Sitecore Analytics 102 : 7 configuration steps to access basic Sitecore DMS reports
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Sitecore Analytics 102 : 7 configuration steps to access basic Sitecore DMS reports

Author: Shilpa Gupta | Categories: Sitecore CMS, Digital Analytics, CMS

Effective marketing today requires technology. While years ago, companies could put an ad in the phone book and wait, today’s digital world requires websites, cross channel distribution and analytics to successfully promote and measure your efforts – all of which are facilitated by technology tools such as a Content Management System (CMS).

Earlier this month, we walked you through a Sitecore 101 Blog, which included a complete list of out of box DMS reports in Sitecore that effective marketers just can’t ignore. In this article, we will walk you through the seven steps involved in manually setting up those reports.

Step 1: Gather analytics

The first step in effectively configuring your Sitecore DMS, is to do a little background research in Sitecore to find your dashboards and configure an Executive dashboard.

As silly as it sounds, finding your Sitecore data is really the first step in effectively configuring your dashboards, and even some smart marketers get hung up on this stage. You would be surprised how often I hear, “I don’t see any data in my Sitecore dashboard.”

So, step one is to find the data and data collection starts after we have configured the analytics database/DMS for Sitecore.

Sitecore configuration includes three default databases:

  • Master — The master database contains all versions of all content supporting all of the Sitecore Content Management System (CMS) users. (This is everything that the software can track, for all of your company’s users.) It is a standard database that contains every version of every item, including unpublished versions. The master database contains both the history of the Web site and the work in progress.
  • Web — The web database contains all published versions from the Master database supporting the Web site(s). The web database contains the latest publishable version of every item that has been published on website.
  • Core — The core database contains data controlling the Sitecore CMS user interfaces. It contains the ASP.NET membership tables that drive authentication and security.

Sitecore DMS is not configured by default when we configure Sitecore for building the website.

We need to configure Sitecore DMS which populates the analytics database. The next step is to map the analytics database to Web database or database where all visitor information and data is collected. In little bit technical terms, it means we need to configure Sitecore Analytics on Production Environment.

A very important note, we need to change the connection string on Authoring, pointing to the Production Analytics Database, thus it will start showing the Analytics data from Production in content authoring environment. So we will see website Analytics by logging into content authoring environment. We do not want to login into production environment for accessing production (website) analytics for safety reasons.

We will then be able to see basic data within Executive Dashboard and Engagement analytics in Sitecore DMS.

Step 2: Classify your data sources 

(urls) into specific channels to see segmented data by various channels. I have heard people saying “I see data for some channels while other data is blank in dashboard”. Google analytics classify the channel data by default but in Sitecore you will need to set it up.

Google analytics 

We need to classify all visits that appear in the Referred – Other category to make the dashboard data more meaningful. For example in above we need to classify LinkedIn into Social sites, otherwise all visits from LinkedIn will show in “Referred another category”. When you classify a traffic type, the changes are applied immediately but are not visible in the dashboard until the data in the current cache has been updated.

Step 3: Define your branded keywords
  • Define branded keywords to measure brand awareness and indicate how much you need to promote the company brand.
Step 4: Create your goals, and assign values to those goals
  • Create Goals and assign Values We need to create goals and assign values to different goals so that value metric for visits is calculated in Sitecore. This is particularly valuable when the appropriate time is taken to set up an engagement value scale that is meaningful on the website. As a visitor navigates around the website achieving various goals and triggering different page events the value of their visit is calculated and used in various reports. For example: Setting up value will help in knowing which campaigns or traffic types have generated the most relevant or efficient visits. Entry Page report will be able to identify effective pages with highest value visits and underperforming pages.

Sitecore DMS reports 

Goals and page event content items contain a Points field into which you can enter a value. Sitecore uses this number to calculate an overall value for a visit. As a visitor navigates around the website achieving various goals and triggering different page events the value of their visit is calculated. When a visitor leaves the website their total accumulated points for the visit are displayed in the Executive Insight Dashboard as the Engagement Value.

Step 5: Integrate a GeoIP service
  •  Integrate a GeoIP service Buy credits from third party web services such as max-mind to analyze latest visits report. MaxMind is a GeoIP service that provides a seamless integration with Sitecore. It provides information down to the known-organization level. Without integration with GeoIP service report will show IP_NOT_Found.
Step 6: Configure google site search
  •  Configure site-search so that it captures search terms from internal site-search. It is important to set up as we must know: How do different groups of users search my site? What business outcomes result from users searching my site? How frequently do users use my search box and what are they looking for and are users satisfied? Unless you configure Site-search no reports will be available in Sitecore dashboard for internal Site Search.
 Step 7: Set up site and language drop downs
  • Set up site and language drop down:Make sure the sites and languages drop-down is set up properly to filter the dashboard by right language and right website.

Sitecore Analytics 

Have you configured all these basic steps to enable Sitecore analytics? What else you think is important for basic set of reporting?