Quick Start to Experience Analytics Part 2

In this second part to my Analytics Quick Start Guide, I hope to provide you a quick reference to key Sitecore documentation in helping you and your users understand the reports that come out-of-the-box. (You can think of this as you very own annotated bibliography, just like your high school English teacher requested before each project.)

Out-of-box reports can be found in up to five places depending on the modules you have installed. The basic three places that all Experience Platform installs will have are:

Experience Analytics (xAnaltyics)

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When discussing the latest and greatest reports this is the application being referenced. Launching from the Sitecore Launchpad you are greeted immediately with a dashboard of colorful insight into your website.

Because there is a lot of data to be seen, Sitecore has grouped similar reports into five categories, with each category containing multiple cross sections of information for you.

  • Dashboard – provides an overview of key analytics by displaying a selection of charts and performance indicators.
  • Audience – helps you gain an understanding of who your visitors are.
  • Acquisition – shows you what driving traffic to your website is. For example, from campaigns and other marketing channels.
  • Behavior – helps you to analyze the behavior of your visitors. For example, by analyzing the effectiveness of your profiling and personalization strategy.
  • Conversions – the percentage of visitors that achieve a particular goal. This helps you understand how well your marketing efforts are working.

One thing to keep in mind is that Sitecore displays most of the data in this area in terms of ‘value’. The Sitecore Experience Platform is mean to help us further engage and nurture site visitors. To do this we must always keep in mind the value of the interaction.

Experience Analytics Bibliography

For complete explanation of the different reports shown in each category,

Explains what dimensions and metrics are represented in reports,

Get the official Sitecore overview on xAnalytics,

Path Analyzer

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If tables and graphs don’t get you excited enough, then the Path Analyzer might do the trick. (Important notes is that the Path Analyzer is a Silverlight based application meaning only Firefox and IE 11 or older will support it.) The path analyzer provides an interactive experience that displays the path of page clicks site visitors experience. Filters can be applied showing specific paths, such as what paths did users take before registering for the lifetime coffee contest.

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Additional drill down will show you drop out funnels and time spent at different steps of a journey, providing invaluable insight into shifting your site content or better promoting high value actions.

Path Analyzer Bibliography

This article provides an overview of details about the Path Analyzer,

Sitecore Glossary of terms used in the Path Analyzer,

Additional explanation on navigating a path,

Experience Profile (xProfile)

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Every visitor to your site is recorded as a contact, until they complete an action such as submitting a request for more information, they are considered an anonymous contact. Once an email address or name is collected, they become what Sitecore calls a known contact.

No matter what type of contact the visitor is considered, all interactions and page visits are collected as part of the analytics and can be viewed as an ‘individual’ via the Experience Profile. Just be aware that as it currently stands (April of 2016) Sitecore doesn’t provide a mechanism to allow you the site owner or the site visitor to easily update personal data fields.

There does exist a Web Forms for Marketers save action, but it requires the user to be authenticated before it will save data to the contact record. As we will examine in later posts, it is possible to update fields via background tasks.

Experience Profile Bibliography

All the details about what you see in the xProfile dashboard,

A nice Q&A setup of common questions when using the xProfile for the first time,

A fun scenario explaining how a fully planned marketing strategy can be used to make the most out of the data that is collected,

Email Experience Manager (EXM)

If you have installed and configured EXM, then you will see that there is a number of tables and charts that show how your different email campaigns are performing. Some tables and charts will show summarizations across marketing taxonomy while many will show the individual performance of a single email.

I want to make you aware of this as a place for data, but EXM deserves a full blog series in its own right.

Email Experience Manager Bibliography

The general overview of EXM,

An overview of the reports available in EXM,

Description of single message reports,

Web Forms for Marketers (WFFM)

Another commonly installed module that comes with its own reporting dashboard is Web Forms for Marketers (WFFM). Reporting for WFFM, is broken into three categories. First is a summary of number of responses to each field in the form, you also get a tabular view of each time the form was interacted with, here you can see who completed the form or dropped out. Finally, via download you can get the entire dump of form responses in Excel or Xml.

There is a lot more that can be covered around WFFM but that will be saved for future posts.

Web Forms for Marketers Bibliography

A simple tutorial on how to access a form’s reports,

Explaination of the dimensions and metrics collected on WFFM reports,

Describes how web form completion and drop out are displayed and recorded on an individual xProfile,