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How to Use Adaptive Personalization with Sitecore

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How to Use Adaptive Personalization with Sitecore

Introduction

Offering an unique journey for the customers on your website is a must by today’s web standards. By using Sitecore, you have access to dozens of personalization capabilities that you can use to boost value per visit.

If we talk about website personalization, the personas are always at the center of the stage. They are like the synonyms of the industry. However, they are defined and understood differently from one CMS product to another or even from one industry to another.

For Sitecore’s particular case, a persona can be seen as a profile which unifies several profile keys and some bio information. A good example of persona would be a Sitecore developer, whose name is Joe and who lives in Canada. The profile keys for this persona would be the developer skills: JavaScript, HTML, ASP.NET and Sitecore development.

Where to Start?

In order to apply personas to your website, you need first to do some research in order to identify the visitors groups with their particular interests on your website. This is not an easy job you can do in a single day but always an easier alternative is to start by identifying their profile keys.

For this tutorial I will use the example mentioned above: Sitecore Developer. The profile will have the following profile keys: Sitecore Development, ASP.NET and JavaScript.

With Sitecore, you can decide to personalize a component by matching the profile or by matching only a particular profile key that is part of any profile. Let’s see how is done.

Creating the Profile Persona and the Profile Keys

For creating a new profile, you have to perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to System content node. From there select Marketing Control Panel and then the Profiles node.
  2. Right click on the node, then select Insert, then select the Profile option. Select a name for the profile, then click ok. The name that I choose for the profile is “Sitecore Developer”.
  3. Next, we need to add the profile keys mentioned above: Sitecore Development, ASPNET and HTML. For that, you need to right click on the Profile created, then select Insert then select Profile key.
  4. For each profile key added, change the Min Value field to 1 and the Max Value field to 100.
  5. Further, in order to provide a better identity to our profile, we can define a Persona card. In order to do it, you need to click on the Profile Cards folder that is placed under the Sitecore Developer profile node, click Insert then click the “Profile Card – Persona” option. Provide the name “Joe the Developer” then click ok. You can choose as well a picture to it or you can add some bio in order to have a more complete profile.
  6. As a last step, we need to provide the Profile Card value for our persona. This defines the skill level for each profile key that is required to match the profile. Please have a look at the image from below to see how I assigned the points to each profile key.

Okay! Our personalization profile is now created. The next step is to assign the profile key values to our pages in order to create our personalized user journey.

Assign Profile Key Value to Pages

In order to keep a simple tutorial, I will assign all the profile key value points to a single Sitecore page. In real world you would want to split the profile keys assignments across multiple pages in order to get a more complex user experience. The steps in order to assign them are the following:

  1. Select the page you want to assign the profile key values and then open it in the Experience Editor.
  2. Click on the optimization tab at the top and then click on the “Associate profile cards” from the Profile settings box. You can see the location of the option in the screenshot below:
  3. From the popup panel, click edit on the Joe the Developer profile card. Then click on the Customize little checkbox on top of the panel.
  4. On the Profile Card Details, you should be able now to edit the profile keys values. As I said earlier, in order to keep a simple tutorial, I am going to assign all the necessary points to match the profile from the first hit on the page. The points distribution is the following:
    • ASPNET: 25 points.
    • HTML: 15 points.
    • Sitecore Development: 25 points.

    The image from below shows the points distribution:

  5. Click ok on all the opened panels, save and publish the page and we are done.

Personalize a Page Component Based on the Created Persona

In order to assign to a component the profile that we want to trigger the personalization, you need to do the following steps:

  1. Select the desired component, click on the personalization icon, add a new personalization Rule and give it a meaningful name. Image below shows how the personalization icon looks like:
    Sitecore personalization icon
  2. Click on the Create Rule button, type “pattern card” and then select the “where the current visit matches the specific pattern card in the specific profile” rule from the list.
  3. In order to select our persona, click on specific profile link and select Sitecore Developer profile, then click on the specific pattern card link and select “Sitecore Developer” option. The rule should look like in the image from below:
  4. Lastly, click ok and then save and publish the item.

This is it! Now after you visit the page or the set of pages where you spread the profile key values, you gather the points to the profile keys and when the threshold is reached, you should see the personalized content.

All these settings might be discouraging to be done first time. But once you get to understand the power of personalization behind these profile keys, then immediately you will get 1000 ideas on how to apply them across the all site to get the best personalized user journeys!

Darius

Darius

Darius Dumitrescu is a creative Senior CMS Consultant with in depth .NET knowledge, focused on Web Development and Architecture Design.

Comments
  • user

    AUTHOR Sukhjeevan

    Posted on 8:55 pm August 4, 2017.
    Reply

    Hello Darius
    Really nice post
    I do have 2 queries here
    1. I did add specific profile but when I clicked on specific pattern opened pop-up shows two blank tabs Browse & Search. I didn’t find anything to select. Am I Missing something.
    2. How does sitecore track Joe’s activity on page because we don’t have even login/registration feature on website. This page can be browsed by any visitors not only Joe

  • user

    AUTHOR Darius

    Posted on 7:23 am August 16, 2017.
    Reply

    Hello Sukhjeevan,

    For q. no. 1: Maybe there is something wrong with your Sitecore installation. They should be present there.
    For q no2.: All users activity is recorded with the help of cookies and based on the information provided by an anonymous user like IP address, location and website behavior.

    Thanks!

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