Ah Omniture Site Catalyst, an excellent tool in theory, sold spectacularly by the talented sales people at Adobe. And to me, as a marketer who has inherited and actually had to use this bloated analytics swiss army knife, I know that there has got to be a special place in hell for Omniture creators. Let me elaborate on the 5 main reasons why Omniture is the Jumanji of analytics. Lets roll the dice and see what happens!


 1.Real time isn’t always real time

When you are pushing tens of thousands of parameters into any piece of software, it is going to take some time to process and parse it. Fair enough. What I love about Omniture is that they not only promise and don’t deliver on this aspect of their system, they also can’t actually quantify how great the delay in data is. This means, that some data will come through within a few min, other data will come in an hour later, and some other data might arrive 24 hours later. It’s kinda like rolling the dice and having the rhinoceroses burst through the wall.. you just don’t know.

2. Oh you actually wanted to find out how your campaigns worked… that’s a good one!

You know those variables I mentioned in point 1..Well it turns out, if you have too many of them (say if you run a paid search campaign with thousands of keywords being fed through the URL), Omniture will simply ignore them! This means, that when you want to actually see how particular keywords performed, you just can’t. Nice one Omniture! But don’t worry, those handy sales people who sold you the shoddy platform from the outset, will be happy to sell you a special paid search adon that will take care of this problem for you, until you need an adon for that adon. Perfect. This feature of Omniture I liken to that scene in Jumanji where the monkeys steal the board.

3. Dimensions are not easy

Lets say you want to see how particular SKUs are selling across different channels. You can’t. Theoretically you can, but practically it’s spectacularly difficult. To the point, where you will need to invite more Omniture sales people to quote you on creating custom reports that may show this.  This is also a symptom of a wider Omniture problem of not being able to effectively pivot more than 2 dimensions easily (even with the excel adon). “Beware the ground on which you stand, the floor is quicker than the sand”

4. Attribution is wonderfully complex

If you want a laugh, ask an Omniture specialist to explain how a 30 day window is defined in Omniture. If you expected that every 30 days the cookie window would be refreshed, you would be wrong. What you will actually find is that its a 30 day rolling window, whereby the cookie does not expire if your customer keeps returning more frequently than every 30 days. What an unusual and cruel joke. This might mean that a channel will seem to perform amazingly well based on a first touch attribution model, even though it has done nothing for you lately.

Another hidden gem of Omniture is something that is dubbed “renewed sessesions”. This is basically a black hole that represents roughly 15-20% of your data. Omniture can’t explain where it came from adequately, nor can it help you identify it. It just sits there. This is like the scene from Jumanji where the monkeys take over the kitchen.

5. My favourite: beware of the set up phase

I’m going to opt for the Jumanji analogy early. Remember Hunter Van Pelt, the maniac that never gives up hunting Alan. Well, that is what you can expect from Omniture technical staff or agencies that you use to set up Omniture. They will keep coming back. Their work will never be done. Just when you think you have fixed everything, Omniture will do a release and something will break, or (the more likely scenario) you will never actually have a reliable, fully functional Omniture instance, and you will be trapped in the Jumanji jungle trying to survive by avoiding the Pelt.

In all seriousness though, I have never met a (sober) marketer in any organisation that was actually happy with Omniture. It is honestly both expensive and cumbersome enough to draw tears from your eye sockets. Given how important accurate, good data is why not invest in a decent data cube, warehousing solution and scope out your needs with a professional BI company.

Until then, keep rolling those dice!


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