How to display recommendations and popular items on a SharePoint Server 2013 site

In this blog series, I’ll describe how you can use the new Usage analytics feature in SharePoint Server 2013 to display “smart content” on your website.  By “smart content” I mean content such as recommendations and popular items.  Recommendations are based on how other visitors have interacted with your site. For example, on a product page, you can display “People who viewed this product also viewed.” Popular items are the most viewed items on the entire site or within a specific category, for example the most viewed laptops on a site that sells technology products.

To help explain, I’ll use examples from a fictitious company called Contoso. Here’s what the website will look like once we’re done.

Recommendations and Popular items on a website

Note: The examples in this blog series are based on an on-premises installation.

Blog posts in this series:


Why this series is like Season 2 in a TV series
The Contoso website that I’ll use as an example throughout this series is a cross-site publishing website. If the story of how the Contoso site was set up were a TV series, the blog series How to set up a product-centric website in SharePoint Server 2013 would be Season 1. This series would therefore be Season 2.

Throughout this series, I’ll refer to many concepts and features that I explained in the previous blog series (Season 1). You should read the first series before continuing with this one. As with a TV series, knowing the story from the beginning makes things not just easier to understand, but also more interesting.

Comments (6)
  1. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi James,

    Yes, you can use these Web Parts for non cross-site publishing content as well. I hope the examples I’ll give throughout this blog series will be helpful also for your scenario.


  2. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Rahul,

    1. If you by "most frequently used items" mean "most clicked items", then yes you can use the Popular Items Web Part do show this.
    2. No, you can’t show user specific popular items. The usage analytics data in the search index is not personalized, but based on the behavior of all users.


  3. Looking forward to Season 2! 🙂

  4. james says:

    I might be jumping the gun but can you use these web parts for standard publishing pages (i.e. non Cross-site published content)?

  5. rahul says:

    Hi Bella,

    I have 2 questions, please reply
    1. Is this possible to show top 5 most frequently used items in a site?
    2. Is this possible to show user specific top 5 items, lets say I am the user and view few documents in the document library now I want to display top 5 items viewed by me on the home page of the site and so on for different users.


  6. Sudeep says:

    Hello Bella,
    I have one community subsite and inside this community subsite there are number of community subsites. I would like to show 5 most popular communities. How this can be done?

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content