Implementing web analytics on a site is an essential aspect for a site to gather data that is both useful for the business and the developers in order to create a better user experience. On the business side, web analytics is important for assessing how effective different marketing strategies are received by the users. The data can also be interpreted by developers to improve the user interface and parts of the functionality by tracking what aspects of a website are attracting users and what aspects are not. When using AEM a company can seamlessly integrate analytics to obtain this data and allow these different groups to analyze it for their purposes. For an even better analytics experience a company can integrate SiteCatalyst with AEM.
In order to track user interactions, AEM uses events to gather user data based on interactions with a site. The data is stored in a key value pair map based system so that the events are recorded and the metrics that are desired based on an event are attached to the event before it is stored. These events can be triggered either on page load or after page load. The first being utilized to evaluate site performance with respect to what gets loaded on the page and the later used for tracking what a user decides to interact with when on a page. To get the most out of this process values obtained from the client context, user information tracking included in AEM, can also be used to store customer data when events are fired.
Adobe’s SiteCatalyst does have some significant advantages over the OOTB analytics in AEM (For more information, read our blog: The Biggest Analytics Mistake You Don’t Want to Make). When utilizing SiteCatalyst the biggest advantage is that it essentially adds another level of detail when an event is triggered. Instead of a developer defining the value for an event’s key value within the code it provides an authorable interface where customizable SiteCatalyst variables can be attached to an AEM component’s event options. By removing the need to rework code for changes to SiteCatalyst’s variables it allows for faster and easier modifications to be made. There are also improvements to the reporting capabilities of the data gathered by adding more interpretations of the data that will analyze the customized variables. One of the most powerful tools it provides is called the Report Builder which is a plugin for Excel that can be downloaded from SiteCatalyst. It allows the user to consolidate, evaluate, and organize the flood of information into more concise reports that can be examined more easily.
Figure B: CQ View
Figure C: SiteCatalyst View
Between these two options using SiteCatalyst is the recommended route for getting the most out of the analytics from your AEM site but the OOTB method is effective as well. Once properly configured you can accurately track the activity of users on your site to produce more innovative marketing and web design geared towards a better user experience. Attaching analytics to a site is a source of valuable user feedback due to silently observing their interactions instead of asking for direct feedback. When coupled with data gathered from the client context the data gathered can not only tell you about the events that occurred during a visit but also obtain different user metrics to even further target diverse user groups.
Be on the look out for future blog posts on analytics and how to integrate them with your site. In the meantime feel free to contact us about any questions or comments you might have on analytics or anything AEM related.