We currently have a site that uses some simple personalization based on some "if/then" conditions. For instance, we have one component that is personalized based on date. Another is based on whether the contact is anonymous.

However, I've heard there are other ways to personalize based on browsing behavior... So, if a user is browsing one category of products, for instance, we can show them some content based on that product category... My google-foo has been failing me, so can someone point me in the right direction where I can start setting up this type of behavior-driven personalization?

Over the last few months, we've gone through exercises of defining personas, I'm just not exactly sure how to start leveraging that information in Sitecore yet.

4 Answers 4


Working with personas, profiles, and patterns take a lot of planning, a lot. But I understand where you are trying to get your feet wet, in the nice warm water of Sitecore XP.

@sestocker is right that you do need to think about goals and the engagement value (EV), but your question was directly related to personalization based on the users' site behavior.

The first level of planning is this: at a very high level, pick a specific section of your site that you feel you can clearly define into a profile, and then into a set of profile keys. When I talk about this, I usually resort to talking about Jets because we can all get our hands on the Sitecore Jets demo. The Jets demo has two profiles that are configured, but let's use the "Visit Profile" as an example.

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They are talking about vacations trips, and designing profiles that could clearly define the user's experience for each one of those trips. These are Profile Keys.

Then they take the Profile Keys and define Profile Cards, which ranks on a defined scale how much a trip would fit into each one of these groups. It's a way of defining a set of profiles as a group, not one by one on each page, which would take forever to do. This is important to understand because a trip is unlikely be only for family, or only for business. It would be heavily family-based, with nice amenities for couples, and very few resources for business.

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In the image above, we see the Business profile card. The Business profile is defined as great for Business (5 on a scale of 1-5), good for Duration (4) and a moderate Nightlife (2). It has no Family benefits (0) and is not good for Couples (1).

We do this over and over again, for a few defined profile cards that we can clearly outline our pages/products/news/etc as. Again, this takes planning and a good understanding of what you want your web site user to do. Where are you trying to get them to go? What are you trying to make them do?

All the work in profile keys and profile cards is just for score keeping. Where the rubber hits the road is in pattern cards. Pattern cards is where we define our web user, based on the things they are doing.

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Pattern cards are similar to profile cards in that you have selectors that rank your profiles on a defined scale (1-10 now). But this time it's about an aggregation of points, not a value you are assigning to the user. Let's say a user visits a page with business value of 5, family 2, duration 3, then visits a page with a business 5, family 1, duration 2. They have now accumulated a score of busines 10, family 3, duration 5.

Sitecore takes this information and tries to match it to one of your pattern cards. You are trying to identify if the user is looking at business trips, or shopping for a trip that is family-based. Not because they told you, but becasue they are looking at pages that you have defined and scored.

Now you can personalize content for your web user when you select the rule "when the current visit matches the specific pattern card in the specific profile" in the personalization rules window.

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You can also see your top pattern hits on the dashboard for the Experience Analytics. Also check out Pattern Matches under the audience menu in Experience Analytics. It has tons of info.

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Again, it takes a lot of planning to get this right, and effectively define what the client is looking to accomplish, plus mix in the goals, events, outcomes, and EV as well.


You should start with profiling your content. All info here - you might want to use profile cards as this makes it easier to set the same profile on related pages (you don't want editors to randomly assign profile value).

You could use pattern cards to map profile values to specific types of visitors and implement personalization rules. Visitor activity is mapped to your pattern cards in real time, allowing you to classify visitors quickly and consistently.

When a visitor navigates through a website, they accumulate the profile values of all the pages and resources that they request. Sitecore calculates the average score that the visitor has accumulated for each profile and maps the visitor to the pattern card that is the closest match.

A visitor can only be mapped to one pattern card at a time. However, as a visitor navigates through your website, the pattern card that they are mapped to can change as they interact with different items and resources.

All credits to whoever wrote the docu here.


Refer to this blog that I wrote on Sitecore Personalization OTB

First of all, you will need to define a profile to segment your contents and your visitors.

For example you want to track the readers interest. Your profile name can be "Readers" and the keys you will need can be each brand you have.In this example we will have as keys:

  • Career
  • Fashion
  • Prom Party

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You can create the profile cards(not mandatory) - these are used to tag your contents. Profile card is just like a combination of the profile keys and weights that can be used to tag multiple contents. Even if you do not have profile cards, you can specify the weights of each keys for each content.

Next you will have to create the different patterns that can represent the behavior of your users.

On the rendering you want personalized contents to appear, you will need to define the rules

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Instead of diving straight into personas, you may consider first setting up goals and engagement values for the most important pages on your site - then personalizing based on those. Sitecore recommends this approach because it is much easier to get started and to see fast results.

Walk before you run Sitecore graphic

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