SiteCatalyst reporting capabilities generate over 150,000 report combinations and it allows you to you analyse all aspects of visitor activity which makes it one of the most advanced web analytics solutions available in the market today.
One of the fundamental things you need to understand about SiteCatalyst is the difference between an s.prop and an eVar. To recognise the distinction between the two, we need to know how each of these variables is used.
s.props are traffic variables used to track page-by-page site traffic activity that allows you to segment or breakdown Page Views, Visits, Unique Visitors and Time Spent into meaningful buckets. s.props have a 100-byte limitation.
s.props allow for Pathing analysis that enables you to view the order in which values are passed to a particular SiteCatalyst s.prop for a specific Visit and to see the relationship between the values set within a given s.prop.
s.props are not persistent and they do not retain their value from one page to the next.
eVars are conversion variables used to identify how well specific attributes or actions contribute to success events on a website. eVars allow you to breakdown Success Events, Visits and Visitors metrics in a similar manner that Traffic Variables allow you to breakdown Traffic metrics. eVars have a 255-byte limitation.
eVars are persistent values that can follow the visitor between pages and visits. Once a site visitor gets assigned a value, that value sticks with them until the SiteCatalyst Administrator clears it out from the SiteCatalyst.
Unlike s.prop variables, eVar variables are not allowed to be lists of delimited values. If you populate an eVar with a list of values, for example, “one, two, three,” then that exact string appears in reports. Moreover, eVars do not allow users to run Pathing reports.
When should you use one over the other?
The most important aspect to making this important decision is to know the underlying business question behind the tracking request.
s.props are used to capture information and answer questions regarding traffic-related events such as:
- “Which search terms are most popular?”
- “Which sections are most popular?”
- “What are the most browsed product categories?”
eVars answer questions that tie Success Events back to the last value that was stored in the eVar such as:
- “How often do people look at a product before they buy it?”
- “What age group registers on our website most often?”
- “How many times did the user see the advertisement before they clicked it?”
The information passed into eVar and s.props look very much the same, but the data will manifest itself quite differently in the reporting.