So far, there isn’t a massive amount of resource available on what Outcomes are in Sitecore 8 and how and why you should use them. This post will aim to explore what Outcomes are and give an example of how they could be used in a real life situation.
So, what are Outcomes?
An Outcome is essentially a “Business Significant Result” and can be used in your Personalisation rules and tour Engagement Plans. An Outcome can be put simply as “something that has happened that is of significance”.
Rules Engine usage
You can utilise Outcomes in the Rules Engine to personalise content related to a specific outcome that has occured for the visitor. The following two rules are defined for you:
You can see that out of the box there are two rules
- where the current contact has registered the outcome during any interaction
- where the current contact has registered the outcome during any interaction where monetary value compares to value
(the Outcome Rule Action on the right-hand side is a custom rule action that I’ve created, I’ll cover this later)
How can we use Outcomes?
To demonstrate how Outcomes can be used, I will set up an example scenario. The scenario will be to register an Outcome if a new Product has been purchased as a result of expressing interest in the Product before it was released. For this example I will set up three basic content pages:
- To register as a User
- To register initial interest for the Product
- To purchase the Product
Each page will register a specific goal. The final page will register a custom goal which will also register the Outcome.
As shown below, I’ve added the following Goals which are used in this example:
- Purchase Interest Submitted Goal – fired when the Interest Submitted page loads
- Purchase Product Goal – fired when the Purchased-Product page loads
- Purchase Product Register Outcome Goal – fired when the above two goals have been fired
The last goal in the list is a custom goal as it will also register an Outcome. This can be achieved by setting up a custom Rule Action using the below code:
(You can find more information on how to register outcomes on Ian Graham’s blog post here http://coreblimey.azurewebsites.net/sitecore-8-outcomes/)
Then I will set up an Outcome Definition called “Product Purchase” in the new Outcomes section of the Content Editor. This is the Outcome that the Rule Action will fire:
Then, for the “Product Purchased Register Outcome” Goal, I will utilise this custom Rule Action to the Rules that are evaluated for that Goal (see Rule 1 below):
Now that we have all the pieces to make this work,, I’d like to introduce you to a new feature of Sitecore 8. The Explore Mode of the Experience Editor. This is a very useful way to test and verify that your Goals are converting and your Outcomes are being registered. To find out more about Explore Mode, have a look at Martin Davies’s blog post here:
All I will be doing is visiting the three pages in turn (interest-submitted and purchase-product) to simply evidence the Goals have been converted and the Outcome has been fired.
After quickly running through the pages – Explore Mode verified that my Goals had been converted:
Currently, Explore Mode does not give us a view of any Outcomes that have been fired, but we can use the Experience Profiler to view the. Firstly ensure that everything is published (as you’ll need to browse the site properly for analytics to be captured) and then go into the Experience Profiler and select your visit (once the analytics have been flushed to MongoDB – this happens when the session ends). The Experience Profiler will show information on your visit – with one of the tabs representing Outcomes that have occured.
Arguably I should have named my Outcome a little better (e.g. Product Purchased after registering) but you get the idea.
Hope this is of use to someone 🙂