Why you need deeper analytics
The traditional way to measure the success of your brand’s online marketing has been to measure quantity — how many clicks, conversions, new visitors, etc. But this approach has three major shortcomings.
First, these basic quantities don’t tell you much about the trust and commitment your customers feel toward your brand. Second, this traditional approach only takes into account your customers’ interactions with your website, rather than their full multichannel experience with your brand. And third, while conversion rates indicate a certain level of commitment, existing web analytics dashboards have made it hard for marketers to distill that information.
With Sitecore, you’re transforming the very way your brand understands its customers. That’s because Sitecore focuses on the full customer experience — integrating data from email, mobile apps, social media, and in-person interactions. And it lets you easily understand your customers’ level of engagement and commitment to your brand at key moments.
What Sitecore Experience Analytics does
With Sitecore Experience Analytics, you’ll be measuring for quantity as with traditional analytics, but also for the quality of your customers’ interactions. By combining the two and exploring the relationship between them, you get a deeper understanding of your customers’ entire experience with your brand.
Sitecore Experience Analytics uses a metric called Engagement Value. When you set up Sitecore, you’ll assign a different Engagement Value score to each type of conversion based on the amount of impact each action has on helping you reach your goals.
For example, downloading a product sheet might have an Engagement Value of 10, while something with more potential to lead to a sale, like chatting with a live agent, might be assigned 100. As visitors go through your site and interact with it, they collect points and earn a cumulative Engagement Value. By understanding not just how many conversions happen, but also how those conversions bring you closer to your goals, you can understand exactly where to spend your marketing budget for greatest impact.
Another Sitecore Experience Analytics metric that gives better insight into your marketing performance is Value per Visit. This metric represents the average Engagement Value per visit, and you can use it to see how effective a campaign is on different platforms.
For example, suppose you run two identical campaigns on Google and Bing. In Sitecore, you see that visitors coming from Bing earn twice as much Engagement Value as those from Google. This means that your ad on Bing has more Value per Visit for the customer it attracts, and that Bing is providing higher quality leads for your campaign.
Engagement Value measures the quality of interactions
Engagement is a sign of trust and commitment. Every time a customer makes a commitment in exchange for something (like filling out a form to get a newsletter), it shows they have more trust in your brand. And as their trust in you builds, they become more loyal.
Take, for example, a person visiting your website for the first time. This interaction requires little trust and commitment, since it’s just a one-way transfer of information. So the quality, or Engagement Value, of that interaction is low. But suppose that person signs up for your newsletter. That visitor would receive a higher Engagement Value score because they’ve indicated they are very interested in what your brand has to offer.
And when they take the time to read your newsletter, it shows they are becoming more committed to your brand. As the cycle repeats, the visitor’s Engagement Value score gets higher and higher, eventually leading to a sale or whatever your strategic objective may be.
With Engagement Value, you have a way to do an apples-to-apples comparison of your cross-channel marketing initiatives. Because where there is high Engagement Value, revenue is likely to follow.
Assigning Engagement Value to commitments
A visitor to your website can show different kinds of commitment to your brand, depending on your business.
For example, if you run an online store, a sale is a clear commitment. In this case, you could set the Engagement Value to be the amount of the purchase. The more you sell, the larger the commitment.
Other types of commitments include requesting a sales call, asking a question via email or an online chat, or creating an account. These are known as “transactional commitments,” as they require a deeper commitment than just viewing a page or downloading something.
You would assign an Engagement Value to these commitments based on how likely it is that a visitor will then help you achieve your end-goal. For instance, if your goal is to increase sales, you might want to assign 25 Engagement Value points to signing up for a newsletter, 50 to requesting a demo, and 100 to requesting a quote.
If your site doesn’t have opportunities for engagement that show a transactional commitment, you can place the Engagement Value on a specific page being viewed or a specific asset being downloaded. These “referential commitments” should be used cautiously, however, because it can be hard to tell whether visitors are taking those actions because they want to or because you’ve put so much marketing effort into them. Only use referential commitments when there are no places to assign Engagement Value elsewhere.
Why sink your marketing budget into certain channels and blindly hope for the best? With Sitecore’s Engagement Value, you can pinpoint where your money will be most effective.
How Engagement Value makes your marketing more effective
Understanding the quality of your leads
Imagine this very real scenario: You spend a substantial amount of money on an ad campaign, which you run on Facebook and LinkedIn. Your website sees a spike in traffic, with 2,000 visitors coming from Facebook and 500 from LinkedIn.
With a traditional web analytics dashboard, you would conclude two things: your campaign was successful since you drove more traffic to your site, and Facebook is a better investment for future campaigns since it brought more people.
