Nov 11, 2020




min read

Nov 11, 2020




min read

What is Sitecore profiling?

Sitecore profiling is the process of tagging Sitecore content with defined visitor profiles.Creating profiles in Sitecore allows marketers to track and understand visitor behaviour, actions and interests as website visitors progress through user journeys.

Peter Lambrou


Sitecore Optimisation Consultant MVP Strategist

person checking a mobile tablet
person checking a mobile tablet
person checking a mobile tablet

There are 5 Sitecore profiling elements:

  • Profiles: Categories of website visitors

  • Profile Keys: Describe the attributes of the profiles

  • Profile Cards: Identify and segment contacts and are assigned to relevant content

  • Personas: Fictional characters of visitor/customer types

  • Pattern Cards: Map profile values to specific types of visitors. Pattern Cards are used to personalise content

For those new to the Sitecore Experience Platform, content profiling is exciting, yet daunting and complicated to plan and implement.

Our approach to Sitecore profiling is to make the process as simple as possible.

Step 1: Understanding website visitors

Understanding your website visitors is the foundation to Sitecore content profiling.

The integral part of Sitecore profiling is to identify the products/services being offered, the type of people visiting the website and why. This is the foundation of establishing Sitecore Profiles, Profile Keys, Profile Cards and Pattern Cards.

In this example, a car retailer is going to be used. The retailer specialises in selling three types of used cars:

  • Performance cars

  • Luxury cars

  • Hybrid cars

These car types (products) will represent Profile Keys that will be part of the ‘Car Type Interest’ Profile in Sitecore.

For every car being offered for sale, there’s a customer segment interested in that car. Therefore, these customer segments visit the website with the intention of finding out more information.

In this example, the customer segments are determined as:

  • Environmentalist

  • For the Family

  • Petrol Head

These customer segments will represent Profile Cards that are part of the ‘Car Type Interest' Profile in Sitecore. Profile cards are used for content profiling. Profile cards can have overlapping key values.

Step 2: Profiling model

Sitecore profiling depends on establishing the relevance between the products (car types) and each customer segment, i.e. how much interest each customer segment has in each product.

A Profiling Model is a spreadsheet that maps each Profile/Persona, Profile Key and Profile Card. Values (from 0-10) that reflect the level of relevance between each product and customer segment are assigned.

For example, the 'Petrol head' segment is likely to have a greater interest in Performance cars (10) than Hybrid cars (0). The 'Petrol head', however, may also have an interest in high-performance Luxury cars (5).

Conversely, the 'Environmentalist' is likely to have a greater interest in Hybrid cars (10) and likely zero interest in Performance cars (0) yet may also show an interest in economical Luxury cars (4).

Illustration of profiling

Step 3: Creating profiles in Sitecore

Sitecore’s Marketing Control Panel offers many marketing-related features, including Sitecore profiling, which is the ability to create profiles/personas.

There are some pre-installed Sitecore Profiles and Profile Keys which can be used if they meet your business requirements, otherwise they can be deleted. They come pre-installed only as a guide.

In this example the Profile is called ‘Car Type Interest’. The important field here is the Type field, as this informs Sitecore how to calculate the accrued Profile Key values.

Sitecore profile 'Type' field

Beneath the Profile are the Profile Keys. These represent the car types:

  • Performance

  • Luxury

  • Hybrid

A maximum value (we recommend 10) is assigned to each Profile Key.

Sitecore profile values

Next are the Profile Cards. These represent the customer segments:

  • Environmentalist

  • For the family

  • Petrol head

Sitecore profile cards

The Profile Card folder has an Authoring Selection field that must be populated. This determines how content is profiled.

  • Single: Users can only assign one Profile Card per content item

  • Multiple: Users can assign multiple Profile Cards to content items

  • Multiple with Percentages: Users can assign multiple Profile Cards to content items and stipulate a percentage share to each Profile Card based on relevance

In this example, ‘Multiple with Percentages’ is chosen.

Sitecore authoring section

The values in the Profiling Model are used to assign Profile Card values in Sitecore profiling.

Sitecore profiling illustration

Pattern Cards map profile values to specific types of visitors and drive personalisation. To simplify Sitecore profiling, we recommend using the same Profile Card classifications and values for the Pattern Cards.

Sitecore profile and pattern cards

Step 4: Profiling Sitecore content

To track and understand visitor behaviour your Sitecore content needs to be profiled, i.e. tagged with Profile Cards.

It’s not necessary to tag all your content initially, just the most important/high traffic pages that form user journeys with conversion points. For example, a ‘Book a test drive’ user journey.

The profile icon in the top right corner of each content item controls the Sitecore profiling. It allows users to edit the Profile Cards associated with the item.

The ‘Select Profile Cards’ window allows users to assign the relevant Profile Cards to content. Use the Profiling Model as a guide.

For example, the performance-cars page is tagged with two Profile Cards; 'Petrol head' and 'For the Family', with a bias of 80% towards 'Petrol head' and 20% towards 'For the Family'.

Sitecore profiling example

As visitors navigate through your website and visit profile tagged pages, Sitecore profiling is working in the background.

Sitecore calculates which pattern card a visitor’s accumulated profile value closely matches. Sitecore then maps the visitor to the pattern card. These are tracked in Sitecore Analytics as Pattern Matches.

For example, the more pages someone visits tagged solely with, or biased towards performance cars, Sitecore will match the visitor to the ‘Petrol head’ pattern.

When the profiles have been created, you can then personalise content to your visitors who have picked up a particular profile based on their browsing behaviour on your site. 

Working with Codehouse

Our Digital Experience team and their services will translate your business objectives into measurable digital goals allowing you you to leverage the Sitecore Experience Platform fully. This includes helping with content profiling in Sitecore.

The Digital Experience team will work closely with you to build an understanding of your business and digital objectives and get you started on content profiling in Sitecore. Get in touch.

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