Cross Domain: Achieving Customer Journey Transparency

How accurate is your understanding of your customer’s complete journey? Does your organisation have the ability to track unique visitors across all your web properties? Are you sure your data doesn’t get duplicated as users travel between domains?

Many marketers are focused on ensuring that their data is valid and accurate enough to effectively analyse a customer’s journey from beginning to end. This article introduces a data source that is often overlooked in contributing to that story.

Introducing cross domain syncing

For companies that own several brands or websites, cross domain syncing can help track a customer’s interactions and touch points, while recognising that she is a single user moving across several brands or multiple domains.

How do businesses benefit from cross domain syncing?

By mapping the entire customer journey, marketers can help provide the customer with a high level experience from start to finish. This can help:

  • Enhance customer satisfaction

  • Improve sales and retention

  • Reduce end-to-end service costs

  • Strengthen the customer’s overall experience

Example

Let’s take Ms. Jones, a user interested in buying a sports watch from brand A.

Ms. Jones visits the website of brand A for a sports watch, then realises she has an interest in sports clothes to go with her new watch. This results in her visiting a new site called brand B that happens to be owned by the same organisation as brand A.

Normally, the ability to track Ms. Jones’ journey would be broken as a result of this crossing over between domains. This causes marketers to miss critical information about Ms. Jones’ journey as it continues, and they’re unable to effectively analyse her behaviour due to the link in the customer journey being broken.

This inability to track between different touch points can therefore miss the bigger and more important picture, the customer’s end to end experience.

For example, certain questions may go unanswered:

  • Where did the user’s journey begin and end?

  • How many users were unique users?

  • How long did it take the user to finalise their decision?

  • Did the user convert? If so, how do we know that they did?

The limitations of “link decoration”

Cross domain syncing usually involves utilising “link decoration”. This means recognising when a user has clicked a link on one domain that leads them to a different domain. Additional URL parameters are then appended in order to sync the cookies. However, link decoration may only be useful when the user journey moves  directly between domains.

Link Decoration

Datalicious’ Cross Domain Syncing Process

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How Datalicious achieves cross domain syncing

We use a different solution involving a mix of first and third party cookies required for users visiting your site without direct cross site interaction.  

When users visit a single domain, a first party cookie will be issued and maintained. We then pair that cookie with our third party cookie system. Hence, when a user enters a new domain, Datalicious will be able to map the two sets of cookies to achieve single user recognition.

Once the additional implementation is set up and the required code is added, the final step involves configuration via Google Analytics. By default, Google Analytics only uses first party cookies that makes cross domain visibility difficult to implement. Datalicious’ solution addresses this issue.

Once unique users are recognised across multiple domains, we can help you amplify new business activity by:

  • Building audiences and retargeting your business with specific brands  

  • Monitoring cannibalism between owned brands and/or services

  • Single customer view for life-time value - You may be able to monitor digital spend per user across brands that generate more revenue and profit.

Four main highlights of cross domain syncing:

  1. Enhances visibility by tracking detailed user behaviour and simplifies the process of targeting the right audience. This facilitates better positioning, tailored offers and smarter marketing.
  2. Enhances the marketer’s understanding of the overall customer journey across different domains, brands, services, applications and digital or non digital assets.
  3. Reduces the impact of market cannibalism. This enables marketers to gain deeper insights into the products or services that are falling behind and prevent them from being eaten away by new ones in the market.
  4. Flexibility to combine multiple properties into a single reporting interface AKA Roll-up reporting. This allows marketers to analyse all source properties in one given location and identify users across different domains via various digital platforms such as the web store, community and mobile applications. Roll up reporting can help your organisation conduct the required analysis for all platforms, and in any given combination.

Let Datalicious do the work for you

Get in touch with us at sales@datalicious.com so we can guide you towards achieving the best customer journey experience for your customers. 

Are you ready for GDPR?

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European privacy law designed to harmonise data privacy laws within the European Union (EU) but also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU. Its purpose is to regulate how individuals and organisations may obtain, use, store and erase personal data to protect and empower all individuals on data privacy and reshape the way organisations respond to it.

GDPR comes into effect on May 25th, 2018.

So to keep your clients’ data protected, below is a list of questions you should be asking yourselves to ensure your organisation is GDPR compliant.

1. Who does GDPR apply to?

GDPR will apply to all organisations from any industry or sector that processes personal data of all EU citizens regardless of where that organisation is based, or where its processing activities take place. GDPR could therefore apply to any organisation anywhere in the world, and these organisations will need to effectively determine whether or not they process any personal data of EU citizens.

2. Are there any specific rules organisations should be following to ensure they remain fully compliant with the GDPR law?

To ensure your organisation is protected, Article 5 of the EU GDPR states that personal data must be: 

  • Processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner
  • Collected only for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes
  • Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary
  • Accurate and up to date
  • Held only for the allocated amount of time agreed upon and no longer
  • Processed in a manner to ensure appropriate security of the personal data

3. What rights do individuals have under the GDPR law?

To ensure your clients’ data is protected, they have the right to:  

  • Be informed about how organisations use their data
  • Withdraw from organisations using their data at any given time
  • Inspect stored data
  • Correct stored data
  • Have their personal data deleted or removed without reason
  • Block or suppress processing of their personal data
  • Receive their data in a portable format

4. What is considered ‘PII data’ ?

Personally identifiable information (PII) refers to any information relating to an identified or identifiable living person ('Data Subject') that organisations use to expose their data on. This data includes but is not limited to an individual’s name, photo, email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, cookie identifiers, GPS locations or a computer IP address.  

The solution? Read our recommendations to ensure your business remains GDPR compliant

1. PII inspection of your data

Datalicious has developed a mini product that scans your clients’ BigQuery environment for the presence of any accidental PII data that may be exposed in the URL as a result of changes made to the site. We can run it point in time and set up consistent scans and alerts. Our sales team is available to chat about this in more detail, so please get in touch with us at sales@datalicious.com should you have any concerns.

2. Turn on the IP Anonymization feature in Google Analytics

A code change is required to enable this function. Datalicious can help you achieve this via GTM. Please contact our sales team at sales@datalicious.com to discuss this option further.  

3. Ensure your privacy policy is updated

Communicate to your users regarding how their data is collected and the purpose for collecting that data. It is recommended to address key questions such as “What data is collected?” and “How will your data be used?”.

4. Review the length of time your data will be stored in Google Analytics

Google Analytics has provided the option to delete collected data after a period of time which can help your business remain GDPR compliant. Should you require further information, you can read about it here.

5. Review your data collection settings

It's important to review your privacy policy and discuss any details with legal services. However, we strongly recommend you keep a few key questions in mind such as:

  • How is your data collected ?

Does your data collection exclude information about the identity of a particular person? For example: Does it contain a cookie by itself that has no connection to any other data?  

  • Is your data being collected via pixels or cookies?

For example: Is it a first or third party cookie? or does your session remain active when you switch between devices or domains ?

6. Filter users from EU countries

You can provide a filter for EU countries and test it in your test view before applying it to your master view. Alternatively you may set conditions for EU users to prevent cookies from ever dropping to those visitors. One way of enabling this function might be via a pop up window that asks users whether or not they reside in Europe.

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