Tracking Paid Search in Adobe SiteCatalyst

SiteCatalyst is a robust web analytics platform. For some, this is a good thing. However, for many the complexities stand in the way of a successful implementation and day to day use. I hear countless stories of companies who signed up with Omniture and then gave up during the implementation process. Over the next few days I want to share a little tip on how to use SiteCatalyst to track your paid search metrics WITHOUT purchasing SearchCenter.

I am going to make the following assumptions for this tutorial:

  1. You are using SiteCatalyst
  2. You have paid search detection working
  3. You have tracking code data being captured
  4. You have unique tracking codes for each Ad Group

Step 1: Setting up Success Events

Our first step is to prepare SiteCatalyst to receive the metrics. To do this, we will need to set up some success events.

Click on Report Suites in your Admin menu. It’s in the top right corner in v14 of SiteCatalyst.


Next highlight the Report Suite(s) you’d like to add the custom success events to. You can select multiple as long as you have been consistent with your custom variables across report suites.

Click on Edit Settings :: Conversion :: Success Events

Click on the “Add New” link until you come to a Success Event that has not been configured. It will be something like Custom 15. The number will vary based on your current report suite configuration. Now, let’s name these as follows:


Note that Total Cost is set as Currency and the others are Counters. Scroll to the bottom and click Save.

The next step is to identify our key, which is Tracking Codes. Mark the check box next to Tracking Codes and click next. The next step is to Map the Data Dimensions. Select Tracking Code from the SiteCatalyst Attribute drop down. If it’s not there already, don’t select anything and it will be created. Click next and verify the information is correct. If all is well, click Save. You will get a pop up warning. As long as you are not writing over existing information, you should be ok to continue thru this, but be careful!!!


Step 2: Data Sources

Before beginning this, please verify any additional fees that may be incurred for using Data Sources. There may not be any, but as all contracts are different it’s always best to check with your account manager.

Now that SiteCatalyst has a place to store the data, we are going to set up a new Data Source.

Data Sources allow you to share non click stream data with SiteCatalyst. In this case we will use the tracking code as our key to tie the two pieces of data together. First, if you are using multiple report suites, select the one you’d like to work with. Then click on Data Sources in your Admin menu. It’s in the top right corner in v14 of SiteCatalyst.


This should take you to the Create Data Sources tab.


In the “Select Category” menu choose Ad Campaigns. Then select the Generic Pay-Per-Click Service from the Select Type Menu. Click Activate.

A new window should pop up which is the Data Source Wizard. Name your Data Source, read the terms, and if you agree, click next. On the next screen, you will have the option to select the three standard metrics in addition to three custom. The three standard metrics are Impressions, Clicks and Total Cost. This should satisfy most needs, so check those three and click next.

Now SiteCatalyst is asking us to “map” this new data source to the appropriate custom events we created in Step 1. Select the appropriate event from the drop down menus.


This is the last step in creating your Source. There are some key items on this last page:

  1. Download button. Make sure you download the template. You must use the template created for you during this process. If you create multiple data sources, you will have multiple templates. The standard download file name is Generic Pay-Per-Click Service template.txt
  2. FTP Info: Don’t lose this! You’ll need it to upload your data once you are done.

Open the txt file in Excel so you are ready for Step 3.


Coming soon…

Step 3: Export Data

In Step 3 we’ll export data from your PPC account. This works for MSN, Yahoo! and of coarse, Google AdWords. But you aren’t limited to those. As long as you can export something containing your tracking code, impressions, clicks and total cost, you can import them into Omniture for Paid Search ROI tracking.

Step 4: Calculated Metrics

Let’s face it, Impressions, Clicks and Total Cost are interesting, but what are you going to DO with that information? With SiteCatalyst we can add in Revenue… so that’s adds a little more data. But we want to make some decisions here and we don’t want to look at 15 different reports to do so. In Step 4, I’ll teach you to create Calculated Metrics in Omniture. This is a GREAT feature they offer but I rarely see it used. For this exercise, we will create metrics that can be added to your reports that will be very helpful when making PPC decisions.

  • Page Views/Visit
  • Average Order Value (AOV)
  • Revenue/Visit
  • Click Thru Rate (CTR)
  • Profit
  • Profit per Impression (PPI)
  • ROAS

Step 5: Run Report

In Step 5 we’ll put it altogether and add the calculate metrics to your PPC report and drill down into a campaign to view performance and get an “at your fingertips” view of how each Ad Group is performing.

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