Configuring Personalization Rules In Sitecore

The third step in a series of setting up Sitecore personalization blogs.

This blog is part 3 in a Setting Up Sitecore Personalization series.

If you haven’t read parts 1 and 2 yet, they go through:

In the last blog (part 2) we looked at multivariate and A/B testing, which can be performed on a page, component or copy level.

Today we’ll be looking at setting up personalization rules, which can only be performed on a component level.

Personalization rules are made up of conditions, which, if met, return a true or false value and trigger the website to behave a certain way for each instance.

As mentioned before, Sitecore personalization rules can be triggered using goals, channels or campaigns.

For a thorough guide on setting up Sitecore campaigns, read my Everything You Need To Know About Sitecore Campaigns blog.

To learn about setting goals up, read Setting Up Sitecore Personalization: Part One.

Let’s not waste any time getting started - let’s configure some rules!

Personalizing Using The Same Component Rendering

First you need to add a new component to the content tree in the Content Editor that you want to use as the personalized version. If you already know how to do this, you can skip ahead to the next list of instructions.

Adding A Component To The Content Editor

 Animation showing how to add a component to Sitecore content editor   
  1. On the Sitecore launchpad, click the Content Editor.
  2. Select the page that you’d like to add personalization rules to, from the content tree.
  3. In order to personalize a component, we need to create the personalized version of the component that you want to show a certain audience. To do this, right click the Data Source Folder, and add the component that you’d like to personalize.
  4. Create the personalized component in here, adjusting the copy and visual aspects of it.
  5. When you’re finished, click save in the top navigation and click on Review, then Submit and Approve, or Publish and Publish Item depending on your administrator settings.

Applying Personalization Rules To The Component

Animation showing how to apply personalization rules in Sitecore

  1. On the Sitecore launchpad, click Experience Editor.
  2. Click the content tree icon to open the list of pages, and select the page you want to add personalization rules to.
  3. On the page, select the component you want to personalize.
  4. Click the personalization icon that has 3 people on it (blue, grey and red).
  5. Click on the blue + icon in the dialogue box that has appeared.
  6. Name your rule.
  7. Click the Edit Rule button.
  8. Choose a rule from the list that has appeared. You can also search for it using the search bar.
  9. When you click on the rule, it will appear in a separate ‘Edit rule’ section. Click on each hyperlinked part of the rule to edit the conditions.
  10. You can add more than one condition by simply selecting another condition from the list of conditions. You can adjust the order of the conditions by using the arrow keys that appear when you hover over each of the conditions, and you can change the rule and / or conditions by clicking on ‘and when’ ‘except when’ ‘or when’, etc. It should cycle through the different options you can choose from.
  11. Click on the … in the Content section of the new personalization rule you’ve set up.
  12. A pop-up modal will appear with the tree of components for this page. Select the new component that you created previously in the Content Editor. You’ll notice that you can only select a component that has the same rendering type as the default component. If you’d like to choose an entirely different rendering, follow the instructions below.
  13. Click OK.
  14. You can edit the default conditions in the Default section of the modal.
  15. NOTE: Toggle the show / hide radio buttons to show / hide the component when the rules you have set are met.
  16. Ensure the checkbox ‘Track effect of personalization on this component’ is ticked if you’d like to track the performance of the personalized component.
  17. You can keep adding additional rules, however I suggest sticking to one at a time and keeping it as simple as possible.
  18. Sitecore evaluates rules from top to bottom, so make sure you have the first rule you want to run at the top, and the rest in their desired firing order. To change their order click Actions and the Move Up or Move Down arrows.
  19. When you’ve finished setting rules up, click OK.
  20. Save and publish the page.

Personalizing Using A Different Rendering Component

  1. Follow the instructions above until you reach step 10.
  2. Click on the ‘Personalize the presentation of the component’ toggle so it’s colour changes to green. This gives you the ability to choose different rendering components. You can also alter the content for a rendering component under specific conditions for a visitor and completely change the presentation type, i.e. swap a video for an image.
  3. Click the blue + icon to add a new personalization rule.
  4. Under ‘Presentation:’ click the ‘...’ next to the component type
  5. A pop-up modal will appear with a selection of renderings. Choose the rendering you want to use and click Select.
  6. Click the ‘…’ under ‘Content:’. Select the content by choosing the content item from the content tree that has appeared.
  7. Continue with the rest of the steps for setting up personalization in the list above.

Simulating A Personalized Experience

Sitecore has a feature called the Sitecore Experience Explorer, which allows you to simulate the attributes that a prospect has when visiting the site, so you can see the personalized version of content they would receive.

  1. In Experience Editor, open the page that you have applied personalization to.
  2. Click on any of the tabs in the top navigation.
  3. Click ‘Explore’.
  4. A pane will appear on the left side, which to allows you preview the page from different visitor perspectives and validate the rules and settings for the experience.

Viewing Performance Of Personalized Components

Now that you’ve tested your personalization rules, and have had them up and running, it’s important to review their performance so you know if the personalized version of the content is delivering the results you expected.

  1. In the Sitecore launchpad, click Experience Editor.
  2. Navigate to the page that you want to analyze.
  3. In the top navigation, select Optimization, and then Personalization.

A pop-up will open with all the personalizations that are configured for this page, and all rules listed on the left side. On the right you’ll see a view of the page with the personalized components highlighted. Below the screenshot (under Trailing Value/Visit) are the metrics showing the effectiveness of the personalization.

There are three numbers under the header Trailing Value/Visit. These numbers describe the actual result of the personalization.

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