Skip to main content

Experience Profile Anonymous, Unknown and Known contacts

When you first get started with Sitecore's experience profile the reporting for contacts can cause a little confusion. There are 3 terms that are thrown around, 1) Anonymous 2) Unknown 3) Known. When you read the docs they can bleed into each other a little.

First, have a read through the Sitecore tracking documentation to get a feel for what Sitecore is trying to do.

There are a couple key things here to first understand:

  1. Unless you call "IdentifyAs()" for request the contact is always anonymous. 
  2. Tracking of anonymous contacts is off by default. 
  3. Even if you call "IdentifyAs()" if you don't set facet values for the contact (like first name and email) the contact will still show up in your experience profile as "unknown" (because it has no facet data to display). 

Enabled Anonymous contacts




Notice in the picture I have two contacts marked in a red box. Those are my "known" contacts that I called "IdentifyAs" on. I know they say "Unknown" but we will get back to that.

The other records show "Anonymous". By default, none of these records will show. Tracking these can lead to data bloat. So if you are going to enable this make sure you have a plan for how to make the data meaningful for you still.

To enable this there are a couple of things to do. The steps are defined in this stack exchange thread answer, but I will list them here again just in case (The thread is about creating a known contact with WFFM but you don't need to get caught up in that).

  • Update IndexerSettings.xml file within [site_prefix].xconnect\App_data\jobs\continuous\IndexWorker\App_data\Config\Sitecore\SearchIndexer to change IndexAnonymousContactData to true
  • Update IndexerSettings.xml within [site_prefix].xconnect\App_data\config\sitecore\SearchIndexer to change IndexAnonymousContactData to true
  • Open command prompt in admin mode and navigate to [site_prefix].xconnect\App_data\jobs\continuous\IndexWorker and execute XConnectSearchIndexer -rr or XConnectSearchIndexer -requestrebuild
  • Rebuild your indexes and rebuild link databases, both from Sitecore control panel


The key here is to execute all those steps. Change the config in both places and do all the rebuilds. Once you do that you can reload this page and see the anonymous records. I struggled with this at first because I was only changing one config location and doing just the XConnectSearchIndexer -rr command. Once I did all those, anonymous records showed up. There is no need to rebuild the reporting database as some threads out there kind of point to.

You can also set the configuration settings to false and do your rebuilds to remove the anonymous records.

Create "Known" contacts

The two records that are highlighted in the above image are my known contacts. "But they say unknown." Yes, that is true. This is because all I did for those contacts was call "IdentifyAs()". So they have a tracking identifier linked to them now but no other data. So the reporting screen has nothing to show in the name or email column.

When you click on a record that says "unknown", in the profiles details page the header says "Anonymous" which can be confusing. Even though the heading says Anonymous this is a known contact. 


I removed all the anonymous contacts and then visited the site again. This time though I ran the documented code for adding a facet to a contact. Then on my visit, I called "IdentifyAs" and identified the request using the identifier that was set up for the contact I created. When you do this you can see I now have a new contact record with real information in the name and email field. The facet I added is the PersonalInfo facet which is one of the OTB facets with Sitecore. You will notice now the name and email fields are populated and if you click on Luke Skywalker, the profiles detail screen no longer says "Anonymous"!
So while the profile search screen may be returning data that says "unknown" these are NOT unknown contacts. They are known contacts with some unknown data fields. There really are just two types of contacts in Sitecore. Known and Anonymous, but a known contact can sometimes display "known" and "anonymous" even though it is known. 

If you happen to be struggling with the "unknown" header in the picture below, read Sitecore xDB - Custom Eras in Experience Profile Timeline

Comments

Marilyn Hanson said…
Thanks greeat blog post

Popular posts from this blog

Uniting Testing Expression Predicate with Moq

I recently was setting up a repository in a project with an interface on all repositories that took a predicate. As part of this I needed to mock out this call so I could unit test my code. The vast majority of samples out there for mocking an expression predicate just is It.IsAny<> which is not very helpful as it does not test anything other then verify it got a predicate. What if you actually want to test that you got a certain predicate though? It is actually pretty easy to do but not very straight forward. Here is what you do for the It.IsAny<> approach in case someone is looking for that. this .bindingRepository.Setup(c => c.Get(It.IsAny<Expression<Func<UserBinding, bool >>>())) .Returns( new List<UserBinding>() { defaultBinding }.AsQueryable()); This example just says to always return a collection of UserBindings that contain “defaultBinding” (which is an object I setup previously). Here is what it looks like when you want to pass in an exp

Password Management

The need to create, store and manage passwords is a huge responsibility in modern day life. So why is it that so many people do it so poorly? This is a loaded questions with answers ranging from people being uneducated, to lazy, to educated but not affective in their methods and many more. This blog is to help those (in some way even myself) around me strengthen their online security. Why does it matter? To answer this let's look at a few numbers. According to the US Department of Justice (DOJ)’s most recent study , 17.6 million people in the US experience some form of identity theft each year. Ok fine but that is identity theft that has nothing to do with password management. What is one way someone can start getting information about who you are? How do they get access to steal your money? From Cyber Security Ventures 2019 report : "Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that healthcare will suffer 2-3X more cyberattacks in 2019 than the average amount for other industries. W

Excel XIRR and C#

I have spend that last couple days trying to figure out how to run and Excel XIRR function in a C# application. This process has been more painful that I thought it would have been when started. To save others (or myself the pain in the future if I have to do it again) I thought I would right a post about this (as post about XIRR in C# have been hard to come by). Lets start with the easy part first. In order to make this call you need to use the Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel dll. When you use this dll take note of what version of the dll you are using. If you are using a version less then 12 (at the time of this writing 12 was the highest version) you will not have an XIRR function call. This does not mean you cannot still do XIRR though. As of version 12 (a.k.a Office 2007) the XIRR function is a built in function to Excel. Prior version need an add-in to use this function. Even if you have version 12 of the interop though it does not mean you will be able to use the function. The

Anatomy of Sitecore Business Rule - Macros

In previous posts, we talked about  field syntax and the basic structure of business rules . This time we are going to dive into macros in the business rules. Macros are used as part of the business rule syntax. The syntax looks like this and calls for 4 parameters. [Property to set, Operator/Macro, AdditionalParameters, Display text]. When I first started working with business rules the difference between operator and macro was confusing. To add to this confusion some of the out-of-the-box macros are named with the term "operator" (like ListOperator who's configuration points to a class called ListMacro and the class implements IRuleMacro). Anything under the path /sitecore/system/Settings/Rules/Definitions/Macros should be a macro and should implement IRuleMacro. Macros have the follow characteristics: They inherit the IRuleMacro interface The interface requires this execute method void Execute(XElement element, string name, UrlString parameters, string value)