Adobe Analytics Review: "Powerful platform with extensive functionality and strong integrations to other products."
| 2013-02-11published 2/11/2013
TrustRadius Review Summary
Partner at web analytics consultancy with deep SiteCatalyst expertise provides a very detailed review. Strong points are product platform functionality and powerful pre-built integrations to other products. Some reservations about UI design and customer service.
Overall Satisfaction with Adobe Analytics
Adobe SiteCatalyst does a good job at providing a platform for collecting website behavioral data. It has many variables that can be used and can be adapted to meet many business needs.
- Adobe SiteCatalyst does not do a great job at tracking online marketing campaigns. It does not have great multi-visit campaign attribution or statistical modeling built-in
- Adobe SiteCatalyst does not do well at providing segment comparisons, which require an add-on product (Adobe Discover).
- Adobe SiteCatalyst does not provide Pathing capabilities across multiple visits.
Adobe SiteCatalyst derives its ROI from improvements made to the website and conversion rate increases that can be attributed directly to use of SiteCatalyst.
Using Adobe Analytics
30 - Adobe SiteCatalyst is normally used by web analysts, online marketers, product managers, campaign managers and website designers.
2 - Normally Adobe SiteCatalyst is supported by one product owner and one or more developers. The product owner manages the relationship with Adobe, understands the product, may do in-house training, etc. Developers are responsible for writing the code required to capture the desired data in SiteCatalyst variables.
Adobe SiteCatalyst is used to provide directional guidance for improving websites. Using data collected about website use, web analysts can suggest website improvements that will improve conversion rates.
While there are other tools out there, customers who truly take advantage of Adobe SiteCatalyst's capabilities are likely to renew. Those only using a portion of its functionality may consider switching to Google Analytics, which has a simpler interface and often a cheaper cost.
Evaluating Adobe Analytics and Competitors
Many clients switch to Adobe SiteCatalyst from a competing web analytics product (Webtrends, Coremetrics, etc.) or choose to upgrade from Google Analytics, which is a free product in the space. - Most reasons for switching have to do with data ownership, extended features and inclusion of web analytics in an overall marketing suite including things like testing and content management.
Adobe Analytics Implementation
I have found that initial SiteCatalyst implementations are too basic to be useful. Adobe professional services is usually tasked with the initial implementation using their "Fusion" methodology. This is good for vertical-based basics, but I find that many clients fail to go beyond this. This has the negative effect of selling SiteCatalyst short within the organization, since first impressions can be long-lasting.
- Vendor implemented
- Implemented in-house
- Professional services company
Adobe Analytics Training
Myself and others have found the in-person training ok, but not outstanding. Trainers are good at explaining how to use the product features, but sometimes lack "real-world" experience on how to use the product as they are people who have often not previously been web analysts. There is also a shortcoming in company-provided training on advanced uses of the product. The implementation training is very good.
The online training for Adobe SiteCatalyst consists of short product videos. These are ok, but only go so far. For a while Adobe charged a fee for this, but recently made these available for free. There are many great blog posts that help users learn how to apply the product as well.
Adobe Analytics Support
I have had many clients that are not thrilled with some aspects of the support. I think the actual day-to-day technical support (ClientCare) is great, but I have heard (and experienced) complaints about the the longer-term services (initial implementation, account management).
Using Adobe Analytics
I think there are some interface improvements that reduce Adobe SiteCatalyst's usability. For example, having two different variable types (eVars and sProps), can be confusing to end-users. Additionally, there are few "out-of-the-box" reports and dashboards that a novice end-user can take advantage of right away. The learning curve on Adobe SiteCatalyst is greater than other tools like Google Analytics.
Adobe Analytics Reliability
Adobe SiteCatalyst has a good up-time track record, but there are cases in which the interface reports a "Network Acceleration" issue, which can be frustrating. There are also times when data can be "latent" for customers, but most of these cases are due to spikes in traffic or temporary server issues.
For the most part, Adobe SiteCatalyst reports work ok, but there are cases in which reports take a long time to return. These cases are usually when too much data has been stored in Conversion Variables (eVars).
Integrating Adobe Analytics
- E-mail tools like ExactTarget, Responsys
- CRM tools like Salesforce.com
- Marketing Automation tools like Eloqua & Marketo
- Voice of Customer tools like OpinionLab and Foresee Results
- Customer experience tools like Tealeaf and ClickTale
Many 3rd party products can be integrated with Adobe SiteCatalyst using the Genesis (API) integrations that have been built over the years. These integrations are a great way to combine data from multiple tools and are a key differentiator for Adobe SiteCatalyst over other web analytics tools.
Relationship with Adobe
My main advice would be to learn as much as you can about the product before entering the sales process. Most clients buying the product are ignorant of its features and as a result end up buying the wrong stuff and paying a price for it later. I suggest going to training before you buy the product or reading as much as you can about the product ahead of time. Even better, talk to a product expert and have them coach you throughout the buying process.