What is Website Tracking and why do we need it?
Website tracking is a practice that is followed by most websites to understand the behaviour of the people that visit them. According to an article in the Science Survey, 79% of websites tracked their visitors in 2017, and that number has grown since then.
This practice is used to power many online services including digital advertising and website analytics. Its primary goal is to understand the behaviour of individuals and present them with a personalized experience when they visit a website. Here are some examples of how website tracking can be used:
- When you search for carpet cleaners on Google and it provides you with a list of businesses in your local area, it’s because the search engine knows where you are physically located.
- When you go to an e-Commerce store like Amazon and it shows you some recommended products, that is because it knows your shopping and browsing history and gives you recommendations based on that history.
- And here is an example that connects an offline experience to an online experience. You go to a restaurant and while paying the bill, your email address or phone number is collected. Next time you are browsing Facebook, an advertisement from the restaurant shows up on your screen with a 15% off coupon.
Without website tracking technology, the above examples would either not exist or would exist in a less personalized, and therefore a less useful way.
The Crumbling Cookie
Lately, there has been a lot of discussion on first-party vs third-party cookies. Blocking of third-party cookies by browsers have caused a lot of issues with businesses that have been dependent on that technology to deliver ads and other online experience. Please read our blog on this topic for more information on how MindFire is approaching this issue. In summary, MindFire hosted microsites use first-party cookies and therefore are not impacted by the blocking of third-party cookies by iOS, Chrome, and other systems. However, when someone visits a website directly, without going through a MindFire hosted microsite, we are unable to identify the person through the cookie mechanism, since the website will consider the MindFire cookie as a third-party cookie at that time. Besides, we also have to realize that people may just visit the website directly from a Google search, or a Facebook ad, without ever participating in a MindFire campaign. This is where IP Enrichment provides us with additional value.
Introducing IP Enrichment
The objective of IP address enrichment is to identify website visitors and initiate communication with them. Consider the situation where you are spending money on Google PPC or Facebook or other online advertisements, which are generating traffic directed to your website. In our experience, many of these visitors leave without announcing themselves, i.e., without filling up the form with their contact information. If you can get 10% of the visitors to fill up your form, you are doing very well. So that leaves the bulk of your website visitors without any identity. In the days when 3rd party cookies were unblocked, there were solutions to find their identity, but that is no longer possible. This is where IP Enrichment comes in. To solve this issue, we have partnered with data service providers to translate the IP addresses of the visitors to their mailing addresses, and in the case of B2B visitors, company names.
Since some of these are likely to be net-new contacts and have never received or opted in to receive marketing communications from you or your company, our recommendation is to reach out to them using direct mail or use LinkedIn to connect to these contacts. MindFire’s Social Selling Assistant can help in expediting and tracking the follow-ups through LinkedIn.
Getting Started with IP Enrichment
Before getting started, we recommend doing some preparatory work. Since there is cost associated with IP enrichment, we suggest you spend some time figuring out what that cost will be for your company and setting up the IP Enrichment in the most optimum way possible. Here are some recommended steps:
- Please speak with MindFire’s customer success representative to find the cost per IP that is being enriched, as applicable to your account. Please note that we will never charge you for the same IP address more than once, even if it has repeat visits, nor will we be charging you for IP addresses that we cannot enrich with physical mailing addresses.
- We also suggest that you install Google Analytics on your website if you have not already. This is certainly not a required step but recommended. Google Analytics will give you an idea of the volume of your web traffic, free of charge. We are converting 30-50% of that traffic to mailing addresses – so this will give you a fairly good idea of your monthly expense. Please see the image on the left for an example – it shows 1,809 new visitors over a period of a month. We will be converting a maximum of 900 of these IP addresses to physical mailing addresses – so that will give you a fair idea of your investment required.
- Make a list of the pages on your website which will be tracked. For example, you probably do not want to track a visitor to your privacy page. However, if you are a mortgage company, you will surely be interested in people that visit your loan application page or the various product pages.
