What is Web tracking?

Web Tracking is an automated way to give you insight on how customers/prospect are reaching your landing pages and web pages. With Web Tracking, You can analyze:

  • Which button has been clicked on?
  • How long a visitor spent on a landing page?
  • Who referred them to your Campaign landing page or web page?
  • Whether they are buying your products?

Now, I am sure you can comprehend the importance of web tracking What if I tell you that you can combine this actionable insight with the contact information and Sales data from CRM? Which will give you a complete picture of your marketing campaign success?
You can eventually build an integrated profile for your Customers and target them at the right time in the buyer’s journey with a solid campaign. Most certainly you will say it’s not possible straight away, but This is possible. Let me explain how you can achieve all of this with CRM/Adobe Campaign?

Before we jump to the solution, let’s understand the difference between conventional Web analytics and Web tracking with marketing automation. Web Analytics can tell you the percentage of total visitors that was converted by Marketing Campaign into leads. This metric is quite significant from the marketing perspective. Which will be sufficient to convey a message to your CxO, about your marketing performance. Although this will not convince some inquisitive executives as They can ask you more compelling questions like, how can we offer 20% discount to a segment of prospect who is likely(90% and more) to spend $500 on our retail products in next summers?

You will think that this executive is asking me to invent time machine. This is impossible to predict. I know, you can provide a discount to the people who are buying or bought a product worth 500 dollars but how can you predict that a prospect will spend X dollars in future? This question can be answered with the help of Adobe web tracking module and look a like modeling in predictive Analytics. Web tracking will be able to tell you about An individual who performed similar behaviors in the past and made a purchase of 500 dollars. Promptly build a cohort from this data, and use predictive modeling algorithm to predict if a user shows the similar behavior over your web site will make purchases of 500 dollars given we can contact him at the right time(right stage of buying customer life cycle). That is the power of web tracking in marketing automation.

Any Sales professional worth his salt will tell you that contacting the right person at the right time using a right channel is crucial in the current Digital World. How can we(Marketing folks) help our sales team in closing their deals? This is simple, let’s buy a Marketing automation CRM tool and set up a cross channel campaign. After going through plenty of Demos/documentation and discovery workshops, we have finalized a tool.

Everything is sorted now and let’s start your first campaign. Ahh! your are facing another problem now. You will be struggling with contact data base to start your campaigns.This battle can be of two types. First, they have database from their old sales Records and CRM or ERP system. Second, They do not have any contact database. Let’s understand each problem one by one.

Enigma with existing Contact Database

Most of the clients will have a legacy data. In General quality of customer data that we systematically store in our ERP, CRM, Database systems, and Contact Details are decaying all the time – and at an alarming rate. This Decay can happen for many reasons such as:

  • Customer’ email addresses change as they move from one company to another
  • Many abandon that old email service provider that they do not use
  • Unqualified leads or Contacts opt out of your email communications
  • Unhappy customers because of any reasons and we do not have theirs feedbacks post purchase in the system.

Problem with not having a Contact Database

Some clients do not have any ERP or CRM system because they are relatively new or they were doing offline business with paper records. In General, Clients end up buying leads(List) from the third party system so start with their marketing automation system or Worst case they have a database yet they wanted to increase revenue immediately after investing in marketing automation tool, and they bought a couple of lists to send their promotional campaign.

Now, this is clear from above statements that we do not have a quality data in our contact database so if we start calling/contacting every contact in our database which would not be a right approach, which will be equivalent to cold calling everyone on the telephone directory like old time. Lead quality either Sales qualified leads or marketing qualified leads needs to be built on the best foundation, as a Marketing/sales campaign is only as good as its data.

Therefore, the best foundation for quality leads is accurate, updated contact database. Now question, how can we ensure that we are generating leads from our website/mobile app and nurture them before we ask our sales team to pitch an offer to any lead? The answer is quite simple yet effective at the same time, web tracking. Yeah, you read it right, Now by Web tracking, I do not mean your analytics data in Adobe Analytics, Google analytics or any other Analytics tool. I am talking about Marketing automation tool analytics.

Why would I say anything against Web Analytics tools, after all, Analytics is what helps me in paying my bills. I am not suggesting to stop using Web analytics all I am asking that one size not fits all. Analytics experts utilize web analytics for a different purpose. We have a limitation associated with Analytics tool that we cannot track personal information(PII), so if you do not have contact details then how will you be able to convert these users into our Customers? With marketing automation analytics we can convert them.

