Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Getting started with Empathy Platform

What's generally considered a query?

Any search carried out by the shopper to find a specific product, service, or information using a single term or number of terms (term string).

What does Empathy Platform consider a query?

Any request made to the search engine that's expected to have results.

A query is counted every time results are shown since:

  • A new term is entered in the search engine.
  • A page is changed manually or by scrolling.
  • The query is refined (with facets or related tags) or when a suggestion is clicked.
  • The user clicks the back button in the browser to return to the SERP.

Imagine your shopper enters a query in the search bar and a product results list is retrieved. Also, related tags and next queries are shown to respectively fine-tune the initial query or guide them to the next one. These elements are displayed in your commerce store because the query's launched several API calls to different microservices to retrieve this data. When the shopper clicks one of the related tags displayed, a new list of results is shown, then a new query is counted.

As seen, one query equals to several API calls that can vary from 3 to 10, depending on the use case. So it's important to know that at Empathy you're billed per query, not per API calls.

Are all queries unique searches?

No. Unique searches or queries indicate the terms that users are looking for. Queries show the different requests made to the search engine, according to the search terms entered. For example, if you look for “jeans”, then “shirts”, and then “jeans” again, this results in two unique searches (jeans and shirts) and three queries (jeans, shirts, and jeans).

What’s the difference between unique searches, queries, and API calls?

Unique searches are the search terms used by shoppers. In this sense, the q parameters of all the queries made are grouped to obtain unique search terms. In other words, when the shopper searches for the same term several times in a session, all the repeated searches made are grouped to obtain the final number of queries.

Queries are the requests to Empathy Platform microservices that get new product results lists.

API calls are made when the shopper interacts with the search engine or other tools provided by the search engine, generating requests to one or more Empathy Platform microservices. The Search API is one of the main microservices involved as it's used to retrieve information that's indexed in the Empathy Platform servers.

To sum up, when a shopper looks for "apples", "orange juice", and "apples" again in the same session, there are two unique searches (apples and orange juice), three queries (apples, orange juice, and apples), and dozens of API calls, as a query can involve between 3 to 10 API calls.

What does Empathy Platform consider as a user?

A user is anyone who performs a search query. As Empathy Platform does not tag any personal data, a session ID is instead used to relate actions within the same time frame.

Why is the information shown in Google Analytics different to that shown in Empathy Platform?

Google Analytics and Empathy Platform have different ways of collecting, processing, and visualizing data. Some of these differences include:

  • Queries in a single session: Empathy Platform collects the total number of queries made for each search term, while Google Analytics collects unique queries per session. For example, if a user searches for the term shirt two times in the same session, Empathy Platform counts this as two searches (as two queries are performed), while Google Analytics counts only one.
  • Source of the query: Google Analytics only retrieves the queries performed based on a parameter in the URL when a page is reloaded. In Empathy Platform, any search performed, whether as a direct search, from filters or from any other source, is counted as a query.
Is a query event sent even when there is a cache?

Yes. Generally speaking, when a shopper clicks the Back button or scrolls the page to view more results in a SERP, a new query is sent even if the query is in the cache. However, this depends on your implementation.

What is findability?

Findability is a metric to measure whether shoppers find what they are looking for in your online store. Currently, it is defined as the number of clicks on the first page of the SERP divided by the number of queries.

Creating and indexing your catalogue

Why does my feed give an error when it's indexed?

The most common reasons why a feed may fail to index are:

  • Incorrect format/specification, i.e. invalid characters or missed open/end tags
  • An unsupported item in the feed

To detect format/specification errors, check it in a JSON or XML validator to identify and correct any bugs. For unsupported items, contact Empathy Platform First Line Support (opens new window) to review your feed to detect the exact item causing the problem and correct it.

Can I remove a product that is indexed in the feed?

To remove a product, you need to contact the team responsible for generating the feed, as they have to launch a new index afterwards. If Empathy Platform has done this for you, contact Empathy Platform First Line Support (opens new window).

Do you use crawlers or spiders?

Empathy Platform does not offer crawlers or spiders. We feel there are lots of appropriate tools already on the market for gathering data from sites.

If you are looking to crawl/spider your own sites as a method to index the content, then there are likely to be much more controlled methods to access the data. For more information, please contact our Growth team.

Using the Playboard

An error occurs when I create a new synonym. What should I do?

In this case, check that the new synonym is not already active in the synonyms you've created previously.

Why isn't the synonym I've just created working?

Every time a new synonym is added, the feed needs to be reindexed in order for it to take effect.

I have created a link but it doesn't work. What should I do?

Check that you have completed all mandatory fields, marked with an asterisk *, on the link creation page.

Why is there a query in “No Results” on the dashboard?

There may be multiple reasons. However, bear in mind that some terms may appear in the No Results column due to specific errors when running filters, of the man/woman section or even momentary server communication failures.

Why can't I create a boost?

Check that the product has not been already included in a previous boost.

Why don't the same products appear in the search engine as those shown in navigation?

The products that appear in the search engine are those included as data in the feed you sent to Empathy. These products are not necessarily the same as those shown in the navigation. You may need to check that product is included in the feed.

Why do I search for “bags” and see “t-shirts”?

There are cases where the categories indicated in the feed are merged. If you're indexing merged categories, it can affect the user experience, showing different products for exact queries.
For example:

<arr name="categories_30359498_34009450">
<str>Summer Pleasures</str>
<str>Shirts & Bags</str>
<str> </str>
<str>New In</str>
<str>White Shirts</str>
<str>View all</str>
Why do products appear that are not related to the search query?

Some synonyms may have been created for that query at some point and are still active. Check the synonyms section in the EB Admin.
Remember, Empathy doesn't not always control the frontend. In these cases, use the browser's inspector tool to extract a search API call and see which products Empathy returns. If you need assistance using the tool, contact Empathy Platform First Line Support (opens new window).

Issues with user credentials

I can't access the Service Desk platform. What should I do?

If you're unable to log into our Service Desk platform, contact us via, specifying the incident, and we'll send you a link to reset your password.
Important: the password reset link expires within 48 hours.

I can't access the Playboard platform. What should I do?

If you're unable to log into the Empathy Platform Playboard (opens new window), open a support ticket (opens new window). Empathy Platform First Line Support will contact you as soon as possible.

Need help?

If you didn't find an answer to your question, open a support ticket (opens new window) or contact us at