We share two marketing scenarios demonstrating the business value offered by Sitecore Analytics.
You have a world of opportunity at your fingertips if you’re using the Sitecore platform, and you’re licensed for Sitecore XP.
For those looking for an overview of Sitecore Analytics and a comparison to Google Analytics, head on over to this recent blog post where I talk about this extensively. Conversely, if you’re keen to understand the MongoDB plumbing underneath, head over here for more detail.
Otherwise, I’ll repeat our philosophy here:
"Organizations will see the most gains by leveraging Google Analytics’ maturity in filtering and segmentation, while focusing on Sitecore Analytics for granular, enriched data and real-time optimization closely tied to content.”
– Nonlinear Marketing Science Team, 2016
In that earlier post, I referenced three compelling reasons to track data in Sitecore, in parallel to what you are tracking in Google Analytics; in this post I’d like to share two scenarios of how specifically business value can be derived from Sitecore Analytics.
Driving business value from Sitecore Analytics: Marketing scenario #1
As part of organizational objectives, you’ve identified an audience segment from which you need to drive more value and/or revenue.
In our example, the Rotman School of Management (business school at University of Toronto) was looking to more deeply understand and target to prospective MBA students. They wanted to validate their traditional segmentation of finance- and creative-oriented audiences, and to boost applications for part-time programs.
How to drive value from Sitecore Analytics:
1) We built an engagement value model.
We started by building a data enrichment model which is the foundation of all value derived from Sitecore Analytics. We tagged twelve goals on the Rotman website with a relative weighting, tagging to valuable interactions such as filling in a form and viewing event details.
A significant portion of Sitecore XP marketing features are predicated on this engagement value metric and it is used to discern the level of user engagement, the business value of a visit and the impact of tactics such as A|B testing and personalization.
2) We built a content profile model.
With Sitecore, you can use content as a strategic asset to help discern how an anonymous visitor falls into a particular segment. We set up profile cards for the finance, creative and part-time program personas (such as Career Revitalizers and Skill Upgraders) and tagged them to topical content closely matching segment interests.
3) We gathered insights from Sitecore Analytics.
We were able to quickly understand a few interesting insights from the out-of-the-box Sitecore Analytics dashboard. Two examples include:
a) Our Finance audience was logging more page views per visit and spending longer on the site than our Creative audience. However, they were generating significantly less value per visit (0.58 vs. 5.47). This represents a key opportunity to take advantage of their engagement and drive more value from their sessions by promoting events or other micro-conversions to them.
b) Out of the part-time program audience, the Skill Upgraders generated the most value per visit whereas our Balanced Careerist and Working Professional groups could use a boost. Again, these are key insights into developing a strategic personalization roadmap.
4) We can now target directly to these audiences and specific opportunities.
To close the circle, using Sitecore’s personalization rules engine, we can target these audiences directly on the website using out-of-the-box functionality. For example, we can promote a “day in the life” blog post on the homepage to a Career Revitalizer, or promote a finance-oriented event to a Finance visitor to drive up the value per visit they generate.
For example, we’ve seen a strong lift in value per visit for both our Finance and Creative personas.
Driving business value from Sitecore Analytics: Marketing scenario #2
You’d like to nurture a specific digital campaign from PPC through to conversion.
In this example, a non-profit organization was seeking to leverage Sitecore to boost the ROI from an AdWords investment that was targeting a specific emotional moment: making a donation in honour of a person with an illness.
How to drive value from Sitecore Analytics:
1) We found an opportunity using Google Analytics demonstrating this AdWords campaign was driving a significant amount of traffic, but the bounce rate was high (93%) on the landing page, which is not dedicated to the campaign. This suggests visitor expectations are not being met. Ideally, the landing page experience aligns to the visitor’s expectation and emotion.
2) We crafted a hypothesis that personalizing the page to match user expectation and emotion would reduce the bounce rate. The Sitecore personalization rule would swap out the hero image, title and description to more closely match the “spirit” of the ad campaign. Success of this experiment would be measured by trailing value/visit in Sitecore using the OOTB personalization report.
3) In order to execute this experiment in Sitecore, the following is necessary:
a. Build and tag an engagement value model so the experiment can be measured in Sitecore, and ensure a goal is attached to the landing page conversion that the campaign is targeting.
b. Create a Campaign in Sitecore to generate the “sc_camp” URL parameter that you’ll append to your AdWords landing page link.
c. Optionally, if your macro-conversion happens outside the Sitecore platform, you can use FXM to track that conversion as well.
d. Create a baseline measurement for engagement in Sitecore. This usually means letting your traffic collect for several weeks once you have tagged your engagement value model, so you have a sense of baseline behaviour.
e. Configure the Sitecore rules engine to display the personalized variant when the visitor arrives via the AdWords campaign (you’ll have needed to append your sc_camp variable to the link in the ad).
[Sitecore Rules Engine configuration for campaign personalization rule]
Once you’ve seen sufficient traffic flow through your ad campaign with the personalization rule applied, Sitecore’s personalization report will indicate which variation produces the most trailing value/visit; that is, the highest amount of engagement produced after seeing the default landing page vs. the personalized version.
[Example of personalization impact report demonstrating effect via Sitecore Analytics]
You can then decide if you’d like to keep the rule in place, or even add additional variations for other campaigns driving through that same landing page and boost the value/visit even further. This is one of the clearest and simplest flows demonstrating how Sitecore Analytics adds clear and immediate business value.
I encourage you to try this experiment with one of your AdWords investments and see how a simple tweak like this can make a difference.