Sitecore personalisation rules

Sitecore personalisation rules
6th November 2019
News and Insights

Deliver tailored and targeted content to website visitors, with Sitecore personalisation rules.

Sitecore personalisation enables editors to target specific content at site visitors. This depends on the rules defined in Sitecore.  Different content can be shown to visitors based on browser behaviour and profile values.

Sitecore makes it easy to create and maintain personalisation rules. The experience Editor can be used to preview personalised content and component layouts depending on the specific personalisation rules.  Personalising content to target specific website visitors is a powerful tool and one that can easily be utilised within Sitecore.

Personalisation rules

Sitecore allows editors to create “personalisation rules” to determine which content is shown or how that content is displayed to a visitor. This is based on a number of specific values such as activity. For example, where in the country the visitor is browsing from, the marketing campaign links or date triggers goals.

A personalisation rule simply consists of a set of conditions that when matched, trigger a particular response on a page.

They comprise of two elements

  • Conditions – Determine if something is true or not, for example if a visitor is browsing from the UK.
  • Actions – What needs to be done after a condition is met. For example, show content relating to a special offer

Personalisation rules can be separated into the following categories:

  • Rules based
  • Historical
  • Journey based

Rules based

A content editor or marketer can choose to show specific content and target visitors based on a number of rules.  It’s easy to display content targeted for visitors from the UK and show different content to visitors from Spain, when they visit the same page.  It can also be used to show or hide content that has an expiry date, such as offers or call to actions (CTA’s).  This gives editors the flexibility to target specific audiences.

Historical

This allows editors to set specific rules based on historical behaviour, not current activity.  Websites need to identify which visitors have purchased a product previously and to adjust personalisation accordingly. For example, a customer who purchased a fridge will not want to see promotional content or discount deals for new fridges. However, cleaning supplies, accessories or insurance would show that you know they’re your customer and want to make their life easier.

Journey based

It’s possible to track visits across your website.  You can track which pages visitors have browsed to, and how often they’ve visited these pages.  This is particularly useful when identifying trends or which type of page content is interesting to specific audiences.  Sitecore allows editors to create triggers for a user journey map.  When a certain journey is reached, then the trigger can be used to show personalised content to that visitor.  For example, visitors who navigate to pages through certain paths, can be shown different content to others coming from a different part of the website.  This can be set up relatively easily providing visitors with a more targeted and engaging experience.

Control your content with personalisation rules

Personalisation rules offer immense flexibility and control over what, when and how content is displayed to visitors.  It offers marketers easy ways to identify and swap content around in a controlled environment. This makes it easy to test rules on a platform that’s separated from the live website, without the fear of making live untested changes.

Historical and journey based rules take a lot of planning and careful thought before implementing. This can take a lot of effort to test whereas personalisation rules are relatively easy to create and test.

Another great benefit of using personalisation rules, are that Sitecore already provide an abundance of rules for you to use out of the box.

Creating a personalisation rule is easy in Sitecore

To create a personalisation rule, the rule must contain one or more condition to be met before the rule is fulfilled.  An example of this can be to show a particular piece of content to a visitor after a specific date has been reached.

Starting from the Sitecore Experience Editor:

  1. Select the component that you wish to personalise, and click on the personalisation button to enter a personalisation rule.

Sitecore personalisation rules

This will let you create a rule which can be used to evaluate whether this piece of content is displayed or hidden.

2. To create a rule, click on the + button and select the type of rule based on a predefined list. For this example, the component can be set to hidden by default until a certain date is reached.  Whereupon the component will be displayed.  Specify a suitable name for the rule, EG “Hide until specific date”.

3. This is where the out of the box rules come in handy, below is an example of how to create a date specific rule defining what to do after a date is reached. After clicking the “Edit rule” button and searching for “date” it’s then possible to select the “when the date has passed” rule.  This will add the rule to the component

4. The next step is to edit the specific detail of this rule. This can be achieved by clicking on the date link in the rule and entering the specific date.

Sitecore personalisation rules

5. Once set up, the editor can then test each rule by selecting it from the personalisation condition in the Experience Editor to see what happens when a rule is met.

Sitecore personalisation rules

Personalising the component layout

It’s not only possible to personalise the page content based on specific rules, but editors can also personalise layouts of components as well as making them display differently.

6. After opening the Sitecore Experience editor and clicking on the component you wish to personalise, simply click on the “Personalise this” component button and select the “personalise the presentation of the component”.

7. After creating the specific rule this time select the relevant rendering to show or hide depending on the condition

Sitecore personalisation rules

8. You can easily test the effect of the personalisation rule by saving the above changes, selecting the “change condition” button and selecting one of the available conditions. If all looks good publish the changes.

Sitecore personalisation rules

Sitecore personalisation conditions

Sitecore personalisation rules are the fundamental basis of personalised content.  Any number of rules can be created on a component and Sitecore already comes with a number of rules that can be customised out of the box.  A number of additional conditions are available in Sitecore xDB, X and a number of others specifically relating to Sitecore Commerce Connect.

There are many rules available categorised into sub categories which are easy to search for within the Rule Set Editor. Generally, most rules can be found in one of the following categories:

  • Date – Supports Date conditions relating to the current date
  • Fields – Allows the editor to target specific item fields
  • Visit – Used in conjunction with marketing goals
  • Visitor – Tracks website page visitor numbers and displays content accordingly
  • Device – Displays content/renderings according to specific devices

The rules set within Sitecore can help marketing teams generate more leads and conversions through tailored and specific content.

Where do we go from here?

We’re a long standing Sitecore Partner, with experience helping enterprise organisations leverage Sitecore to achieve their digital strategy goals.

If you want to learn more about how we can help your organisation with Sitecore personalisation rules, then we’d love to hear from you.  Alternatively, book a Sitecore demo today to learn how you can benefit from Sitecore.