Sitecore Online Marketing Suite: How to get started with Behavioral Targeting (Part 2) | Lars Birkholm Petersen

Sitecore Online Marketing Suite: How to get started with Behavioral Targeting (Part 2)

In my last post (part 1) I gave an overview of key preparations to get started with Behavioral Targeting, these were:
- Target Groups
- Behavior
- Personas
- Goals/triggers

Assuming you have these steps in place, you’re ready to setup the rules needed for Behavioral Targeting in Sitecore Online Marketing Suite!

This post will focus on:
- Content profiling
- Content structure
- Creating Rules

Setting up Behavioral Targeting may be different from organization to organization, because of the difference in Target Groups, Behavior and Triggers.
The steps below will focus on setting up Behavioral Targeting for an online shop, which sells paint – let’s call it Paint Shop. Content profiles and rules will be specific for this shop and might be different from your site needs, but I hope the steps below gives an overview of how to get started.

Content profiling
Setting up profiles and profile keys is primarily based on the analyzed Target Groups, Behavior and Personas from part 1. In my example, where I’m defining profiles for a paint shop, I will add six profiles, these are:
- Content type
- Category
- Target group
- Behavior
- Personas
- Relevance

It’s easy to setup these inside Sitecore, you just open the Marketing Center (available from Desktop), here you find the folder called (surprise) “Profiles”, right click on this to insert new Profile.

Below is a screendump of my Marketing Center with the six profiles added.
Profiles overview in Sitecore Online Marketing Suite

When setting up profiles and profiles keys, it’s important to have the Editors in mind, who will work on the content profiling. Therefore do your best to make the names self explaining (Don’t make me think) and try to keep the choices to a minimum, more profiles means more work and more complexity added when creating the rules. I must admit that having six profiles in my example is actually a little high.

The six profiles added has the following profiles keys configured:

Content type
Profiles Content type

Content type has the Type set to Sum (see screen dump below).

Profiles type

In my paint shop example I have content types, that can be:
- Product description (the product itself)
- Products offers (is my visitor primarily looking for offers – then I can use offer content as triggers to conversion)
- Product categories (is my visitor looking at many categories?)
- Articles
- News items
- Corporate information

By using these profile keys I will get a clear picture of my visitors interest – and can create rules, that shows content according to this.

All profiles keys are set using the Checkbox Control (see screen dump below):

Profiles Control

By using the Checkbox, my editors has a clear choice “Is this content an Article or News item?”, by using Slider that question would be “How much is this content an Article and a News item?”.

If you have a good IA (Information Architecture) and your content is tagged correctly, like all the content in this folder is news items – you will be able to programmatically set the values by using the Sitecore API (and save your editors a little time).

Profiles Category

In my paint shop example I sell paint in 4 categories; Blue, Green, Red and Yellow. The Category profile, has these 4 categories as profile keys. By using these I can track which category my visitors are interested in, across content types and build rules upon that.

Type is set to Sum and Control is Checkbox.

Target group
Profiles Target group

In my paint shop example I have “analyzed” the above four Target groups for buying paint, as control on the profile keys – I use the Slider Control, which can have a value from 0 to 5, where 5 is highest.
I use the Slider control, because content can interest several Target groups, and by using the slider I can adjust according to this and even prioritize who the content is best suited for.

I set the MaxValue to 5, to make it easier for my editors, by using higher MaxValue (like 10), they have to know the difference between 7 and 8.

With values form 0 to 5 I can create a scale, my editors can use:
0 – Content is NOT interesting for this Target group
1 – Content is PERHAPS interesting for this Target group
2 – Content is LIKELY to interest this Target group
3 – Content is INTERESTING for this Target group
4 – Content is INDEED INTERESTING for this Target group
5 – Content is VERY INTERESTING for this Target group

I could probably also set for a MaxValue of 3, where you leave out option 2 and 4 from the scale above, chose 3 or 5 depending on your Target groups, rules and Editors.

As Type I use Sum

Profiles Behavior

In my Behavior profile I use the 3 behaviors; Looking, Confirming and Buying as described in part 1 of this post.

Control is set to Slider with the MaxValue of 5 and Type is Sum.

Profiles Personas

From the Personas step on part 1 of this post, I have “Analyzed” the above 4 key Personas to my paint shop example.

Control used for profile keys are Checkbox and Type is Sum.

I could use the Personas content profiling in two-ways:
1. To get an insight to which Persona matches my visitors
2. Use it to match content, for instance if I have matched a visitor to being “Anna – paint baby room” I will search for content which is primarily targeted for this Persona (by this profile) and show the content. However this demands a little extension of the rule engine and wouldn’t be covered in this post.

Profiles Relevance

This profile will be used to match content and has one profile key “Relevance to category”, here the editor will indicate (by using the Slider Control) how relevant the content is for the caterory selected. This could give us the option the find content, which matches the visitors and sort it by relevance, meaning if the visitor is matched to the Persona “Anne – paint baby room”, we will show content targeted for this Persona AND sort it by highest relevance. However this also this demands a little extension of the rule engine and wouldn’t be covered in this post.

With all the Profiles and profile keys configured, we are ready for some serious content profiling!

