Many brands select Sitecore for their website CMS for its marketing automation and advanced personalisation capabilities – adaptive personalisation is just one approach.
Have a look at our previous articles on Sitecore personalisation to learn more some of the different approaches:
Why use adaptive personalisation?
With adaptive personalisation in Sitecore, you can use content profiles and pattern card matching to dynamically adapt the content and messaging shown to your website visitors, in real time, so that the content they see is completely relevant to their browsing journey.
For example, what page are they looking at right now? What content have they just downloaded? Have they just signed up for your email newsletter?
You can use all these moments as trigger points to improve the visitor experience and show people content relevant to the action they have taken on your website, all in real time.
Profiles in Sitecore
Profiles are an important part of the adaptive personalisation puzzle in Sitecore.
They help you track your visitors’ behaviour as they journey through your website, giving you an understanding of their actions and their potential interests.
They enable you to place each website visitor into one of your target audience buckets, or personas, which means Sitecore can start to work behind the scenes to show them the most relevant content.
Profiles are made of profile keys and profile values, all within a profile card.
Within a profile card, you define certain characteristics of your ideal visitor type, which should match the characteristics and values you have chosen and set up for your persona – the words, Background, Practical, Process, Scope come as default out of the box in Sitecore, and can be amended to suit your target audience (see our example below).
Profile keys (the words on the left) represent different aspects of your target audience profiles. You give numerical profile values to each of your profile keys, and then use these values to track how visitors interact with your website.
As a visitor journeys through your website, they are given the profile values that you define for each page they visit or each piece of content they engage with. As the visitor continues to move through your website, these values help to build up a profile of that specific visitor that fits into one your personas.
After creating your personas and profile cards, you need to assign web pages and content items to the profile cards you created.
By tagging your website pages with profile cards, Sitecore’s algorithm knows to work behind the scenes to push visitors into a certain persona that is closest to their on-site behaviour.
Pattern cards in Sitecore
Pattern cards help you implement Sitecore personalisation rules, allowing you to serve different content based on your website visitor’s behaviour. They should reflect your different customer segments and target audience types.
The clever thing is that Sitecore analyses website visitor activity against your pattern cards in real time – which means your website is constantly monitoring and categorising visitors in order to offer them the most relevant content, in the right place, at the right moment.
You can create as many pattern cards as you want, but a visitor only gets mapped to one pattern card at a time. However, based on the visitor’s journey through your website, and the content they consume, they may get mapped to a different pattern card that reflects their actions.
Sitecore captures all the pages and content that your website visitor reads or engages with, and accumulates the content profile values. Sitecore then calculates the average score from the visit, and maps the visitor to the pattern card that represents the closest match.
You can use Sitecore personalisation rules to display different content, and types of content, based on each pattern card.
Pattern cards can also be used to assign certain steps or actions as part of a marketing automation campaign, or to begin once from scratch.
How does adaptive personalisation in Sitecore work?
Let’s use a recruitment website as an example.
In the below example, the persona we have created is Kate. Kate represents someone looking for a new job.
In Sitecore, we can set up a persona and profile for Kate, based on some of the things she may do on our website, and we can assign a value to that.
In our example, someone who registers on the website receive a value of 1, someone who applies for a job would receive a value of 2, and someone who is looking / searching for a job would receive a value of 10.
By mapping our Kate persona, profile, and pattern card to certain pages, such as job search page, job search results pages, each job information page, we can tell Sitecore that a visitor who visits these pages is a ‘Kate’ rather than a different persona.
We can then set up personalisation rules to say, if a visitor is a ‘Kate’, please show them this kind of content, and Sitecore will serve content fully relevant to a ‘Kate’, all in real time.
Want to know more about Sitecore personalisation?
Sitecore combines content, ecommerce, and digital marketing tools all in one system, giving you a powerful digital experience platform that can help your organisation deliver highly-personalised experiences for your customers, giving you improved marketing and business results.
If you’re considering Sitecore as your new website platform and you’d like to know more, or if you already have a Sitecore website and you’re having trouble using or optimising its marketing features and tool-set, including personalisation, we can help.