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Nosto Recommendations Don’t Work
Nosto Recommendations Don’t Work
Dan Macarie avatar
Written by Dan Macarie
Updated over a week ago

This FAQ-entry is a checklist that everything is set correctly and how to debug most common errors.

Entries are roughly sorted by frequency according to our support metrics so start from the top and reach towards the bottom.

Start By Enabling Nosto Debug-Mode

Start by enabling the debug-mode, which will enforce the recommendation placeholders to appear and also reveals a debug-toolbar providing you more context of the pages while browsing your site and how pages are read and associated with Nosto. If debug-mode doesn’t initiate at all, most likely Nosto is not implemented on the site at all. In such a case, easiest way to verify this is to review source code and to search for references to Nosto. See tagging guide and later use debug-tool and verify that data sent is solid.

Recommendations Are Disabled

Go to the admin panel and navigate to menu Account > Recommendations visible. A word of warning – flipping the switch will make recommendations publicly visible so preview first before flipping the switch. Tip: If you’re using a test account, recommendations can’t be publicly enabled.

Also confirm the ID of malfunctioning recommendation(s) and navigate to the Nosto account panel > Campaigns > On-Site Features > Recommendation Slots >and look for the same recommendation slot by ID. Review that the recommendation slot is not disabled. If recommendationID is not matching, see next chapter.

Recommendation Slot Errors

Missing  Placeholders

If nothing shows up after enabling the debug-mode,  issue is most likely with missing or mismatching Nosto placeholders on the site. If there aren’t any recommendations on a page you’re debugging fixing is easy: Simply add Nosto recommendations as placeholders to positions where you would like to display recommendations.

Mismatching Placeholders

Make sure that you’ve added appropriate recommendation slot as a placeholder into a page or that it’s there by default, which is the case with most extensions. Review that the recommendation placeholder ID matches to those in Nosto’s admin.  if placeholder was missing or adjust the recommendatioID either on the Nosto admin or on your page templates.

Common Recommendation Misconfigurations

  • Use case not applicable: Recommendations that utilise subsequent visit data e.g. browsing history, personalized recommendations are only visible for returning visitors who have viewed at least one product. Tip: Browse a few product detail pages.

  • Recommendation is not on a correct page type. For example cross-selling recommendation for product detail page (PDP) requires context i.e. product tagging needs to be present on the page. Tip: Review the recommendation’s ruleset by logging in to the admin panel and navigate to the Nosto account panel > Campaigns > On-Site Features > Recommendation Slots > look for the same recommendation slot by ID

  • Filter settings are too restrictive: Some recommendation rulesets such as cross-selling, cart page recommendations and top lists feature filter settings. If the filter settings are too restrictive i.e. too tight and strict filter display settings are applied, Nosto might simply be unable to display any products according to the set filter rules. Resolve by loosening the filters a bit and see how it affects.

  • Scoring mode is not set accordingly: Typical for smaller sites which receive just a few orders and small amount of traffic and for “bought together” scoring mode. Bought together is strict setting that only displays products if they actually have been bought together. Tip: Apply Score or View based scoring mode instead.

  • Display (min) value is not too great. If a certain number of products are expected and required in a recommendation, but less our found from Nosto’s index, the recommendation is hidden. Tip: Drop the value required to 1.

Missing Data

Nosto might not have data to display recommendations which is often the case if you implemented just a moment ago. In case no data is found, but when debug- mode is enabled, you’ll see mockups or example products to help you with the element’s web-design.

Nosto analyses visitor traffic and basically tracks how customers browse the site, what items they add to their carts and what do they buy. Therefore it might take from an hour to a day depending solely on how much traffic the site receives before recommendations are shown and mock-ups are replaced with actual products. Sites that don’t receive a lot traffic might need to collect data longer, yet with time more recommendations will appear while the performance improves.

Missing Data Due To Test Installation

If you installed Nosto on a environment is not accessible from the Internet e.g. local device, firewalled test environment or site requiring credentials, Nosto can’t validate the data sent by your browser. If the site utilises standard https authentication method such as .htaccess, send credentials to Nosto’s support and we add these to our bot. In case you need to use a test site and installation, read guidelines how to test Nosto on a development / staging environment here.

Missing Data Due to Use of Tag Manager

This is not supported – tagging needs to be part of the page’s Html structure.

Missing Data Due to Single-Page-App Site

If your site is a SPA, contact Nosto’s support for further details how to install Nosto on a SPA site.

Global Setting Errors

Front page url settings don’t match with your site’s public url address. Review that the front page url or other hosts used by the site under Account Settings refers to your site’s address.

Review that the recommendation applied on the page is also attached to a functioning recommendation template, featuring the design for the recommendation and this doesn’t conflict with .css on your site. If template is erroneous it might cause the issue. Nosto’s default templates are relatively simple and work almost on every site so the easiest way to debug is to temporarily try out if a default template works and then reverse the change. In case default template worked, the error is in a customised template.


These were the most common issues with recommendations. If none of these steps did not solve the problem, please be in touch to Nosto support and refer to the page by sending the page url where recommendations are not working and a short description of the issue. Screencaptures always help us to understand the issue better so if relevant, please attach these to your request!

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