When adding and editing content all you have to do for profiling this, is to open the ribbon and click the Analyze Tab and click on Profiles (see screen dump below):

Edit Profiles from Ribbon

Then you get a window, showing all the Profiles you have configured:

Content profiling in Sitecore Online Marketing Suite

Content structure
Assuming you know your Target groups, Behavior, Personas and have profiled content according to these AND you know which triggers you will use depending on the visitors trail (for more on triggers and planning content with the AIDA model, please referrer to part 1 of this post).

You’re now ready to build the targeted content!

Assuming we are building my paint shop, I could have a mock-up of the design looking like this:

Mock up of Paint Shop

In this design I could have containers/placeholders for personalized spots – which in the right side, could look like this:

Personalization Spot

The spot contains of the following fields:
- Name
- Image
- Description
- Link

To set this spot up inside Sitecore, I will start by creating a data template with the fields above, on it:

Data template in Sitecore CMS

Next I will create folders, where I can easily create spots – in my example (see screen dump below), I have created a folder called “Spots” where I have two folders; “Front personalization spots” and “Right personalization spots”. Last folder will contain all my personalization spot for the right side according to my design.

Always consider the editors and make great IA, so it’s easier for them to find proper content (like using several folders with clear names for different spots).

I assign the data template to this folder, so editors can create new spots with the fields defined in the template, by right clicking on this folder:

Content Editor rightclick

Now I can create a spot for Yellow paint and fill out the fields required for a right side spot:

Personalization Spot in Sitecore CMS

With the spot created, I now need a rendering/control, which outputs my content to the user in a browser (because Sitecore is content based, we can actually create several renderings and reuse content across different devices, such as Browser, Mobile phones, iPad etc.).

I have created the following XSLT (called Right column personalization spot) for the browser rendering:


We want to allow the XSLT to be placed in the right column, to set this I go to the “Placeholder settings” folder, under the “Layout” folder and choose “rightcolumn”:
Placeholder Settings in Sitecore CMS

For the right column I edit the Allowed Controls and select the “Right column personalization spot” XSLT as an allowed control:

Placeholder Settings Allowed Controls

So now we have the spots, the output and the right place for these – so all we need are just the rules….

Creating rules
Adding and editing rules is managed through the Marketing Center in the folder called “Personalization”, to add a new rule right click on the folder “Rules” and insert “Conditional Rendering Rule”, see screen dump below:
Insert new conditional rendering rule in Marketing Center

I want to create a rule, that show our “Yellow paint product offer” spot, if the visitor is interested in the Yellow Category. I’ll label my new rule “Yellow product teaser”. Once created I can edit the rule and the Sitecore Online Marketing Suite Rule Editor is shown:
Rule Editor in Sitecore Online Marketing Suite

The Rule Editor comes with a lot out-of-the-box conditions, one of these are “Where the value of specific profile key compares to specific value”, I chose this and can edit the values (kind of like setting up a rule in Outlook to manage mails). I point my “Specific” to the “Yellow paint” profile key and select that the value should be greater than or equal to 3. This means that a visitor should visit 3 pages, which is profiled to the “Yellow paint” Category, before this rule is triggered.
If the visitor has this path, the action in the Rule Editor is set to “set data source to Item”, where I point the item to (ta da…) my “Yellow paint product offer”.

My rule looks like this:

The rule created for the personalized spot in Sitecore Rule Editor

Now I have my rule and the spot I will show in place, whats left is to add the rule my layout or page, where it should appear.

There are several ways to do this, one way is to go to the Page Editor – navigate to the desired layout/page and click on the “Design” button in the top navigation. This shows the Page Designer, where the sites Placeholders are shown – in my example, I have 3 colums – and chose to place the rule in my right column, see screen dump below:
Page Designer in Sitecore CMS

I click the “Add” button and chose my allowed rendering “Right column personalization spot” and Select this:
Page Designer add rendering in Sitecore CMS

With the added rendering selected I click on the “Properties” button and select my “Yellow product teaser” rule under the Personalization heading:
Page Designer Properties

That’s it – the site is ready to rock and show personalized content, so we can sell some more buckets of yellow paint!

You can create personalized content anywhere and in any rendering on the site, that is the huge potential of the Sitecore Online Marketing Suite.

I created a very simple rule, based on the Category profile key, other conditions to consider are:

Where the city compares to specific city
Means I could add a Google Maps spot on my frontpage, which only appears to visitors from Copenhagen and shows location of my paint stores.

Where the visitor no. compares to number
If a visitor comes to your site seventh time, add a banner – “Call to order paint now”.

Where the keywords compares to specific value
Show spots with that keywords, as the visitors clicks through the site – trying to start a dialogue.

Where the page index compares to number
Good for adding spots to landing pages.

An effective rule should also take into account:
- How many pages has the visitor seen (if a visitor has seen 100 pages, my rule is’nt effective)
- The number of other categories browsed, trying to find the users path
- Which type of content does the visitor click on (news vs. product description vs. articles)

You can add several conditions and actions to a rule in the Rule Editor.

If you need other conditions and actions, than the ones provided out-of-the-box, these can be added by using the API.

For more on this – check out this Sitecore Online Marketing Suite Technical Deep Dive by Sitecore Australia.

In my next post I will bind rules and personas – and combine these in a live prototype of paint shop.

Please comment if you have anything in mind.

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