Episerver Visitor Intelligence (prev. known as Insight / Profile Store) – Basic Implementation

A couple of weeks ago, I got the chance play with Episerver Insight on a local epi installation. It was very quick to setup, and tracking can be easily customised. Before I go into detail on how to set it up, here’s a quick overview of what it is and what it’s not. Episerver Insight

What is Episerver Visitor Intelligence?

Episerver Visitor Intelligence (previously known as Episerver Insight)  provides visualisation on your website’s user behaviour, whether anonymous or identified. It allows you view profiles and contact details, create user segments based on user several filters and use these segments for personalisation on the website, as well as form a recipient list for marketing automation.

episerver insight - filter profiles

What is the Episerver CDP?

Previously known as the Episerver Profile Store, it serves as a repository of your customer profiles that have been collected from your website, based on tracking criteria. It has algorithms that marry up multiple profiles into one (i.e. a user on multiple devices). It also allows you to centralise all customer data tracked from several applications (i.e. main website and mobile application). If you have a CRM, syncing between your CDP and CRM would be a good idea, especially for customers that have been identified (i.e. submitted a form on the website, or logged in).

  • Episerver e-Commerce – After enabling Episerver Visitor Intelligence, you can then start implementing tracking to cover behaviours such as viewing a product, adding to cart, placing an order as well as other actions you want tracked. This can be done through adding an attribute or making an API call. In this post, my example implementation is for a CMS platform. As for e-Commerce, here’s where you can find a sample implementation – https://github.com/episerver/Quicksilver (Thanks to Magnus from Epi for this detail)
  • Episerver CMS – Same concept, you will have to tell the system which parts of the application you want covered and which actions to track. An example implementation could be as easy as decorating your page controllers with a [Track] attribute. It will then begin collecting data on page views for page controllers you have enabled tracking for. See example implementation below.

The Profile Store, as mentioned earlier, is decoupled from Insights because it serves several other Episerver SaaS products such as Reach, Perform, Advance, and Personalised Find, all worth having a look at.

Is it easy to setup?

Pretty much. There are three steps required when enabling Insight and the Profile Store:

  • Install a couple of NuGet packages, listed below
  • Update the web.config with license keys
  • Implement tracking

NuGet packages

Install the following nuGet packages (in order):

  1. Episerver.Profiles.Client
  2. Episerver.Insight.UI
  3. Episerver.Tracking.CMS (optional – basic implementation for any CMS solution)
  4. Episerver.Tracking.Commerce (optional – basic implementation for any Commerce solution)
  5. Episerver.Tracking.PageView (optional – basic implementation for tracking page views)

Review and update web.config

Assuming you already have the license keys, you’ll need to then replace the values of the following configuration items. If you don’t, you’ll need to contact your Episerver account manager. At the time of this writing, there is no developer portal that allows you to generate one for local use.

<add key="episerver:tracking.Enabled" value="True" />
<add key="episerver:profiles.TrackingApiBaseUrl" value="ChangeThis" />
<add key="episerver:profiles.TrackingApiSubscriptionKey" value="ChangeThis" />
<add key="episerver:profiles.ProfileStoreTrackingEnabled" value="True" />
<add key="episerver:profiles.Scope" value="defaultscope" />
<add key="episerver:profiles.InsightApiBaseUrl" value="ChangeThis" />
<add key="episerver:profiles.InsightApiSubscriptionKey" value="ChangeThis" />
<add key="episerver:profiles.CloudUIBaseUrl" value="ChangeThis" />
<!-- The following enables tracking for Incognito users. Make sure you inform your users about this so you don't upset your users and avoid legal dramas. Otherwise, set to false -->
<add key="episerver:tracking.IgnoreDNT" value="true" />

Implement custom tracking 

There are several ways to implement custom tracking:

  • The quick way – Using the package you installed earlier Episerver.Tracking.Cms, decorate your page controllers with [Tracking("MyPageTypeName")]. This will then start tracking your page views.
  • The “I’m in control” way – Using the other package you installed earlier, Episerver.Tracking.Core, you will then need to implement a few things:
    • Create a custom event (i.e. PageViewEvent, FormSubmissionEvent, DownloadedEvent)
      public class PageViewEvent
      {
         public string PageTypeName { get; set; }
         public string PageTitle { get; set; }
      }
    • Raise the custom event within your page controllers
      [TemplateDescriptor(Inherited = true)]
      public class DefaultPageController : PageControllerBase<SitePageData>
      {
         private readonly ITrackingService _trackingService;
         private readonly HttpContextBase _httpContextBase;
         public DefaultPageController(ITrackingService trackingService, HttpContextBase httpContextBase)
         {
            _trackingService = trackingService;
            _httpContextBase = httpContextBase;
         }
         public ViewResult Index(SitePageData currentPage)
         {
            TrackMe(currentPage);
            // the rest of your code ...
         }
         protected void TrackMe(SitePageData currentPage)
         {
            var trackingData = new TrackingData<PageViewEvent>
            {
               EventType = typeof(PageViewEvent).Name,
               User = new UserData
               {
                  Email = EPiServer.Personalization.EPiServerProfile.Current.Email,
                  Name = EPiServer.Security.PrincipalInfo.CurrentPrincipal.Identity.Name
               },
               Value = "Visited " + _httpContextBase.Request.Url,
               Payload = new PageViewEvent
               {
                  PageTypeName = typeof(SitePageData).Name,
                  PageTitle = currentPage.Name
               }
            };
            _trackingService.Track(trackingData, _httpContextBase);
         }
      }

How long does it take to implement?

The above examples are very basic implementations of Episerver Insight and probably took somewhere around an hour or so to implement. Obviously, you’ll have to sit down with your website stakeholders and properly understand and identify which user behaviours you’d like to be tracked. This could include tracking events such as form submissions, downloaded assets, registrations, contact us events. Implementing such events could take a couple of days to a week of effort, depending on the number of events you have and how complex your site is structured.

Summary

The Episerver Profile Store allows you to track and store data about user behaviour on your website. Combined with Episerver Insight, you will then get a visualisation of what the Profile Store has tracked and recorded for you.

Using the collected user behaviour data, your business can then make data-driven decisions, help you build and validate content personalisations, guide you with building smarter campaigns, and hopefully help you increase your revenue too 🙂

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Nicola Ayan - Blog
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