Insights

Everything You Need To Know About Sitecore Campaigns

And Sitecore Taxonomies

If you have Sitecore XP, you would have seen the ‘Campaign Creator’ in the launchpad and wondered what it does.

Perhaps you’ve even clicked into it and created a campaign activity yourself and thought;

‘What now?’ ‘How does this work?’

Maybe you’ve even gone as far as trying to plough through Sitecore’s documentation and are left feeling even more confused than before.

Well, you’re not alone.

One of the most common questions I receive is how Sitecore campaigns work, and when you should use them.

Sitecore campaigns are confusing when you’re new to them, but the good news is that once you’ve figured them out, they are easy to understand and quick to set up.

I’m here to tell you everything you need to know about them. Nothing more, nothing less.

Let’s get started.


What Are Sitecore Campaigns Used For?

Sitecore campaigns are a way of classifying certain marketing activities, so you can track and analyze their performance.

You can also use campaigns in Sitecore to trigger personalization or marketing automation activities.

NOTE: Sitecore campaigns are different from ‘marketing automation campaigns’. ‘Marketing automation campaigns’ refer only to the drip style campaigns created in the ‘Marketing Automation’ tool in Sitecore. We will not be exploring them in this article.


Campaign Hierarchy

Campaigns in Sitecore exist in a hierarchy.

Once you understand the hierarchy, campaigns are a lot easier to understand.

The hierarchy for campaigns is:

  1. Campaign group
  2. Campaign activities / Email campaigns
  3. Taxonomies
Campaign activities and email campaigns are separate types of campaigns, but both can belong to a campaign group. Taxonomies can belong to campaign activities.

Campaign Groups

Campaign groups are a way of organizing your campaigns, which allow you to generate reports for a specific campaign group.

Email campaigns can only be associated with one campaign group.

You can think of them as a bucket, holding all of your campaign activities.

An example of a campaign group could be ‘Google Display Ads’, which will hold all of your Google Display Ad campaign activities (more on that later).

Creating A Campaign Group

Gif showing how to create a campaign group in Sitecore
  1. Click on Marketing Control Panel in the Sitecore launchpad.
  2. In the content tree, open Taxonomies and right click on Campaign Group.
  3. Click Insert > Campaign Group.
  4. Enter a name for the group and click OK.
  5. Click Save in the top navigation ribbon.
  6. Click on Campaign Group and then Deploy in the top navigation ribbon.
And that’s it! You’ll associate ‘campaign activities’ and ‘email campaigns’ with your campaign group after. Keep reading to find out how.

Campaign Activities

Campaign activities are used for tracking performance of an individual campaign.

If your campaign group is ‘Google Display Ads’ and you have three different Google display ads, you would create three different campaign activities in Sitecore, and associate them all with the campaign group ‘Google Display Ads’.

Creating A Campaign Activity

Gif showing how to create a campaign activity in Sitecore

  1. In the launchpad click Campaign Creator.
  2. Click the ‘Create campaign activity’ button on the top left.
  3. Name your campaign.
  4. Select the campaign group you want it to belong to.
  5. Select the channel, facets or asset you want it to be associated with (more on this later).
  6. Click Save.

Campaign Links

At the bottom of the screen here you’ll see an area called Campaign Execution, and within it a ‘Campaign link’ that looks something like sc_camp=0EAEE05…

Screenshot of a campaign link in Sitecore

This is known as a campaign code.

Campaign codes are the "campaign link" that's generated when you create a new campaign activity.

You can use these to track any interactions that are coming from an external source (i.e. you've bought ad space online that links back to your site and you want to know how it's performing).

To use the campaign code, you would add a question mark to the URL that links back to your site and the campaign code after it.

I.e. if we bought ad space in an email newsletter about content marketing and wanted to link to our Content Marketing landing page, the URL we send the company to associate with our ad could look something like: getfishtank.ca/digital-marketing/content-strategy?sc_camp=0EAEE0511ABC

I’ll stress that you should only need to use the campaign codes for external marketing campaigns.

You shouldn't need to use the campaign tracking links for any emails that are being sent from Sitecore’s Email Experience Manager (EXM) because you'll find the performance of these links in EXM for your emails under the open and click rates tab.

Screenshot of email open and click rates


Associating Campaign Activities With Items In Sitecore

You can associate campaigns with a number of items in Sitecore, like forms or landing pages, and can also use them to trigger personalization.

Gif showing how to associate campaign activities with items in Sitecore

  1. In your Sitecore environment navigate to the item you’d like to associate the campaign with
  2. If you’re in Experience Editor, click Attributes (on the Optimization tab)
  3. If you’re in Content Editor, click the Attributes group on the Analyze tab
  4. In the Attributes modal, Campaigns and then click the campaign that you want to associate with the content item.
  5. Press OK.
  6. Hit Save in the top navigation ribbon.
  7. Click Publish.

