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Understanding Totals and Summations Across Merchandising Evars





Totals are not always what they appear to be to new users of Adobe Analytics. New members on your team may not fully grasp why the total at the top of a workspace report is not the sum of the rows and in what situations it is appropriate to sum rows. In the below example we see the total for visits are less than the sum of the first 10 rows (over 6 million). The reason is that a visit takes place over a period of time and during that time a user may view products in each of the site sections. The user constitutes only one visit, but they would also appear as one visit in each of the rows (merchandising site section).


merch pic 2.png


While this example is difficult enough to wrap your head around, how to handle totals for merchandising evars can vary by the metric you are totaling. A normal evar may fire when a page loads or a link is clicked. A merchandising evar fires under specific action and is not only associated with that action, but bound to a specific product. “Product Finding Method” or “Internal Search Term” are two examples of merchandising evars one would use. These would tell you how the product in question was found and would bind to that product on an action such as add to cart or product view. The above screenshot represents what site section the product was found in.


merch pic 1.png

In this next screenshot, we see the internal search term merch evar = “winter coat” firing when the user clicks add to cart. This value will now follow this jacket through the cart until it expires, typically at purchase. This is useful because now an analyst can query total orders by internal search term and only internal search terms that lead to an add to cart would be included. If internal search term was not a merchandising evar it would include only the last search term a user entered before placing the order. This could potentially leave out items that were added to cart from other search terms previously.

Getting The Correct Total

Configuration settings aside, the purpose of this article is to help understand what metrics can or cannot be summed when used with a merch evar. Below is a list of common metrics, how they should be handled, and why (using “Product Finding Method” as an example merchandising evar that is set to expire on purchase).



How to handle



Don’t Sum

As described above looking at visits across product finding methods would put a visit into each row of the method that the user interacted with during their visit

Product Views


These can usually be summed as they are at the product level obviously. However, keep in mind that some merchandising evars are set to bind on add to cart, so a product could be viewed before there is a value for the evar rendering product views inaccurate to use with merchandising evars

Cart Additions

Sum in most cases

Generally speaking, you can sum cart additions as a cart addition usually only occurs at a static point in time while adding the product in question to cart. You can only have one cart addition per product per finding method


Don’t Sum

Each order can contain multiple products, each with their own finding method. So 1 order could have 2 products with different methods.



Units can be summed as they too are associated with specific product



Similar to units, revenue is associated with the cost of a specific product




After reading this you should have the tools at your disposal to understand how to utilize merchandising evars to their fullest. If you encounter a metric that was not referenced here use your best judgement. Pull the metric into a workspace column, and a merchandising evar into the rows. Test to see what the workspace says is the true total before summing.