What is “Category Hint”? Category hint is a new targeting option by which you can pick and choose from a list of categories supported in the eMiniMalls system. Your selected category will be used as a “fallback” in the event that the system does not find an appropriate product for your preferred keyword(s). You can browse through all categories using the category preview tool

Another use of this feature is to rotate through the popular products in a given category. For example, to show the best “Digital Cameras”, you would use the category for “Digital Cameras” and then specify no keywords. The system will then randomly rotate through the set of products in that category. Please note that the category is NOT set at the account level. You have full flexibility to target each eMiniMall unit to its own category. Even if you have more than one eMiniMall unit on a single page, you can have each one targeted to different categories. For example, the first unit can be targeted to “Sound Cards” and the 2nd unit to “Motherboards”. Selecting “Categories Hints” does not guarantee that only products from those product categories will appear. eMiniMalls service will first try to find matching results for the keyword(s) of your choice. Second preference will be given to a popular product from the selected category hint when possible. If the category product is missing, a network-wide popular product will be displayed as a fall back.

How to specify a “category hint”? There are two ways of specifying a category hint:

1. Code Panel: You can login to your account, click on “eMiniMalls Code” and then pick a category from the dropdown in “Category Hints” (in the “Set Options” section)  

2. Code Hacking: For existing users who have already deployed code, you can add this line to the code (anywhere after the line with ch_client but before the line with /script). You need to replace the XXXX below with the correct category code (PS: The category codes are available here). ch_default_category = “XXXX”;

Technical Notes:

  • Lazy Man’s Approach: To rotate through popular products in a given category (e.g. “Sound Cards”), pick your preferred category and leave the keyword list empty (PS: You can do this by hitting “Remove All” in the code panel).
  • Double quotes: Some software platforms seem to have trouble when the ch_default_category value is enclosed by double quotes. If that is the case for your platform and the eMiniMall units disappear when you add channel tracking, please try with single quotes.
  • Geek Playground: If you have server side capabilities, you can dynamically assign the category codes. For example, some blog sites with multiple sections can set the individual categories for each section.
  • Unit Level Targeting: You can target each eMiniMall unit to its own category. Even if you have more than one eMiniMall unit on a single page, you can have each one targeted to different categories. For example, the first unit can be targeted to “Sound Cards” and the 2nd unit to “Motherboards”.
  • Blog Post Titles: If you currently target the eMiniMall unit to the title of your blog post (using the ch_query hack), you will want to set a fallback category. By doing so, if your blog post title does not return a valid product (e.g “Big Blue releases 4th Quarter earnings”), then you will be able to specify a category to fallback to (e.g. “PC Desktops”).