Integrate Web behavioral data for full customer profile

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Peter Vandre
Peter Vandre

As companies increasingly turn to the Web to engage customers, they also look for ways to apply direct marketing measurement and targeting to these audiences while creating an integrated customer experience across media. A first step toward this goal is to integrate website behavioral data with other offline and online customer data.

An effective website-integration project creates value in three ways: better measurement, more effective targeting and a deeper understanding of cross-channel engagement and conversion.

Better measurement: Integrating website behavior with sales and other behavior data provides a better understanding of which media contributed to a customer's purchase, how the customer navigated the purchase process, and the potential long-term customer value.

Effective targeting: Web browsing data can tell you a lot about customer product preferences, purchase intent and interests. An effective integration — one followed by e-mail triggers, dynamic Web content, display remarketing or enhanced offline media targeting — can provide a boost to conversion rates.

Deeper understanding across channels: Customers engage with companies in consistent patterns, even if marketers view them within media silos. A better understanding of this improves the ability to select the most effective communication channel for each customer segment.

The percentage of site traffic that can be tied to a known consumer varies widely. In my experience, retailers often link 7% to 18% of their traffic back to known consumers. In contrast, subscription-only media sites may link more than 90% of their traffic. Higher percentages are often related to compelling gated content, frequent repeat purchases, subscriptions or high-use account services.

A few tips to follow:

  • First, review your site's privacy policy to ensure you are in compliance. To protect privacy, do not capture personal data directly within your Web analytics tool. Instead, use a customer number or order ID.

  • At every point at which you exchange data with customers, ensure there is a link between a customer's cookie and registration information in order to maximize data capture. 

  • Don't assume your Web analytics tool currently captures the right data for CRM purposes. Review data capture and make updates as needed.

  • Before you integrate data, know how you will use it to ensure you're integrating the right data.

Peter Vandre is senior director of Merkle's quantitative solutions digital practice. Reach him at

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