Experiences with Sitecore Federated Experience Manager

Over the past couple of days I’ve been a little fun with Federated Experience Manager and I’m really liking it 🙂 There’s a great deal of functionality and fun (yes I’m like that!) to be had. Especially with the concept of “hooking into” a completely independent site and tracking what pages are visit or even the concept of pushing content to other sites (we’ll explore that concept in a future blog post)

In this blog post I’ll quickly demonstrate how to quickly set up Federated Experience Manager and get started with the basics like tracking analytics.

How do I install Federated Experience Manager?

For my “independent” site I simply created a new Web Application (that contains no functionality – it’s not needed for this purpose) in Visual Studio. For this example I used ASP.NET MVC Application. What’s important to remember is that as it’s independent site to Sitecore it’s actually technology agnostic – you could have set up a demonstration in PHP or even straight HTML :).

So, once my independent site is set up it looks something like this:

testsite

As you can see, I’ve set this up to respond under http://testsite (IIS/hosts files have been configured etc.)

Now we can do the fun but and add a reference to this site in Fereration Experience Manager by adding an “External Site”:

addingexternalsite

There’s not a great deal of information to fill in here – what is very important is the “Tracking Script” (or Tracking Beacon). This is a piece of Javascript that you need to include in your independent site where you want the Federated Experience Manager to hook into. Without this script, there will be no interaction between Sitecore and your external site.

As my site is as out-of-the-box ASP.NET MVC site, I included this tracking script in the <head> element of _SiteLayout.cshtml:

Now that we have the Tracking Script configured on our site, we should be in a position to go to the Federated Experience Manager, select our Test Site and click the “Open in Experience Editor” button. You should see the following appear:

experienceeditor

That made me smile 🙂 My completely independent site opening in the Experience Editor in Sitecore ready for action!

For this simple example all I’m going to show is how to capture someone clicking on the Register button (you would normally plan your events ahead however this shows its simplicity). If you click the “Capture Click Action” button, you should be able to select any HTML element on the page in order to assign a click action to it. For example, if you click on the “Register” button of the website you should see that Sitecore has identified that you have clicked on an Anchor tag and allow you to assign a “click action” to it:

addnewclickaction

You can navigate to the specific element in question if you need to and when you’re happy you can click on the “Add a new action” to further define your click action:

captureclickaction

Once you’ve given your Click Action a name, you can assign any Goals or Analytic Attributes that you already have set up in Sitecore:

settingupgoals

The rest of the UI should be familiar to you in terms of assigning goals/outcomes etc. When this is done ensure that your changes are saved and published – and that’s it 🙂

So, what happens when we browse our site?

When we browse our test site and click on the Register link, the Tracking Beacon Javascript will now call Sitecore to register the event. This can be evidenced in Telerik’s Fiddler tool:

fiddler

Checking that this has worked.

You can verify this has worked in the usual places where you expect gather reports on Experience Analytics, for example, below shows the Page URL’s that have been tracked, which includes visits to my testsite:

pageurls

Also, if you take a look in the Experience Profiler, you will also see the usual profile of the visits that have occured, including visitors of your external sites as shown in the detail of a specific visit below:

detailedreport

I hope this has given you a taste of the level of power you have with Federated Experience Manager. So far I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s achievable. I will be exploring other concepts of FXM in future posts.

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2 thoughts on “Experiences with Sitecore Federated Experience Manager

  1. Pingback: Sitecore 8 Federated Experience Manager pt. 2 – Pushing renderings to non Sitecore sites | Jamie Little
  2. Nice post Jamie! Haven’t used it yet, but I have a few questions about the Federated Experience Manager:

    1) Does it require the external site to have unique IDs on each element in order to identify when it’s clicked/interacted with?

    2) To which site definition does the goal/event get attributed?

    3) How does it achieve the call back in distributed Sitecore environments – where you might have a delivery instance and a CM instance for example – does it call the CM instance or one of the delivery instances?

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