Let’s Understand about Adobe campaign Web Tracking Architecture and How can Web Tracking help us in getting better conversion rates in following sections.

Web Tracking Adobe Campaign

Web Tracking Adobe Campaign

Process flow for URL(Link) Tracking for Landing pages, Web forms and emails in Adobe Campaign

1. Actions performed in Adobe Campaign Universe by Campaign Manager:
  • Campaign manager decided a goal for Campaign program like retention, Lead nurturing in Adobe campaign and plans to send a web form in an email.
  • Created a landing page for a Web form.
  • Created a Web form and used the link for the landing page in the web form
  • Create a new campaign workflow(Targeting) and attached a new Delivery with personalization and landing page link in CTA
  • Start the Delivery Analysis process, In analysis phase, URLs are published by Application server to the disk of the frontal/tracking web servers (Number 1 in Architecture picture from Adobe)
  • A unique URL identifier for this URL is generated by frontal server and inserted in the actual delivery which will be used by this server for URL mappings (actual landing page URL and a unique URL identifier)
  • Delivery is confirmed and sent to the targeted users successfully.
2. Actions performed by Recipient in Email client, Web browsers:
  • The Lead/prospect opens the email and clicks on the CTA for landing page.
  • Initially, the Landing Page URL is of  Apache/IIS Adobe campaign frontal/tracking server
  • DLL/.so Library in Tracking/frontal server reads the hash of landing page URL
  • Get the actual URL from the mapping generated in the delivery analysis phase.
  • Redirect Recipient to the correct landing page
  • This Module Writes a new entry into the tracking logs available in shared memory of the Tracking server
  • Usually, READS are rapid and Write operations are slow.
3. Actions performed in Adobe Campaign Universe by Frontal servers:

Tracking module in Adobe campaign uses the ‘nlserver trackinglogd’ module to collects all tracking logs from the shared memory segment of frontal server and performs a write operation from memory to permanent storage of the frontal server.

Actions carried out in Adobe Campaign Universe by Application server:

Application server runs a tracking workflow every hour(default setting) which issues the following command

This command will download tracking logs from memory and update into the Adobe campaign Marketing database for all reporting purposes.

Process flow for Web Tracking for Web pages in Adobe Campaign

A method for web tracking is quite similar to link tracking in the email which I have explained above. Let’s understand the process in details.

1. Actions performed in Adobe Campaign Universe by Campaign admin:
  • Campaign admin decided the web tracking mode and configured web tracking in Adobe campaign server
  • Plans to send a link as CTA to a web page such as Product page in an email.
  • Create a new campaign workflow(Targeting) and attached a new Delivery with personalization and Web page link in CTA
  • Start the Delivery Analysis process, In analysis phase, URLs are published by Application server to the disk of the frontal/tracking web servers (Number 1 in Architecture picture from Adobe)
  • A unique URL identifier for this URL is generated by frontal server and inserted in the actual delivery which will be used by this server for URL mappings (actual landing page URL and a unique URL identifier)
  • Delivery is confirmed and sent to the targeted users successfully.
2. Actions performed by Recipient and Web client with frontal/Redirection servers:
  • The Lead/prospect opens the email and clicks on the CTA for a web page.
  • Initially, the Landing Page URL is of  Apache/IIS Adobe campaign frontal/tracking server
  • DLL/.so Library in Tracking/frontal server reads the hash of landing page URL
  • Get the actual URL from the mapping generated in the delivery analysis phase.
  • Redirection server Check if web tracking is enabled in the application server if this is configured then Redirection server create a session cookie in web client containing the broadlog identifier (broadlogId) and the delivery identifier (deliveryId).
  • Redirect Recipient to the correct landing page.
  • The web browser then sends these two cookies to the redirection server each time the user visits a web page containing a web tracking tag. This behavior continues throughout the validity period or based on the web-tracking Modes configured in the Application server.
  • The redirection server collects the URL and name of the page viewed via a list of identifiers(there can be a one or more identifier per web tag) sent as query-string parameters. The last(forced) delivery details from which the user landed on the page for the first time and the identifier of the recipient who clicked, via the cookie. You can track additional information about transaction details using parameters, which will help you in understanding how much money was invested by an individual leads to craft your future offers.
  • This Module Writes a new entry into the tracking logs available in shared memory of the Tracking server
  • Usually, READS are rapid and Write operations are slow.

