Sitecore path analyser

Sitecore path analyser
27th February 2019

Uncover the core features of Sitecore path analyser that make it a powerful asset to any data driven organisation

Sitecore became a big data platform with the advent of Sitecore 8 and the introduction of Sitecore xDB. Every visit and interaction with the Sitecore platform is collected in xDB and embellished as you know more about your customer. The purpose of all this data is to allow Sitecore customers to derive contextual insight about the behaviour of users and to use this insight to move customers into more engaged states.

A well-built Sitecore platform with xDB enabled will be quietly gathering data about the behaviour of users. But what does Sitecore do to help business users derive contextual insight?

One of the most impressive Sitecore features designed to help is Sitecore path analyser.

What is Sitecore path analyser?

By default, every interaction on your web platform is captured in xDB. Often, users perform the same activities as other users. Often, the better a website is designed, the more uniform the user journeys are. A well designed Sitecore platform will also capture goals and outcomes; predefined, valuable results that indicate a successful visit. Aggregating all these visits and interactions over time, would make it possible to identify commonality in user behaviour.

Path Analyser is a powerful tool that allows enterprises to analyse the behaviour of visitors and the paths they take through your user journeys. It gives a highly configurable viewpoint that shows where users enter your site from and how they find their way through the various pages.

Various visualizations of the data are available out of the box. The default view is referred to as a Map, and there are several ways maps can be configured. It also allows the data to be displayed in table format and for it to be exported in spreadsheet format.

Sitecore path analyser maps

When opening Path Analyser for the first time, users are presented with a zoomed-out map showing all data over a specified time period. Don’t be put off by its bike wheel like appearance. This is just one view, that shows the volume of different paths that visitors take through the site.

The power of Path Analyser comes from the ability to create unique Maps that show things that are of interest to your organisation’s digital ambitions.

Out of the box Path Analyzer comes with the following types of Map:

  • Goals and Outcomes – maps that show the journeys that result in a specified goal or outcome
  • Campaigns – all journeys where a user is part of a specific campaign
  • Channels – focus on the visitors via a specific channel
  • Assets – all journeys that result in the download of a particular digital asset
  • Site Specific – if you have multiple sites, you can view maps dedicated to each site

Using funnels for deeper insight

In addition to Maps, marketers can create funnels that represent the steps a user is expected to take to achieve a specific business objective. These allow marketers to explore what percentage of their website visitors exit the funnel at each step, empowering organisations to then implement personalisation and A/B testing to improve the percentage of visitors that reach their desired state. This kind of analysis is incredibly powerful, it doesn’t take much effort to get it working. Funnels need to be defined, but this can be done from within the Sitecore interface without the need for any bespoke development.

How to make Sitecore path analyser work for my organisation

Sitecore Analytics will capture data for everyone, providing the Sitecore instance is configured correctly. Whether or not it provides insight is a different question.

When Analytics doesn’t appear to work in some implementations, it can be because there’s no data, but this is very rare. More often, there’s plenty of data, but data that doesn’t offer any insight. This is due to the Sitecore instance is missing any concept of value.

Engagement value is a fundamental concept to a Sitecore platform. Sitecore needs to be instructed to what denotes valuable activity on your site, ie. signing up to a mailing list, completing a purchase, sharing something via a social platform or successful completion of a self-service task. Whatever it is, users need to tell Sitecore that when a visitor completes one of these tasks – it is valuable.

How to set up engagement values

Assign a value to an event – like a goal. This value can be somewhat arbitrary, but it should make sense. A successful purchase is usually a greater signifier of value than sign up to a mailing list, so the value scoring should reflect this.

When you add engagement value to key elements of your site, you will see your Analytics data start to reflect this. For Sitecore path analyser, the graphs quite literally change from monochrome into colour. On any particular path, nodes change colour depending on what the visitor does after visiting that particular node. So, if they go on to do something valuable after visiting that page, the page will display as Green in that path. It will show red if the user does nothing else of value.

Utilising maps, funnels and engagement value are some of the best ways to using Sitecore path analyser to get the most out of your organisation’s platform.  These features contribute to making it an incredibly powerful visual tool that can help enterprises achieve their digital goals.

Is your organisation making the most out of Sitecore?

If you’d like to talk more about how your organisation could be getting more out of its Sitecore solution, or are interested in some of the exciting new features in Sitecore 9.1 – get in touch. We’re a top tier Sitecore Partner, with more Sitecore MVPs than any other UK agency and we’d love to discuss how we can help you achieve your digital goals.