Act-On Analytics Walkthrough

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Welcome to Act-On Analytics!

Act-On Analytics is a powerful and flexible analytics experience, especially once you're familiar with how it works. This walkthrough is designed as a step-by-step guide to familiarize you with Analytics so that you can:

  1. Understand how to navigate to make use of Answers (reports/tiles/charts) and Liveboards (dashboards).
  2. Modify an existing Answer and Liveboard.
  3. Add new Answers to your Liveboards.

Let's get started. The full guide will probably take you roughly 30-40 minutes to complete. We recommend that you open this guide in a separate tab so that you can see the instructions while you are completing each task.

Access Act-On Analytics

When signed into Act-On, go to Reports > Analytics. The Analytics Home tab appears:

AO Analytics 01.png

The analytics home page contains the natural language question bar, selected KPIs for your account, and the library of reporting assets; both Answers (remember, those are your reports/tiles/charts) and Liveboards (those are your dashboards.)

From the Home screen, you can view an Answer or a Liveboard by clicking on the name. Let's start by filtering that view.

  1. Click on the "Liveboards" button.
  2. Click on "All authors" and select the author "Act-On Software".
  3. Open the "Email Performance" Liveboard.

Working With Liveboards

When the Liveboard opens you will see a number of tiles on the board, all focused on email performance. Right below the Liveboard’s title (Email Performance) are the filters – those apply to all of the tiles. You can filter the dataset by message send date, message title, and the sender of the message. Let's try the filter:

  1. Note the number of sent messages currently showing on the board in the top-left tile.
  2. Click the send date filter. In the window that opens change the timeframe from the default of the "Last 90 Day(s)" so it says "This Month(s)". Click on "Apply."
  3. The tiles will refresh. The number of sent messages is likely to be lower than it was before (because you’re looking at this month vs. the default of the last 90 days).

You can take a closer look at an Answer tile by pointing to it and then clicking Explore. The selected tile will expand to fill more of the screen and allow you to adjust the data without changing the tile or the Liveboard itself.

Let’s try it with the “Open Rate (Unique)” tile (second column in the 2nd row).

  1. Hover over the “Open rate (unique)” Answer tile and click "Explore".
  2. There are a number of suggestions provided based on the data. Choose one of the suggested send dates and filter to another time period.
  3. Now go to The “Add” option:
  4. In the “Add your own column” search box, start typing “Click” and then choose “Click Rate (Unique)”.
  5. You should now see a table showing both open rate and click rate by week.
  6. Add “Message Title” (which may be a suggested attribute.)
  7. You should now see a breakdown of your messages and their corresponding open and click rates.
  8. Click on the Open Rate column once to sort by open rate and the worst-performing email will be at the top of the report.
  9. Go back to the search bar under "Add" and add the “Sent” column.
  10. Click once on the “Total Sent” column, and then click once more. The report will now be sorted so that the largest volume message is at the top.

You can save a copy of the updated Answer if you want. We'll explore that more later in this walkthrough. For now, let’s just discard our updates by using the “Close” button in the lower right corner.

Modifying a Liveboard

You can update a Liveboard and focus it on a specific business purpose. You might want to do this to focus on how emails are performing for a specific area of your business, for a campaign that you’re running this quarter, or to support preparing for a weekly metrics meeting. While you can start from scratch, it’s often easiest to begin from an existing board.

  1. While you're still on the default "Email Performance" board, start by clicking the three dots in the top right corner and choosing “Make a copy.”
  2. Enter a "Name" and "Description". For this walkthrough “{Your Name}'s Analytics Training Example” might be a good name, and “Learning how Liveboards work” is a good description.
  3. Click “Save.” The board will reload and the new name should be up at the top.

Let’s adjust this board so it works for a metrics meeting that takes place the first week of each month. We need to present the email performance data for the previous month.

