Getting more out of Sitecore Experience Analytics

I've done a couple of Sitecore marketing configuration projects this Summer.  Both started with the clients requesting Sitecore analytics set-up.  That's a pretty common request.  Most folks don't initially understand how much of Sitecore's overall marketing configuration pushes through to the various Sitecore analytics tools.  Or put another way, you need to set-up Sitecore for marketing in order to get better analytics out of Sitecore.  

For those that haven't spent much time inside the Marketing Control Panel, I'll help connect the dots on where configurations push through to Experience Analytics.  I'll also share some thoughts on how I've configured the Marketing Control Panel. 

Let's take a tour of the Marketing Control Panel

Here's a mind map of the Marketing Control Panel.  Thinking about optimizing Experience Analytics, we're going to pay special attention to taxonomies, goals, campaigns, profiles, services, outcomes, keywords and internal search.  Let's take them one by one.   


Goals are critical to Experience Analytics, as you need to trigger goals in order to generate engagement value.  And, engagement value (EV) is the key reason to use Experience Analytics.  If you're not going to measure visitor engagement via an engagement value scale you're better off just using Google Analytics.  

Sitecore Experience Analytics tracks aggregate goal activity.  It also rolls up goal activity into goal facets.  Sitecore is configured out-of-the-box with three goal facets that are wired into Sitecore Experience Analytics.  The goal facet displays visits and value per visit for the top level goal facet.  There are facet tags nested under each facet, so you can drill down into a next level of detail.  I use goal facets frequently to roll-up a goal to a strategic objective and a marketing objective that supports the strategic objective.  Example:  I may have a strategic objective of increasing membership.  New member acquisition may be a marketing objective that rolls up to increasing membership.  And, member retention may be another marketing objective.  Both drive to the strategic objective, yet they have different goals and different member journeys.  


Grid display of analytics grouped by online channel

Channels in Sitecore represent where we (the brand) interact with the customer.  Sitecore ships with a large list of channels that are grouped into online and offline.  Channels are associated with campaigns.  In Experience Analytics, you can assess visit traffic, goal conversions and engagement value for each channel.


Another configurable taxonomy is a grouping called assets.  There's an Experience Analytics report that shows asset productivity.  The content items in the media library (images, PDFs, etc.) have the asset taxonomy.  This enables you to group your assets for reporting.  It's common to have asset tags like owners manual or technical spec document.  But you don't have to limit the use of assets to just downloads.  FAQs or videos can also be assets.  I tend to think of an asset as a piece of content that cost something to create and that will be used over time to help guide a customer journey.  So, assets could and should have an ROI.  You can measure that ROI here.   


Campaigns have the most configuration options, so there are a lot of different ways to set-up campaigns.  We have campaign groups, which are parent groupings that campaigns can roll-up to.  This can be used to group campaigns into things like seasons, geographic regions, etc.  There's a campaign group report in Experience Analytics.  We also have 7 campaign facets.  Like goal facets, these have the facet and tags.  And, there's a campaign facet report in Experience Analytics.  I like to use the campaign facets to roll-up campaigns into intent.  What are we trying to accomplish through the campaign - increase awareness, build pre-purchase confidence, promote referrals, etc.  Channels and assets can both be assigned to campaigns.  We covered both of them above.   


An outcome (think - desired outcome) is a significant business result that we're trying to influence.  Outcomes are are often used as indicators of a customer success moving from one customer journey stage to another (e.g., first time customer, repeat customer, loyalty program member, etc.).  Outcomes are triggered programmatically, so they're not typically used right out of the gate.  If you're new to Experience Analytics I might focus my effort on goal configuration, and leave Outcomes for later. 


There's a keywords report that displays search terms.  Make sure your development team configures 


The Sitecore location service wires directly into Experience Analytics.  If you sign-up for the location service you'll be able to see analytics grouped by location; countries, regions & cities.  You'll also be able to personalize based on location. 

The Sitecore device service also wires directly into Experience Analytics.  With location services, you can see analytics grouped by device (iPhone, iPad, Windows PC, etc.).  The rub on this one is the Sitecore device service is only available on 9+.  

If you're looking to get some good intelligence out of your Sitecore Experience Analytics, make sure you step through the Marketing Control Panel and build out the configurations that are listed above.  In a first phase, don't go too deep, and don't worry if you don't get it exactly write on the first try.  Most everything here is a quick configuration.  Set it up, let it run for a bit and then adjust.