One of the most challenging aspects of modern digital marketing is attribution. How much of the traffic to my website is from paid campaigns versus organic traffic? Of the visits to my website, which ones come from prospects driven there by PMMI Media Group websites and campaigns I’ve purchased through them? How many requests for quotes that I get off our website originated from or were attributable in whole or in part to campaigns from PMMI Media Group? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you’re not alone. Most people are in the same boat.
Google Analytics is helpful for tracking campaigns, but campaigns must all be configured properly in advance before the campaign starts. (It’s too late after the fact.) It’s smart to add campaign-specific UTM codes to ALL links you provide your media and traffic-driving partners. (Pro tip: Do not rely on looking at organic traffic from a particular media website. Often traffic will come through ad servers or email service provider domains that bear no resemblance to what you think the domain should be. This is why it’s critical to use UTM codes with all your media partners for proper traffic attribution.)
While using UTM codes allows you to compare quantity of traffic from each partner, which is helpful from a marketing standpoint, this information is not actionable from a sales standpoint. Google Analytics won’t tell you which companies are visiting from which media partners, which company locations, which contacts from those companies, or if multiple contacts from a given company location are visiting.
PMMI Media Group has long been known for its “one-click leads”, where we identify companies and contacts who click on your email campaigns. However, once they click from our e-mail to your website, the tracking is terminated. Your website sees that person as an anonymous visitor, even though we knew that person’s company and identity at the time of the click.
Even if you are running marketing automation software such as Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot or Pardot, that person will be tagged as an anonymous visitor upon their first visit to your website, even if driven there by a PMMI Media Group campaign.
The scenarios described above are even more maddening if you are trying to identify visitors from PMMI Media Group campaigns who have come back and visited again, long after the campaign is over. Or visited your website and were scanned at your booth at PACK EXPO and came back to visit your website after the show.
Or, what if two different people from the same company location visited your website? Even though your PMMI Media Group lead reports will show someone clicking through to your website, there’s no way for you to tell whether that person forwarded a link to someone else on the buying team and that second person visited. Or whether someone from the plant and corporate headquarters visited.
These are the challenges of attribution in general, and multi-touch attribution in particular. It’s a really hard problem to solve.
For the past several years, PMMI Media Group has quietly been working on addressing these problems. We have debuted two brand new proprietary technologies that will pull back the curtain on this sort of activity to show you what’s really going on with visitors to your website that originated from PMMI Media Group campaigns. These technologies are easy to deploy and easy to use and require minimal configuration. They do not cost anything to use, and best of all, they are free to all active PMMI Media Group advertisers.
One is a tool we are calling Converge. Converge was initially designed to reveal multi-touch lead activity from your email campaigns. So if someone clicks in on a January e-blast, and they click a second time on a March e-blast, and a third time on an April e-mail, you’ll be able to see that activity consolidated by company and individual. (All the activity across multiple campaigns and touchpoints seamlessly “converges” in a single view—hence the name.)
However, Converge goes far beyond one person; it has the potential to tie together activity from multiple people at a given company location. We do this by mapping our entire audience database onto that of Dun & Bradstreet, leveraging D&B's corporate family tree data to identify links between plants and corporate headquarters.
Converge also goes beyond email, incorporating recognized Facebook users who have liked or shared an ad you’ve run with PMMI Media Group. Please note, for privacy purposes, we do not reveal contact information of users who have not liked or shared your ad, though if an individual has previously clicked on one of your e-mails in the most recent six months, then you will be able to see their Facebook clickthrough but only if we have previously cookied them.
Converge also pulls in data from your booth scans at PACK EXPO. You can even upload lists of names from other shows or other lead generation campaigns you’ve done with other media partners, to see not only cross-channel convergence but cross-media as well. Any leads that you upload are walled off from our audience database, and they are physically disconnected in our systems from our audience database. We have no way to e-mail those names on behalf of PMMI, and other PMMI advertisers have no way of seeing them. In essence, they are in your own private vault.
The second technology we are introducing is called Scout and consists of a lightweight beacon that you install on your website. Scout is designed to constantly “listen” to your traffic. When it detects a visitor from a PMMI Media Group campaign, it snaps to attention, logging which pages on your site that person visited. It then displays the entire sequence in Converge, whether it’s one visit or a dozen spread out over weeks or months. So not only will you able to tell who clicked through to your website, you can tell what they did once they got there, and how many pages of content they consumed, or which videos on your website they watched.
What’s more, you’ll be able to tell which people click through once and leave, versus visitors who make return visits to your website. This is valuable information for your sales team and differentiates prospects who are more deeply active in the buying process.
In certain circumstances, we’ll even be able to bridge offline and online activity, meaning we’ll be able to track individuals you scanned at your PACK EXPO booth.
Converge is not meant to be a substitute for Marketing Automation software. It is more narrowly focused, and does one thing extremely well: identify multi-touch activity across multiple campaigns. While Marketing Automation software does this, many marketers struggle with getting it to work reliably. With Converge, unlike Marketing Automation software, there is no configuration, setup or installation. It just works out of the box.
If it all sounds a bit Big Brotherish, rest assured we are building these technologies to be compliant with data privacy regulations the world over, specifically GDPR. That means if someone is visiting from a country that has a data privacy law in place (such as Europe or Mexico), we won’t show you the person’s name or title unless they have already specifically granted your company consent for such tracking. For Canadians, we’ll be able to track the activity of individual contacts but simply won’t be able to provide you the email address, since that country’s CASL law focuses on e-mail consent versus data privacy.
In the U.S. the data privacy climate is evolving rapidly with state laws on the books (or working their way through state houses) in various U.S. states. It’s only a matter of time that they are superseded by laws at the federal level. We will update Scout to be compliant with all laws at the appropriate time so that you don’t have to worry about it. We will eventually build a consent capturing mechanism right into Scout, though for those who do not provide consent, we will need to honor their wishes and not reveal any personally identifiable information (PII). However, that means we will be able to still show the company names of such visitors.
If you are installing Scout on your website, we do recommend that you add a disclaimer to your website that stipulates that you are tracking your visitors' behavior. You may already have such a disclaimer on your website to comply with GDPR and other laws on behalf of other scripts running on your website that drop cookies. Scout is no different than any of these other scripts. Disclosing this practice to your website visitors and optionally capturing consent puts you on the right side of the intent of privacy laws the world over, though this does not constitute legal advice; please check with your own legal counsel for what's best for your company.
We are now testing Converge and Scout with real customers in a live website environment. Namely, yours.
If you are running e-mail or lead gen campaigns with PMMI Media Group, your company is a candidate to beta-test Converge and Scout. To get started, simply install Scout the way you would any other tracking script on your website. The easiest way to manage all your third-party scripts on your website is with Google Tag Manager (GTM), though this is not a requirement. (Please note: We are obviously not affiliated with Google and as such do not provide support for their products.) If you don’t use GTM, no problem; just ask the technical people responsible for running your website add the script to each page of your website. Typically that’s done in the website header, which is often universal across every page on your site.
Get in touch with your PMMI Media Group sales representative to get started.
We will enable Converge in your PMMI Media Group Marketing Cloud account. You will see multi-touch lead activity as well as attribution activity from Facebook campaigns. Our director of UX may reach out to you to get feedback on how you like the user interface, and whether other formats may be more conducive. (Also on our roadmap is the creation of an API that will let your developers pull data out of Converge.)
There is no cost to participate in this beta at the current time, though this is subject to change. Nor is there a cost for Converge or Scout. To get started, contact your PMMI Media Group sales representative or Client Success Manager.