  1. Let’s start by adjusting the filter. First, click the pencil icon/Edit in the upper right corner – straight across from the Liveboard title.
  2. Click on the existing “Send Date” filter, change the Default values to “Last 1 Month(s)”, and then click Apply.
  3. Let’s then remove the “Message title” filter by pointing at it and clicking on the “x”, and do the same for the “Sender” filter.
  4. We’re not going to use all of these Answers for this meeting. Keep the small KPIs in the first row and the rate charts in the 2nd row. For the other charts, click the 3 dots in the upper-right corner of the title and then select “delete”.
  5. Lastly, let’s rename the first tab. Click the down arrow next to “Email Performance” and choose “Rename”. Change “Email Performance” to read “Monthly Metrics.”
  6. Your board should look (something like) this:
  7. Save the Liveboard using the “Save” button in the upper right corner.

Build New Tiles by Exploring Data

For our monthly meeting, we need to bring two additional data points. The first is the number of people who opted out of emails. The second is the number of new leads.

Let's start by clicking on "Explore Data" in the header. Explore lets you build out a new tile from scratch

How Many Contacts Opted Out?

  1. Click “Select a data source” in the top-left corner and then select the “Act-On Email Data” option. Finish by clicking on “Select” at the bottom of that screen.
  2. Now add your data points to the report. In the Search bar type “Opt Outs” and then select the option that appears. Keep typing “This Month” and select the option with the description “Send date in Act-On Email Data”
  3. Click “Go” to generate the report. Since it’s a single data point the default visualization will be a “KPI”.
  4. Let’s add that to our Liveboard. Look for the green “Pin” button in the top right corner of the visualization window. Click on "Monthly metrics".
  5. Select your Liveboard's name ({Your Name}'s Analytics Training Example) and then the "Monthly Metrics" tab. Finish by clicking on the "Pin" button in the lower-right corner.

Which Form Generates the Most New Leads?

Let’s add another tile to our Liveboard to show which Form performed the best at generating new leads over the past month.

  1. We need to change from looking at email data to looking at Forms data. Click on “Act-On Email Data” in the upper left, select the “Act-On Forms Data” option, then “Select” at the bottom of that screen.

  2. You’ll be asked to confirm that you want to clear the query – you do, so click “replace.”

  3. Add your data points to the new report. For this report, try using the Data column to the left. Click on the “AZ” option to see all the available data points listed alphabetically.

  4. Locate and check the box next to “Form Name” and “First Submission Count.” Those two fields will appear in the horizontal bar across the top of the report.

  5. Click “Go” to generate the report.

  6. Click on the Y-axis label “Total First Submission Count”, select “Sort” and then “Descending”.

  7. Let's add a time filter. Click the text “Activity date” (not the check box on the left) and click the filter icon on the right:

  8. Select a rolling time frame for “Last 1 month(s)” and click “Apply”

  9. Click “Go” to run the updated query and generate the new chart. Your Answer should look something like this:

  10. Let's pin this chart to our Liveboard. Because "Monthly Metrics" is already showing to the left of "Pin" you can simply click the "Pin" button.

Organize the Liveboard

Let’s go look at the updated Liveboard and make it look like we want for our monthly meeting.

  1. Click on the Home item in the navigation.
  2. Find your Liveboard in the list and open it.
  3. The two new tiles will be at the bottom.
  4. Click the pencil icon/Edit in the upper-right corner to edit the board
  5. You can move and resize the tiles however you like. See if you can make your board look something like this:
  6. Save the board when you’re done.

A More Complicated Visualization

So far we've only done simple charts. Let's go back to “Explore Data” and build a more complicated example to show more of what's possible. In this section of the walkthrough, we'll be using many of the same techniques we used earlier.

  1. Select “Act-On Email Data” as your data source
  2. Check the following fields “Subscription Category,” “Send Date,” and “Open Rate (Unique)” (You may need to go to the AZ to see all the fields. You can also type them into the search bar.)
  3. Click Go to generate the report. You should see a line chart.
  4. Click the gear icon on the right side of the screen to edit the chart. Select “Settings” and then under “Display” check the “All labels” option. (Explore the other options if you’d like.)
  5. The open rates are shown as a decimal number, rather than a percentage. Right-click on one of the Open Rates and choose “Edit Open Rate (Unique)” from the menu.
  6. Under Category, choose “Percentage” and then change “Decimals” to "1". Press “enter” to apply the changes.

