When you first start working with Sitecore digital marketing it can be hard to oversee the consequences of configurations and choices you make. To help you out I have gathered some best practices that you can use to make sure your configuration is future proof. It helps you keeping your setup organized and your analytics data readable. So here we go.
1. Use a logical folder structure
Always start with structuring your goals into folders. The way you structure them is up to you and based on what your organization needs. If you are in a multi label/multi-site environment, having a folder for each label is a good start. Or if you are in a multi-country setup use folders for each country.
From there you can probably categorize your goals into different types. Think of Call To Action (CTA) buttons or forms or bundling goals based on a campaign. In the end it can look like the example in the image below.
2. Name your goals descriptive
Your goal names should be as descriptive as they can be. Only by the name one should understand what the goal is for. This helps you make your goal data readable and understandable in Sitecore Analytics. The thing is, once in Sitecore Analytics you will only see the goal name. So two goals with the same name does not tell you anything.
It is a good idea to establish a naming convention. It can be partly based on how your folder structure look like. So an example can be:
Corporate site – Registration form – step 2 submit btn
Try to abbreviate words if possible. The longer your names get, the less can be read from the analytics right away.
3. Use the “Name” field for descriptive goal titles
Although it is a good practice to use descriptive names for your goals like mentioned before, you have to keep them as short as possible. To make your goal more readable in analytics, there is another option.
When you create a goal, you can enter a different goal name under the Data section of that goal. Look for the Name field. If you enter a different name here, that one will be used in Sitecore Analytics.
4. Classify your goals with meta data
Classify your goals with goal facets. In Sitecore Analytics you can view the performance based on a goal facet. This allows you to create other cross-sections of your data and give you new insights. For example which product group engages the most or which stage of the funnel is most valuable.
Again, you can use your organization structure here but it also depends on the insights you are looking for. Some ideas might be:
- Unit or department
- Product category or product
- Type of page (blog, article, etc.)
- Type of download (whitepaper, factsheet)
- Stages of the funnel (See/Think/Do/Care)
Don’t forget to rename the facet group items to something more meanable. Goal facet 1 does not tell you as much as Unit or department for example.
See my other post for more details about this topic.
5. Use engagement value (scale)
Goals should have engagement value configured. This is a way to measure the engagement visitors have with your brand, hence the name “engagement value”. Ah, it can be so easy sometimes :).
An engagement value scale can help you map out the relationship of goals to each other and value them. If you have goals that are part of a clear journey or a funnel (see also the next paragraph), this also indicates you need an engagement value scale.
If you want to learn more about engagement value, check out this page on sitecore.com.
6. Configure funnels for goals that are part of a funnel
If you have multiple goals that make up a specific journey or funnel you can use them to create a custom funnel in the Path Analyzer. Custom funnels makes it easier to see what’s going on and helps in better analysis and optimization.
You can configure a list of goals that you expect to be triggered in a certain order and use that as a funnel and/or filter on the maps.
7. Language versions
Always have at least an English version of a goal. If not, it will not appear in default lists of marketing automation elements. You don’t necessarily need language versions of goals so creating them in English by default is a good practice. Goals in other languages will work though. It’s more for the CMS part that you need English versions.
You can still work around it though. Check out this post for more details.
8. Custom goal maps
If you have setup goals, it is a good practice to configure custom goal maps for the most important goals. Especially for the ones that measure the real conversion. With goal maps I mean Path Analyzer maps. For me, the most convenient one is the reverse goal map. It helps you understand which paths your visitors have followed before they triggered the goal (made the conversion). Valuable for understanding and optimizing the on site journey.
9. Use a sheet to map out goals
Especially when you start large campaigns or launching new sites it can be convenient to map out all the goals in a sheet or overview. Here you can fill out names, classification, engagement value, relations between goals, etc. It is kind of your administration. The more goals you will get the harder it is to keep an overview of goals with their purposes, metadata and relations.
I have created a simple Excel sheet that I often use. You can download it for free here.
Other tips & trics
Each goal can be marked as a so called “IsLiveEvent”. This is useful for marketing automation. If you use this option the goal trigger becomes real time and marketing automation plans can respond to it immediately. No need to wait for the session to end. More details can be found in this article.
Be careful with using this option for goals that are triggered many many times. It can cause performance issues.
Sc_trk query string parameter
Goals can be triggered in various ways, like when loading a page, via forms. But there is also a trick to trigger a goal via a URL. Use the query string parameter sc_trk= to setup goal triggering for a specific URL. More details can be read in this post.