Extending personalisation options using the SBOS Accelerator

SBOS Rules Editor

A few weeks ago I blogged about extending profile matching over multiple visits in Sitecore. The basis of the post was to look at options on how you could extend Sitecore so that personalisation could use historical persona data rather than just data from the current session.

In this post I’m going to be looking at the SBOS Accelerators module which lists as one of its features “Historical Conditional Renderings”.

So what does it do?

Rather than change the way data gets recorded about a user, the SBOS Accelerator adds an additional 5 personalization rules to the rule set editor. These are:

  • where the specific campaign has been triggered within x days
  • where the specific goal has been triggered within x days
  • where behavior based on last x days matches the specific pattern card in the specific profile
  • where the specific page has been visited within x days
  • where the value of specific profile key compares to specific value, based on behavior from last x days

As well as allowing a rule to look at profile data over a number of days, the days option can also be changed to look at profile data over a number of visits.

This option of allowing us to specify a number of days or a number of visits helps to overcome the issue of data needing to degrade at different rates over time. We can set rules to promote something that a user may still be interested in by limiting the data to the last week, or we can target personality traits that shouldn’t change by taking a few months into consideration.

What’s important to note though is profile data is still being recorded on a per visit basis, so we still don’t have an overall accumulation of points over time and an assigned pattern card is still being based on an individual visit. But we’re able to create rules based on pattern cards assigned in multiple visits.

Some things to note

The SBOS Accelerators are currently only available for Sitecore versions 6.6 – 7.2. It currently hasn’t been updated to work with the new Mongo based analytic’s db in 7.5+.

The module has been written by Sitecore Support and is marked as being tested by Sitecore, so you can expect a decent level of reliability. However it is not covered by your Support agreement with Sitecore so you may not get any help with issues you encounter. The source for the module is available for you to edit though.


SBOS Accelerators on the Sitecore Marketplace

Pragmatically add request tracking for an item in Sitecore

Sitecore’s Engagement Analytic’s engine automatically tracks all page requests. When you assign profile cards to items this also triggers data about a persons interests to start being built up against their visit record, which can then be used to create a personalized site experience.

However what if you want items that are not pages to also contribute to a users profile?

This scenario came about with a recent site we took over that the client wanted to add personalisation too. The site (for unknown reasons) had been built with one product page which looked at a querystring parameter to determine the product information to be displayed (the querystring format was hidden from end users through the use of a URL rewrite). Product data was being stored as Sitecore items allowing them to have profile cards assigned, but as the item was never visited the profile cards values were never applied to the users profile.

After a bit of searching through the Sitecore.Analytics.dll I stumbled across the TrackingFieldProcessor class. This class contains a process function that takes an item parameter an in turn triggers all the functionality for processing campaigns, profiles and events related to the item.

To use it your code would look like this:

Sitecore.Data.Database db = Sitecore.Configuration.Factory.GetDatabase("web");
(new TrackingFieldProcessor()).Process(db.GetItem(new ID("395BDEF7-16CB-4C94-B9B6-A6EAC148401F")));

This will cause the profile key values to be updated but in the visitor history it still looks like the visitor was only looking at the one page. To change those values we can do this:

VisitorDataSet.PagesRow rawUrl = Tracker.CurrentVisit.GetOrCreateCurrentPage();
rawUrl.Url = "new url value";
rawUrl.UrlText = "new url value";

Note: I was unable to find any documentation on these functions, or any official way of doing this. Use at your own risk!