Adobe campaign and web-tracking Architecture

Adobe Campaign and web-tracking Architecture

Now you will think that I understood the working but what are various Web tracking modes available in Adobe campaign? Well, the answer is quite simple yet complex at the same time. Adobe Campaign has three web tracking Modes with some additional options associated with them.

  1. Session tracking
  2. Permanent tracking
  3. Anonymous tracking
Adobe campaign web tracking modes

Adobe Campaign web tracking modes

Session Web tracking in Adobe Campaign:
This Tracking mode creates a new log for visitors with a session cookie only after when These recipient visits website following a click in an email and is valid for that session.Session web tracking mode is quite susceptible to error as this will work with complete information following a click in an email and if any required parameters are missing tracking server will not create any tracking log.

This mode is Least Expensive from server resources as this uses a small number of write entries in tracking log tables and doesn’t require any reconciliation with existing entries( a new entry will create all the time no update for existing entries). This mode will be able to provide a clear picture of how many users visited your website and what are the pages visited by users following your email.

Permanent Web tracking in Adobe Campaign:
This mode contains all features of session web tracking methods but with additional capabilities. The validity of tracking cookies is permanent as opposed to session cookies. Monitoring server generates all the tracking log with the help of permanent uuid230 cookie and nlid cookie. The scope of this mode is not limited to a session, but it is permanent until a user deletes the uuid230 cookie. Tracking server will insert a new log only if cookie value of uuid230 of the current users has the exact value as a uuid230 previously stored in the tracking logs table.

This mode will only work if Adobe campaign has known this uuid or users, so this is only possible if Users is coming from an email CTA/link. This mode is expensive because you need to reconcile with existing uuid, but it is ideal for Lead Nurturing as you can track what your leads are doing after they have received an email indefinitely and you can use the behavioral score to qualify them as MQL.

Anonymous Web tracking Adobe Campaign:

This mode contains all features of session and Permanent web tracking methods but with additional capabilities. Anonymous Tracking as the name suggests lets you track anonymous browsing on your website. A new log is generated automatically for each click on a tracked URL. All logs from a single web client/browser in a given machine have a same value of the uuid230. When a user fills any form or receives any email from Adobe campaign, he will click on any link there will enable Adobe campaign to associate historical browsing/behavioral data with this Users by reconciling uuid230 from previous logs and new log generated after a marketing campaign.

This mode will work in all cases even if there are no cookies available on the client side. This mode is most expensive because Adobe campaign will be generating new log just like a traditional analytics system for every page view and Reconciling with existing uuid. This Mode is great for generating new leads and Nurturing them. Now, you can track what your leads are doing even before they have signed up for any product/services from you. Moreover, just like Permananet web tracking, you can use the behavioral score to qualify them as MQL.

To learn more about tracking modes read official documentation here. To Learn How to configure Web tracking in Adobe Campaign read the official documentation here but if you have a question or facing difficulties feel free to drop your question in comments.

Rather than looking at the website as a whole and reporting on overall percentages, Adobe Campaign tracking module analyzes each prospect who visits your site and tracks that prospect’s online behavior, like:

  • Which pages they saw on your website
  • Who referred them to your web site
  • Who is accessing your site from their company IP address or another public IP address (like a Starbucks or airport lounge)
  • Organic search keywords

This Adobe campaign web tracking is like Web Analytics data+ Contact Information+ historical sales data from CRM. This Information empowers you as marketers in generating some meaningful reports. Now you can design a robust, campaign for this particular segments. So, the next time when your CMO ask you How is your Marketing efforts contributing to our revenue? You can show them the reports with confidence. You can use this data to improve your Google/Bing ad word campaign if needed.

I will post about Lead scoring in Adobe campaign in my next blog post. Follow me on Linkedin or Google Plus for updates.


Amit Kumar

Results driven Adobe Certified Architect with extensive experience managing and implementing marketing Strategies to drive business growth. Enjoy optimizing the customer experience through the use of data, futuristic thinking + channel mixing – e.g., using creative combinations of traditional methods + shiny new toys like automation platforms.

2 Comments

sivaramakumar · July 21, 2017 at 3:42 pm

Good one.

Mr AC · August 26, 2017 at 9:53 pm

Really impressive! Great quality! Definitely one to keep in mind.

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