Adobe Analytics: Virtual Suites vs Multi-Suite Tagging

17 Nov 2022

Which Adobe Analytics Report Suite Approach Is Best?

When to use multi-suite tagging and virtual report suites in Adobe Analytics

Adobe Analytics collects a lot of data.

A lot of data. 

All that information has to go somewhere, which is why the platform features myriad reporting and filtering options. But a common conundrum we deal with at TAP CXM is how to sift and segment this influx of data to draw value-adding insight.

In other words, we help clients understand, optimise and action their interaction data.

Adobe Analytics report suites are one of the most powerful – and fundamental – tools in the platform’s arsenal. With the right approach, report suites can help you:

  • Optimise website tracking
  • Harvest first-party data across properties and devices
  • Discover valuable insights
  • Reduce Adobe Analytics platform fees
  • Democratise website data

We’ll provide a quick refresher if you’re unfamiliar with report suites. If you’re already working with report suites and want to understand multi-suite tagging vs virtual report suites in more detail, feel free to scroll past the next section.

What are Adobe Analytics report suites?

Report suites are silos of data that Adobe Analytics uses to generate reports. 

A report suite typically collects information from a website, set of websites, or subsite. 

Although, as we’ll discuss in the following sections, linking multiple related properties to a global report suite generally provides the most value from the feature.

You can find and create report suites by logging into your Adobe Analytics property and navigating to Admin > Report Suites.

The three approaches to report suites

Adobe provides different configuration options for report suites: global, virtual, and multi-suite tagging. 

Which approach you choose depends on your use case. Each has pros and cons, but most organisations find a natural best fit based on their structure and strategy. 

1. Global report suite

As the name suggests, a global report suite collects data from all the domains and apps your organisation owns.

The suite collects and aggregates all your visitor data, providing a complete picture of the entire visitor landscape. As a result, it’s a better approach for cross-device analytics and KPI tracking.

Global report suites are the most straightforward and comprehensive approach. However, companies with several distinct brands, teams, markets or even products might face frustration when it comes to filtering data.

Still, Adobe recommends that global report suites should be your first preference.

2. Multi-suite tagging

Also called “parent/base” report suites, multi-suite tagging is a way for diverse companies to segment data.

Data still aggregates in a global report suite. But there’s another layer that collects information in smaller buckets. 

You can send data to one or multiple reporting suites using tags created in Adobe Experience Platform (previously Adobe Launch). This is where the “tagging” comes into “multi-suite tagging”. 

Functionality in the Analysis Workspace then allows you to compare data from different suites side-by-side. 

Multi-suite tagging can be useful if you need to collect data in a global warehouse while still:

  • Dividing data by region
  • Segmenting a parent company into brands
  • Controlling access to different websites or suites

The most common champions of multi-suite tagging are global companies with brands scattered around the world or businesses with discreet marketing teams in different regions.

However, there’s one significant drawback to multi-suite tagging: the cost.

Each report calls the global report suite and the secondary (smaller) suite. Because Adobe charges per call, the cost of this secondary call can quickly mount.

3. Virtual report suites

Virtual report suites allow Adobe Analytics users to branch and segment data without using multiple suites.

The “virtual suite” is a permanent segment applied over a global report suite. Each segment – and you can create as many as you like – becomes a unique view, effectively creating a new report suite from global data.

Virtual suites inherit most of the global suite’s rules, with a few exceptions:

  • Report suite ID (Analytics assigns RSIDs to virtual suites which only admins can see)
  • Report suite name
  • Permission groups (these are assigned to each virtual suite)

That means you can control access and generate unique reports the same way as in a multi-suite setup. Crucially, virtual suites reduce server call costs, simplify implementation, and improve data security.

There are other advantages, too:

  • Users can only see the data available to their permission group
  • Admins have more granular control over data access
  • No limit to the number of virtual suites to segment data
  • Use a single RSID across all properties/domains

So far, virtual report suites sound like the Goldilocks solution. Segmented data without the additional server call costs, plus better security – so what’s the catch?

Virtual report suites do have some limitations compared to multi-suite tagging:

  • No real-time reporting
  • Settings and variable names can’t be customised
  • Classifications are inherited from the global report suite
The pros and cons (and use cases) of Adobe Analytics reporting suites
Adobe analytics report suite comparisons


What’s the best approach to report suites in Adobe Analytics?

Adobe favours virtual report suites, stating that “having all data in a single report suite enables customer analytics as we move toward the next generation of Adobe Analytics.” 

This next generation, we expect, will be more focused on single-customer views. Just like Google is changing Analytics to focus on behaviour, Adobe understands the need to reorientate around the customer.

That said, the best approach is the one that works for your organisation. Some companies even combine multi-suite tagging and virtual report suites to reduce server call costs while keeping brand-specific data separate.

There is no “best report suite approach” for every company. But there will be a best option for your company. TAP CXM can help you determine what it is.

Our Adobe Analytics experts can work with you to:

  • Establish the business needs
  • Design an architecture for data collection in Adobe Analytics
  • Set up report suites to suit your needs
  • Train your team
  • Provide ongoing technical support

We’re an end-to-end Adobe Analytics and Adobe Experience Cloud partner for some of the world’s best-known brands. Contact TAP CXM to speak with an expert or learn more about our services.

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