Email Marketing Campaigns

As I mentioned before campaign activities and email campaigns are separate types of campaigns, but both can belong to a campaign group.

To create an email campaign, click on Email Experience Manager in the Sitecore launchpad.

Click the blue ‘Create’ button on the top left. Select the type of email campaign you want to create.

Follow the prompts and select the template you want to use, update the copy of the email, select a send from email address, etc.

You have the option to associate this email with a campaign group under General Information > Campaign Group.

You cannot create a campaign group from within this wizard, so make sure you’ve created your campaign group first.

The campaign will be created automatically for you once you hit the Activate button in the Delivery tab.


Taxonomies

Taxonomies are at the bottom of our campaign hierarchy, and basically allow you to ‘tag’ a campaign to identify it in a specific way.

An example of when you could use taxonomies would be to identify a campaign as being associated with a specific product.

This allows you to have even deeper analytics on your campaign performance, because you can not only now track by campaign groups or activities, but also by taxonomies.

An example of when you would use all 3 could be: In keeping with the Google display ad examples, imagine you have 3 Google display ads for different products (that have different copy on them) and you want to track their performance in Sitecore.

You would create campaign activities for tracking each of the ads (using the tracking code).

You could also associate the campaign activity with a campaign group called 'Google Display Ads', because you also want to track how your Google display ads are performing as a whole.

Since some of these ads are for a particular product, you want to tag the campaigns with the taxonomy associated with their product, so you can also track how the assets for that product are performing as a whole, compared to campaigns for a different product.

This is brilliant for any businesses wanting to see how their campaigns are performing across different levels.

Sitecore comes with channel, campaign and asset taxonomies, so you can choose between any of these, or you can also create custom taxonomies depending on what you need.

Creating A Custom Marketing Taxonomy

  1. On the Sitecore launchpad, click Marketing Control Panel
  2. In the content tree, select Taxonomies and select the taxonomy you want to use.
  3. For example, select Campaign facet 1.
  4. In the warning in the content area, click Unprotect Item (so you can edit it).
  5. On the Home tab, click Display name and give the new taxonomy a name and click OK.
  6. To make the item protected again, click the Configure tab and in the Attributes group click Protect Item.
  7. Click Save.

Taxonomy Hierarchy

Just like campaigns, taxonomies have their own hierarchy.

  1. Taxonomy
  2. Taxonomy group
  3. Taxonomy tag

If a taxonomy was ‘Business Market’, your campaign groups could represent a large region, i.e. Nordic Countries’, and taxonomy tags could represent the countries that belong to that region, i.e.’Norway’, ‘Denmark’, ‘Finland’, ‘Sweden’, ‘Iceland’, etc.

Creating A New Taxonomy Group and Tag

(After you’ve created the taxonomy):

  1. In the Marketing Control Panel content tree, select the taxonomy that you renamed in the previous section (i.e., Business Market).
  2. On the Home tab, in the Insert group, click Custom group.
  3. In the Message dialog box that appears, enter a name for the new taxonomy group and click OK.
  4. Click Save.
  5. To create a new taxonomy tag, in the content tree, right-click the taxonomy group that the new tag belongs in, click Insert and then click Custom Taxonomy Tag.

Deploying a taxonomy

Before you can create a new taxonomy or use the one you just created, you need to deploy your taxonomy.
  1. In the content tree, select the parent of the new or updated taxonomy, i.e. in the example above, it would be the Business Market taxonomy
  2. Click Deploy in the top navigation.
You can now apply the new taxonomy tags to campaigns by editing the campaign and selecting the taxonomy from the relevant taxonomy dropdown list.

Analyzing Results Of Campaign Performance

There are two places in Sitecore where you can analyze results of your campaign, depending on whether your campaign was an email campaign or not:
  • Experience Analytics
  • Email Experience Manager

Experience Analytics

In Experience Analytics, you’ll find campaign performance analytics under Acquisition.

Email Experience Manager

In Email Experience Manager, select the email campaign type from the left side navigation that you want to see the performance analytics for (it can be for any email campaigns, e.g. whether they are sent or automated doesn't matter), then choose the email from the list.

Once the email editing wizard opens, select the 'Reports for this email campaign' link on the far right.

Screenshot of where to find reports for an email campaign in Sitecore

Here you'll have all of your email performance analytics including:

  • Open and click rates
  • Time of day
  • Bounce rate
  • Unsubscribed rate
  • Spam complaints
  • Failed emails
  • Unopened rate
  • A log of all links that were clicked in the email, and the time they were clicked
  • Value and engagement
  • Landing page performance

Wrap Up

That's it for campaigns and taxonomies - everything you need to know about them and their implementation.

I love helping you all get the most out of Sitecore. If you'd like me to explore any other topics, please message me on Twitter, or post a question in my Facebook group for Sitecore marketers and content authors.