Sitecore Goals, Events, and Outcomes: When and How to Use Them
When you dip into Sitecore’s marketing features, the number of options can seem endless. Sitecore offers countless settings under the hood, which can be powerful—if they’re configured correctly. To help you understand some of them, we’re going to explain Sitecore Goals, Events, and Outcomes—and when and how you should use each one.
Use Sitecore Goals to Track Important User Actions That Aren’t Tied to a Dollar Value
Goals are for major conversions on your website, specifically ones that don’t have a distinct dollar value. These conversions usually take the form of user actions like contact form submissions, account creations, event registrations, demo requests, or pricing requests. The important thing to note about Goals is that they count as "conversions" in Sitecore’s Experience Analytics and are used to calculate the conversion rate displayed there.
Goals can have engagement value points assigned to them and can be displayed in a Sitecore Experience Profile. They’re also tied to a user session and can have defined rulesets that are evaluated before they’re triggered. This last point allows you to add criteria to the Goal trigger outside of the Sitecore item the Goal is associated with. There are a few ways to trigger goals in Sitecore. They can be associated directly with any Sitecore item, fired from code, or triggered via a query parameter on any link.
Use Sitecore Events to Track User Activity That Isn’t an Indicator of Organizational or Website Goals
Events in Sitecore are very similar to Goals, but there are some key differences. Sitecore comes with many Page Events defined out of the box and many of these can be called from code. Besides page visits, session starts, and form dropouts, there are many useful default Events in Sitecore that your developers can call from code so that you can report on them. These are typically interactions that you want to know about, and track, but likely are not key indicators of progress toward your organization's business goals or major conversions on your site. So, they’re not counted toward your conversions in Sitecore Analytics. Otherwise, everything about Goals also applies to Events—they can have defined rulesets, and can be triggered by a Sitecore item, by code, or via query parameter.
Use Sitecore Outcomes to Track User Actions Tied to Specific Dollar Values
You should always use Outcomes for actions on your site that have a distinct dollar value. These are major touchpoints with your organization, usually where money is exchanged. They must be hooked up by your developers since they can only be called by code—with the singular exception of triggering them on a Sitecore Form submit—though you can still define them in the Sitecore Marketing Control Panel. When your developers call these from code, the monetary value can, and should, be defined for that Outcome. While Goals and Events may have engagement values and are tied to user sessions, Outcomes are associated with Sitecore Contacts and don’t have an engagement value. This means that a user must be an identified contact in Sitecore before an Outcome can be associated with them.
Goals, Events, and Outcomes can be used in Sitecore’s analytics reports and marketing automations—and as triggers in personalization rules. Goals and Events can also be configured to "count" as Goals and to appear in the Experience Profile or in the Latest Events sections.
Now that you know the differences between Sitecore Goals, Events, and Outcomes, you can set the right ones up to track all the different activities you need to measure your website’s success. Want to learn more about Sitecore Goals, Events, and Outcomes, or get help setting them up? Contact us.