Manipulating incoming data with Processing Rules

It can be very useful to be able to manipulate the data that is coming into your report suites, to add or change the data based on what is already flowing in. This video gives an overview of Processing Rules in Adobe Analytics and discusses what they are used for. It also includes some tips, examples, and even a warning.

Hey, what’s up everybody, this is Doug. In this video, I want to give you a basic overview of processing rules to show you how we can manipulate data as it’s coming into the report suite in Adobe Analytics. So here I am an Analytics and the admin console, and I’ve gone to Admin, and then report suites And it brings me in here and I select one or more reports suites that I want to create these processing rules for. And then I simply mouse over Edit Settings, and I go to General and then Processing Rules right there.
Now, here we are in the processing rules screen. And up here at the top, it kind of gives you an idea of where processing rules sit in this processing story, I guess. This list of what happens as data comes in, right. You have the data collection even have the dynamic variables that are then worked here, and then you goes right through processing rules, and then through VISTA, which is a server side processing engine that can make changes to your data as well. And you can talk to, you know, your consultant or a client representative to learn more about VISTA, but in any case, most of your data manipulation, you’re going to be able to do yourself in processing rules. And if you can’t do it in there, then yeah, talk to somebody about getting it done in VISTA. And then it goes through marketing channel processing rules, et cetera, and we’ll talk about that in a different video, but in any case, here we are in our list of processing rules. I’ve created one so far and named it here, and then you can add more rules. Let’s just take a look at what this rule does. So I expand that and then we can see here again, I’ve titled it up here, what it does. So it’s easy to know what is going to be done in there. And basically saying, if all of the following are true, if this is done, then do the stuff down here, and then otherwise do the stuff down here, if the top thing is not true. So you can do kind of an if/then, and you can have several actions and you can even have several conditions as you can see here. So in this case, you can see that we are looking for some context data. So if page author, if this context data variable is set and you can always say, you know, has a certain value, or you can see all these different things contains and starts with and ends with and equals and all these. And so, for example, if I say, you know, if it equals something, then I need to put it over here and it can even be any of a list of items. So it’s pretty flexible here, but in this case, we just wanted to say, you know, if there’s a value in this variable, so if it is set, then we wanted to do these following things, which is take the value of that data variable that is set in my code and push it into eVar5 and Prop5, right. So you have these lists that you can go through and say, you know, I want to put it in a certain Prop or eVar. You can say, here’s the traffic variables or the props that have been enabled. Here are the different context data variables, et cetera . Scroll down, you can see that there’s a lot of those. So anyway, you can have that set to whatever you needed to be set to there. In any case, you can add, again, as many actions. I can also set any event, if I want to, from here, If I click on add action, I can override the value again of different variables, or just even set an event. And so, you know, we set a purchase event or, you know, maybe it’s Event3 or whatever, you know. So we can set an event. We can put values and variables. We can change values, et cetera. And again, you can do the otherwise, you know. So if it’s not set, we can also, do whatever we want to there. Maybe we set the variable to, you know, nothing said, I don’t know whatever you want to do there. So that has a processing rule. And you can see, we can have as many as we want. I can click Add Rule down here. Let me go ahead and just collapse that and then you can see it a little easier here when I say Add Rule. Now, we have a second rule. And again, I can do any of those things that we just talked about. Now, one of the important things to know about this is that these are sequential and so if I change a value to A, in my first rule, and then I’m looking for it as B in my second rule, it’s not going to find it right. Anyway, so you need to know that anything that happens in the first rule is going to affect the second, which will affect the third, et cetera, et cetera. So it kind of goes down through those and does that data manipulation one rule at a time. So there are lots of different use cases for this. In the first rule, of course, we were talking about context data variables, and assigning those values into props and eVars. You could look for a value in a variable, even in the eVar and you can set an appropriate event, or maybe you do something like if A and B, then set a variable to X. So you can do those kinds of things as well. Sometimes, even though some of these things could be done, you know, in your code or on the page, if it’s going to be a long time before you can actually get the attention of your IT department to make those changes in the actual code on the page, you could potentially come in here into processing rules and just make the changes to that data as it comes into Analytics. So that’s another, you know, good reason to use processing rules. Another related use case, is if you are using the web STK to push data into platform, and then using the Edge Network to send data back into Analytics. And you’ll need to use processing rules to assign that data from those variables in your schema, into Props and eVars, et cetera, in Analytics. And so, you know, anytime you need to, again, manipulate data, copy data from one variable to another, you know, set different variables. If you see different values, any kinds of stuff like that, then processing rules are a great way to do that. Just remember, here’s my big warning here at the end. I hope you lasted this long in the video.
The big warning is this is permanent. This is changing your data before it goes into the actual database and it goes into the report suite. And so this is not a runtime thing, you know, like classifications or something like that, where it just changes it at runtime and you can go make a fix and it’s retroactive. No, this is actually changing your data. So be very careful when you’re creating these processing rules and maybe even try them out in a test report suite before you, you know, assign this to your production report suite and is changing all of your data; potentially in a way that you don’t want it to. And that brings me to, scrolling up here, because if you do go ahead and create these in a test report suite, then you can also copy these processing rules over to your production reports suite. So you don’t have to create them all by hand again. So in any case, that that can be a very helpful tip. Up here, you also have, you know, the view history option as well. So you can see what has taken place here, in the processing rules, and who has made these changes, et cetera. Anyway, I hope this is helpful and we’ll see you on the next video, take care. -

For more information, please visit the documentation.