How to Effectively Personalize your Website using Account Data for Anonymous Traffic

Unlike consumer marketers, B2B revenue teams often reason about their market at an organization or account level. That may be based on specific named accounts or company size, industry or other related firmographic attributes.

Much of the traffic coming to the website is of course, “anonymous” meaning that they haven’t shared any contact information. There are however a number of vendors that sell firmographic data that can deliver this information even for anonymous traffic. This is possible because every web request must contain the source IP address and these vendors have mapped many (though far from all!) of them to specific accounts.

Traditionally used for sales teams, some of these solutions can be integrated in real-time into the website. This opens up some interesting opportunities to improve the traditionally static experience – such highlighting industry specific offerings, enterprise plans, or even targeting customers of competitors and highlighting differences.

A word of caution is warranted here, however. This approach to personalization is an investment that goes beyond just the vendor costs and we’ve seen a lot of campaigns where the return did not materialize. So let’s go into the more effective use cases, selecting a vendor and how to integrate it into FunnelEnvy audiences and predictive campaigns.

Beware Vanity Experiences

Personalization over email is useful because it helps the recipient understand that it’s not a mass-emailing robot on the other end and that the message has been tailored to them. Website visitors have different expectations and what works over email can cross the line or be creepy on site.

Website personalization is most effective when it helps the customer by presenting them with an offer (next best action) that’s most relevant for them in their journey. That offer could be content, starting a free trial, contacting the sales team or whatever is both most relevant for them and maximizes their likelihood of conversion.

Although it may sound obvious, where we’ve seen campaigns underperform with reverse IP personalization is where it doesn’t meet these customer-centric goals. Consider the following:

  • Injecting the account name in the copy – Doesn’t the visitor already know where they work?
  • Crafting experiences based on visitor industry when there’s no industry specific features to the product or service.
  • Serving pages that are specific to individual named accounts. The volume is generally too low to make a difference and again the customer already knows where they work!

These sorts of experiences are self-serving and what we call Vanity Experiences.

Vanity experiences, including one on FunnelEnvy.com. It’s no coincidence that these companies also sell the products that let you do it!

On the other hand reducing friction and targeting a more relevant direct-response offer based on firmographic data can be very effective. In some cases you could even skip steps in the journey – such as eliminating the pricing page for enterprise visitors.

Firmographic Vendor Considerations

There is no vendor that will be able to match all of your traffic, in fact match rates are typically in the 10-30% range. A variety of factors can influence that, but probably the most important factor is who you’re selling to and the types of accounts that are visiting your site.

Large enterprises, universities and governments often secure well known blocks of IP addresses which are much easier to identify. On the other hand smaller businesses often use shared office space and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) which make identifying them much harder. If you’re primarily selling to small business it’s unlikely that you’ll match enough accounts for this to be a cost-effective strategy.

If however you do sell to larger organizations then even if you have a low overall match rate it could still be worth pursuing. The effective match rate for the larger accounts is likely to be much higher and most B2B companies generate from enterprise customers.

Aside from the match rate the actual performance (time to return a match response) is an important factor on the website. If the integration is too slow the page may render before you have an opportunity to personalize, making for a sub-optimal “content flicker” on the all important first page view.

Activating Reverse IP Data with FunnelEnvy

FunnelEnvy’s platform has out of the box support for three leading firmographic vendors – Clearbit, Demandbase and Kickfire. Once you’ve selected one of these vendors, integrating into the platform and using the data for segmentation (audiences) and directly within 1:1 predictive campaigns can be done in a few minutes and requires no IT involvement.

Data Source Setup

Each of these firmographic vendors is a Data Source in FunnelEnvy, and activating any one of them is as simple as going into the integrations, locating the appropriate data source and clicking on the activate checkbox.

Once activated and saved the data source will appear in the list of active integrations.

Since these data sources return data in the browser the FunnelEnvy javascript snippet must also be present along with the reverse IP vendor snippet. Data collection happens automatically without additional setup and can be used immediately for creating audiences and in predictive campaigns.

Audiences

In the Audiences section of FunnelEnvy you can create conditions based on the activated provider. The rule builder will include all of the individual data attributes from the provider and rules can be AND or OR’d together for flexibility.

As with any of our data sources conditions can be combined with other sources (behavioral, Marketo, etc) to create audiences defined from multiple data sources.

From the audience builder you may want to report on visitor behavior from a particular firmographic segment (e.g. SMB or Enterprise visitors). This can be accomplished within the audience through the Google Analytics integration by setting either a custom dimension and / or sending an event.

For personalization Audiences can be used within the targeting section of campaigns operating in both A/B/n or predictive mode. If an Audience is selected in the campaign targetings visitors must meet both the page and audience targeting conditions to be eligible to see a variation.

Even if you don’t create any audiences the underlying firmographic data is used in our real-time predictive campaigns.

1:1 Predictions with Firmographic Data

Firmographic data sets are excellent for our predictive campaigns because they’re generalizable and often highly correlated to experiences and outcomes. There are only so many audiences you’ll be able to create but every data point from these providers can be used by our algorithms to predict which experience is most effective on a 1:1 visitor basis.

You can see the effect of this in our campaign signal report which shows how strong the predictive signals are and how much they correlate to uplift and revenue. Individual firmographic attributes are often highly represented in successful campaigns.

A great example of this in action is a homepage campaign with different variations for the SMB or Enterprise journeys. Since reverse IP data is available even on the first page visit, our model can identify patterns in the visitor profile and serve more relevant experiences to your customers.

Getting Started

It is possible to improve upon static website experiences with reverse IP firmographic data and help your customers while at the same time increasing your conversion and revenue KPIs. If you’re a FunnelEnvy customer and want to explore firmographic personalization for anonymous traffic let us know.

If you need help selecting a vendor we can help with that too.  You can contact us here anytime: https://www.funnelenvy.com/contact/

 

About the Author:

I'm a tech entrepreneur who has been building, measuring and selling consumer and enterprise websites for years. Over the course of my career I've helped companies large and small increase revenue and engage customers as a manager, advisor and consultant.