Introduction to Sitecore Federated Experience Manager

Tuesday, December 01, 2015 @ 08:00

Sitecore has unarguably elevated marketing automation and experience management to new levels. Such marketing power and we can’t use that power until we re-implement all of our websites in Sitecore. Or can we? Needless to say it is neither possible, practical, or even desirable to gut ever site on the planet and replace it with Sitecore (though I intend to have a good go at it!). But that doesn’t mean we can’t use Sitecore’s marketing automation power in those sites as well.

Enter the Federated Experience Manager. At a conceptual level, FXM is like a Sitecore ambassador hanging out on other sites, reporting back to Sitecore and advising said site with what it knows from Sitecore. At a technical level it allows tracking visitors and profiles on non-Sitecore sites, and personalization of content on those sites. With the use of FXM you can go from having a picture of your customers is the context of how they interact with your Sitecore site to understanding your customers across your entire organization.

FXM Basics

Before we can do anything with FXM we need to give Sitecore some insight into our site. From the Sitecore Launchpad open the Federated Experience Manager and click “Add external website”.

FXM Image One

Give the site a name and a domain. The other step required for FXM is to add the tracking script to pages on the site that you want to track. This is the hook back into Sitecore for everything from tracking to personalization.

The next thing we need is to signal Sitecore with what pages need to be tracked and how. In previous versions of FXM any site that we wanted to track had was was called a mirror site. Much as the name implies it was an analogous sitemap of the site you wanted to track with each page on the target site having a corresponding Sitecore item. Sitecore 8 allows us to paint with a slight broader brush with Page Filters.

Page filters describe criteria under which a page is relevant. If your site is small enough that the site mirror approach is manageable then page filters can be setup entirely with “match this page only”.

FXM Image Two

Once this filter is defined and marketing attributes, custom events, or profiling. This opens up a lot of possibilities in FXM in Sitecore 8 over previous versions. In 7 the mirror items were always 1 to 1, and now in Sitecore 8 we have many to many.

Profiling, Goals, Campaigns, ect…

Once you have page filters for your site setup a your non-Sitecore site can now be tracked and provide the same insight into your customer as your Sitecore site does. These attributes can be setup either in the tab shown above or in the Marketing Center.

FXM Image Three

Opening the Federated Experience Manager node in the Marketing Center you’ll find Sitecore items with all the page filters you’ve created. While these items potentially match more than one page functionally they can be assigned marketing attribution just as any other Sitecore item.