Sitecore xDB is one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s toolbox. Advanced content personalization, best-in-class audience segmentation – the xDB can do it all. But not everyone is able to take advantage of these features right away and marketers often frustrate their web teams with their requests to do everything right away with the xDB.
There’s a solution, and one that many marketers may not even consider: site search. Optimizing the site search solution and using effective and powerful search analytics can help accomplish the lofty goals marketing and web development teams have for their xDB – without a lot of the headache.
Getting Started with Sitecore xDB
Who is your audience and what should they see at each step? This is not an easy question to answer, and for marketers having to identify the pattern cards of their audience, it’s a necessary one to take full advantage of the xDB. The good news is that your search usage analytics can help you create those pattern cards.
Your search usage analytics will reveal the queries and content that is most valuable for that query. As you dig into the different queries, you can start to filter the query list to a single country, region, or city, as well as find patterns in queries that could identify personal traits.
For example, a Coveo for Sitecore implementation with the latest Coveo for Sitecore Hive framework will force the implementer to add the Usage Analytics components events, and those events will be available through Coveo Cloud dashboards.
Can you find patterns in this list of queries from our Coveo.com search interface:
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If I had to create pattern cards based on that, I would definitely split them by “Developer” and “Prospect”, and probably by our products also, such as “Salesforce” and “Sitecore.”
Deploying Personalization of Your Search Experience in Sitecore xDB
Jumping into personalization without first performing experiments to get a better idea of your audience’s content needs is a risky strategy. Luckily, you can use your search solution to analyze and test your assumptions before deploying onto Sitecore xDB.
Too many marketers ignore search, and their users whose first instinct is to ignore navigation and automatically use search. Nearly 6 out of 10 users will use the search box to find content over navigation.
The relevance of content they receive when they search is tightly coupled to the user’s context, which an advanced search solution can help you decipher to deliver the most relevant content. Having the right result for the right user can improve their experience drastically, increase conversion and fidelity.
On a technical side, if you already have xDB, start with Coveo for Sitecore free Cloud Trial, it’s extremely easy to bind them together, providing an extra layer of personalization with minimum effort. As soon as you download the trial, we will share with you tips and tricks to help you with the implementation. Plus, with the machine learning embedded in Coveo’s AI-powered search solution, your search personalization becomes automatic as it ingests the data for your search analytics and applies those insights.
What to personalize in your search solution? Here are a few ideas, along with how to use these insights for your larger personalization strategy:
- Ranking of results. It’s important to deliver the most relevant results to every user, and the relevance of those results will change based on the context of the user. For example, a user searching for an issue with a specific product visits the product page, and then uses the search box, but will only want to see results related to that product. In Coveo, by pushing pattern cards with the Usage Analytics events, the Automatic Relevancy Tuning (ART) model will segment the model in logical groups. Those groups will have different result sets for the same queries, since previous users with the same pattern card clicked on different links.
- Query suggestions. It’s not just about the results. Your users often don’t know what they want and will need you to suggest queries for them to understand more about their problem. Coveo will start suggesting relevant queries as soon as a letter is pressed, and those will be adjusted by the pattern card. The suggestions will be contextualized (but not restricted) to what similar users have done.
- Recommendations. Don’t limit your search experience to just the search box. Provide recommendations in a side panel to recommend the next step.This feature, available to the Enterprise Edition of Coveo for Sitecore, will give recommendations based on page views. Once again, passing context information will help recommend content for “users like you.”
- User interface. This will depend on your search solution, but I’ll just go into how it works for Coveo for Sitecore. Since Coveo components are Sitecore rendering, conditional rendering can be used to modulate the search interface. Using the rule editor feature, content authors can change the way a search interface is rendered to provide various experiences to a variety of end users. Combining that feature with Sitecore xDB pattern cards rules to create search interfaces matching their style, from a casual searcher who needs a search box to a power users who use the full potential of multiple facets.
Have more questions for how to personalize search within Sitecore? Join us for our monthly demo webinar to learn more. Register today.