analytics library across multiple properties.

Cons:

  • Some Plugins are no longer supported – this may require workarounds or revisions to existing solution
  • No dynamic account selection
  • Data Workbench will not be updated for additional variables until May, 2016
  • The process of upgrading to app measurement can be significantly more involved than some Adobe marketing materials convey, and if expanding to additional eVars, we highly recommend a review and planning session to ensure your Solution Design Reference (SDR) is up-to-date. For full details, please refer to the most current Adobe Analytics Implementation Guide.

So, now that you’ve weighed some of the pros and cons of upgrading Adobe Analytics to the latest and greatest, how do you move forward? While every approach will differ slightly based on overall objectives, here’s Numeric’s recommended considerations, applicable for App Measurement upgrade, but also any other significant change to your analytics platforms:

  1. Perform a thorough Analytics Audit – What tools are we currently using across our various channels, and if multiple data sources (web, agency, CRM, POS, etc.) are present, how are we tying those things together? Do we want to tie them together moving forward?
  2. How well is our governance and documentation process defined? Is documentation current? Do we have defined stakeholders and processes for making significant changes to our current analytics solution?
  3. Are mobile apps a significant portion of our overall business? How important are they to our defined business objectives? Would the app stakeholders significantly improve performance if they had additional data?
    a. Conversely – Is there any team that could benefit from identification and tracking of additional variables, but are limited today by what is available with the current Adobe Configuration? It is important to keep in mind that upgrading to app measurement opens up new eVars and Events, regardless if you actually use them to measure mobile app performance/engagement.
  4. Do we currently utilize, or would we like to consider utilizing Tag Management? In some instances, it may make sense to tackle an update of the Adobe code base and implementation via a TMS Solution at the same time, especially if you’re facing challenges relying on traditional developer resources to maintain your analytics solution.

Depending on these considerations, you may determine the time is right to update and increase the reporting capability of your current analytics solution. Whether for capturing and expanding your visibility into Mobile App engagement, pathing and retention, or for other purposes, AppMeasurement.js represents a great opportunity for marketers to consider in the context of their overall marketing and business objectives. While Adobe Analytics is only one tool of many, hopefully this article helps you consider the factors that should be reviewed going into critical decisions regarding keeping your teams, and ultimately, your business up to date and current with the constantly shifting marketing landscape.

For assistance with upgrading your Adobe Analytics code base to AppMeasurement, or any other analytics implementation, optimization, data visualization or advanced reporting and analysis, Numeric is a trusted and capable partner to ensure your needs are met.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Frank says:

    If you want access to the extra eVar but don’t want to upgrade, you can set the values in context data variables and then use processing rules to map the context data variable to one of the new eVars.

  • Numeric Analytics says:

    Hi Frank. Thanks for your comment. It is true that you can use context variables and processing rules to access the additional variables, and in some circumstances that can be the most appropriate solution. However in general when managing a solution it is usually best to avoid using processing rules unless necessary. It can be difficult to trouble-shoot and understand how data is defined later if part of the solution is implemented in a TMS or tracking script, while other parts might be assigned in processing rules that aren’t visible in the tracking code. Keeping as much of the solution in “one place” makes it easier to manage – particularly if you have developers working on your project who aren’t certified for processing rules to make changes where necessary.

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