Extracting Unique Visitor IDs
In this post, I am going to delve into an advanced topic that very few of my past Omniture customers had dealt with – Extracting Unique Visitor ID’s for re-marketing purposes. Unless you have done a few Genesis integrations, this is most likely functionality that is new so I will do my best to keep it simple and explain why it is useful.
Why Extract Unique Visitor ID’s?
The easiest way to explain this topic is through an example. Let’s imagine that your business sends lots of marketing e-mails to customers and prospects. Each of these e-mail recipients, has a unique ID in your e-mail system (we’ll use Responsys for this example). If you are a good web analyst, you should have set-up your e-mails so that when an e-mail recipient receives an e-mail and clicks on one of its links, they arrive at your website with both a campaign ID and a unique e-mail ID. For example, your e-mail link may resolve to:
Setting these in Conversion Variables (eVars) will allow you to see how each e-mail performed (through the campaign ID) and how often each e-mail recipient visited the site (through the e-mail ID). If you aren’t doing this already, I suggest you start there.
Now let’s say you are capturing these ID’s. What most intelligent marketers want to do is to segment their website behavior and then see if they can re-market to those who meet certain criteria. For example, let’s say that you want to send a re-marketing e-mail to all e-mail recipients who came to your site from the e-mail and then filled out a specific offer form. To do this, you would need to find a way to identify the e-mail ID’s of those completing the specific offer form you care about. For an advanced SiteCatalyst user, this would be pretty easy since they would know that they could simply use a Conversion Variable Subrelation report to breakdown the Offer ID eVar value by the E-mail User ID eVar, but you would need to pay for Subrelations on one of these eVars. However, there is a pre-built feature of SiteCatalyst that is available to do this using Data Warehouse. In fact, SiteCatalyst has had the ability to extract Unique Visitor ID’s for many versions, but it is rarely used. This feature allows you to tell SiteCatalyst which eVar stores your Unique User IDs (e-mail ID in this case) and will allow you to easily extract those ID’s using Data Warehouse. By using this feature, you can automatically create a Data Warehouse Segment that pulls the Unique Visitor ID’s you are looking for and then simply tell SiteCatalyst what data points you want as you would in a normal Data Warehouse request. As I mentioned, this is a bit more advanced, but pretty cool (even though it is sufficiently well hidden!).
How It Works
So how does it work? The first step is to tell SiteCatalyst which eVar you are going to use to store your Unique Visitor IDs. Please note that this is not the same as replacing Omniture’s Visitor ID in your js file. To learn more about that, see this post. Adding this value in the Admin Console will not affect your unique visitor counts in any way. In this example, we will use e-mail ID’s which I have labeled “Responsys ID” and to do this we go to the Admin Console. In the Admin Console, you select the report suite(s) and under the conversion area, select “Unique Visitor Variable” as shown here:
On the next screen, you simply choose the eVar that stores your Unique Visitor ID (Responsys ID in this example) as shown here:
Believe it or not, you are done! But what does doing this actually do? Now if you go to reports in this report suite, you will see a very subtle difference. Per the example above, we want to identify all of the E-mail ID’s of people who looked at a particular website offer. To do this, we will go to the eVar report that stores all of our website Offer ID’s which might look like this:
Normally, if you click on an eVar value in a report it will take you to a what is known as an “Item-Specific Summary” report which details how often and what percentage that eVar value was involved in each website success event. I find that very few people actually use that report and often go to it once, panic and then hit the back button (I do encourage you to explore that report, but in the interest of staying on topic, I will continue)! However, once you have enabled your Unique Visitor ID variable in the Admin Console, clicking this row will not take you to the Item Specific Summary report, but rather, will present you with a magical new option shown here:
If you then click on the new row that you see “Extract visitor IDs for event…” you can select the success event that you want (in this example we are looking for Form Completes). Doing this will pop open a new screen that outlines what you are looking for like this:
From this screen, you choose the “Request” button at the bottom and you will be e-mailed a list of the ID’s that match your criteria.
In addition, you will also be taken to the Data Warehouse request manager screen (assuming you have security access to Data Warehouse) and you will see a new segment (see screen shot below) created that matches the criteria you are looking for (in this case, all Responsys ID’s that had a Form Complete and the form matched the specific Offer ID we selected from the eVar report). While this screen is optional, I believe it is presented in case you want to further refine the segment or add additional data fields to your Data Warehouse report:
At first, I was skeptical and didn’t believe that my click in an eVar report had actually led to a full blown Data Warehouse segment having been created, so if you have any doubts, you can click the Edit Segment button and see the actual segment definition:
Now all you have to do is to add any data points you want to see related to the report area and use this newly created segment. Obviously, you would want to include the Responsys ID’s in this example (I wish this would be pre-selected in the new Data Warehouse screen, but what can you do?), but you can add any others that you wish.
As you can see, while powerful, this functionality can get pretty involved! If you have implemented Genesis integrations, you will find that much of this functionality comes bundled with Genesis so the Unique ID’s you need are automatically extracted and sent to partners for you through API’s. However, I think it is useful to understand how this User ID extraction works, especially if you plan to do advanced customer segmentation.
Finally, keep in mind that there are many other ways to use this functionality beyond the simple e-mail example here. One of the most powerful uses of this feature applies to sites where users login to the website. In these cases, you can store the user’s ID (or a hashed version of it using DB Vista) and perform some amazing analysis and re-marketing to registered users.