Product Manager John Bates told the audience at the marketing Summit in Utah in March 2014 that Classifications is the most used feature in Adobe Analytics.
I am not surprised.
One reason is that Classifications allow you to aggregate data. Aggregation of data can make all the difference between a report that is unreadable and one that is useful.
For reports based on Counter eVars, aggregation is a necessity, but I’d wager that you could improve any report by aggregating it properly.
Another reason why Classifications are used a lot is that the meta data they allow you to upload applies retro-actively to all the data that has been collected, even data that dates back to before when you even knew about Classifications!
And another one, and you’re going to love this or hate it: your friendly marketer can use Classifications behind your back. She doesn’t need any IT or development involvement to do her magic. That’s a winner in itself!
Those three reasons show that Classifications are a very useful feature, so really no surprise it gets used a lot.
You know me, don’t you? You know the next word…
The one thing that makes people shy away from Classifications is the effort they have to put in to classify all the data.
Depending on your setup, the people, and the processes, classifying the data can be quite a task.
So much, in fact, that numerous tools have sprung up that help address the issue. There are even consultancies out there who specialise in Classifications!
Adobe also develops the feature, most recently with the introduction of the Classification Rule Builder, a tool that allows your friendly marketer to automate some of the work, as long as it can be automated.
Example: if she sends out all her emails with tracking codes that all start with “em-“, then she can automatically classify all tracking codes that start with “em-” as being “Email” campaigns.
The rules in the Classification Rule Builder can be fairly complex, which is why you (the developer) might every now and again be asked to help build them. Time to brush up on your regular expressions! And there’s even an API!
I am writing all this a) to remind you of a useful and widely used, yet somehow not that glamourous feature and b) because I want to give you a heads up from my personal point of view: this is not the end. On the contrary, it is only the very beginning.
The meta data that Classifications introduce into the reports is helpful. It makes a lot of sense to drive the idea further, and I think that must happen at some point.
Another aspect: “Audiences”, formerly known as MMP, the Master Marketing Profile, will let your marketer collect, connect and use vast amounts of meta data about your visitors.
The direction seems to be obvious: we’re going to enrich data more than we ever have.
I am sure you (the developer) will be a part of setting that up or maintaining it, so maybe you should play around with Classifications a bit to get a feeling for what can be done.