  7. Now let’s try a different chart style. Click the chart icon in the top right and select the Heatmap option. You should see open rates over time by subscription category.

  8. Click the Gear icon to access the chart settings make sure the X-axis is set to Send Date, the Y-axis to Subscription Category, and the value set to Open Rate.
  9. Depending on your account's setup and usage, you may see a lot of data. Let’s adjust the time filter to only look at the current quarter. Go to the search bar at the top of the chart (where you should see “Subscription Category,” “Send Date,” and “Open Rate (Unique)”) and begin typing “this” – a number of options will appear. Type a space & then “Q” and you should see two options for “This Quarter”. One will be for the “Send Date” and the other will be for the “Click Date.” Let’s stick with the Send date for this report. Select that and press Enter to refresh the report.

  10. Your Answer should now look like this (with your appropriate subscription categories).

  11. Instead of pinning, let’s save our work as a separate Answer. Click on the three dots between the title and the Pin button and select Save
  12. Give it a name and description. If you want others in your organization to be able to find this Answer and use it, leave the “Make this answer discoverable” box checked.
  13. Click Save Answer.
  14. Go back to the Home screen. Your Answer should be listed below.

Use AI to Ask a Business Question

There's another way to generate an Answer, and that's to ask a question. At the top of the home page is a box with a search bar. Asking a question can be a simple and efficient starting point for Answers. Using plain language, you can ask for what type of report you are trying to build. The AI function will generate a report for you based on what you asked and is a great starting point to refine an Answer from there. If AI is not available, it will search through the available Answers that have already been created.

To ask a question you only need to select which data source you are asking about and then type in your question in plain language.

Here are two questions you can try to get things started:

  1. Which Forms have received the most submissions over the last 6 months?
  2. What is my average open rate send date Tuesday vs Friday

Just type those into the question bar (copy and paste can work too!) to give it a try.

While this can be a great starting point, it may not look the way you want it to. So we'll use the techniques we learned earlier to adjust the final result.

  1. On the left of the "Ask a business question" bar, click the down arrow and select the "Act-On Email Data" option on the left side of the window. Close that window by clicking "Select" at the bottom.
  2. Start with the question “What is my average open rate send date Tuesday vs Friday”
  3. The AI should deliver a table showing the average open rates for messages sent on Tuesday and messages sent on a Friday.
  4. Good start. Now let's add more details to the Tuesday/Friday comparison. Click "Edit" at the bottom of the AI-generated Answer.
  5. Use the search bar at the top to add "average Click Rate" and "average Delivered Rate" and then click "Go" to update the report.
  6. Let's change the display to be a chart instead of a table. Hover over the "Send date = tuesday vs Send date =  friday" block in the search bar and click the x to delete it.
  7. Search for "day of week" with the description of "Send date..." and update by clicking "Go".
  8. Click the chart icon in the top right and then select a column chart.
  9. There are three separate y-axes, one for each measure. Since all three are rates (and therefore have the same scaling) we can combine these into a single axis and allow the bars to be compared.
  10. Click on any of the 3 y-axis labels, select "Group" and then check one of the other two options. The chart will refresh and you will see two axes, one of which lists both data points
  11. Click on the combined y-axis label (it will have the "&" symbol and be on the right side of the chart), select "Group" and check the name of the 3rd axis. The chart will refresh and you'll have a combined y-axis for all 3 data points.
  12. Click once more on the y-axis label and select the "Edit" option. Change the "Category" to "Percentage" and update the "Decimals" to zero (0), then press Enter to apply the change.
  13. Let's reorder the data series so that they go in the typical order of delivery then open then click. Click on the gear icon in the top-right corner and drag the data points under the "Y-axis" into that order, then click "Apply" at the bottom of the screen.
  14. That was a lot of updating! Save this Answer to your account for future use and reference!

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