Vertica Analytics Platform Version 9.2.x Documentation

Event Series Pattern Matching

The SQL MATCH Clause syntax (described in the SQL Reference Manual) lets you screen large amounts of historical data in search of event patterns. You specify a pattern as a regular expression and can then search for the pattern within a sequence of input events. MATCH provides subclauses for analytic data partitioning and ordering, and the pattern matching occurs on a contiguous set of rows.

Pattern matching is particularly useful for clickstream analysis where you might want to identify users' actions based on their Web browsing behavior (page clicks). A typical online clickstream funnel is:

Company home page -> product home page -> search -> results -> purchase online

Using the above clickstream funnel, you can search for a match on the user's sequence of web clicks and identify that the user:

  • landed on the company home page
  • navigated to the product page
  • ran a search
  • clicked a link from the search results
  • made a purchase

Clickstream Funnel Schema

The examples in this topic use this clickstream funnel and the following clickstream_log table schema:

=> CREATE TABLE clickstream_log (
  uid INT,             --user ID
  sid INT,             --browsing session ID, produced by previous sessionization computation
  ts TIME,             --timestamp that occurred during the user's page visit 
  refURL VARCHAR(20),  --URL of the page referencing PageURL
  pageURL VARCHAR(20), --URL of the page being visited  
  action CHAR(1)       --action the user took after visiting the page ('P' = Purchase, 'V' = View) 
);

INSERT INTO clickstream_log VALUES (1,100,'12:00','website1.com','website2.com/home', 'V');
INSERT INTO clickstream_log VALUES (1,100,'12:01','website2.com/home','website2.com/floby', 'V');
INSERT INTO clickstream_log VALUES (1,100,'12:02','website2.com/floby','website2.com/shamwow', 'V');
INSERT INTO clickstream_log values (1,100,'12:03','website2.com/shamwow','website2.com/buy', 'P');
INSERT INTO clickstream_log values (2,100,'12:10','website1.com','website2.com/home', 'V');
INSERT INTO clickstream_log values (2,100,'12:11','website2.com/home','website2.com/forks', 'V');
INSERT INTO clickstream_log values (2,100,'12:13','website2.com/forks','website2.com/buy', 'P');
COMMIT;

Here's the clickstream_log table's output:

=> SELECT * FROM clickstream_log;
 uid | sid |    ts    |        refURL        |       pageURL        | action
-----+-----+----------+----------------------+----------------------+--------
   1 | 100 | 12:00:00 | website1.com         | website2.com/home    | V
   1 | 100 | 12:01:00 | website2.com/home    | website2.com/floby   | V
   1 | 100 | 12:02:00 | website2.com/floby   | website2.com/shamwow | V
   1 | 100 | 12:03:00 | website2.com/shamwow | website2.com/buy     | P
   2 | 100 | 12:10:00 | website1.com         | website2.com/home    | V
   2 | 100 | 12:11:00 | website2.com/home    | website2.com/forks   | V
   2 | 100 | 12:13:00 | website2.com/forks   | website2.com/buy     | P
(7 rows)

Example

This example includes the Vertica Pattern Matching Functions to analyze users' browsing history over website2.com. It identifies patterns where the user performed the following tasks:

  • Landed on website2.com from another web site (Entry)
  • Browsed to any number of other pages (Onsite)
  • Made a purchase (Purchase)

In the following statement, pattern P (Entry Onsite* Purchase) consist of three event types: Entry, Onsite, and Purchase. When Vertica finds a match in the input table, the associated pattern instance must be an event of type Entry followed by 0 or more events of type Onsite, and an event of type Purchase

=> SELECT uid,
       sid,
       ts,
       refurl,
       pageurl,
       action,
       event_name(),
       pattern_id(),
       match_id()
FROM clickstream_log
MATCH
  (PARTITION BY uid, sid ORDER BY ts
   DEFINE
     Entry    AS RefURL  NOT ILIKE '%website2.com%' AND PageURL ILIKE '%website2.com%',
     Onsite   AS PageURL ILIKE     '%website2.com%' AND Action='V',
     Purchase AS PageURL ILIKE     '%website2.com%' AND Action = 'P'
   PATTERN
     P AS (Entry Onsite* Purchase)
   ROWS MATCH FIRST EVENT);

In the output below, the first four rows represent the pattern for user 1's browsing activity, while the following three rows show user 2's browsing habits.

 uid | sid |    ts    |        refurl        |       pageurl        | action | event_name | pattern_id | match_id
-----+-----+----------+----------------------+----------------------+--------+------------+------------+----------
   1 | 100 | 12:00:00 | website1.com         | website2.com/home    | V      | Entry      |          1 |        1
   1 | 100 | 12:01:00 | website2.com/home    | website2.com/floby   | V      | Onsite     |          1 |        2
   1 | 100 | 12:02:00 | website2.com/floby   | website2.com/shamwow | V      | Onsite     |          1 |        3
   1 | 100 | 12:03:00 | website2.com/shamwow | website2.com/buy     | P      | Purchase   |          1 |        4
   2 | 100 | 12:10:00 | website1.com         | website2.com/home    | V      | Entry      |          1 |        1
   2 | 100 | 12:11:00 | website2.com/home    | website2.com/forks   | V      | Onsite     |          1 |        2
   2 | 100 | 12:13:00 | website2.com/forks   | website2.com/buy     | P      | Purchase   |          1 |        3
(7 rows)