Sitecore device detection – Personalisation made simple

22nd December 2015

Personalisation made simple with Sitecore

You can’t ignore the vast range of devices accessing your website. The Sitecore device detection capabilities introduced in Sitecore 8.1 make personalisation easy. And power your customer experience strategy.

Personalisation rules

Sitecore device detection contains a set of personalisation rules for the Sitecore Rules Engine. These rules help your site adapt to different user devices. For example, you can:

  • Change, add or remove page components based on device/screen size, JavaScript support or operating system
  • Trigger a goal for mobile devices
  • Add easily extended rules for any device.

Sitecore xDB device data

Each visitor’s device data is stored in Sitecore’s profiling database xDB. You get an accurate picture of the types of devices that are browsing your site. Over time you can gather valuable stats that will help plan your strategy for supporting different devices. This xDB data is all nicely presented in a new devices report in the Experience Analytics Dashboard.

Sitecore Geo IP lookup

A service that compliments device detection. Sitecore IP geolocation gives you valuable insight into your site user’s location. Pair this with device detection and you’ve got powerful customer data to work with. The content you present can be personalised to target local visitors on the move. This is especially useful for retailers with multiple stores. Highly relevant offers or information can be delivered in the right context. Great for improving your customer experience and increasing conversion rates. All Geo IP data collected is stored in the Sitecore Experience Database.

How does Sitecore device detection work?

As with most Sitecore moving parts, the Sitecore device detection functionality is implemented using a provider pattern. So it can easily be extended by developers. Sitecore have implemented their own provider based on a third party service from Netbiscuits. Netbiscuits are a solid provider of device data. They deliver more than 10 billion pages per month and host more than 100,000 mobile sites and apps globally.

Sitecore’s implemented an on-premise solution that connects to the Netbiscuits service. The solution creates a local encrypted database of device data in your Sitecore solution. The database is kept up to date by regular syncs from the Netbiscuits service.

When browsing a site, each request lets the server see the browser’s capabilities. This information is provided in the user agent string. If you’re unfamiliar with user agents, they typically consist of a value like this:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.3; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/46.0.2490.86 Safari/537.36

You can find out your current user agent string from

When a visitor navigates your Sitecore website, the user agent details are cross referenced against the Netbiscuits database. This is translated into meaningful data to determine the operating system and browser. It can decide whether you’re a desktop user. And whether you can support JavaScript or HTML5.

Sitecore uses this data in combination with the Sitecore Rules Engine to allow marketers and developers full control over content customisation.

How do I set up Sitecore device detection?

There isn’t much to it. Sitecore device detection actually comes enabled by default. You just need to purchase a subscription in the Sitecore App Center and you’re good to go. Contact the Sitecore Sales team or your Account Manager to set this up. Unfortunately, if you’re a Sitecore developer, there’s no trial version that you can use to test the device detection in your development environment. But again, I suggest you contact your Account Manager as there may be ways around this.

How do I use Sitecore device detection?

As a marketer, the main touch point will be in the personalisation of components and triggering of goals. Simply click on any component, either in the content editor or page editor, and hit the ‘Personalise’ button. You’ll then find the new set of rules that are specific to device detection.


Choose your condition. In this example, I have chosen to hide a component if the visitor is using a Mobile device.



From a developer’s perspective, there’s a new DeviceDetectionManager and DeviceInformation class that you can use to tap into the device data and create your own custom rules using code.

Find out more about Sitecore

At Kagool, we’re all about Sitecore. We’re one of the top UK Sitecore Platinum partners. And the biggest UK partner to be exclusively Sitecore. So we like to stay savvy about the latest Sitecore features powering enterprise website design.

But we’re more than just a team of techies. Our marketing team is made up of digital marketers, copywriters and SEO experts. That’s the sort of know-how we like to share with our customers.

If you want to know more about Sitecore, get a Sitecore demo or find out about Sitecore pricing, drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you. Or fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you shortly.