Adobe Analytics – event serialization to deduplicate data

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When asked what is the challenge to generate business value out of digital data, the most common answer is data reliability.

Unlike transactional data where each sale produces a unique set of transaction data, web data quality is often compromised unknowingly.

The biggest culprit so far, is the lack of understanding of user browsing behavior.

Professionals at workplace fail to realize that, when we are surfing the web, we do not follow a single path. We perform erractically by unncessarily clicking the back and front buttons, reloading the page, etc.

These actions have a huge consequence on the web data we collect, especially if we are not careful enough.

1. Example: application form

An application form is usually made up of multiple steps, which makes next-step conversion rates important to us. These help us identify potential problem areas in the application process for further troubleshooting.

In order to obtain the next-step conversion rates, we capture the data as follow:

DataInstance
Started application form (step 1)125
Started form step 2107
Started form step 365
Started form step 442
Completed application form (step 5)58

Let’s calculate the conversion rates:

  • Overall form completion rate = Form completed / Form started = 58 / 125 = 46.4%
  • Step1 to Step2 conversion rate = Form step 2 / Form started = 107/125 = 85.6%
  • Step2 to Step3 conversion rate = Form step 3 / Form step 2 = 65/107 = 60.7%
  • Step3 to Step4 conversion rate = Form step 4 / Form step 3 = 42/65 = 64.6%
  • Step4 to Step5 conversion rate = Form completed / Form step 4 = 58/42 = 138.1%
ConversionConversion rate
Overall form completion rate46.4%
Step1 (start) to Step2 conversion rate85.6%
Step2 to Step3 conversion rate60.7%
Step3 to Step4 conversion rate64.6%
Step4 to Step5 (complete) conversion rate138.1%

Notice how Step4 to Step5 (complete) conversion rate is more than 100%?

That does not make sense at all, but it happens so often.

Reason being, it is common for web users to reload the completion page for various reasons. This leads to number inflation for Completed application form (step 5).

To understand more about web data governace, here’s a useful article:

To handle erractic browsing behavior, we need to find a way to de-duplicate our data.

2. Event serialization

In Adobe Analytics, we can implement event serialization.

This gives us the option to capture a piece of data once and only once, regardless of how many times a tag fires.

With event serialization, no matter how many times auser refreshes the page, the form complete event will only be captured once.

What do we need?

In order for this to work, we need to have a few things ready:

  • A system-generated unique ID that persists throughout the form application, but is unique for each form application
  • Access to Report Suite
  • Access to DTM

How do we set it up?

Step 1

Login to your DTM (Dynamic Tag Management) and create a Data Element. An example configuration will be:

  •  Name: event-uniqueID
  • Type: JS Object
  • Path: digitaldata.form.uniqueID

Step 2

With the newly created Data Element, we can then go ahead and modify our direct call rules that capture the form data.

In this example, we are capturing event210 whenever a form application has been started.

In order to serialize it, we will add this event as usual, and in the Serialize from value field, we put in the name of the newly created Data Element (eg. %event-uniqueID%).

Step 3

Most web analyst stopped at step 2 and eventually figured out that event serialization was not working as intended.

That’s because there is still 1 final step – report suite configuration.

Login to your Report Suite.

Navigate to Edit Settings > Conversion > Success Events.

Notice the column Unique Event Recording? By default, the value is Always Record Event.

In order to enable event serialization, we need to change it to Use event ID.

This will tell the system to make use of the unique ID we have prepared earlier on, to deduplicate the events captured accordingly. 

3. Conclusion

If you need more information on event serialization, below are a couple of materials that would be mighty useful:

Adobe – Introduction to Event Serialization
Adobe – Methods of Implementing Event Serialization

About Zenny Tan Zhong Ming 32 Articles
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