Once you have done the preparatory work, it is time to request the code associated with IP Enrichment from MindFire’s support team by opening a support ticket. Once you have the code (called the tracking pixel hereafter), please copy and paste it into the HEAD section of each of the pages that you have identified for tracking purposes. Alternatively, you can use Google Tag Manager and use triggers in the tag manager to ensure that the tracking pixel shows up on the right pages. You will also have the option to set up a monthly budget and automated download of the IP Enriched data periodically.
Making the Most out of the IP Enriched Data
Once you have installed the tracking pixel mentioned above, you will find that the data will soon start flowing into our user interface – within an hour or so, depending on the traffic pattern at your website. You will find this data by selecting the Market Intel option from your menu, shown in the image below. Data coming in from businesses and residential addresses will get separated into different tabs, as shown in the images below.
Here are our recommendations about how to make the most of your IP Enriched data.
- There is an advanced filter option that allows you to segment this data. When we consider the example of the mortgage company above, creating a segment of people that have been on the loan application page could give rise to important leads. There are other segmentation options that we will discuss below.
- Google has introduced the term “Bounce” which is used to refer to visitors that come to your landing page and bounce off to somewhere else, without visiting any other pages on your website. Generally speaking, we do not want to have a high bounce rate on our website, unless it is a single-page site such as a blog. According to an article by Upside Business Consultants, a bounce rate of 40-60% is normal for any website. If you wish to avoid people that just visit your landing page and go off, you can set the filter accordingly by selecting No of Pages Visited to be greater than 1.
- When you analyze the data, you will see that there are two fields – IP Address Located and Geo-Location Accuracy, as shown in the image on the left. In your data, either the IP Address Located value will be filled with a value of “Yes” or the Geolocation Accuracy field will have a numeric value. When we send an IP address over to our data services, there will be some IP addresses that map directly to mailing addresses and for those records, the value “Yes” is returned in the field “IP Address Confirmed”. If there is no direct mapping of the IP address to a mailing address found, then we attempt to do an IP Geolocation using multiple services, and sometimes we can find an address with what we call a Geo-Location Accuracy of x feet. For example, if the field Geolocation Accuracy has a value of 50, it means that we are confident that the IP address is located within 50 feet of the mailing address specified. You will have to play with the Geolocation Accuracy depending on the physical location of the website visitor. For example, in a suburban area, I could go up to 50 or 100 ft, in a rural area up to 200 ft, but in the city of New York, Chicago, or San Francisco, we are probably looking at a Geolocation Accuracy of no more than 30 ft.
So there are certain things that the user need to be aware of while using the IP Enrichment data. These filters can be created and saved under specific names so that you can use them in the future or during the period of data export.
Downloading and Using the IP Enriched Data
We are now in the final stretch of this article. Here are a few suggestions.
- In the Business tab, you can select one or more businesses, and then click on the Action | Find More People in these companies, as shown in the image below. This will bring up the Social Selling Assistant which will expedite your connection to the right people in these organizations.
- You can click on the Download icon on top of the Business or Residences tabs, and set up the periodic transfer of the data to an SFTP site, or just have the data emailed, as shown in the image below. The data will be sent in CSV format.
- The settings option in the Residence tab allows you to set a monthly budget in terms of the number of IPs to be enriched per month. You have to check the Use Budget flag and type in a number – the IP enrichment will stop once that number is exceeded, as shown in the image above. The IP Enrichment will automatically start at the beginning of the next month. Remove the budget restriction at any time by unchecking the box.
In conclusion, we want to point out that IP Enrichment is not for quickly finding email addresses and starting to email those people. These will be unsolicited email addresses and potentially can get you caught in the SPAM trap. We recommend starting with either Direct Mail or connecting over LinkedIn for B2B businesses. Most of our competition is using the same data sources that we use because there are very few good data services available. However, because there are many sources, parsing the data and putting them in an easy-to-understand format is important, and that is exactly what we have done here. Please contact your Customer Success team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, or if you want to sign up.
Thank you for your patience in going through this long article. We look forward to hearing from you and working with you in your marketing efforts.