Variables in Adobe Analytics : Part 1

Read this article to get a broad & detailed understanding of variables in Adobe Analytics.

Before we jump to Adobe lets understand the different categorization of variables that can be available. Just think open – ignore Adobe Analytics here.

Basics of Variables

Scenario A) Depending on the values: whether they are Dynamic OR Static:

  1. Dynamic
  2. Static

Scenario B) Depending on the type of value it holds: whether it holds a single value OR multiple values (an array):

  1. Single Value
  2. Array

Scenario C) Depending on the type of data it stores & How it is reported: Dimension OR Metric:

Whether its categorical OR numerical. Categorical means “string” data while numerical means “number” data. This has more details- categorical has different sub types Nominal, ordinal; numerical can be Interval, ratio. However, no need to go into those details here. So finally:

  1. Categorical: These are reported as dimensions. However, the values which each of instance takes can be reported a metric. If you want to jump the gun and see where this happens read about success events.
  2. Numerical

Scenario D) Depending on the need for definition: whether they are predefined (built in) OR not predefined (custom):

Imagine you have a site for car retailer and your code has a variable called “var carmodel” created by default. This is created because “carmodel” is something very important and is needed on your pages. In your code you then will have to create other variables for cartype , carcolor etc as per the purpose. So, this is what it means by predefined and non pre-defined variables:

  1. Predefined (built in) : You dont need to define these variables, because Adobe has it already defined for you.
  2. Not predefined aka custom

Scenario E) Depending on the type of Capture: Whether their values are captured automatically OR need to be configured:

So, there we go :

  1. Auto-populated
  2. Not auto-populated

Scenario F) System aka Configuration Variables OR Non Configuration Variables: 

Configuration Variables are something like system variables – the high level ones. These are the meta Variables and have a direct bearing on data collection.

So far so good ? These are all the different variable types which can exist for an Analytics system.

Now, lets jump in into Adobe Analytics.

Variables in Adobe Analytics

In my quest to keep the Variables as MECE (Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive), I would say that variables in Adobe Analytics can be classified in two distinct ways:

  1. Automatic and Non Automatic
    1. Non Automatic : Traffic and Conversion Variables are Sub Types of Non Automatic Variables
  2. Configuration and Non Configuration
    1. Configuration and Non Configuration Variables

Lets start with Traffic Variables first. I wont explain the use case for traffic variables as of now as it will introduce new terminology and will confuse unnecessarily.

Traffic variables are of two different types. The different variables under each are as below:

  1. Predefined
    1. s.pageName : To track page names
    2. s.pageType : To track error pages
    3. : This has nothing to do with Marketing Channels. If you dont know Marketing Channel just ignore. This is built so that one can track site sections.
    4. s.server : For tracking server names
    5. s.hierN : For site hierarchy tracking
  2. Not predefined aka custom.
    1. s.prop1 – s.prop 75 : For any other purpose

As you can see – this variable is captured by “scenario D”. A little bit of thinking will tell you that Traffic Variables are also :

  • Dynamic : They change. Example – s,pageName – it will change as per the page. Scenario A
  • Single Valued: No array (Honestly – this can be an array as well -the array form is called list prop). Scenario B
  • Categorical. Scenario C
  • Predefined & Custom both. Scenario D

They are also “Not auto-populated” as per Scenario E. So, this is about Traffic Variable , we will talk about the other variables in subsequent posts.

You now understand the traffic variable at a much detailed level.

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