But with Sitecore, you get a whole new insight into what’s happening with the Engagement Value metric. Even though Facebook drove 4x more traffic to your site, it turns out the quality of those leads in terms of your business goals wasn’t so great.
On the other hand, your visitors from LinkedIn had much higher Engagement Value scores, which means they had more meaningful interactions with you and are more committed to your brand. LinkedIn’s Value per Visit was much higher, so now you know your money was better spent on LinkedIn, and you can use that knowledge to maximize your marketing spend on future campaigns.
Finding which content to optimize
You can also use Engagement Value and Value per Visit metrics to understand how effective your content is. Normally, traditional metrics would tell you the number of visits, average duration, and bounce rate per page. But this information doesn’t tell the whole story.
For example, if you see that your homepage has the most visits of any page on your website, you might think this is your best-performing page. But by taking a closer look with Sitecore, you see the Value per Visit is actually very low, at 2.66. Meanwhile, your most effective page, known as the Benchmark page, has a Value per Visit of 19.51.
With this fuller understanding of your website and visitors, you have two actionable insights. First, you now know you should optimize your homepage using testing or personalization to increase the Value per Visit. And second, you should steer more traffic to the Benchmark page, because the high score indicates it’s already well optimized and will help you increase conversions.
Using profiles to understand visitor behavior
With Sitecore® Experience Platform™ (XP) you can build content profiles that track a person’s behavior as they use your website. Each profile is usually based on site interest, product categories, lead score, and personas, which are fictional characters that represent typical behaviors and needs of your site visitors.
Sitecore’s built-in reports will then show you how many visitors on your site match the various profiles. You can leverage this information to understand how big each segment is and how much traffic each one represents over time. Here, you start to get to know your visitors a bit more.
With the built-in reports, you can also dig deeper and see the Value per Visit for each persona. You’ll be able to easily see which personas are already highly engaged and which ones you should focus on for optimization.
For example, suppose that among your personas, you see that people who match the “Smart and Engaged” persona are highly engaged, with a high Value per Visit. At the same time, the “Appliances” persona accounts for a much more substantial amount of your site visitors, but those visitors have a very low Value per Visit. In this case, you’d want to focus on optimizing the “Appliances” persona to drive more conversions and create more commitment toward your brand.
Visualizing engagement with the Path Analyzer
With the Sitecore Path Analyzer, you have an additional way to visually understand your site visitors. The Path Analyzer generates a map of each persona’s journey through your site and uses color-coded nodes to represent each point along their journey. At one end of the color spectrum are green nodes, which mean Engagement Value levels are high. At the other end are red nodes, which mean low Engagement Value levels. The size of the node also increases as the Engagement Value increases.
The Sitecore Path Analyzer also allows you to drill down with the Page Analyzer. You can use this visualization to understand which pages are already helping you toward your business goals, and which ones you should optimize and better personalize for each persona.
Understanding where your site is not providing value
Another important feature of Sitecore’s Path Analyzer maps is the width of the path between each node. A wider line between two nodes means there’s a higher amount of traffic on that path. So, if you see a wide path that also has red nodes, it means you have a high-traffic path that’s not working toward your business goals. You’ll want to focus on those paths and find ways to optimize them.
For example, if one path starts from your homepage and has entirely red nodes, it’s likely that your homepage needs to be optimized to remove, or at least decrease, that particular path for that persona. You’ll want to make it easier for that type of visitor to find exactly what they’re looking for. The Path and Page Analyzers provide clear visual cues for what’s working and what’s not to help you optimize your site.
Why you should optimize for Engagement Value
Engagement Value ensures you’re optimizing for what produces the best ultimate outcome for your organization. With traditional testing, you’d be optimizing for more click-throughs or certain conversions. But with that approach, your work to optimize one particular item might actually be detracting from other more important conversions — and you wouldn’t even know it.
Since Engagement Value is closely linked to your strategic objectives, you’ll know that what you’re optimizing will, in fact, bring you closer to reaching your goals. And with tools like the Path Analyzer maps, you can see exactly which parts of your website need improvement, and their direct correlation to more important conversions.
Why Experience Analytics enables marketing success
Sitecore Experience Analytics tells you exactly how and where you’re engaging with high-value visitors — the ones who are most likely to become customers. Without this deep insight, you’re missing out on opportunities to personalize your message and provide your customers with relevant information.
If you want to be more effective with your marketing, you have to be able to engage customers in the context of their interaction with your brand. To put it simply, you need to “get” your customers. Experience Analytics helps you meet your customers where they are, across all your marketing channels, capitalizing on opportunities that you might otherwise miss.