The importance of browsing behavior
Browsing behavior is a rich source for you to understand your customers’ likes and interests. You are probably already running some email campaigns based on browsing behavior without knowing it. The perennial cart and browse abandonment campaigns - often some of the most profitable emails per send, for example. You might also be already segmenting your marketing audiences based on browsing behavior to create targeted campaigns. An example of this would be selecting customers that browsed products with certain properties (category, color, size, pattern) in order to interest them in similar or complementary products.
Who are the "anonymous browsers"?
You might feel frustration when you have devised a fantastic campaign based on browsing behavior only to discover that the number of identifiable customers who exhibit this behavior is very small despite healthy traffic on your website. Yes, you are suffering from the scourge of anonymous browsers.
Anonymous sessions from previously-identified visitors can happen for many reasons:
- Usage of multiple devices or browsers
- Cookie clearing
- Incognito browsing
- ...and more!
But did you know that a significant volume of your web traffic comes from people who click on marketing emails you sent them? These are people you already have a relationship with - they signed up for your email newsletters and probably bought from you in the past.
How to identify those "anonymous browsers"
Here’s how you can use this knowledge to increase the fraction of sessions in which you can identify browsers (and by increase I am talking 3x-5x your current identification rate). Here are the steps I recommend:
Step 1: Most Email Service Providers (ESPs) maintain a unique identifier for each subscriber and enable encoding this ID in your HTML template links, thus passing a “secret identifier” (containing no PII) to your website - use it.
Step 2: You now need to have your web developer parse this identifier and associate it with the tracked session.
Step 3: If you then extract from your ESP the key to translate which email address links to which identifier, you can now associate the web session with all its browsing behavior glory to a marketable email address - et voilà!
So there you have three steps to identify your anonymous browsers. Seem easy? Knowing who your customers are is an important first step in authentic customer engagement and maximizing customer lifetime value. So...