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How to Track Web Activity with Account Engagement

April 21, 2023

Overview

Many organizations use a web analytics tool to understand visitor behavior and optimize website content and structure. Enabling web tracking in a marketing automation platform such as Marketing Cloud Account Engagement1 can provide additional capabilities and insights. In this blog we’ll address how to set up web tracking in Account Engagement and describe the benefits.

What is the Benefit of Website Activity Tracking?

Having visibility into an individual prospect’s website visits – which pages, how often, etc. – can be valuable to understanding their specific needs and interests. Account Engagement uses a cookie to begin collecting session data for an unknown visitor. When the person fills out a form that’s connected to Account Engagement, lead creation occurs, and the website visit data is stored to their record.

The Value of Tracking in Marketing Automation

Aggregate reports for all website visitors (including anonymous) may be similar between Account Engagement and Google Analytics, but GA doesn’t show individual user activity for known prospects. In Account Engagement, each prospect’s profile includes a running list of page visits, including the specific url and time spent on the page. This contributes to a more complete customer profile and provides insights into prospect behavior overall.

To architect powerful automations in Account Engagement, marketing operations can use page actions. These are completion actions that are triggered by page visits (by known prospects only) and include options such as add/remove from list, add to Salesforce Campaign, add tags, assign, change field values and notify user.

Collect Web Data Early and Often

Web activity tracking is best put into place when the Account Engagement instance is first implemented. This maximizes the data points that are captured as part of lead intake.

Organizations may acquire or spin up new domains or subdomains over time due to acquisitions, rebranding and other business changes. It’s important to make sure that tracking is set up on these new sites as soon as possible to avoid missing out on visitor data.

Cookies, Tracking Code and Page Actions

The first step is to enable first-party cookies in Account Engagement; this was enabled by default for new business units starting in February 2023. First-party cookie tracking works only within subdomains of the same root domain, meaning it won’t be able to combine web activity across different domains into the same anonymous visitor record. However, this method is recommended as browsers phase out third-party cookies. Of course, cookie permissions come into play regardless. If the user blocks or deletes cookies in their browser, their web activity will not be available. You’ll also want to check with your legal team to determine the appropriate duration of the cookie, which you’ll then specify in Account Engagement Settings.

For each subdomain you want to track, including for landing pages hosted in Account Engagement, create a tracker domain under Settings > Domain Management. The domains will need to be added by the network administrator to the DNS record. You’ll also choose a default campaign for each tracker domain.

Continuing within Domain Management, look for the Tracking Code Generator section to locate the JavaScript that will need to be added to your webpages. Now would be a good time to implement a tag manager, if you don’t already have one, to facilitate this process. Consider whether you want to add the tracking code to all pages or only to specific landing pages and product pages, as an example. Adding the tracking code to all pages could inflate scores. Page view is an activity listed in the default scoring model; setting a non-zero score value for this activity means that all pages with the tracking code will result in that score increase. However using the scoring rule is more scalable than adding score values individually to pages via page actions.

To flag an important page that might be more valuable as a buying signal, select “Priority Page” when creating a page action. This will highlight the page view as a separate activity rather than lump it together with general page views.

Technical Assistance Required

Configuration of Account Engagement admin settings is done by the Marketing Operations team. However, they’ll need to work with the network administrator and the web team to implement the necessary technical components.

Conclusion

Tracking web visit activity contributes to rich, unified data on each prospect and enables automated processing. Implementing web tracking is a key early step in the marketing ops maturity curve.

1In April 2022, Salesforce renamed Pardot to Marketing Cloud Account Engagement.

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