Taxonomy and Campaign Tracking in Sitecore

Digital StrategyDigital Strategy
Digital Strategy | 13.03.18
Written by Shout Digital

Without measurement, effective customer experience optimisation and a ‘test everything’ approach is impossible.  This is where Sitecore can really add value beyond what has traditionally been available in the way of web analytics packages such a Google analytics.

Getting measurement right isn't a ‘set it and forget it’ practice.  Making sure you’re collecting the right data, filtering out noise, and ensuring that you're tracking meaningful conversions is of critical importance, particularly for large marketing pushes or incentives.

The Sitecore Experience platform and associated campaign management tools give you the ability to monitor and understand marketing campaigns such as PPC advertising, email marketing or even offline efforts such as outdoor advertising through campaign tagging.

Almost any marketing activity can be tagged (if you’re creative about it).  Once a user has entered the site through a tagged URL Sitecore’s experience analytics platform will begin tracking real-time information about where the user has come from, which channels they have used to access your site and which pattern cards or personas they match.  Using campaign facets you can also tag campaigns or users based on a multitude of completely custom factors such as campaign iteration, campaign geography or business unit/branch.

 

What is Sitecore Taxonomy

Taxonomy, known as “the branch of science concerned with classification, especially of organisms; systematics” is simply a way of organising or categorising things.  In our case, campaigns.

Out of the box, Sitecore has a number of default taxonomies that can be used to cover most cases including Channel, broken down into online/offline and then sub sectioned into typical channels such as ‘email’ or ‘paid search’.

Custom taxonomies can also be created easily within the sitecore marketing control panel.

There are a number of key taxonomy types in Sitecore by default which are outlined in their entirety below.  Not all of these taxonomies are utilised within Campaigns but visibility of the full structure helps illustrate how campaigns and performance can be analysed.

Sitecore Taxonomy Tree within the Marketing Control Panel

 

Campaign Groups

Allows for categorisation of campaigns into broader groups, for example, categorising all individual email campaigns under “Email”.

Outcome Group

Outcomes, defined by Sitecore as a “Business significant result” are essentially a ‘conversion’ in the most traditional sense of the word. Unfortunately they are often underutilised as they have to be registered programmatically.  However, logging major events such as purchases as outcomes helps to separate them from more granular ‘goals’.

Financial value can also be linked to outcomes allowing you to analyse users or facets of site traffic based on cash based outcomes.

Venues

Used to classify where an interaction happened if offline, for example “Store X” or “Exhibition booth Y”.

As with most interactions within Sitecore, venue interactions can also be used to personalise content.  For example if you know that a user has visited a certain venue you can personalise site content based on geography or the nature of the interaction.

Personalisation based on Venue Taxonomy

 

Channels

Channels are fairly self explanatory if you’re familiar with any analytics package and are typically already set up out of the box, broken down into ‘online’ and ‘offline’ and then into subgroups such as “paid search” or “event”.

Channels are one of the primary taxonomies used to categorise campaigns in Sitecore.

Assets

Assets simply classify items in Sitecore (typically the media library) such as PDF’s, Reports, or videos allowing for more robust analysis of content interactions.

Custom Facets

Custom facets allow for better categorisation of sitecore campaigns for reporting purposes, allowing you to segment and categorise based on what makes sense for your business.

For example, tagging goals or campaigns based on product line, department or business area may make sense.  As mentioned earlier, the primary taxonomies that we’ll be taking into account when creating Sitecore Campaigns are Channel, Campaign Group, Asset, and custom Facets.

How to Create campaigns

Sitecore Campaigns can be created in two ways, through the Marketing control panel by right clicking on the ‘campaigns’ item, or through the dedicated Sitecore ‘Campaign Creator’ tool which can be found on the Sitecore Launchpad.

 

Campaign creation button in Sitecore Launchpad

If you’re familiar with the Google Analytics URL builder tool then creating a Sitecore Campaign should come fairly easily to you.  In much the same way as the Google tool, the campaign creator tool simply generates a query string that associates campaign data with a URL ‘hit’.


To create a new campaign in the Sitecore Campaign Creator, open the tool and click “create campaign activity”.


From here, enter a name that makes sense for your campaign, and add a start and end date.


Next up is adding Facet tags if needed.  As mentioned in the Taxonomy section of this article, facets are valuable for analysis further down the line.


You can also add Channel, Campaign Group, and Asset here.

 

 

Campaign classification dialogue - add your taxonomies here

 

At the very minimum we would recommend utilising “Channel” and “Campaign Group” which can be customised and set up in the Marketing Control Panel.


Once saved, a campaign link will appear that can be added to URL’s in order to track the campaign.

 

Campaign tracking link

 

For example, a user that hits:


www.example.com/?sc_camp=7F172FAF117C43C9A31F3C33B438FD42


Would be recorded as hitting the campaign we have just set up.


Users that hit the campaign can also be automatically enrolled in engagement plans utilising the campaign editor.


As a general recommendation, as many of your off-site marketing efforts should have campaigns created for them and granular tracking tags created under meaningful taxonomies, and organised into practical campaign groups to allow for accurate and actionable analytics.

 

Analytics can be reviewed as usual within Experience Analytics under ‘Acquisition’ and the ‘Campaigns’ tab.


Finally, to ensure you’re getting the most out of campaign tracking its essential that conversions such as goals are configured alongside engagement scoring.  Without these it will be difficult to quickly analyse the success of your campaigns or create meaningful campaign tests over time.

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