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Understanding Disablements

A Campaign disablement occurs when there is a conflict that you need to know about. When a disablement happens, the campaign is automatically put into a status of disabled, and the system emails all the users who have their profile set for notifications. This status is like a paused state where the users retain their assigned Variation Groups. The typical workflow would be to determine what caused the condition, make changes to the triggers or search, and set the Campaign back to active.

If you don't have notifications turned on, you may notice that the Campaign is no longer accumulating data or that its Status is now set to Active - Disabled. When a Campaign is disabled users no longer see any Variations that are part of the Campaign and data is no longer collected.

It's not uncommon to experience a disablement shortly after launching a new Campaign. It's a form of discovery for pages that you expect to contain certain content but do not.

Types of Disablements

  • Failed to match: The Triggers were matched but the Find this search text was not found.
  • Conflict: More than one Campaign are trying to change the same cookie, or another resource changed a cookie that SiteSpect is expecting to have control over.
  • Performance: The sum of operations takes too long. The generally occurs when there is complex and inefficient regex used and it experiences too much backtracking.

Notification of Disablements

SiteSpect may notify you if it disables one of your Campaigns. Notifications are controlled by a setting on your User Preferences page. For more information on notifications, see Setting System Notifications.

Notification Message

By default, SiteSpect sends you an email to let you know that it has set the Campaign's Status to Disabled. The same message is stored in SiteSpect's messages area. You can find the message by selecting Messages from the Your Account menu in the upper right corner of the page.

Understanding Disablements

The message includes a few key pieces of information. The content of the message differs slightly, depending on the reason for the disablement.

A typical Campaign Disablement email will contain:

  • Object: the campaign name and ID.
  • Time: when the disablement occurred.
  • Message: the page the disablement happened o.n
  • Reason: the variation group that caused this and why it happened e.g. failed to match because of missing code or because the match was inefficient and took too long to run.

Enable Disablement Details: request with helpdesk@sitespect.com

When you enable the Disablement Details feature it allows SiteSpect to capture information on a Campaign disablement that it useful for troubleshooting such as page source. This information is surfaced as an additional bullet point in the Campaign disablement email called 'Details'. It provides a link to download this additional information. Note: Credit card numbers and Social Security numbers are automatically scrubbed from the captured data.

Search Text Doesn't Match

The following example shows the content of a message that SiteSpect sends as the result of the Search text not matching:

SiteSpect performed the following actions that you should be aware of:

Object: Campaign <link to the Campaign>

Time: Time stamp (time zone)

Message: disabled when user requested <link to the page that disabled the Campaign>

Reason: Variation '<link to the Variation where the Search Text was not found>' failed to match. Please review the Search Text alongside the source to determine why it is not matching.

Solving a Search Text Disablement

To solve a disablement caused by Search Text that does not match, you have to change the Search Text.

  • It is helpful to have the Disablement Details feature enabled which can be requested through helpdesk@sitespect.com.
  • Make the search conditions of the Factor the same as or broader than the search text of the Variation. This is referred to as aligning or tightening up Triggers between the Variation search and Factor match.
  • Edit the Search Text for the Variation to more accurately describe what you are searching for.
  • Keep in mind that when you tighten up the matching, you may miss some pages that you had wanted to include. You may not know that you've missed some pages until you notice that your traffic is low.
  • In addition, production pages may differ from the pages you designed the test for. The website pages may no longer match the Search Conditions, but you may not know until you look at report data.

Conflict

A conflict can arise when SiteSpect tries to perform actions that are not logically possible or that may create problems, were the Campaign to continue. Say, for example, that you are running several Campaigns, at least one of which is an Overlay Campaign and one user is assigned to two Campaigns. You have used the same Factor in both Campaigns. A problem arises when SiteSpect tries to show the same user two different Variations of the same Factor. In another example, you are running an Origin Experiment Campaign and one of your Variations tries to create a cookie name that is the same as an existing cookie. The following shows an example of the content of a message that SiteSpect sends as the result of a conflict:

SiteSpect performed the following actions that you should be aware of:

Object: Campaign <link to the Campaign>

Time: Time stamp (time zone)

Message: disabled when user requested <link to the page that disabled the Campaign>

Reason: Multiple campaigns attempted to use Factor '<link to the component that caused the conflict>' at the same time causing a conflict. Please resolve the conflict before re-enabling this Campaign.

Solving a Conflict Disablement

To fix a conflict, do one of the following:

  • It is helpful to have the Disablement Details feature enabled which can be requested through helpdesk@sitespect.com.
  • If the problem arises because you are trying to show one user two different Variations of the same Factor, remove the Factor from one of the Campaigns. You can then create a copy of the Factor and use it in the Campaign you removed the Factor from.
  • If the conflict is due to header/cookie name/value, have someone with administrator access edit the Factor to change the offending cookie name. This can happen when:
    • Two campaigns were incorrectly named with the same header/cookie name/value. Simply correcting the naming of these will resolve the issue.
    • Sometimes Dev / QA teams will run campaign QA without using SiteSpect Preview but with setting manual conditions in their browsers. This most commonly happens for Origin Experiments (e.g. headers, cookies etc). If they fail to remove these and visit production once the campaign is active they will viewed by SiteSpect as a new users to the campaign that already has a campaign variant which should not be possible. In order to avoid this you can ensure Dev / QA teams clear these manual browser settings, have an audience exclusion those users (typically via IP) or turn off disablements within the campaign.

Performance

Performance disablements happen when the sum of everything that runs on a page is taking too long. SiteSpect notices and disables the Campaign.

The following example shows the content of a message that SiteSpect sends when a Variation Group takes too long to run:

SiteSpect performed the following actions that you should be aware of:

Object: Campaign <link to the Campaign>

Time: Time stamp (time zone)

Message: disabled when user requested <link to the page that disabled the Campaign>

Reason: '<link to the Variation>' took too long to run. Please review your setup.

Solving a Performance Disablement

To fix a performance disablement, try the following:

  • It is helpful to have the Disablement Details feature enabled which can be requested through helpdesk@sitespect.com.
  • Make your Triggers more strict. What does this mean? Define your Triggers so that they select fewer pages. Using stricter Triggers reduces the risk of matching pages that are inconsequential to your Campaign.
Note: Keep in mind that regex is the least efficient when it does not match on a given page.

Intentional use of Disablement Functionality

Use "loose" matching for the Trigger and "tight" matching for the Variation Search if you want to intentionally find out which pages don’t match where you might expect them to. For example

URL Trigger: /productdetail
Page Source Trigger: <div class="display1"

Variation Search: <span>More Options</span>

Notice that there is no requirement with a Trigger for the page to have "<span>More Options</span>". So if all your pages that have the URL and page source are expected to have the span in the Variation Search, a disablement will occur and be illustrative of a page that did not contain content that it was expected to contain. Then the triggers can be adjusted to include or exclude the page.

  • Helps to identify pages that should and should not be included in the test
  • Helps refine match conditions
  • Used in an iterative manner (keep adjusting until there are no more disablements)

Disablements (not planned)

Preview the page identified in the disablement alert and adjust triggers to include or exclude the page as desired. This could have been caused by:

  • A page that deviated from an expected format
  • Page Triggers are "too loose" (discussed above)
  • A change was introduced into production
Further Assistance

If you need some help figuring out why a Campaign was disabled or how to solve it, contact the Help Desk. at helpdesk@sitespect.com or +1-844-859-1900.