Personalizing on profile patterns: Interaction and Current visit vs. Contact

A rundown of the terminology, so that we can use personalization as efficiently as possible.

Everyone that's worked with Sitecore analytics and personalization knows that the different entities and how they differ from each other is not always obvious. Let's set up an example case:

You've set up a new persona profile on your site, and placed profile cards on different pages so that visitors are matched against a pattern card by the system. Now, let's say there is a pattern called Bob the Bro. Furthermore, let's say your site belongs to a clothing company and among other things, they sell a sweet-ass military meshed tank top with the text "Go hard or go home!" printed on it.

Say no more! Bob the Bro's about to get him an offer he can't refuse.

On the start page of your site is a promotional spot, and if a visitor matches against the Bob the Bro pattern, of course you want to promote the tank top. And as in 99% of the cases, you want to promote it regardless of when the visitor matched against the pattern. As long as their total in the persona profile matches against Bob the Bro they should see the tank top. What do you do?

With very few exceptions, every case like this I've come across (including when I've done this myself in the past) will have two rules set up on the spot-rendering to ensure Bob gets to see the clothes we know his heart desires:

Bob pattern rules

The reason we do this is because we don't know the intricates of Sitecores analytics terminology (and to be fair it's not always consistent, which we will see later in this post.)

And thus we make the following assumptions:

  1. The first rule cares only what the visitor has done in the current visit (since that's actually exactly what the rule says...)
  2. The second rule cares about what has been aggregated to your contact card. Now this one seems trickier. Does this mean only historic data is counted, i.e. every visit before the current one aggregated, or is it all historic AND the current visit aggregated? We're not sure, which is why we set up both rules.

The truth however is this:

  1. It's actually the first rule that takes the total sum of all you interactions into account, including the current one.
  2. The second rule takes only historic interactions into account, i.e. all interactions except the current one.

To summarize:

  • Our first assumption is wrong. In this context "current visit" means all historic profile points plus the current interaction. In all honesty, the phrasing of this rule is as close to objectively wrong as a question of interpretation can be. Luckily, if you want you can change this text here: /sitecore/system/Settings/Rules/Definitions/Elements/Visit/Matches Pattern.
  •  Contact in this context means "Historic".
  • This means that the only rule we need in this case is the first one.

And for those who are working with personalization and/or analytics in their backend code, this applies there as well:



07 Dec 2018, by Bonny Nilsson | 

Sitecore, Analytics, Personalization, Patterns, Profiles