Learn how to implement and report on internal search terms on your site.

Internal search reporting is integral to many organizations, and is not a report that can be captured out-of-the-box with Adobe Analytics. However, with minimal implementation efforts, internal search term reporting can easily be captured.

This article assumes that you already have a working DTM implementation, and are seeing Adobe Analytics image requests via the debugger.

Using a data element to capture internal search term

Most internal search mechanisms use query strings to utilize keyword data. Creating a data element based on this query string and assigning the data element to an eVar allows it to be used in reporting.

  1. While in the DTM property overview page, click the Rules tab
  2. On the left, click Data Elements.
  3. Create a Data Element, give it a name (for example, Internal Search), and set the type to URL Parameter.
  4. In another tab, open your site and perform an internal search using any unique keyword. On the resulting page, note what query string parameter is used. For example, with example.com?q=kittens, q is the query string parameter and the search keyword is kittens.
  5. Back in DTM, place the query string parameter in the Parameter Name field. Most implementations use q as their search keyword query string parameter.
  6. Adobe recommends forcing lowercase value and scrubbing whitespace, as that helps lower unique search values that are otherwise identical.
  7. Remember the value for page view, as eVars persist the search keyword server-side.
  8. Click Save Data Element.

Assigning the data element to an eVar

Once the data element has been created, the next step is to assign the value to an eVar for use in reporting.

  1. On the overview tab in DTM, click the gear icon next to the Adobe Analytics tool.
  2. Click the Global Variables accordion.
  3. Click the Evar name dropdown, and select the eVar you'd like to use for internal search.
  4. In the text field below the dropdown, type the name of the data element inside percent signs. For example, %Internal Search%. The text field autocompletes recognized data elements.
  5. Click Save eVar.

Validating and publishing the implementation

The staging environment updates as changes are saved. Use a browser plugin like DTM switch or Tagtician to set your own computer to use your DTM property's staging environment.

  1. Go to your website, and use your site's internal search.
  2. On the search results page, open your browser's console. Most major browsers use F12 as the keyboard shortcut.
  3. Use DTM's console command to validate the keyword is correctly collected within the data element. For example, _satellite.getVar("Internal Search"). The browser's response shows your search keyword.
  4. Validate the keyword is correctly assigned to the eVar by opening the Adobe debugger.
  5. Once validated, approve the changes and publish the changes to prod.
  6. Log in to Adobe Analytics, and go to Admin > Report Suites.
  7. Click on the report suite for your site, and go to Edit Settings > Conversion > Conversion variables.
  8. Make sure the eVar used is enabled, and that it is named properly. The default allocation of last and default expiration of visit is typical for internal search, but can be customized.
  9. If changes were made, click Save.

Viewing an internal search term report in Analysis Workspace

Now that your organization's implementation has been updated to accommodate internal search, Adobe Analytics can now report on that dimension.

  1. Log in to Adobe Analytics and go to Analysis Workspace.
  2. Open a new project, which provides you with a freeform table
  3. Under Dimensions, drag the internal search eVar from the list to the freeform table.
  4. If the variable has had time to collect data, the top keywords appear in the table. You can drag the metric Visits to replace the default metric Occurrences to deduplicate hits.
  5. Segments and calculated metrics can be used to gain more insight for reporting.

Additional resources

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