Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hedgehog Persona Tool Part VI

(Squared Euclidean) Distance and going the extra mile to get it.

In my previous blog post I touched on the concept of Squared Euclidean Distance between patterns. So what is this Distance and why do we care? It is the numerical representation of a difference between two Sitecore patterns. Going back to an example from Persona Tool let's look at several patterns:

The yellow one almost maxes out on Analytics but quite low on Customer Relations and Campaigns and Targeting keys. The pink one is obviously very different: high on Innovation and Customer Relations and very low on Technology and Analytics. If we were to find out how we can measure this difference we would use Sitecore's GetDistance method from Sitecore.Analytics.Patterns namespace in Sitecore.Analytics assembly. I decompiled this method and this is what it looks like:

Pattern's Space.Dimensions is a number of Profile Keys. In our case it would be 6. Following the logic we see that each Profile Key value is compared between the two patterns and this result is multiplied by itself. Then added to a cumulative value which is our distance.

Here's a snapshot from watching two keys and how they compare to each other. The first key ([0]) happens to be Analytics.

Here's a great blog post on visualizing pattern cards by Adam Conn. You can download his module and watch the current visit's pattern change before your eyes!

Hedgehog Persona Tool takes this process of pattern matching to a whole new level. As previously discussed, Sitecore patterns are preset, and may not accurately reflect visitor behavior. You can compare this process to a conference planning: you expect visitors from certain states and prepare badges (Pattern Cards) for them with state names. But as visitors come you might realize that some of them arrive from totally different areas and your badges (Pattern Cards) are irrelevant. The Hedgehog Persona Tool allows us to see the accurate visitor behavior in real time. Each visit stored in Mongo is turned into a pattern, matched against other patterns and then assigned to a cluster with similar patterns for a much more detailed and accurate analysis.

If you'd like more information about persona development and marketing strategy, reach out to Hedgehog Digital Marketing Innovation Team.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Hedgehog Persona Tool Part V

Look who's getting engaged!

The Persona Tool helps us know our visitors better, and the evolution of the Persona Tool brings more and more new features. The one I want to focus on this time is the exceptional, extraordinary and essential Engagement Value (EV) per cluster of visits.

Once we pick one of our Sitecore profiles (i.e. Audience Segment) in the dropdown we would see all our visits with Audience Segment data combined into one cluster that represents an average visit to our site. Let's take it one step further and reduce our distance. I know: what on earth is distance? For our current purposes, a distance here is a difference between one pattern and another. Take a look at the radar charts in the image below and observe that the three figures are easy to differentiate. The difference between each one is represented as a numerical value in Sitecore: that is our 'distance'.

So, in the slider I reduce my distance to 16% (of the largest possible distance between patterns representing our visits). This action is highlighted in red.

The tool runs the analysis and displays three resulting clusters of visits. Within each cluster all visits are 'averaged out' and represented as one pattern. You can see those patterns as the radar charts. There is information about each clusters: percentage of visits in the cluster and average Engagement Value (EV), highlighted in green in the image above.

There is plenty of information in Engagement Value as a concept out there on the web. For example, I really like Martina Welander's post on it Sitecore's marketing features for developers: What is 'Engagement Value'? Essentially we set up Goals in Sitecore and assign a value to each goal. All those goals might have various values from low to high. Then we associate certain content or events (such as downloading a document) with goals. As users achieve them (i.e. download those documents) Sitecore stores that value (Engagement Value) inside Interactions collection in Mongo for each visit.

In our specific example we can see that the largest cluster (the one contaning a whopping 61% of our visits) has the largest average Engagement Value (17.56). It is not always the case. Depending on your data you might discover that a small slice of your site's visitors is actually the most 'engaged'!

Those are the people who are achieving the goals we set for them: they are downloading important documents, visiting pages we want them to visit most, signing up for events and services that mean a lot for our business. If we are an e-commerce site they are clicking the Buy button, thereby increasing our revenue.

Wouldn't that be great to know who they are in terms of their behavior on the site? What content do they view? What is their pattern? Well, this is what this cluster's radar chart is all about: it shows us the pattern of our most active (or 'engaged') visitors.

In my next post I will write more about Distance: what it is, how to get it, why does it matter, and how the Persona Tool can help you best utilize this metric. If you'd like more information about persona development and marketing strategy, reach out to Hedgehog Digital Marketing Innovation Team.