Tracking Web Visitors in Dynamics Marketing
Microsoft Dynamics Marketing is able to track website visits by prospects, customers, and all types of internet users.
The feature works by generating a tracking script for each website you wish to track. You must then add the script to each page that you want to track on the associated site; you might do this by adding the script to the various page templates in a CMS system.
The result is that website visitors will be tagged with a unique cookie, which thereafter is read by pages that includes the script, thus enabling each individual user to be identified, tracked and scored by the system.
You will also typically refer to a website when you set up a landing page, thus enabling visits to that landing page to be scored as leads
To view your existing website entries and/or create a new one, go to Marketing Execution > Internet Marketing > Websites.
This provides you with a list view (1), which you can sort and filter as needed. The toolbar (2) provides standard controls for adding and deleting the website entries.
When creating or editing a website entry, you are presented with these settings
- Active -- Mark this box to set the website status to active; clear it to deactivate the site. Active websites are always shown on the list page and are also available for use in other parts of Dynamics Marketing. Inactive websites are hidden by default in the list view and are not available elsewhere. When you “delete” a website using the tool bar on the list page, the website is not actually deleted, just set to inactive. Use the toggle-visibility button in the list-page toolbar to show or hide inactive websites in the list.
- Company -- Enter the name of your company or the client company for whom you are creating the website. The company must already exist in the database; type-ahead assistance is provided. The website will only be available for use in other Dynamics Marketing entities, such as landing pages, that are also associated with this same company.
- Name -- Enter a name for the website. This name will appear on the list page and in other areas of Dynamics Marketing where the websites can be used (such as landing pages).
- Created by -- The name of the user who created the website. This affects the visibility of the website within Dynamics Marketing, which might be restricted to this user and/or members of this user's team, depending on user privileges.
- Create Date -- The date the website was created. This is set automatically when you create a new website, but you can edit it if needed.
- Visit Length -- Set this to a time period (in minutes) during which all page loads will be considered a singe “visit” in terms of lead scoring. So for example, if you set this to 30 minutes, and a contact loads 10 pages in 20 minutes, then this will be counted as a single visit. But if the contact loads a page 31 minutes (or later) after the initial visit began, then that will be scored as a second visit.
- Category and Type -- If you wish to classify your site, you can choose values for one or both of these settings as needed. You can customize the values available in these drop-downs by using the Dynamics Marketing categories feature (Category Type = Website Category and Website Type, respectively).
- URL -- Enter a URL to associate with the website (e.g., the website home page). This setting is for your information only, it does not affect functionality.
- Description -- Enter a description of your website and how you plan to use it.
- Redirecting Script -- This field appears once you have saved your website entry at least once. It contains the generated script that you should copy and paste onto each page of the actual website where you wish to enable tracking.
Behavioral analysis, cookies, and browsers
It's important to understand how this process works so that you can incorporate this knowledge into your analysis of data and automated campaign flow.
- Dynamics Marketing can track or capture the behavior (online activity) of both anonymous and known visitors.
- Dynamics Marketing can only capture activity related to the webpages and advertisements that you choose to capture; it cannot track or capture the activity of visitors on other sites, and it doesn't read any personal information from the visitor's computer other than that which is stored in the Dynamics Marketing behavioral analysis cookie.
- Tracking starts with getting a cookie on each visitor's devices. Each cookie contains a unique visitor ID that is used to capture the activity of the visitor. Cookies are created when a visitor views any page with a Dynamics Marketing website tracking script. If a device is shared, Dynamics Marketing will create a unique behavioral analysis cookie for each login, user account, or user id.
- Most people these days access the internet on multiple devices, PCs, tablets, smart phones; Dynamics Marketing will place a behavioral analysis cookie on each device and link them to all to the same contact, if possible.
- If a visitor deletes all their cookies, or their machine crashes, or their disk is reformatted, their behavioral analysis cookie will also be deleted. The next time the visitor uses the device to visit a tracked resource, a new behavioral analysis cookie will be created on the device and Dynamics Marketing will attempt to associate it with a contact.
- Since Dynamics Marketing email marketing messages are sent to contacts, Dynamics Marketing 'knows' who the contact is for each visitor when they open the email and download its graphics. A behavioral analysis cookie is not created if the message is not opened.
- Dynamics Marketing can also make the Visitor-Contact connection via Landing Pages, Forward to a Friend pages, QR Codes, etc.
Dynamics Marketing generates cookies for behavioral analysis for each browser used on a computer; if you use Firefox and Internet Explorer on the same computer, there will be a behavioral analysis cookie for Firefox and another one for Internet Explorer.
In the below graphics I've accessed the same website (in which a tracking script is placed) with three different browser (IE, Chrome, and FireFox). Note the different Visitor ID's (cookies) for the different browsers
Dynamics Marketing sets two different types of cookies:
- A long-term cookie:
This cookie remains in a visitor's browser for about two years. It enables scripts generated by Dynamics Marketing to track the browser and map it to a contact ID so you can know who is interacting with your site and campaigns. Dynamics Marketing can then create and score leads as the contact visits web sites, submits landing-page forms, etc. The cookie can also track anonymous visitors and then map to the correct contact ID later if a visitor subsequently registers (e.g., by using a landing page); in this case, earlier actions will also be associated with the new contact and scored appropriately.
- A short-term cookie:
This cookie tracks a visitor during a single session and typically expires after about 30 minutes. Dynamics Marketing considers all visits to a given website during this time to be part of a single session, thus scoring it as a single visit. You can adjust the duration (visit length) of the short-term cookie if you wish
View website behavior data
To view the data collected by your behavior-tracking scripts, go to Marketing Execution > Internet Marketing > Online Visitors
This brings you to the "Visitors" (1) list page, which provides many of the standard controls for searching, sorting, filtering, exporting and viewing items in the list. In addition to the common controls, the Visitors list page also includes a Show Contacts Only checkbox (2)
Mark this box to filter the list so that it only shows visits by contacts already registered in your database. Clear this box to also view details about anonymous visitors.
Each row in the table displays details about one visit to one website by one contact. Click on any contact name to go to the maintenance page for that contact. Click on any other column to view more details about visits by that contact to that website.
The following information can be displayed in the Visitors table (select the Customize Columns toolbar button to choose which of these columns to display):
- Active -- Visit If the visit is currently active, the icon here turns blue, otherwise it is black.
- Contact -- If the visit is associated with a contact in the marketing database in Dynamics Marketing, the full name of the contact will be displayed. If the visitor is anonymous, the contact column will be blank.
- Company -- Displays the company name of the contact.
- Web Site -- Displays the name of the website.
- Visitor ID -- Displays the visitor ID.
- Start/End Date and Time -- Displays the start date and time and the end date and time of the visit.
- Duration -- Displays the duration of the visit.
- Pages this Visit -- Displays the number of pages viewed.
- Total Pages -- Displays the total number of pages viewed in all visits.
- Domain Name -- Displays the domain name of the visitor as tracked by the browser visitors.
- Sales Rep -- If the visitor is associated with a contact, and the contact has an associated sales rep, Dynamics Marketing displays the name of the sales rep.
- Last Page Viewed -- Dynamics Marketing displays the last page viewed.
- Page Description -- Dynamics Marketing displays the page's description, from the page's description HTML meta-tag.
- To work with websites, users must have Edit/View Behavioral Analysis privileges
- Data for the Online Visitors display is collated and updated every 60 minutes, so the results are not in completely real-time (but close).