Variables in Adobe Analytics are limited in length so losing data because we are exceeding these limits is something we all need to keep in mind. This can happen when we combine several values into a variable for future classification and we don't realise that certain combinations create a very long string. Fortunately, there is a simple method to proactively detect when this happens, allowing you to identify and deal with cases where values are being truncated.
And the simple method is...
...adding a recognisable suffix to the end of the value you are setting. This will give you an easy way to detect if the full length of the value has been captured (or not!) i.e. any instances where the variable is set but the suffix is not present are cases where truncation has occurred. Also, as long as you are classifying the values captured in the variable your end users will never see the suffix.
Imagine you were capturing campaign information into a variable e.g.
At the point of setting the variable (e.g. through your tag management system), you could configure your implementation to always add a suffix of "|end:1" e.g.
If the destination variable in Adobe Analytics ever contains a value but that value does not end with "|end:1", you know you have lost data due to the value being truncated.
Alerting yourself to instances of truncation
Obviously, you don't want to have to go into Adobe Analytics every day to check if you have any issues. But don't worry, it is easy to use the inbuilt alerting capability of Adobe Analytics to send yourself an alert if truncation occurs. For example:
When to use this approach?
This method is probably best suited to variables that you are planning to classify as the suffix won't be visible to your end users. For us, the variables that we are classifying also happen to contain some of our longest values, so this has been a very useful approach! In terms of deciding which variables to apply this to, we have taken a targeted approach - adding the suffix to those variables we feel are most at risk and are going to be classified.
What about my other variables?
Let's be clear - this approach doesn't work for all scenarios. I certainly wouldn't suggest sticking an ugly suffix on all your carefully created page names for instance!. For your other variables if you think you may be running into truncation issues Adobe may be able to assist with a one-off audit. It's worth talking to your account manager if you think you need help. Alternatively, if you are taking a feed of your Adobe Analytics data into one of your internal data warehouses you may be able to look for these issues there.