This article is for those Sitecore customers who have doubts about the use of Sitecore analytics, also known as the Sitecore Experience Database (xDB). There are several reasons why organizations hesitate. The most important ones I hear regularly are:
- We are using Google Analytics right now and we are not sure if Sitecore Analytics is better?
- We are not sure if Google Analytics and Sitecore Analytics work together?
- We are not ready for personalization right now so we want to enable Sitecore Analytics in the future.
- We don’t have the capabilities or resources to start with Sitecore Analytics.
In this article I will explain why you don’t have to hesitate and why you need to enable Sitecore Analytics right from the start.
Sitecore Analytics Basics
Enabling Sitecore Analytics is something that should be done by your development team or agency. It is nothing your business should worry about. Once turned on, it acts like Google Analytics. With that I mean it just collects data and you don’t have to do anything for it or with it. So if you have the Sitecore XP license, which allows you to use the Sitecore xDB, why not enable it? It should be a no-brainer.
Collect first, explore later
One thing I always tell my customers is that it is worth while to start collecting data right from the start without directly doing anything with it, like personalization. Just make sure valuable information about the behaviour and interests of your visitors is collected for you. Once your organization is ready to do something with it, at least you have the data and you can deliver value right away.
Enabling Sitecore Analytics is a no-brainer
So launching a new site or Sitecore Platform without Sitecore Analytics is going two steps back instead of one forward.
Simple measurements are easy
So, now that you have enabled your Sitecore Analytics let’s take the next step. I said that you don’t have to do anything with it right away but some basics are too easy to let go. For example configuring a couple of simple goals to measure thinks like a specific page visit, a download or filling in a form. Or what about creating a campaign that can be used by your marketing team to measure the effect of traffic coming from external channels like social or advertising platforms?
Some resources to learn more about it can be found here:
The benefits are, again, collecting valuable data that you can use at a later moment to personalize the experience. Ask yourself this: would you let go valuable data that is just a couple of clicks away?
Google Analytics versus Sitecore Analytics
I prefer talking about Google Analytics AND Sitecore Analytics. It should not be a discussion. Both are great and have their strengths. A colleague of mine (Sten Verveen) has created a nice overview to show how to use both (see image below). I would say in short: Google Analytics is better for measuring things outside your Sitecore Platform and Sitecore is great for measurement visitor behaviour on your Sitecore Platform. So they both work great together and gives you a better understanding of anything that’s going on.
Start small and don’t be afraid
Don’t let Sitecore scare you. You can start very small with just one simple personalization rule. Create something simple on a homepage. For example, switching and image based on a specific campaign or goal trigger. You can’t really do that much wrong. And if you see that a personalization rule decreases a click through rate, at least you know that something else is required. Valuable insights right away!
If you recognizes yourself or your company in some of the questions in the introduction above, follow the steps I mentioned below:
- Just enable Sitecore Analytics and let it do its magic.
- If you are up for it, configure some minor and simple goals and campaigns to start collecting more valuable data.
- And if you are really a daredevil, you add some simple personalization rules on a homepage.
Just make sure you know what you are talking about and let rumors and thoughts of others not scare you. Make a rational choice by at least enable Sitecore Analytics.