User Centric Tracking (1): An introduction
This article provides basic information about the User Centric Tracking in Mapp Intelligence. Detailed descriptions can be found in the article User Centric Tracking (2): The next level.
What is User Centric Tracking?
Ever since Release 4.3.4, Mapp Intelligence has offered a User Centric Tracking. This optimizes user recognition and removes annoying influences. User Centric Tracking frees itself from conventional cookies and allows users to be recognized even when they use different browsers or devices or delete their cookies. This allows for better measurement and delimitation of user information.
User behavior has changed over recent years. The importance of the mobile sector has increased
significantly. Long gone are the days when online shops and news portals were almost exclusively accessed via PCs at home. Today, many people use the internet while on the go on their smartphone or in the evening using a tablet on the couch while watching TV – a trend that is growing significantly.
Modern tracking must take this into account since cookies are limited to a single device. A user who visits a website on a smartphone, tablet, and PC is, according to his or her cookies, three different visitors. It is therefore much more difficult (and tedious) to acquire useful data about this user than if every individual visit could be allocated to the same person. More accurate user assessment not only makes your traffic
data more precise, it also allows you to find out more about your visitors in a much shorter period of time.
User Centric Tracking follows the approach of using a combination of cookie and database information to overcome the distorting disadvantages of traditional user recognition, allowing Mapp Intelligence users to now obtain even more precise information about their users. It is furthermore an important element for the precise use of the cohort analysis.
How does User Centric Tracking work?
Since clear user identification across different devices solely using cookies is impossible for the reasons stated above, an additional identification possibility is needed – a Customer ID. It is used to anonymously register a logged-in user in Mapp Intelligence. In order to be able to use User Centric Tracking, you therefore must first provide a Customer ID to Mapp.
But that's only the first step. The second step is carried out automatically in the Mapp backend. One disadvantage of the Customer ID is that it is only transmitted when the user logs in. If the user visits without a login he or she cannot be identified via the Customer ID. For this reason, the Customer ID is linked to another ID in the Mapp backend – the Visitor ID – which is then in the second step directly linked to the ID from the cookie.
The graphic above shows this process. The user has multiple cookies, depending on how many different browsers or devices he or she uses. Each of these cookies has one ID. When the user logs in, this ID can be linked to a Customer ID. So that the user is not obliged to log in for identification at each visit, the Customer ID only represents an interim step. It serves to directly link the end devices to the Visitor ID.
The Visitor ID is the actual user identification. Multiple end devices or browsers are assigned to it. If one of these end devices is tracked, the corresponding visit is also allocated to the Visitor ID. This means that the Customer ID is only required for the initial link (green arrows). After this, the link functions independently of the Customer ID (grey arrows). Further technical details with examples can be found in the appendix to this document.
End device (Cookie ID)
The ID of the Mapp Intelligence cookie is different for each browser and each end device. Until now it has been used for visitor recognition.
Analysis in Mapp Intelligence:
- End device Visitor Ids (Dimension)
- Browsers, unique (Metric)
The Customer ID is provided upon registration or at visitor login with the pixel request and is unique for each user.
Analysis in Mapp Intelligence:
- URM – Custom Visitor Id (Dimension)
- Customer, unique (Metric)
User Centric Tracking uses the Visitor ID for visitor recognition. To do this, the Visitor ID is linked to the ID of the Mapp Intelligence cookie via the Customer ID one single time.
Analysis in Mapp Intelligence:
- URM – Visitor Id (Dimension)
- Visitors (Metric)
Please note: The change to User Centric Tracking does not influence your historical data. The new user allocation is only applied to data which is collected after Release 4.3.4
What does User Centric Tracking change?
The advantages of User Centric Tracking have already been discussed in detail. But what effects do these changes have on the data? Previously, a user was identified via his or her cookie. A single user was therefore identified as multiple users as a result of using multiple browsers or devices. With User Centric Tracking, this is no longer the case. This optimization means that your data usually will show a smaller number of visitors. The scale of this decrease is dependent on the website, but will probably be somewhere between 2 % and 10 %. The number of visits per user, however, will increase accordingly.
Please note that visitor numbers may also increase when multiple users share one end device.
At first, this naturally requires a change in the way visitor numbers are viewed. Lower visitor numbers resulting from User Centric Tracking do not mean a drop in actual visitors, but rather an increase in precision. Until now, the numbers merely showed the end devices and/or browsers used. User Centric Tracking now shows you the actual number of visitors.
You can use the Browsers, Unique metric to make the changes in visitor assessment visible. This metrics shows the number of separate browsers and/or devices and corresponds to the previous visitor recognition solely using cookies.
If you have created a report which contains the Visitors metric and wish to continue using the old visitor allocation in it, you, therefore, need to re-place the Visitors metric with the Browsers, Unique metric.
When you use the Mapp Intelligence raw data export, please note that the EID column still shows the cookie-based End device Visitor ID.
For customer journeys and processes with the "Visitor" validity, the calculation will continue to be linked to the cookie-based End device Visitor ID.
What additional analyses does User Centric Tracking allow?
User Centric Tracking allows you to assess the behavior of your users across devices. Below are two examples that briefly clarify the potential of such analyses.
The first example is a Cross-Device Analysis (above). This allows you to assess which device classes your visitors are using. You must first enter the formulas used in the analysis (i.e. Visitors PC / laptop %) as custom formulas.
The analysis will show you that, for example, 1.59 % of PC/laptop users also visited the page using a tablet during the analysis period. This will provide insights into the combination of devices used by your clients and where it is worth looking for synergy effects.
The second example is a Cross-Device Customer Journey (below). Just like previously for campaign channels, you can also view the use of devices over time. To do so, you will need a pivot table with the dimensions URM - Visitor ID, Device Class, and Visit Duration. Also, use a filter to only assess visitors who were recorded using multiple devices. This analysis shows you which device classes these users used during the analysis period and how they switched between the individual classes. A comparable analysis can also be carried out for the browsers which were used.
Finally, bear in mind the remarketing analyses, which also benefit from User Centric Tracking. For remarketing analyses (i.e. consisting of a user and product ID), please note that a different ID must be used depending on the analysis. If a remarketing is to take place on the website, the End-device Visitor ID must be selected for the analysis, since this ID is directly available on the website via the cookie.
For a data warehouse connection, the URM Custom Visitor ID is more suitable, since this ID is generally available in your DWH. For newsletter remarketing, the URM Custom Visitor ID or so-called E-mail Receiver ID of your newsletter service provider, which you can save as a URM category, are also suitable. What is important is that the newsletter service provider knows and can process the ID being used.